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Alban Berg and His World

Christopher Hailey

Alban Berg and His World is a collection of essays and source material that repositions Berg as the pivotal figure of Viennese musical modernism. His allegiance to the austere rigor of Arnold Schoenberg's musical revolution was balanced by a lifelong devotion to the warm sensuousness of Viennese musical tradition and a love of lyric utterance, the emotional intensity of opera, and the expressive nuance of late-Romantic tonal practice.

The essays in this collection explore the specific qualities of Berg's brand of musical modernism, and present newly translated letters and documents that illuminate his relationship to the politics and culture of his era. Of particular significance are the first translations of Berg's newly discovered stage work Night (Nocturne), Hermann Watznauer's intimate account of Berg's early years, and the famous memorial issue of the music periodical 23. Contributors consider Berg's fascination with palindromes and mirror images and their relationship to notions of time and identity; the Viennese roots of his distinctive orchestral style; his links to such Viennese contemporaries as Alexander Zemlinsky, Franz Schreker, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold; and his attempts to maneuver through the perilous shoals of gender, race, and fascist politics.

The contributors are Antony Beaumont, Leon Botstein, Regina Busch, Nicholas Chadwick, Mark DeVoto, Douglas Jarman, Sherry Lee, and Margaret Notley.

Bard Music Festival:

Berg and His World
Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
August 13-15, 2010 and August 20-22, 2010

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Brahms and His World

(Revised Edition)

Walter Frisch

Since its first publication in 1990, Brahms and His World has become a key text for listeners, performers, and scholars interested in the life, work, and times of one of the nineteenth century's most celebrated composers. In this substantially revised and enlarged edition, the editors remain close to the vision behind the original book while updating its contents to reflect new perspectives on Brahms that have developed over the past two decades. To this end, the original essays by leading experts are retained and revised, and supplemented by contributions from a new generation of Brahms scholars. Together, they consider such topics as Brahms's relationship with Clara and Robert Schumann, his musical interactions with the "New German School" of Wagner and Liszt, his influence upon Arnold Schoenberg and other young composers, his approach to performing his own music, and his productive interactions with visual artists.

The essays are complemented by a new selection of criticism and analyses of Brahms's works published by the composer's contemporaries, documenting the ways in which Brahms's music was understood by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century audiences in Europe and North America. A new selection of memoirs by Brahms's friends, students, and early admirers provides intimate glimpses into the composer's working methods and personality. And a catalog of the music, literature, and visual arts dedicated to Brahms documents the breadth of influence exerted by the composer upon his contemporaries.

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Carlos Chavez and His World

Leonora Saavedra

Carlos Chávez (1899–1978) is the central figure in Mexican music of the twentieth century and among the most eminent of all Latin American modernist composers. An enfant terrible in his own country, Chávez was an integral part of the emerging music scene in the United States in the 1920s. His highly individual style—diatonic, dissonant, contrapuntal—addressed both modernity and Mexico’s indigenous past. Chávez was also a governmental arts administrator, founder of major Mexican cultural institutions, and conductor and founder of the Orquesta Sinfónica de México. Carlos Chávez and His World brings together an international roster of leading scholars to delve into not only Chávez’s music but also the history, art, and politics surrounding his life and work.

Contributors explore Chávez’s vast body of compositions, including his piano music, symphonies, violin concerto, late compositions, and Indianist music. They look at his connections with such artistic greats as Aaron Copland, Miguel Covarrubias, Henry Cowell, Silvestre Revueltas, and Paul Strand. The essays examine New York’s modernist scene, Mexican symphonic music, portraits of Chávez by major Mexican artists of the period, including Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo, and Chávez’s impact on El Colegio Nacional. A quantum leap in understanding Carlos Chávez and his milieu, this collection will stimulate further work in Latin American music and culture.

The contributors are Ana R. Alonso-Minutti, Amy Bauer, Leon Botstein, David Brodbeck, Helen Delpar, Christina Taylor Gibson, Susana González Aktories, Anna Indych-López, Roberto Kolb-Neuhaus, James Krippner, Rebecca Levi, Ricardo Miranda, Julián Orbón, Howard Pollack, Leonora Saavedra, Antonio Saborit, Stephanie Stallings, and Luisa Vilar Payá.

Bard Music Festival 2015:
Carlos Chávez and His World
Bard College
August 7-9 and August 14-16, 2015

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Debussy and His World

Jane Fulcher

Claude Debussy's Paris was factionalized, politicized, and litigious. It was against this background of ferment and change--which characterized French society and music from the Franco-Prussian War to World War I--that Debussy re-thought music. This book captures the complexity of the composer's restless personal and artistic identity within the new picture emerging of the musical, social, and political world of fin-de-siècle Paris.

Debussy's setting did not simply mold his style. Rather, it challenged him to define a style and then to revamp it again and again as he situated himself simultaneously via the present and the past. These essays trace Debussy's perpetual reinvention, both social and creative, from his earliest to his last works. They explore tensions and contradictions in his best-known compositions and examine lesser-known pieces that reveal new aspects of Debussy's creative appropriation from poetry, painting, and non-Western music.

The contributors reveal the extent to which Debussy's personal and professional lives were intertwined and sometimes in conflict. Belonging to no one group or class, but crossing many, Debussy abjured the orthodox. A maverick who reviled all convention and searched for a music that authentically reflected experience, Debussy balked at entering any situation--salons, musical societies, or factions--that would categorize and thus distort him. Because of this, music lovers still argue over the degree to which Debussy's music is Impressionist, symbolist, or even French. Aptly, the volume's editor reads Debussy's last works as a dialogue with himself that reflects his inherently pluralistic, paradoxical, negotiated, and ever-changing identity.

William Austin's description of Debussy as ''one of the most original and adventurous musicians who ever lived'' is often repeated. This book illustrates how right Austin was and shows why Debussy's unclassifiable art continues to fascinate and perplex his historians even as it enthralls new listeners. The contributors are Leon Botstein, Christophe Charle, John Clevenger, Jane F. Fulcher, David Grayson, Brian Hart, Gail Hilson-Woldu, and Marie Rolf.

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Dvorak and His World

Michael Beckerman

Antonin Dvorák made his famous trip to the United States one hundred years ago, but despite an enormous amount of attention from scholars and critics since that time, he remains an elusive figure. Comprising both interpretive essays and a selection of fascinating documents that bear on Dvorák's career and music, this volume addresses fundamental questions about the composer while presenting an argument for a radical reappraisal.

The essays, which make up the first part of the book, begin with Leon Botstein's inquiry into the reception of Dvorák's work in German-speaking Europe, in England, and in America. Commenting on the relationship between Dvorák and Brahms, David Beveridge offers the first detailed portrait of perhaps the most interesting artistic friendship of the era. Joseph Horowitz explores the context in which the "New World" Symphony was premiered a century ago, offering an absorbing account of New York musical life at that time. In discussing Dvorák as a composer of operas, Jan Smaczny provides an unexpected slant on the widely held view of him as a "nationalist" composer. Michael Beckerman further investigates this view of Dvorák by raising the question of the role nationalism played in music of the nineteenth century.

The second part of this volume presents Dvorák's correspondence and reminiscences as well as unpublished reviews and criticism from the Czech press. It includes a series of documents from the composer's American years, a translation of the review of Rusalka's premiere with the photographs that accompanied the article, and Janácek's analyses of the symphonic poems. Many of these documents are published in English for the first time.

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Edward Elgar and His World

Byron Adams

Edward Elgar (1857-1934) is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating, important, and influential figures in the history of British music. He rose from humble beginnings and achieved fame with music that to this day is beloved by audiences in England, and his work has secured an enduring legacy worldwide. Leading scholars examine the composer's life in Edward Elgar and His World, presenting a comprehensive portrait of both the man and the age in which he lived.

Elgar's achievement is remarkably varied and wide-ranging, from immensely popular works like the famous Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1--a standard feature of American graduations--to sweeping masterpieces like his great oratorio The Dream of Gerontius. The contributors explore Elgar's Catholicism, which put him at odds with the prejudices of Protestant Britain; his glorification of British colonialism; his populist tendencies; his inner life as an inspired autodidact; the aristocratic London drawing rooms where his reputation was made; the class prejudice with which he contended throughout his career; and his anguished reaction to World War I. Published in conjunction with the 2007 Bard Music Festival and the 150th anniversary of Elgar's birth, this elegant and thought-provoking volume illuminates the greatness of this accomplished English composer and brings vividly to life the rich panorama of Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

The contributors are Byron Adams, Leon Botstein, Rachel Cowgill, Sophie Fuller, Daniel M. Grimley, Nalini Ghuman Gwynne, Deborah Heckert, Charles Edward McGuire, Matthew Riley, Alison I. Shiel, and Aidan J. Thomson.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

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Franz Liszt and His World

Christopher H. Gibbs

No nineteenth-century composer had more diverse ties to his contemporary world than Franz Liszt (1811-1886). At various points in his life he made his home in Vienna, Paris, Weimar, Rome, and Budapest. In his roles as keyboard virtuoso, conductor, master teacher, and abbé, he reinvented the concert experience, advanced a progressive agenda for symphonic and dramatic music, rethought the possibilities of church music and the oratorio, and transmitted the foundations of modern pianism.

The essays brought together in Franz Liszt and His World advance our understanding of the composer with fresh perspectives and an emphasis on historical contexts. Rainer Kleinertz examines Wagner's enthusiasm for Liszt's symphonic poem Orpheus; Christopher Gibbs discusses Liszt's pathbreaking Viennese concerts of 1838; Dana Gooley assesses Liszt against the backdrop of antivirtuosity polemics; Ryan Minor investigates two cantatas written in honor of Beethoven; Anna Celenza offers new insights about Liszt's experience of Italy; Susan Youens shows how Liszt's songs engage with the modernity of Heinrich Heine's poems; James Deaville looks at how publishers sustained Liszt's popularity; and Leon Botstein explores Liszt's role in the transformation of nineteenth-century preoccupations regarding religion, the nation, and art.

Franz Liszt and His World also includes key biographical and critical documents from Liszt's lifetime, which open new windows on how Liszt was viewed by his contemporaries and how he wished to be viewed by posterity. Introductions to and commentaries on these documents are provided by Peter Bloom, José Bowen, James Deaville, Allan Keiler, Rainer Kleinertz, Ralph Locke, Rena Charnin Mueller, and Benjamin Walton.

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Franz Schubert and His World

Christopher H. Gibbs

During his short lifetime, Franz Schubert (1797–1828) contributed to a wide variety of musical genres, from intimate songs and dances to ambitious chamber pieces, symphonies, and operas. The essays and translated documents in Franz Schubert and His World examine his compositions and ties to the Viennese cultural context, revealing surprising and overlooked aspects of his music.

Contributors explore Schubert’s youthful participation in the Nonsense Society, his circle of friends, and changing views about the composer during his life and in the century after his death. New insights are offered about the connections between Schubert’s music and the popular theater of the day, his strategies for circumventing censorship, the musical and narrative relationships linking his song settings of poems by Gotthard Ludwig Kosegarten, and musical tributes he composed to commemorate the death of Beethoven just twenty months before his own. The book also includes translations of excerpts from a literary journal produced by Schubert’s classmates and of Franz Liszt’s essay on the opera Alfonso und Estrella. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Leon Botstein, Lisa Feurzeig, John Gingerich, Kristina Muxfeldt, and Rita Steblin.

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Giacomo Puccini and His World

Arman Schwartz

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924) is the world’s most frequently performed operatic composer, yet he is only beginning to receive serious scholarly attention. In Giacomo Puccini and His World, an international roster of music specialists, several writing on Puccini for the first time, offers a variety of new critical perspectives on the composer and his works. Containing discussions of all of Puccini’s operas from Manon Lescaut (1893) to Turandot (1926), this volume aims to move beyond clichés of the composer as a Romantic epigone and to resituate him at the heart of early twentieth-century musical modernity.

This collection’s essays explore Puccini’s engagement with spoken theater and operetta, and with new technologies like photography and cinema. Other essays consider the philosophical problems raised by “realist” opera, discuss the composer’s place in a variety of cosmopolitan formations, and reevaluate Puccini’s orientalism and his complex interactions with the Italian fascist state. A rich array of primary source material, including previously unpublished letters and documents, provides vital information on Puccini’s interactions with singers, conductors, and stage directors, and on the early reception of the verismo movement. Excerpts from Fausto Torrefranca’s notorious Giacomo Puccini and International Opera, perhaps the most vicious diatribe ever directed against the composer, appear here in English for the first time.

The contributors are Micaela Baranello, Leon Botstein, Alessandra Campana, Delia Casadei, Ben Earle, Elaine Fitz Gibbon, Walter Frisch, Michele Girardi, Arthur Groos, Steven Huebner, Ellen Lockhart, Christopher Morris, Arman Schwartz, Emanuele Senici, and Alexandra Wilson.

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Haydn and His World

Elaine R. Sisman

Joseph Haydn's symphonies and string quartets are staples of the concert repertory, yet many aspects of this founding genius of the Viennese Classical style are only beginning to be explored. From local Kapellmeister to international icon, Haydn achieved success by developing a musical language aimed at both the connoisseurs and amateurs of the emerging musical public. In this volume, the first collection of essays in English devoted to this composer, a group of leading musicologists examines Haydn's works in relation to the aesthetic and cultural crosscurrents of his time.

Haydn and His World opens with an examination of the contexts of the composer's late oratorios: James Webster connects the Creation with the sublime--the eighteenth-century term for artistic experience of overwhelming power--and Leon Botstein explores the reception of Haydn's Seasons in terms of the changing views of programmatic music in the nineteenth century. Essays on Haydn's instrumental music include Mary Hunter on London chamber music as models of private and public performance, fortepianist Tom Beghin on rhetorical aspects of the Piano Sonata in D Major, XVI:42, Mark Evan Bonds on the real meaning behind contemporary comparisons of symphonies to the Pindaric ode, and Elaine R. Sisman on Haydn's Shakespeare, Haydn as Shakespeare, and "originality." Finally, Rebecca Green draws on primary sources to place one of Haydn's Goldoni operas at the center of the Eszterháza operatic culture of the 1770s.

The book also includes two extensive late-eighteenth-century discussions, translated into English for the first time, of music and musicians in Haydn's milieu, as well as a fascinating reconstruction of the contents of Haydn's library, which shows him fully conversant with the intellectual and artistic trends of the era.

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