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HUMANITIES 513 palmtlng:s; but these are basic issues of art h1C!t-n"t"'H attraction of the works ex11ibitec:1. Istvan Anhalt. Alternative Voices: COirttelmp4'Jra;rtI Vocal and Choral LonnpO:,ltum 514 LETTERS IN CANADA 1984 The point of departure for this study, or (which is it?) collection of essays, is the author's conviction that a significant trend is embodied in the large number of compositions since the Second World War which use the voice in innovative ways. This means any vocal performance which differs from the normal manner ofsingingbyvirtue ofits mode of delivery (spoken, whispered, murmured, etc) or in the way language is employed (fragmented, multilingual or nonsense texts, screams, moans, etc). Eight chapters are divided into those which explore the historical background, and a variety of general considerations (chapters 1, 5, and 6), and those given over mainly to the analysis of individual compositions (chapters 2-4, 7, and 8). Forthis reader, the substantial studies ofindividual pieces that make up part one (chapters 2-4) are both the most valuable parts of the book and in every sense its core. Three works by European composers of the first post-World-War-n generation of the musical avant-garde are chosen to represent an individual psychological 'portrait' (Luciano Berio, Sequenza III, 1968), a quasi-dramatic 'small group' composition (Gyorgy Ligeti, Nouvellesaventures, 1962-5), and a collective, communal statement (Witold Lutoslawski, Trois poemes d'Henri Michaud, 1963). These studies are most valuable when they go beyond traditional musical analysis by taking the works studied seriouslyin their own terms. In this case, itis the wayin whichboth words and non-verbal vocal utterances contribute both to the meaning of the composition and to its more abstract, aesthetic shape. For the Berio work, for instance, five 'classes of oral expression' are isolated and described (pp 27-34). The work is then divided into seven large and fifty-two smaller sections, and these are characterized accordingto the aforementioned'classes.' This is a longand arduous task, at least as complex as the usual 'note-counting' which constitutes traditional analysis, but more difficult because no widely accepted theoretical foundation for it exists. It will test the patience of readers who are musical professionals as much as those who are not, but is absolutely essential if these works are to be studied seriously in the terms appropriate to them. These detailed and rewarding studies are followed in part two by explorations of the 'blurred boundaries' (chapter 5) between speech and song, 'makers' and I doers,' music and linguistics, and east and west, and of the 'deep themes' (chapter 6) of magic, mysticism, ritual, and role of memoryin invokingthe recent (personal) and the remote (collective) past. These interesting, provocative, highly personal and intuitive studies lead to further explorations of the musical literature using the concepts and insights gained. The final chapter focuses on more detailed studies of John Beckwith's Gas! (1978), R. Murray Schafer's In Search of Zoroaster (1976), and Luciano Berio~s Coro (1976). After the thoroughness of chapters 2-4, these studies are somewhat disappointing, though students of recent music will still find them valuable. HUMANITIES 515 Chapter 1 is set off from parts one and two, and presents an introductory look at the broad theme of the study and its roots in recent music history. The Sprechstimme of Arnold Schoenberg is rightly identified as the most immediate antecedent. Anhalt goes beyond this, though, into a consideration of related and contemporary phenomena such as Futurist declamation, the politicallyinspired Collective Recitation and the 'sound poems' of the Dadaists. Most of this is culled from secondary sources, but is still a welcome corrective to the normally too-narrow view of texts on music history. This chapter anticipates many of the themes and preoccupations of succeeding ones, including the author's tendency to interpret his material in a freely intuitive way, as is probably appropriate for a creative artist. One example will illustrate this point and anticipate a larger and more fundamental theme of the book. After reading the score of a recent (1979) vocal composition, the author has 'the impression of having encountered the piece before. But where?' After rereading the instructions...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 513-515
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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