California Studies in 20th-Century Music

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California Studies in 20th-Century Music

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Bartók, Hungary, and the Renewal of Tradition

Case Studies in the Intersection of Modernity and Nationality

David E. Schneider

It is well known that Béla Bartók had an extraordinary ability to synthesize Western art music with the folk music of Eastern Europe. What this rich and beautifully written study makes clear is that, contrary to much prevailing thought about the great twentieth-century Hungarian composer, Bartók was also strongly influenced by the art-music traditions of his native country. Drawing from a wide array of material including contemporary reviews and little known Hungarian documents, David Schneider presents a new approach to Bartók that acknowledges the composer’s debt to a variety of Hungarian music traditions as well as to influential contemporaries such as Igor Stravinsky. Putting representative works from each decade beginning with Bartók’s graduation from the Music Academy in 1903 until his departure for the United States in 1940 under critical lens, Schneider reads the composer’s artistic output as both a continuation and a profound transformation of the very national tradition he repeatedly rejected in public. By clarifying why Bartók felt compelled to obscure his ties to the past and by illuminating what that past actually was, Schneider dispels myths about Bartók’s relationship to nineteenth-century traditions and at the same time provides a new perspective on the relationship between nationalism and modernism in early-twentieth century music.

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Classic Chic

Music, Fashion, and Modernism

Mary E. Davis

Music and fashion: the deep connection between these two expressive worlds is firmly entrenched. Yet little attention has been paid to the association of sound and style in the early twentieth century—a period of remarkable and often parallel developments in both high fashion and the arts, including music. This beautifully written book, lavishly illustrated with fashion plates and photographs, explores the relationship between music and fashion, elegantly charting the importance of these arts to the rise of transatlantic modernism. Focusing on the emergence of the movement known as Neoclassicism, Mary E. Davis demonstrates that new aesthetic approaches were related to fashion in a manner that was perfectly attuned to the tastes of jazz-age sophisticates. Looking in particular at three couturiers—Paul Poiret, Germaine Bongard, and Coco Chanel—and three breakthrough fashion magazines—La Gazette du Bon Ton, Vanity Fair, and Vogue—Davis illuminates for the first time the ways in which fashion's imperatives of originality and constant change influenced composers such as Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, and Les Six. She also considers the role played by the Ballets Russes, and explores the contributions of artists including costume and set designer Léon Bakst, writer and director Jean Cocteau, Amédée Ozenfant, and Pablo Picasso. The first study to situate music in this rich context, Classic Chic demonstrates the profound importance of the linked endeavors of composition and couture to modernist thought. In addition to its innovative approach to this important moment in history, Davis's focus on the social aspects of the story makes the book a tremendously engaging read.

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Experimentalism Otherwise

The New York Avant-Garde and Its Limits

Benjamin Piekut

In Experimental Otherwise, Benjamin Piekut takes the reader into the heart of what we mean by "experimental" in avant-garde music. Focusing on one place and time—New York City, 1964—Piekut examines five disparate events: the New York Philharmonic’s disastrous performance of John Cage’s Atlas Eclipticalis; Henry Flynt’s demonstrations against the downtown avant-garde; Charlotte Moorman’s Avant Garde Festival; the founding of the Jazz Composers Guild; and the emergence of Iggy Pop. Drawing together a colorful array of personalities, Piekut argues that each of these examples points to a failure and marks a limit or boundary of canonical experimentalism. What emerges from these marginal moments is an accurate picture of the avant-garde, not as a style or genre, but as a network defined by disagreements, struggles, and exclusions.

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Frontier Figures

American Music and the Mythology of the American West

Beth E. Levy

Frontier Figures is a tour-de-force exploration of how the American West, both as physical space and inspiration, animated American music. Examining the work of such composers as Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, Virgil Thomson, Charles Wakefield Cadman, and Arthur Farwell, Beth E. Levy addresses questions of regionalism, race, and representation as well as changing relationships to the natural world to highlight the intersections between classical music and the diverse worlds of Indians, pioneers, and cowboys. Levy draws from an array of genres to show how different brands of western Americana were absorbed into American culture by way of sheet music, radio, lecture recitals, the concert hall, and film. Frontier Figures is a comprehensive illumination of what the West meant and still means to composers living and writing long after the close of the frontier.

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German Modernism

Music and the Arts

Walter Frisch

In this pioneering, erudite study of a pivotal era in the arts, Walter Frisch examines music and its relationship to early modernism in the Austro-German sphere. Seeking to explore the period on its own terms, Frisch questions the common assumption that works created from the later 1870s through World War I were transitional between late romanticism and high modernism. Drawing on a wide range of examples across different media, he establishes a cultural and intellectual context for late Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, and Arnold Schoenberg, as well as their less familiar contemporaries Eugen d'Albert, Hans Pfitzner, Max Reger, Max von Schillings, and Franz Schreker.

Frisch explores "ambivalent" modernism in the last quarter of the nineteenth century as reflected in the attitudes of, and relationship between, Nietzsche and Wagner. He goes on to examine how naturalism, the first self-conscious movement of German modernism, intersected with musical values and practices of the day. He proposes convergences between music and the visual arts in the works of Brahms, Max Klinger, Schoenberg, and Kandinsky. Frisch also explains how, near the turn of the century, composers drew inspiration and techniques from music of the past—the Renaissance, Bach, Mozart, and Wagner. Finally, he demonstrates how irony became a key strategy in the novels and novellas of Thomas Mann, the symphonies of Mahler, and the operas of Strauss and Hofmannsthal.

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Making New Music in Cold War Poland

The Warsaw Autumn Festival, 1956-1968

Lisa Jakelski

Making New Music in Cold War Poland presents a social analysis of new music dissemination at the Warsaw Autumn International Festival of Contemporary Music, one of the most important venues for East-West cultural contact during the Cold War. It examines the festival’s institutional organization, negotiation, and reception in Poland, while also considering the festival’s worldwide ramifications, particularly the ways that it contributed to the cross-border movement of ideas, objects, and people (including composers, performers, official festival guests, and tourists). Most broadly, this book is about the performance of social interactions within institutional frameworks and how they have shaped the practices, values, and concepts associated with “new” music.

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Music and Politics in San Francisco

From the 1906 Quake to the Second World War

Leta E. Miller

This lively history immerses the reader in San Francisco’s musical life during the first half of the twentieth century, showing how a fractious community overcame virulent partisanship to establish cultural monuments such as the San Francisco Symphony (1911) and Opera (1923). Leta E. Miller draws on primary source material and first-hand knowledge of the music to argue that a utopian vision counterbalanced partisan interests and inspired cultural endeavors, including the San Francisco Conservatory, two world fairs, and America’s first municipally owned opera house. Miller demonstrates that rampant racism, initially directed against Chinese laborers (and their music), reappeared during the 1930s in the guise of labor unrest as WPA music activities exploded in vicious battles between administrators and artists, and African American and white jazz musicians competed for jobs in nightclubs.

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Music and the Elusive Revolution

Cultural Politics and Political Culture in France, 1968–1981

Eric Drott

In May 1968, France teetered on the brink of revolution as a series of student protests spiraled into the largest general strike the country has ever known. In the forty years since, May ’68 has come to occupy a singular place in the modern political imagination, not just in France but across the world. Eric Drott examines the social, political, and cultural effects of May ’68 on a wide variety of music in France, from the initial shock of 1968 through the "long" 1970s and the election of Mitterrand and the socialists in 1981. Drott’s detailed account of how diverse music communities developed in response to 1968 and his pathbreaking reflections on the nature and significance of musical genre come together to provide insights into the relationships that link music, identity, and politics.

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Music Divided

Bartók’s Legacy in Cold War Culture

Danielle Fosler-Lussier

Music Divided explores how political pressures affected musical life on both sides of the iron curtain during the early years of the cold war. In this groundbreaking study, Danielle Fosler-Lussier illuminates the pervasive political anxieties of the day through particular attention to artistic, music-theoretical, and propagandistic responses to the music of Hungary’s most renowned twentieth-century composer, Béla Bartók. She shows how a tense period of political transition plagued Bartók’s music and imperiled those who took a stand on its aesthetic value in the emerging socialist state. Her fascinating investigation of Bartók’s reception outside of Hungary demonstrates that Western composers, too, formulated their ideas about musical style under the influence of ever-escalating cold war tensions.

Music Divided surveys Bartók’s role in provoking negative reactions to "accessible" music from Pierre Boulez, Hermann Scherchen, and Theodor Adorno. It considers Bartók’s influence on the youthful compositions and thinking of Bruno Maderna and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and it outlines Bartók’s legacy in the music of the Hungarian composers András Mihály, Ferenc Szabó, and Endre Szervánszky. These details reveal the impact of local and international politics on the selection of music for concert and radio programs, on composers’ choices about musical style, on government radio propaganda about music, on the development of socialist realism, and on the use of modernism as an instrument of political action.

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Music in America's Cold War Diplomacy

Danielle Fosler-Lussier

During the Cold War, thousands of musicians from the United States traveled the world, sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Cultural Presentations program. Performances of music in many styles—classical, rock ’n’ roll, folk, blues, and jazz—competed with those by traveling Soviet and mainland Chinese artists, enhancing the prestige of American culture. These concerts offered audiences around the world evidence of America’s improving race relations, excellent musicianship, and generosity toward other peoples. Through personal contacts and the media, musical diplomacy also created subtle musical, social, and political relationships on a global scale. Although born of state-sponsored tours often conceived as propaganda ventures, these relationships were in themselves great diplomatic achievements and constituted the essence of America’s soft power. Using archival documents and newly collected oral histories, Danielle Fosler-Lussier shows that musical diplomacy had vastly different meanings for its various participants, including government officials, musicians, concert promoters, and audiences. Through the stories of musicians from Louis Armstrong and Marian Anderson to orchestras and college choirs, Fosler-Lussier deftly explores the value and consequences of "musical diplomacy."

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