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В МИРЕ МУЗЫКИ
КНИГА ДЛЯ ЧТЕНИЯ НА АНГЛИЙСКОМ ЯЗЫКЕ
Москва 'Высшая школа' 1991
ББК 81.2 Англ-923 В 11
Допущено Государственным комитетом СССР по народному образованию в качестве учебного пособия для студентов музыкальных вузов и вузов искусств
Рецензенты: кафедра иностранных языков Московской государственной кон-серватории им. П.И. Чайковского (зав. кафедрой проф. Г.Б. Рабино-вич); канд. филол. наук И.Н. Воробьева (Московский государственный институт культуры)
4602040000(4309000000) - 206 В--------------- 266-91
© Составление, комментарий, задания Е.П. Прошкиной, 1991
Данное пособие предназначено для студентов высших музыкальных учебных заведений и вузов искусств. Цель пособия - развить у студентов второго и третьего этапов обучения навыки, необходимые для чтения литературы по спе-циальности в подлиннике, а также способствовать развитию навыка устной речи в сфере профессионального общения. Пособие может быть использовано студен-тами языковых вузов в качестве страноведческого материала для внеаудиторного чтения, оно также представляет интерес и для широких кругов читателей, инте-ресующихся западноевропейской и американской музыкальной культурой.
Пособие состоит из трех тематических разделов: 1. Музыка XX века на За-паде. 2. История развития музыкальной культуры в Великобритании и США. 3. Исполнительское мастерство в мире музыки.
В конце пособия приводится комментарий, в котором поясняются отдельные искусствоведческие термины и реалии, а также дается перевод на русский язык наиболее сложных словосочетаний. Комментарий расширяет тематический мате-риал пособия и может быть использован при проведении бесед и дискуссий на английском языке. В текстах сохраняется правописание источника.
Тексты подобраны из оригинальных английских и американских источников (хотя в ряде случаев несколько сокращены). В них хорошо отражены лексико-грамматические и стилистические особенности языка современного музыкознания.
С тематической точки зрения каждый раздел представляет собой единое це-лое: он открывается текстом обобщающего характера, в котором ставится про-блема или освещаются закономерности развития того или иного процесса, затем следуют тексты, в которых раскрываются частные вопросы или явления. В кон-це большинства текстов и каждого раздела приводятся вопросы и задания, про-веряющие уровень понимания текста, а также темы для сообщений, что стиму-лирует высказывание студентов в сфере профессионального общения и способст-вует переходу от чтения к устной речи и дискуссии. Чтение как вид речевой деятельности приобретает тем самым значение коммуникативно направленного процесса, оно рассматривается как практика в речевой деятельности.
Как известно, одним из признаков зрелого чтения является умение изменять характер чтения в зависимости от его цели и сложности текста при сохранении соответствующего темпа. Совершенствование навыков чтения на иностранном языке предполагает овладение всеми его видами с различной степенью полноты и точности понимания. Требования к пониманию текста при разных видах чте-ния различны. Тем не менее, есть общие моменты, которые выступают в каче-
стве объектов контроля: выделение основной темы (идеи), нахождение, смысло-вых вех (опорных пунктов), установление причинно-следственных связей, опре-деление значения смыслового куска (блока) для понимания текста в целом, со-отношение таких блоков между собой, установление явно или имплицитно выра-женного отношения автора статьи к сообщению.
Понимание текста предполагает оценку его содержания, поэтому очень важно развить у студентов навык критического осмысления прочитанного текста на иностранном языке. С этой целью вопросы и темы для сообщений по форме и содержанию увязаны с общей проблематикой раздела, что позволяет студен-там творчески и профессионально оценивать полученную из текстов информа-цию, соотносить ее с собственным опытом и знаниями из лекционных курсов по специальности. Подобный подход развивает познавательную деятельность студен-тов, усиливает их заинтересованность и делает занятия более интересными и жи-выми.
В зависимости от уровня лингвистической подготовки студентов предподаватель может варьировать задания в аудитории и для самостоятельной работы сту-дентов.
Автор выражает благодарность рецензентам - канд. филол. наук И.Н. Во-робьевой (Московский государственный институт культуры), а также зав. кафед-рой иностранных языков Московской государственной консерватории имени П.И. Чайковского проф. Рабиновичу Г.Б. и преподавателю кафедры Масловой О. Л.
Автор также признателен преподавателям, аспирантам и студентам Ленин-градской консерватории, в беседах и дискуссиях с которыми создавалась эта книга.
Perhaps the single most dominant characteristic of 20th-century Western music is its variety and eclecticism and thus its resistance to easy categorization and generalized stylistic descriptions.
The music of the 20th century has developed along two general lines: 1) the expansion and final working out of trends established in the 19th century (Romanticism, Impressionism*), 2) the more or less novel practices distinctive of the 20th century, which are essentially anti-Romantic. Some of the more radical of these practices are often distinguished from the others by the designation of New Music. On the whole, the musical development during the first half of the cen-tury can be divided into three periods: Impressionism and post-Ro-manticism* (c. 1900-1915); experimentation along the lines of Expres-sionism,* Dynamism,* etc. (c. 1910-1925); and Neoclassicism* (c. 1920-present).
The second decade of the century, dominated by World War I, saw the most widespread and daring experimentation. Of basic im-portance was the activity of Schoenberg who, casting away the har-monic system and the formal methods of the past, arrived, about 1910, at a radically novel style, the most distinctive feature of which was atonality.* (To this he added, in 1923, his equally revolutionary method of composition, the twelve-tone technique.*) Simultaneously, new possibilities in rhythm were exploited, e.g. by Bartok in bis Allegro barbaro* (1911), inspired by the fanatical drum-beating of primitive African tribes, and by Stravinsky in the folkloristic ballet Petrushka (1911) and the primordial Rite of Spring (1913). The French writer, Cocteau,* aptly expressed the spirit of this period in the words, "After the music with the silk brush, the music with the axe." Provocative slogans such as bruitlsme (noise music), futurism,* motorism, and machine music appeared without leaving a lasting im-print on the future evolution. Experimentation in the field of tonal material led to quarter-tone* music. Aside from the above-mentioned leaders, composers such as Kodaly, Malipiero,* Casella,* Honegger, Milhaud,* and Berg contributed to the developments of the experi-mental period.
The neoclassical movement, which began in the early 1920's,
fostered a return to the aesthetic ideals and formal methods of the 17th and 18th centuries, recast in a modern musical language. Once more, Stravinsky took the lead with such compositions as the Octet for Wind Instruments (1923). Bartok and Hindemith, who were des-tined to become the major composers of the half century (along with Schoenberg and Stravinsky), began to receive international recognition. Hindemith was active in the development of Gebrauchsmusik* and also provided a useful theoretical explanation of the new harmonic and tonal concepts. Bartok represents another main development of the period since 1920: the assimilation and synthesis into a colorful and expressive musical language of most of the experimental techniques of the second decade. One other noteworthy feature of the period around 1920 is the impact of American jazz on serious music, resulting in such works as Stravinsky's Ragtime (1918), Hindemith's Suite (1922), and Krenek's jazz opera Johnny Spielt Auf (1926).*
The materialistic trend of our century is reflected particularly in the numerous attempts to expand the materials of music, often at the expense of (or without concern for) its spiritual and expressive values. Many new instruments (chiefly electrophonic instruments) have been invented, and even typewriters and motorcycle engines have been given musical status. Unusual coloristic effects on string and wind instruments have become common practice in modern scores, and the piano has been "prepared"* to produce new tonal effects. Recently, a school of French composers led by Pierre Boulez has been experimenting in what they call musique concrete (concrete music),* i.e. music which uses recordings of assorted sounds and noises rather than musical tones as its basic material. Other com-posers, notably Karlheinz Stockhausen, have used electric resonators to produce compositions recorded on tape.
The period following World War II saw the emergence of two widespread tendencies that seemed diametrically opposed: serial mu-sic,* which reflected a highly conscious and rational approach to composition, and aleatory music,* which reflected an essentially intu-itive one. The principal composers of serial music included Babbitt,* Stockhausen, and Boulez; the leaders of the aleatory movements were John Cage,* Morton Feldman,* and Earle Brown.* By the later 1950s, however, many composers came to see these two approaches as simply the extremes of a single continuum of virtually unlimited compositional possibilities. This attitude fostered a number of new developments: music conceived primarily in terms of texture and color* (Krzysztof Penderecki, Gyorgy Ligeti), music that reinterpreted earlier music through quotation and distortion (Luciano Berio,* Lukas Foss*), microtonal music* (Ben Johnston*), new approaches to music theater (Cage, Mauricio Kagel*), improvised music with audience participation (Frederic Rzewskl,* Cornelius Cardew*), etc.
Electro-acoustic music* has played an especially important role during the latter half of the century. Although the sources of this
music go back to the turn of the century, it flourished only after the tape recorder became generally available following World War II. Many recent compositional concerns, such as the widespread interest in timbral and acoustical effects and in mixed media,* are directly attributable to this medium. Indeed, the general explosion of technol-ogy in the 20th century, resulting in such critical inventions as the radio, phonograph, and computer, has had a profound impact on 20th-century music and musical attitudes.
Throughout the century, there has been a constant cross-fertiliza-tion between Western art music and popular music.* Indeed, the borderlines between contemporary idioms of jazz and rock* and certain types of recent concert music, such as that of the minimalist school* (Steve Reich, Philip Glass), often seem quite unclear. The music of other, often remote, cultures is also becoming increasingly influential on Western music. Another significant development has been the return in recent years to more traditional conceptions of tonality, melody, harmony, and form (George Rochberg*). Such references to earlier musical conventions have an unavoidable "quotational" quality when heard within today's musical context (especially since most composers tend to juxtapose them with post-tonal techniques)*. Nevertheless, at the present time one of the pervasive trends in composition appears to be away from more experimental and innovative approaches toward more traditional ones.
From: The Harvard Brief Dictionary of Music; The New Harvard Dictionary of Music
1. Along what general lines did Western music develop in the period from about 1890 to about 1915? And between the two world wars?
2. What are the most important styles and trends in Western music since 1900?
3. When did Schoenberg produce his first atonal works? Name some of them.
4. When did Schoenberg apply the twelve-tone (dodecaphonic) system in practice?
5. What major trend is exemplified by Stravinsky's compositions of the 1920s? How would you define its main characteristics?
6. In what way did composers seek to expand the materials of music to produce new tonal effects?
7. What is musique concrete? Who is its main exponent in France?
8. What changes did the technological revolution cause in the de-velopment of musical culture in the post-war years?
9. Who contributed to the development of serial and aleatory music in the post-war period?
1. What does the term "Impressionism in music" imply? De-scribe some of the most characteristic technical devices of impressionist music. Why, in your opinion, did Debussy object to being called an impressionist? Do you agree that there is a close relationship between musical Impressionism and Impressionism in art?
2. What orchestral composition by Debussy can be regarded as the first full and convincing realization of musical Impres-sionism? Describe some of the most important technical de-vices of impressionist style.
3. How do you understand the following statement: "Debussy's harmony, which was influenced by both Wagner's chromat-icism and Mussorgsky's modal harmony, had an immediate impact on musical tradition"?
4. What composers in Europe and Russia were influenced by Debussy's impressionist style?
5. The term "New Music" is often used of the various radical and experimental trends in 20th century music, beginning about 1910. Do you remember what similar names for somewhat parallel movements in music history were used 300 and 600 years ago?
6. Find in the text the passage about experimentation in the early 20th century. What other experimental composers do you know? Consult reference books if necessary.
7. What were the effects of the dissolution of tonality on sequent music?
8. What European composers may be regarded as belonging to the expressionist school in music? Define the distinguishing features of expressionist style in music. What other represen-tatives of Expressionism in Western art do you know? Name some masterpieces of expressionist music.
9. What composers besides Stravinsky contributed to the develop-ment of the neoclassical style in Europe and in the Soviet Union? What symphony by Prokofiev is regarded as one of the earliest examples of neoclassicism? In what way was music of the past treated?
10. Describe some of John Cage's innovations. What compositions by him do you know? In your opinion, do they require spe-cially-trained performers? Explain.
11. How would you interpret Cage's paradoxical approach to composition? "My purpose is to eliminate purpose"? Do you accept his point of view? Give reasons for your answer.
12. What are the distinguishing features of Boulez's style? Have you heard any of his compositions performed live? What do you think of his music?
13. Do you agree with the classification proposed by the author of the passage "Western music of the twentieth century"? If not, give your reasons.
14. In what direction do you think music will develop in future?
Give a short talk or write a composition on one of the following subjects:
a) Debussy's music may be considered a bridge between Roman-ticism and Modernism.
b) The decline and disappearance of the major-minor tonal sys-tem, along with traditional concepts of melody, harmony, and form.
c) Evolution of the elements of musical language in the first half of the 20th century.
Vienna, cradle of some of the most eventful movements in music history, witnessed the inception of Schoenberg's twelve tone technique. The father of this theory and practice began his career as a romantic at the tail end of the Wagnerian hegemony.* His most frequently played piece, Verklarte Nacht* (1899), carries Tristan* to its ultimate conclusions.
After passing through Atonalism, Impressionism, and Expression-ism (Pierrot lunatre* (1912) is the high point of the last), Schoenberg evolved his twelve tone technique. His innovations were at-tacked at the time as making music unintelligible or "mathematical", but Schoenberg himself said: "In the formula, the method of compo-sition with twelve tones, the accent is not so much on the twelve tones as on the art of composing". In fact he was very much an in-stinctive composer who usually wrote very quickly, if he could not finish a work at once he often abandoned it altogether.
Practically an autodidact except for some formal lessons in counter-point with Alexander von Zemlinsky,* Schoenberg was a great teacher; consequently his enlightening exposition of twelve tone technique is of paramount importance. His essays on Brahms and Mahler, whom he greatly admired, are novel and penetrating, and his Harmonielehre* (1911) is one of the definitive textbooks on mod-ern music theory.
Schoenberg's innovations have influenced a whole epoch and have spread all over the world, so that he can truly be regarded as the father of modern music. His numerous books and articles were highly stimulating, and many of his pupils have carried on his work.
From: Composers on Music; The Dictionary of Composers
Form in the arts, and especially in music, aims primarily at comprehensibility. The relaxation which a satisfied listener experiences when he can follow an idea, its development, and the reasons for such development is closely related, psychologically speaking, to a feeling of beauty. Thus, artistic value demands comprehensibility, not only for intellectual but also for emotional satisfaction. However, the creator's idea has to be presented, whatever the mood he is impelled to evoke.
Composition with twelve tones has no other aim than compre-hensibility. In view of certain events in recent musical history, this might seem astonishing, for works written in this style have failed to gain understanding in spite of the new medium of organization. (...)
The method of composing with twelve tones grew out of neces-sity.
In the last hundred years the concept of harmony has changed tremendously through the development of chromaticism. The idea that one basic tone, the root,* dominated the construction of chords and regulated their succession - the concept of tonality - had to de-velop first into the concept of extended tonality. Very soon it became doubtful whether such a root still remained the center to which every harmony and harmonic succession must be referred.* Furthermore, it became doubtful whether a tonic appearing at the beginning, at the end, or at any other point really had a constructive meaning. Richard Wagner's harmony had promoted a change in the logic and constructive power of harmony. One of its consequences was the so-called impressionistic use of harmonies, especially practiced by Debussy. His harmonies, without constructive meaning, often served the coloristic purpose of expressing moods and pictures. Moods and pictures, though extra-musical, thus became constructive elements, incorporated in the musical functions; they produced a sort of emotional comprehensibility. In this way, tonality was already dethroned in practice, if not in theory. This alone would perhaps not have caused a radical change in compositional technique. However, such a change became necessary when there occurred simultaneously a development which ended in what I call the emancipation of the dissonance. (...)
What distinguishes dissonances from consonances is not a greater or lesser degree of beauty, but a greater or lesser degree of compre-hensibility. In my Harmontelehre I presented the theory that disso-
nant tones appear later among the overtones, for which reason the ear is less intimately acquainted with them. (...)
The term emancipation of the dissonance refers to its compre-hensibility, which is considered equivalent to the consonance's com-prehensibility. A style based on this premise treats dissonances like consonances and renounces a total center. By avoiding the establish-ment of a key, modulation is excluded, since modulation means leaving an established tonality and establishing another tonality.
The first compositions in this new style were written by me around 1908 and, soon afterwards, by my pupils, Anton yon Webern and Alban Berg. From the very beginning such compositions differed from all preceding music, not only harmonically but also melodically, thematically and motivally. But the foremost characteristics of these in statu nascendi* were their extreme expressiveness and their ex-traordinary brevity. (...)
After many unsuccessful attempts during a period of approxi-mately twelve years, I laid the foundations for a new procedure in musical construction which seemed fitted to replace those structural differentiations provided by tonal harmonies.
I called this procedure Method of Composing with Twelve Tones Which Are Related Only With One Another.
This method consists primarily of the constant and exclusive use of a set of twelve different tones. This means, of course, that no tone is repeated within the series and that it uses all twelve tones in the chromatic scale, though in a different order (...)
From: The Composition with Twelve Tones
by A. Schoenberg // Composers on Music
1. Which of Schoenberg's compositions were written in a post-Wagnerian manner?
2. Through what phases had Schoenberg's musical language evolved before he worked out his twelve-tone method of composition?
3. Did Schoenberg's innovative method make an immediate im-pact on most of his contemporaries? When was it fully ap-preciated?
4. What theoretical works did Schoenberg write?
5. What questions are discussed in his essay The Composition with Twelve Tones?
6. Find in this essay the passage in which Schoenberg explains his view on the artistic value of music. How did Schoenberg understand it?
7. Find in the essay the passage in which Schoenberg gives his views on the harmony of Debussy and Wagner. What made Schoenberg revise the traditional concept of tonality?
8. What does Schoenberg mean by "emancipation of the disso-nance"?
9. What, according to Schoenberg, are the main advantages of using the twelve-tone method?
1. How would you interpret the following statement by Schoen-berg: "What distinguishes dissonances from consonances is not a greater or lesser degree of beauty, but a greater or lesser degree of comprehensibility"?
2. What do you think Schoenberg meant when he wrote that "the accent was not so much on the twelve tones as on the art of composing"?
3. What modifications were introduced into the twelve-tone method by Webern?
4. What are the most characteristic features of dodecaphonic mu-sic?
5. What composition did Schoenberg conduct in St. Petersburg in the 1912-13 season?
6. Why is Schoenberg regarded as the father of modern music? Why is his twelve-tone technique (also called sertalism) con-sidered one of the landmarks in the Western musical tradi-tion?
7. Which Soviet composers have used the twelve-tone technique in their works? Give examples.
8. Comment on the following statement about the composer and his audience: "In his rejection of traditional melody, harmony, rhythm, and tonality Schoenberg abandoned the basic lan-guage long shared by composer and audience. Compared with music of the previous era, Schoenberg's style reflects a new emphasis on intellectual-analytical qualities."
9. Why, in your opinion, does it sometimes happen that a mu-sician who was not appreciated in his own time gets the recognition of the following generations?
Bela Bartok (1881-1945) was born the son of a director of an agricultural school in the southern region of the Hungarian plain, and the countryside of his native land was to be an inspiration to him as a composer. He was trained at the Conservatory in Budapest and his early music shows a natural inclination to the style of Brahms and Dohnanyi,* and then of Liszt. During these years he wrote the Kossuth Overture, first performed under Hans Richter at Manchester in 1904, and a rhapsody for piano and orchestra. Then, in 1905, he undertook with his friend Zoltan Kodaly a profound and scientific study of the true folk music of Hungary, Slovakia and Rumania.
The two musicians travelled through the villages with a phono-graph, complete with a stock of waxed cylinders, to record not only the music but the performances of peasant musicians. The result of this, the first great exercise in folk musicology in the field, was 16,000 recordings. The outcome of his discoveries decided Bartok to break away from the confines of tonality. He became interested in a form of melody derived from the most ancient pentatonic Magyar airs* and with rhythms both firm and complex like those of folk songs, and he also experimented with popular Hungarian instruments, among which percussion plays a major role. However, Bartok was by no means in the general run of "folklore" composers. It is relatively rare for him to borrow textually from popular folk music, nor does he compose in a "folk" idiom, as did Liszt, the Russians, Grieg and many others. Rather, he was inspired by his fundamental studies of the creative principles of folk art to write profoundly original music. In 1908 he himself became teacher of the piano at the Academy, Budapest. During the inter-war years Bartok found himself increas-ingly out of sympathy with the rightist Horthy regime, and this was possibly a factor that led him to resign his teaching post in 1934 to devote himself exclusively to research into folk music. Then, in 1940, disgusted by Hungary's rapprochement with Nazi Germany and the increasingly extreme tendencies of the government, the sixty-year-old composer left his native country for the United States. There he was given an honorary professorship at Columbia University and sup-ported himself as a pianist. When he died in 1945 he was a poor man and his funeral was attended by only a few friends.
Throughout his life Bartok, whose research took him not only through Hungary and the neighbouring territories but also to Bul-garia, Turkey and North Africa, tried to prove scientifically that these traditions had common roots. As a composer he soon realised that to use this new material he would have to invent a new musical language, free from the traditional rules of harmony and from the limitations imposed on rhythms by the use of bars. Liszt had antici-pated much of this, but Bartok's final liberation from tradition was stimulated by Debussy, whose work he first heard in 1905. Bartok's resultant synthesis was a minutely elaborated, coherent and original language.
From: The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music
1. Say what you know about Bartok's musical education and en-vironment. What were the main sources of his inspiration? Name his first major compositions.
2. When did Bartok begin his systematic exploration of Hungar-ian folk music? Who accompanied him on his early expedi-tions? What was the outcome of these trips?
3. What other folk music, besides Hungarian, did Bartok study? What conclusion did he arrive at?
4. What is Bartok's significance as a "folk" composer?
5. Find in the text the passage describing how Bartok's musical language was formed. What impact did folk music make on Bartok's concept of tonality, harmony, and rhythm?
1. What other "folklore" composers do you know? Make a comparison between Bartok's approach to Hungarian folk mu-sic and that of Kodaly. Say in what respects they differ.
2. Compare Bartok with Schoenberg and say how Bartok ex-panded the traditional notions of tonality.
3. Why do you think Bartok's musical language is considered to be new and highly individual? How do you understand the following: "Bartok's music is a highly individual blend of ele-ments transformed from his own admirations: Liszt, Strauss, Debussy, folk music, and Stravinsky"?
4. Say what you know about Bartok as a pianist.
5. What do you know about Bartok's visits to Russia?
6. Name Bartok's most important works. Why, in your opinion, are the six string quartets regarded as his greatest achieve-ments?
1. Do you agree with the following statement: "Bartok, not Schoenberg, is the true revolutionary of the early 20th cen-tury"? Give your reasons.
2. Bartok's role as founder of the Hungarian national school of the 20th century.
Those writers who enjoy finding a spiritual kinship between one famous composer and another have described Hindemith (1895-1963) as "a twentieth-century Bach". The relationship between these two composers is not difficult to trace. Hindemith's Ludus Tonalis* has a strong similarity in purpose and method to the Well-Tempered Clavier; and the works grouped under the title of Kammermusik (Chamber Music), can be described as contemporary Brandenburg Concertos. The bond that ties Hindemith to Bach is counterpoint. With both composers, polyphony is the basis of their thinking; with both, polyphony serves as the material out of which mighty archi-tectural structures are built. Yet one might say of Hindemith what was once said so well of Bach: "The best way to listen to Bach's music is to forget the word counterpoint and to listen just for the music."
With Hindemith, counterpoint is not the end, but the starting point. He is no neo-classicist living in the past, but a very modern composer belonging to our times. Though counterpoint is his method, there is independence in his thinking. His music is linear, by which we mean that the voices move with complete freedom of harmonic relationships. It has intensity, concentration, en-ergy - qualities that we associate with contemporary expression rather than with Bach. It is sometimes dissonant, sometimes atonal.
In his treatise, The Craft of Musical Composition - which some writers consider to be the most important theoretical work on music since Rameau's* - Hindemith has given us a clue to his technique by analyzing the techniques of contemporary composers. All tone combi-nations are possible as an altogether new conception of "key" is re-alised; melody is freed from its dependence of harmony.
Strange to say of a composer whose method is so complex and whose language is so remote, Hindemith did not keep himself alto-gether aloof from his public. As a matter of fact, he strongly felt the responsibility of the composer to society. Consequently, he produced a great number of works for mechanical organ, radio, pianola, the-ater, etc. This music has often been described as Gebrauchsmusik* - functional music - a term invented for Hindemith.
Hindemith was born in Hanau, Germany, on November 16, 1895, and studied at the Frankfurt Conservatory. In Frankfurt, Hindemith distinguished himself as a violinist (he was concertmaster of the Frankfurt Opera House Orchestra), conductor, founder and violinist of the Amar String Quartet (which specialized in contemporary chamber music), and, finally, as a composer. His early works, intro-duced at the Donaueschingen Festivals of contemporary music in Baden-Baden between 1921 and 1923, attracted attention. In the half-dozen years that followed, Hindemith became one of the major cre-ative figures in Germany, particularly after the successful premieres of his operas Cardillac (1926) and Neues vom Tage* (1929).
In 1927, he was appointed professor of composition at the Berlin Hochschule,* a post he held up to the time of Hitler. Soon after the Nazis took over Germany, Hindemith became the center of a cele-brated political and musical controversy. The Nazis did not look with favor on Hindemith, despite his international fame. His music was banned on all German concert programs.
In 1935 Hindemith left Germany, and went to Turkey, on the invitation of that government, to help reorganize its musical life. Af-ter that, Hindemith came to the United States and taught at Yale.*
When the war ended, Hindemith's music was again played in Germany. He returned to Europe in 1947, visiting Italy, England, Germany, and other countries. In 1953 he settled in Switzerland. In 1949-50 he spent a year at Harvard University, giving lectures, later published as A Composer's World.
In 1951 he accepted a teaching post at Zurich University, divid-ing his time with his duties at Yale, but in 1953 resigned from Yale
and returned to Europe. In the last decade of his creative life Hindemith concentrated on introspective and spiritual compositions. He also devoted much time to conducting. In 1957 he completed the opera Die Harmonie der Welt (The Harmony of the World), which was staged in Munich in August of that year, with only moderate success.
The best of his music occupies an important place in the history of 20th century compositions.
Based on: The Complete Book of Twentieth-Century Music; The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music
In earlier times composition was hardly taught at all. If a boy was found to be gifted for music, he was given as an apprentice into the care of a practical musician. With him he had to get acquainted with many branches of music. Singing was the foundation of all musical work. Thus singing, mostly in the form of group singing, was one of the most important fields of instruction. The practical knowledge of more or less instruments was a sine qua поп.* Specialization was almost unknown. Frequently a musician may have been better on the keyboard than with the bow and with woodwinds or brass, but that would not have absolved him from playing as many other instruments as possible. And all this playing was done with one aim in mind: to prepare the musician for collective work; it was always the community that came first. Soloistic training was nothing but a preliminary and preparatory exercise for this purpose. Hand in hand with this daily all-round routine in instrumental training went a solid instruction in the theory of music-not only what we call theory in our modern curricula, namely harmony, counterpoint, and other branches of practical instruction, but true theory, or if you prefer another name, the scientific background of music.
The vast stock of general musical knowledge was the hotbed in which the germs of composing grew. If a musician had any talent for composition, he could always draw on this tremendous accumula-tion of practical experience, once he wanted to convert his ideas into audible structures. Composing was not a special branch of knowledge that had to be taught to those gifted or interested enough. It simply was the logical outgrowth of a healthy and stable system of educa-tion, the ideal of which was not an instrumental, vocal, or tone-ar-ranging specialist, but a musician with a universal musical knowl-edge - a knowledge which, if necessary, could easily be used as a basis for more specialized development of peculiar talents. This sys-tem, although it provided for the composer the best preparation pos-sible, did not guarantee him any success. Only posterity decided whether he was to be counted among the few extraordinary creative
musical figures each country had produced throughout the world. (...)
Today the situation is quite different.
First of all, it is almost never the gift of composing that sends young people into this field of musical activity. Musical creative gift cannot, in my opinion, be recognized until after a rather well devel-oped general knowledge of practical music has been acquired. If there is no such evidence, the sole evidence of that gift can be af-forded by written-down attempts at building musical structures. Usu-ally such attempts are not at ail a sign of creative talent. The mini-mum requirements for entering the creative field, such as a good ear for musical facts and perhaps even a feeling for absolute pitch, are too common among all people, musical or non-musical, to be taken for the foundation upon which to build a composer's career. (...)
From: A Composer's World: Its Horizons and Limitations by Paul Hindemith. Ch. 9. Education
1. Briefly outline Hindemith's career as a composer, conductor, and teacher. What did Hindemith think about the social value of music?
2. Name his most important theoretical works. Have you read them? What ideas are discussed in them?
3. What is meant by Gebrauchsmusik?
4. Comment on the comparison between Hindemith's polyphony and that of Bach. Is it valid?
5. What composition did Hindemith design as a 20th century Well-Tempered Clavier?
6. In what way did Hindemith use traditional contrapuntal technique?
7. Find in the extract the evidence Hindemith gives to support his point of view. What, in his opinion, is the ideal musical training for a composer?
1. Why do you think Hindemith rejected the concept of atonality and twelve-tone composition?
2. What is the central theme of his best opera Mauds der Maler?
3. See whether you can answer the following question: Hin-demith's book A Composer's World is a publication of his course of lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1949/50. What book by Stravinsky is also based on his lectures given at Harvard?
4. Express your opinion on the following statement: "We cannot
teach people to compose. All we can teach is the technique of composition."
1. Give a summary of the extract from Hindemith's book.
2. Do you share Hindemith's views on a composer's education? What are your views on present-day musical education, its merits and demerits? Can the ideal be achieved nowadays? Give examples and write a short essay on the subject.
Stravinsky's life was a varied one, and his music went through several changes, often startling at the time but revealing an inner consistency when viewed with hindsight.* His early years, from 1882 to 1910, found Stravinsky in Russia, absorbing influences from his el-der compatriots and others. The years 1910-14 saw the beginning of his international career, with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris, and the premieres of The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring. Then, between 1914 and 1920, he made his home in Switzerland, his exile becoming permanent after the Russian Revolution, though the connection with his homeland continued in his works. The period from 1920 to 1939, which he spent in France, was that of the great neoclassical compositions, reactivating the modes and manners of the 18th century. This stylistic inclination persisted in the earlier part of his American residence (1939-52), gradually giving way to a highly individual use of serial techniques* in his last years.
Throughout history, there have been intermittent attempts to tame what many have called "primitive" and "uninhibited" rhythm. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the Western world. As Christianity turned away from the rites of ancient religions, European culture festered the negative image of rhythmic intoxication through music and dance. An interesting long-term phenomenon is the way this suppressed rhythmic impulse seems to erupt periodically into the social fabric. One example is the dance of death craze in the Mid-dle Ages. The sight of a wild, delirious mob dancing in the streets for days in an attempt to ward off the plague is not an image that sits well with traditional notions of civilization.
Although it adapted many dance rhythms, "serious" European music virtually abandoned the uninhibited body rhythms of the ar-chaic past. European composers sought more restrained, "refined" rhythmic styles. One might consider the minuet the ultimate example of this more "refined" rhythm and movement. (Here we encounter the word "refined" in a socio-cultural context where subdued, styl-ized, and controlled body movements are primary components.) It is
not until the Romantic era that some of this primitive rhythmic im-pulse returns to "serious" music, perhaps taking its cue from the cultural pounding that Beethoven's rhythms had released into the world. The twentieth century is the era in which this impulse has reasserted itself, full-bodied and in many guises. In 1913, it reap-peared in all its shocking glory in Igor Stravinsky's ballet music The Rite of Spring.
Composed for a Russian ballet company active in Paris early in the century, it was an exotic expression of Russian nationalism through music, dance, and primitive theme. Stravinsky described his vision later in these words:
"I saw in imagination a solemn pagan rite: sage elders, seated in a circle, watched a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring."
In The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky expanded the traditional sense of harmony, rhythm, melody, and tonality into a distinctive musical language that sounds simultaneously modern and archaic. The man-ner in which this is done defies simple description, but we may cite a few of the elements that reflect Stravinsky's genius:
Texture: As in Debussy's music, texture plays a vital role in the Stravinsky sound. His textures, like Debussy's, are continuously changing. Melodies appear and disappear. Deceptively simple chord patterns* begin suddenly, as do melodic fragments and phrases, only to end unexpectedly. A basically homophonic texture may be trans-formed quickly into a dense contrapuntal display. All of these pro-cedures are given life by a dazzling use of orchestral sound. Instru-ments often play in their most extreme registers to obtain new and exotic effects. Although we are describing elements of the texture as isolated entities, any of these considered separately from the com-plete sound mass rarely retains any essential quality of the work. To illustrate this point, we have only to compare The Rite with a typi-cal Classical symphony. If you sing or hum the main theme of Mozart's Fortieth Symphony, something quite essential of the spirit and meaning of the work will survive. This is not true of The Rite. Any isolated theme from the piece (with the notable exception of the opening solo) conveys little by itself. This speaks to one of the essential trends of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries: the growing position of texture and timbre* as a primary focus of the compositional process.
Rhythm: At the basis of a Stravinsky texture are unique combi-nations of rhythms. Perhaps the most startling rhythmic textures of The Rite are the jagged synchronizations of irregular patterns* which repeat incessantly, starting and ending with abrupt precision. These rhythms, both primitive in their forcefulness and modern in their so-phisticated logical interplay, encode a special moment of musical-cultural history that has never been duplicated.
Harmony: The Rite of Spring is legendary for its "emancipation
of dissonance", especially those famous chords that begin the Dance of Adolescents. However, the real impact of this dissonance is de-rived from the rhythmic setting, which suggests once again that no musical element may be isolated from its rhythmic identity.* It is the forceful repetition of Stravinsky's dissonance that creates this powerful impact. Dissonance not only remains unresolved, it often merges into a sort of megaconsonance* through continued imprinting
into the senses.
In The Rite, Stravinsky did not abandon tonality, he redefined and enlarged its potential. In fact, he returned to one of the most ancient tonal practices: tonality by assertion. Throughout the work, tonal centers are often created through obstinate repetition of ostinatos and melodies. Another harmonic characteristic of The Rite is polytonality - simply, the sounding of melodies in two or more tonalities at the same time.
Melody: The melodic material of The Rite is either drawn from actual folk songs or deliberately created in folk style. In addition to these melodies, which comprise the main threads of the work, there are many thematic fragments typically twentieth-century in style, with their complex rhythms and jagged intervals. The two types of melodies complement each other in a remarkable synthesis.
While texture, rhythm, harmony and melody have been discussed as if they were separate entities, it must be pointed out, as always, that these elements are not isolated from one another; they grow organically from one potent impulse that bonds them together in a powerful union.
From: Music: A Living Language by T. Manoff
Conversations with Igor Stravinsky
ROBERT CRAFT*. Do you have an opinion about electronic music?
IGOR STRAVINSKY. I think that the matiere* is limited; more exactly, the composers have demonstrated but a very limited matiere in all the examples of "electronic music" I have heard. This is surprising because the possibilities as we know are astronomical. An-other criticism I have is that the shortest pieces of "electronic mu-sic" seem endless and within those pieces we feel no time control.
Therefore the amount of repetition, imaginary or real, is exces-sive.
Electronic composers are making a mistake, in my opinion, when they continue to employ significative noises in the manner of musique concrete.* In Stockhausen's Gesang der Junglinge,* a work manifesting a strong personality and an indigenous feeling for the medium, I like the way the sound descends as though from auras, but the burbling fade-out noises and especially the organ are, I find,
incongruous elements. Noises can be music of course, but they ought not to be singificative; music itself does not signify anything.
What interests me most in "electronic music" so far is the nota-tion, the "score".
R.C. In the music of Stockhausen and others of his generation the elements of pitch, density, dynamics, duration, frequency (register), rhythm, timbre have been subjected to the serial variation principle. How will the non-serial element of "surprise" be intro-duced in the fight planning of this music?
I.S. The problem that now besets the totalitarian serialist is how to compose "surprise" since by electronic computer it doesn't exist (though in fact it does, even if every case is computable; even at its worst, we listen to music as music and not as a computing game). Some composers are inclined to turn the problem over to the per-former - as Stockhausen does in his Piano Piece No. XI. I myself am inclined to leave very little to the performers. I would not give them margin to play only half or selected fragments of my pieces. Also, I think it inconsistent to have controlled everything so minutely and then leave the ultimate shape of the piece to a performer (while pretending that all possible shapes have been allowed for).
R.C. Do you think there is a danger at present of novelty for its own sake?
I.S. Not really. Nevertheless, certain festivals of contemporary music by their very nature cannot help but encourage mere novelty. And, by a curious reversal of tradition, some critics encourage it too. The classic situation in which conservative and academic critics de-ride the composer's innovations is no more. Now composers can hardly keep up with the demands of some critics to "make it new". Novelties sometimes result that could not interest anyone twice. I am more cautious of the power of the acclaimers than of the dis-claimers, of those critics who hail on principle what they cannot pos-sibly contact directly with their own ears or understanding.* This is musical politics, not music. Critics, likе composers, must know what they love. Anything else is pose and propaganda, or what D.H. Lawrence called "would-be".
September-December 1957 From: Conversations with Igor Stravinsky
1. What are the main periods into which Stravinsky's stylistic evolution may be conveniently divided?
2. How did Stravinsky use Russian folk music in his ballet The Rite of Spring? Why does his musical language sound mod-ern and at the same time archaic?
3. Find in the text the passages in which Stravinsky's use of rhythm is compared with that of other European composers. What innovations did Stravinsky bring to the traditional rhythmic patterns? In what way did he expand the traditional concept of tonality?
4. Find in the text the passage where Stravinsky's texture is an-alyzed. In what way does the texture in The Rite reflect one of the basic trends of the late 19th and 20th centuries: the growing importance of texture in the compositional process?
5. What is the topic of Conversations with Stravinsky? What par-ticular subjects are discussed?
6. What was Stravinsky's attitude towards electronic music?
7. What are his views on the role of the performer and contem-porary performance practice?
1. When and how did Stravinsky's collaboration with Diaghilev begin? When and where was The Firebird produced?
2. In what circumstances was The Rite of Spring conceived by Stravinsky? Who helped him with the libretto? Who chore-ographed the first version of The Rite?
3. When was The Rite of Spring first performed in Paris? Who was the conductor? What do you know about the scandal on the first night? Did Debussy and Ravel appreciate the ballet?
4. How many of Stravinsky's ballets and operas were produced during the twenty years of the Russian seasons in Paris?
5. What other composers were engaged in Diaghilev's Ballets Russes? Name the most outstanding ballet dancers and artists who worked with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.
6. What do you know about Stravinsky's visit to the Soviet Union?
1. Give the main points of the dialogue between Stravinsky and Craft. Make a written summary.
2. How would you answer the questions which were put to Stravinsky? Build up a similar dialogue around the same points.
3. Discuss the role of ostinato in The Rite of Spring.
4. Write a composition or give a short talk explaining the fol-lowing phenomenon:
The Rite of Spring is now considered one of the major land-marks in the evolution of 20th-century music. Nonetheless it is a well known fact that its harsh sounds and barbaric rhythms willingly accepted and admired today, caused a riot of indignation among the audience at the first performance in Paris. How would you account
for this? What is your opinion of changing musical tastes and interests?
Throughout his career, Britten showed a special feeling for the voice and poured forth in profusion songs, song cycles, part songs, and every kind of choral work and cantata. The choice of words to set - whether English, French, Italian, German, or Latin - was always a matter of serious importance to him, for he realized that syllables, words, phrases, and sentences can serve as a vital point of a musical structure and enjoyed trying to reconcile the meaning that lies be-hind the literal facade with the musical idea behind the notational facade.
Britten's predilection for vocal music would not necessarily have led him to opera unless he also had a natural feeling for the stage and the dramatic potentialities of music. His interest was quickened by the incidental music he wrote for films in his early years, which led to commissions for incidental music for plays and radio-feature programs as well. His first operatic experiment was a choral opera, Paul Bunyan (1941), with libretto by Auden*; but this was not a success when produced at Columbia University, New York. His real chance came with Peter Crimes (1945), which was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation and produced at Sadler's Wells Theater, London, on June 7, 1945. Its impact was decisive. It was an immediate artistic and popular success, not only in England but also abroad, for in the course of the next few years it was produced in nearly twenty countries in different parts of the world.
After this, it was natural that he should continue to exploit the operatic vein. Partly because of personal preference and partly be-cause of operatic conditions in England he decided to write some of his subsequent operas - e.g. The Rape of Lucretia (1946), Albert Herring (1947), and The Turn of the Screw (1954)-for a small chamber-music combination, i.e., a group of solo singers and an instrumental ensemble of about a dozen soloists.
Britten showed great virtuosity in the way he tackled problems of operatic structure. Like Verdi in his last two operas, he moves rapidly and easily between the various degrees of intensity needed for recitative, airs, arioso passages, and concerted ensembles; and his operas tend to be most satisfactory when the musical flow is contin-uous within the acts, sometimes with the assistance of interludes joining the different scenes. Peter Crimes, The Rape of Lucretia, The Turn of the Screw, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (I960) are specially successful examples of this gift for formal organization. The sixteen scenes into which the two acts of The Turn of the Screw are divided combine the salient features of the variations and the cycle in a particularly brilliant way. A looser and possibly less
successful musical organization is to be found in Gloriana (1953), in which each of the eight individual scenes is a self-contained tableau.* In his operas as in his other compositions, Britten's style is eclectic, his idiom modal;* and his musical metrics often echo the familiar structure of English prosody. This should make it compara-tively easy for the public to appreciate his operas, were it not for the fact that frequently some kind of dichotomy seems to occur. An example of this can be seen in his choice of characters with split or imperfectly integrated personalities. Peter Grimes is a case in point - also the eponymous hero of the comic opera Albert Herring, and Captain Vere and Claggart in Billy Budd (1951). A favorite de-vice is the combination, not necessarily the reconciliation, of two completely different musical streams; and in this connection he fre-quently uses enharmony.
Psychological problems appeal to him as operatic subjects - the psychopath earns his sympathy and understanding; manifestations of violence and cruelty arouse his deep compassion; the theme of mal-treated youth is almost obsessional. In Peter Grimes, the fisherman's sadistic outbursts against the boy apprentice form the mainspring of the tragedy, and the boy's situation is made all the more poignant because the part is mute and his feelings can only be expressed in-directly. There is a similar problem in me children's opera The Little Sweep (1949), where the boy hero is also exploited and maltreated by his master; but on this occasion the ending is a happy one. The dominant scene of The Turn of the Screw is that of innocence be-trayed.
In this last opera, the composer has no difficulty in conducting the action on three different levels: a normal level on which the adults live and communicate with each other; an abnormal level on which the adults become aware of the ghosts but fail to establish communication with them; and a supernatural level on which the ghosts communicate with the children in a secret understanding that leads inevitably to corruption. In A Midsummer Nights Dream he shows a similar ability to deal with the three different groups of characters - the fairies, the lovers, and the mechanicals - preserving their musical identity, while subordinating their development to the plan of the opera as a musical whole.
From: The New Book of Modern Composers
For most of my life I have lived closely in touch with the sea. My parents' house in Lowestoft directly faced the sea, and my life as a child was colored by the fierce storms that sometimes drove ships onto our coast and ate away whole stretches of the neighbor-ing cliffs. In writing Peter Grimes, I wanted to express my aware-ness of the perpetual struggle of men and women whose livelihood
depends on the sea - difficult though it is to treat such a universal subject in theatrical form.
I am especially interested in the general architectural and formal problems of opera, and decided to reject the Wagnerian theory of "permanent melody"* for the classical practice of separate numbers that crystalize and hold the emotion of a dramatic situation at cho-sen moments. One of my chief aims is to try to restore to the mu-sical setting of the English language a brilliance, freedom, and vitality that have been curiously rare since the death of Purcell. In the past hundred years, English writing for the voice has been dominated by strict subservience to logical speech rhythms, despite the fact that ac-centuation according to sense often contradicts the accentuation de-manded by emotional content. Good recitative should transform the natural intonations and rhythms of everyday speech into memorable musical phrases (as with Purcell), but in more stylized music the composer should not deliberately avoid unnatural stresses if the prosody of the poem and the emotional situation demand them, nor be afraid of a high-minded treatment of words, which may need prolongation far beyond their common speech length or a speed of delivery that would be impossible in conversation.
The scarcity of modern British operas is due to the limited op-portunities that are ' offered for their performance. Theater managers will not present original works without a reasonable hope of recov-ering their costs of production; composers and writers cannot thrive without the experience of seeing their operas adequately staged and sung; the conservatism of audiences hinders experimental departures from the accepted repertory.
From: The New Book of Modern Composers
1. What kinds of vocal work did Britten compose?
2. Name his principal operas. What opera made Britten world-famous? When and where was it first performed?
3. Whose poem did Britten choose as a source for the Peter Grimes libretto?
4. What is the main theme of the opera Peter Grimes? What was Britten's aim? Why did he choose to set his opera on the East coast of England?
5. How did Britten develop Purcell's tradition in vocal music? Why did he reject the Wagnerian theory of "permanent melody"? What are his arguments?
6. What psychological problems are treated in his operas? Why do you think many of Britten's stage works are regarded as masterly psychological studies?
7. How did Britten tackle problems of operatic structure? Give
examples. Comment on the comparison between Britten and Verdi.
1. What literary sources did Britten use for his opera librettos and other vocal compositions?
2. Find in the extract on p. ... the passage in which Britten ac-counts for the scarcity of modern British operas. What opera company was founded by Britten? For what purpose?
3. Whose singing inspired many of Britten's finest works?
4. What festival was founded by Britten?
5. What do you know about Britten's visits to the Soviet Union? With whom did he form a firm friendship?
6. What symphony did Shostakovich dedicate to Britten? And what work did Britten dedicate to Shostakovich?
7. Which of Britten's song cycles is based on poetry by Pushkin?
8. What operas by Britten have been staged in the Soviet Union?
1. List the main points of the above extracts.
2. Write a composition or give a short talk describing Britten's approach to the libretto and its literary and dramatic sources.
Gian Carlo Menotti was born in Cadegliano, Italy, 1911. He studied at the Verdo Conservatoire in Milan, 1924-27, and then, on Toscanini's advice, continued his studies at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, 1928-34. Since 1927 Menotti has been a permanent resi-dent in the United States. His tendency as composer was always to-wards opera and his first adult essay, Amelia Goes to the Ball, was conducted by Reiner in 1937 and later at the Metropolitan Opera, New York. As with all his operas, he wrote his own librettos. His first outstanding success was in 1946 with The Medium, but this was eclipsed in 1950 by The Consul, dealing with the plight of refugees at the mercy of heartless bureaucracy. Amahl and the Night Visitors was the first opera to be written for television. His works have achieved considerable popularity and his intention to bring opera nearer to the Broadway theatre goer has been achieved if at some cost in originality of expression. But of his dramatic effectiveness and melodic gist there can be no doubt.
His musical roots are clearly Italian, while at the same time his outlook has been influenced by the American theatre.
Menotti, who supplied the libretto for Samuel Barber's Vanessa, has also composed a number of non-operatic works.
From: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music
Opera is the very basis of theater. In all civilizations, people sang their dramas before they spoke them. I am convinced that the prose theater is an offspring of these earlier musicodramatic forms and not vice versa. The need for music accompanying dramatic action is still so strongly felt that in our most popular dramatic form, the cinema, background music is used to underline even the most prosaic and realistic situations.
It is unfair t.o accuse opera of being an old-fashioned and un-gainly dramatic form. Actually, what people put forth as examples is largely the operatic output of the nineteenth century. Considering the length of time that has gone by since then, it is quite amazing what life there still is in those old pieces. How many plays of that same period have survived this test as well? Wouldn't most of us prefer hearing a Verdi opera to sitting through a Victor Hugo's play? I may even venture to say that many of the so-called "great plays" of this century will be forgotten when dear old Traviata is still holding the boards. All of this cannot be explained away simply by con-demning as foolish or gullible millions of music lovers.
To criticize a theater piece as too theatrical is as senseless as to criticize a piece of music for being too musical. There is only one kind of bad theater: when the author's imagination steps outside the very area of illusion he has created. But as long as the dramatic creates within that area, almost no action on the stage is too violent or implausible. As a matter of fact, the skill of the dramatist is almost measurable by his ability to make even the most daring and unpredictable seem inevitable. (...)
Nothing in the theater can be as exciting as the amazing quick-ness with which music can express a situation or describe a mood. Whereas, in the prose theater, it often requires many words to es-tablish a single effect, in an opera one note on the horn will illumi-nate the audience. It is this very power of music to express feelings so much more quickly than words that make librettos, when read out of the musical context, appear rather brutal and unconvincing.
There is no such thing as a good or bad libretto per se.* A good libretto is nothing but one that inspires a composer to write good music. Götterdämmerung* would have been a bad libretto indeed for Puccini, and I can imagine nothing more disastrous than Wagner deciding to set Madame Butterfly to music.
Top many people think that only exotic subjects from the past are suitable for an opera. That is nothing but a romantic inheritance
from the last century. Just as modern poets have been moved to examine and interpret the uniquely contemporary life, there is no reason why the composer should not do the same. That is not to say that modern opera must have a contemporary subject. As Lorca, Eliot, or Dylan Thomas have found inspiration in sources as varied as folklore, remote historical events, or newspaper headlines, so should the composer permit himself that same freedom.
One may ask why, if opera is a valid and vital form, it hasn't stimulated more successful contemporary contributions to the theater. Most modern composers blame their failures on the librettos, but I am afraid that the fault more often lies with the music. Opera is, after all, essentially music, and such is the ennobling or transfiguring power of music that we have numerous examples of what safely could be labeled awkward plays transformed into inspiring operas. We have, however, no single example of a successful opera whose main strength is the libretto. I have often been accused of writing good librettos and mediocre music, but I maintain that my librettos become alive or illuminated only through my music. Let anyone read one of my texts divorced from its musical setting to discover the truth of what I say. My operas are either good or bad; but if their librettos seem alive or powerful in performance, then the musie must share this distinction.
One of the reasons for the failure of so much contemporary opera is that its music lacks immediacy of communication. Theater music must make its point and communicate Us emotion at the same moment the action develops. It cannot wait to be understood until after the curtain comes down. Mozart understood this, and there is a noticeable difference in immediacy between some of his symphonic or chamber-music styles on the one hand and his operatic style on the other.
From: The New Book of Modern Composers
1. Briefly describe Menotti's career. Under what influence was Menotti's operatic style formed?
2. What ideas are discussed in Menotti's essay about opera?
3. Why does Menotti think that opera is superior to drama? What evidence does he give to support his view?
4. Find in the essay the passage in which Menotti speaks about theatricality. What qualities does he value in a dramatist?
5. In Menotti's view, what decides an operatic composer to choose a certain libretto?
6. Find in Menotti's essay the passage describing the choice of subjects for operas. What are Menotti's views on the freedom of the composer?
7. How does Menotti account for the failure of some contempo-rary operas?
8. Have you heard any of his operas? In your opinion, what place in Western music does he occupy?
1. Write a summary of the essay on Menotti.
2. Have you ever heard any of Menotti's operas? In your opin-ion, what place in Western music does Menotti occupy?
3. Do you share Menotti's views on opera? If not, give your rea-sons.
Michael Tippett (b. 1905) has become a dominant figure in con-temporary English music as a result of his concern, projected through composing, writing, and teaching, with present-day social and artistic problems. His reputation, like that of most of his contempo-raries, is based on comparatively few works. The concerto for double string orchestra and the string quartets are examples of polyphonic method combined with symphonic structure that has proved a germi-nating principle for many modern English composers. The oratorio A Child of Our Time was an impassioned protest against oppression and persecution, and further aspects of Tippett's uncompromising in-tegrity and continual struggle to express his "inner life" through words and music can be found in the operas The Midsummer Mar-riage, King Priam (for which he wrote his own libretti) and the cantata The Vision of St. Augustine for baritone solo, chorus and orchestra.
From The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music
Most composers today are eclectics who, since they no longer inherit a tradition automatically from their immediate predecessors, must forge their own links with the past as best they can. With the enormous increase in our knowledge of the past, "tradition" is now the whole history of music. Composers will choose their ancestry from whatever means most to them; consequently there is not just one contemporary language but a plurality. Those who find tradition a burden may decide to ignore it altogether, just as others are tempted to seek refuge in the simpler, safer world of the past. But knowledge of the past need not be inhibiting; it can and should be a rich stimulus to the creative imagination. Michael Tippett has always found this to be so; his music is a continuous and fertile dialogue
with the past. When Tippett alludes to the music of his predecessors - and his allusions are almost always conscious - it is both a gesture of the kinship he feels with them and at the same time a desire and a need to give his music great resonance, to
enlarge its range of meaning.
Michael Tippett's long apprenticeship as a composer came to an end finally in 1939 with the creation of his first masterpiece, the Concerto for Double String Orchestra. However, it was not until the appearance of A Child of Our Time that he at last achieved na-tional recognition. Though conceived in 1938 and completed in 1941, it was not performed until March 1944 when Tippett was 39.
The composer himself has provided a full account of the genesis of the work. It grew out of Tippett's desire to give some kind of artistic expression to his social and political preoccupations during the 1930s, embracing his reactions to the First World War, social depri-vation, unemployment and the aggressive postures of the Nazi gov-ernment in Germany from 1933.
An incident which seemed symptomatic of the self-defeating, vio-lent forces at work in Europe at the time eventually formed the ba-sis of his work. In November 1938, a seventeen-year-old Polish Jew from a family long settled in Germany, entered the German Embassy in Paris and shot a diplomat - an act of desperation arising directly from the harsh anti-semitic policies of the Nazis. (...)
Though in his libretto Tippett deliberately adopts a style derived from the "folk-language" of the Negro spirituals incorporated into it, he also draws on poetic images from T.S. Eliot,* Wilfred Owen* and W.B. Yeats.* Above all, the text is concerned to embody Tip-pett's Jungian philosophy.* Its overall organisation was inspired by Charles Jennens' libretto for Handel's Messiah (1742). Thus Part 1 established the general state of oppression in society, progressing from the cosmic to the human dimension; Part 2 focuses on the effects of this situation on an individual and the disastrous consequences of seeking justice through violence; Part 3 reflects on the preceding drama and considers its implications.
The musical structures of Tippett's oratorio are adopted from J.S. Bach's Passions. Recitative is used for narrative purposes, dramatic choruses participate in the action and the emotional responses of the protagonists are given expressions in contemplative arias. In place of Bach's Lutheran chorales, Tippett decided to use Negro spirituals to symbolize the agony of the Jews in Hitler's Europe, just as they earlier had reflected the suffering of the American Negroes in slav-ery. Moreover, their jazz-related musical language would, Tippett felt, evoke a universal response. Musical elements derived from the spirituals are also utilised throughout the work as a means of unification.
From: Music and Musicians, 1985; Music Teacher, 1986
1. Name the most important compositions by Tippett.
2. Discuss Tippett's treatment of musical tradition.
3. When was the oratorio A Child of Our Time written? When was it first' performed?
4. What are the literary and philosophical sources of the libretto?
5. What message does the oratorio convey?
6. Briefly outline the plot of the oratorio.
7. Find in the text the passage which describes the resemblance between Tippett's oratorio and Bach's Passions. What features are characteristic of Tippett's style?
8. Make a summary of the texts and use it to reproduce the main points orally.
Debussy, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky opened up certain pathways to modern music. Although we have discovered that each had important connections to the European notated tradition, their musical languages represented a distinct break with long-established practices. Their music exemplified the single most important trait of modernism: Anything is possible. No tradition is sacred; it is the composer (or artist, or writer) who makes his or her own rules. As trailblazers,* they may be considered first-generation moderns (although both Stravinsky and Schoenberg continued to compose and influence the musical culture for some time). But what happens with the second and third generations, for whom the music of Debussy, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg represents the traditional? It is in these composers' works that the full impact of modernism is felt. We will consider three later moderns - Messiaen, Ligeti, and Stockhausen - chosen from a field of many possibilities.
From: Music: A Living Language by T. Manoff
Messiaen (b. 1908) à French composer, organist, and teacher, was born into a literary family: his father was a professor of literature and translator of Shakespeare, and his mother a poet, Cécile Sauvage. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Dukas* (composition) and Dupré* (organ) and himself became a teacher at the Ecole Normale de Musique and the Schola Cantorum. Since 1931 he has been organist at La Trinité, Paris. In 1936 with Bau-drier,* Lesur* and Jolivet* he formed the group known as La Jeune France.* In 1940 he was imprisoned by the Nazis (his Quartet for the End of Time reflects his period in a concentration camp) but he was subsequently repatriated and in 1942 he became a teacher of harmony at the Paris Conservatoire (later he taught analysis and composition). His pupils have included Boulez, Stockhausen, Xenakis, and Goehr. Though his musical roots seem to lie in César Franck
and to some extent in Berlioz, Messiaen is one of the most original of modern composers, and one of the most influential. His musical language makes use of diverse but (in his case) surprisingly compati-ble sound sources - birdsong, Indian music, plainsong, the timbres of oriental percussion, Franckian harmony, Bartokian night-music - which he employs to immensely spacious and powerful effects. A lifelong Catholic, he uses nature (birds, mountains, etc.) as symbols of divinity in works such as Oiseaux exotiques* (1956) for piano and wind instruments, the vast Catalogue d'oiseaux* (1956-58) for piano and Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorem (1964) for woodwind, brass and percussion - a work designed to be performed in the open air, on mountain slopes, where its great gong-strokes and silences would surely find the surroundings they deserve. Messiaen gave a new di-mension of colour and intensity to organ music, making special use of acoustic reverberations and contrasts of timbres. His harmony, rich and chromatic, derives from Debussy's use of the 7ths and 9ths and modal progressions of chords.* In his orchestral works he makes use of the ondes Martenot* in the vast Turangalila-symphonie* and exotic percussion instruments, giving an oriental effect. Birdsong is also a major feature of his music. His treatment of rhythm is novel, involving irregular metres, some of them originating in ancient Greek procedures.
From: Collins Encyclopedia of Music; The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music
1. What does the author take to be the principal feature of modernism? Which composers opened up certain pathways to modern music?
2. Briefly outline Messiaen's career as a composer, organist, and teacher. Which composers influenced the young Messiaen?
3. Who belonged to the Young France group? What united the
4. What are the most important elements of Messiaen's musical language? Comment on his use of ancient Greek rhythms anal scales, Hindu rhythms, and bird songs. What symbolic meaning did the use of bird song have in Messiaen's works?
5. Name Messiaen's principal works for solo piano. What are his most important orchestral works? Did he write operas?
6. What prominent composers studied under Messiaen?
1. Which of Messiaen's piano compositions have you heard?
What do you think of them? What effect did they have on you, if any?
2. What books about Messiaen have been published in the Soviet Union? Have you read any of them? What have you learnt from them?
3. What do you know about Messiaen's books on the theory of music?
4. Do you agree or disagree with the author who listed Messiaen among avant-garde composers? Give your reasons?
1. Write a composition or give a short talk characterizing Messi-aen's treatment of melody and rhythm. Give examples showing his innovations in these areas.
2. Comment on the use of serial technique in Messiaen's music.
3. How do you understand the following statement in connection with Messiaen: Musical style may be a blending of many in-fluences?
The two areas in which Ligeti's music is especially inventive are texture and time. In some of his compositions, there are no melodies, no short-range rhythms, and no harmonic progressions in the traditional sense, only blocks of dense musical textures drawn out in slowly changing patterns. The effect on the willing listener is to produce a very different state of time-perception - one that is somehow contemporary, meditative, and primal. Perhaps it is these qualities that caused director Stanley Kubrick to use Ligeti's Atmosphères* and Lux aeterna* in the movie 2001.
Despite its very modern sound, Lux aeterna is one of Ligeti's more traditional works. At the "outer layer" of the listening experi-ence, we hear very little melody in the traditional sense. For the most part, we respond to long, drawn-out textures that seem to be slowly changing. One of the interesting ways that the textures change is by being "thin" or "thick". The "thinnest" texture is created by the voices singing one pitch; the "thicker" textures result when they sing many pitches close to one another. Interestingly, these effects are produced by one of the oldest polyphonic techniques, which is hidden inside the dense sound: The piece is a canon.
In recent years Ligeti has considerably extended his range. From his earliest works (Atmosphères, for example) he has always created the most subtle sound-pictures of any textural composer. He has also written a series of "pianissimo-pieces": Etude No. 1 - Harmonies for organ (1967), Lux aeterna (1966) for 16-part choir and Lontano* for
orchestra, in which shifts of pitch and colour occur almost impercep-tibly.
From: Music A Living Language by T. Manoff; The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music
K. Stockhausen (b. 1928), a German composer and theorist, is regarded as the leader of electronic avant-garde. He has pioneered electronic music, new uses of physical space in music, open forms,* live-electronic performance, "intuitive music" and many other important developments in music after 1950. In his music and in his writings, he has evolved a uniquely coherent system of generalizations from the premises of total serialism, paying attention to aesthetic and philosophical conse-quences as well as matters of technique and music theory. Each of his discoveries is compellingly demonstrated in his music. He has also been widely active as a teacher, and has taken part - as either conductor or performer-in many perfor-mances of his own music, forming his own performing group in 1964.
Stockhausen was born near Cologne in 1928. His education was interrupted by World War II. From 1947 to 1951 he studied piano and theory at the Cologne Music-Hochschule. He then worked for a time with Frank Martin, before going to Paris, where Milhaud and, more significantly, Messiàen were his main teachers. His earliest sur-viving works, which date from this period, already show the influ-ence of Messiaen's music. But Stockhausen was already under the spell of Pierre Schaeffer, the inventor of musique concrete,* and an authority of the as yet primitive techniques of electronic composition. Stockhausen undertook a close study of these techniques, and soon composed some of the earliest works using exclusively synthesised, or electronically generated sound.
In his music electronics proved to be of great importance. Not only did he pioneer the use of electronics in live performed music (Kontakte* 1959, Mikrophonie I and II, 1964-65) but he also intro-duced related techniques into music for conventional instruments, no-tably in "spatial works", such as Gruppen* for three orchestras (1957) and Carre for four orchestras (1960). In all these works sonority is of supreme importance. But in some other works of the 1950s, Stockhausen experimented with chance, or aleatoric, techniques (notably the Piano Piece No. 11, of 1956).
1957 was the year in which Stockhausen was first invited to teach composition at the Darmstadt summer courses, where he had been giving lectures since 1953. In the course of a few years he de-veloped highly individual teaching methods which resulted in an un-usual degree of collective work within the groups of composers who came to him. His renown as a teacher soon began to rival that of his own teacher Messiaen. In 1963 he founded the Cologne Courses
for New Music, later to become the Cologne Institute for New Music. And at the end of 1958 Stockhausen embarked on the first of his concert and lecture tours of the USA.
As part of his work for Darmstadt, Stockhausen composed a test piece for percussion players in 1959.
In the concept of the "moment" Stockhausen sought a resolution of listeners' difficulties in experiencing form in serial music. Each in-dividually characterized passage in a work is regarded as an experi-ential unit, a "moment", which can potentially engage the listener's full attention and can do so in exactly the same measure as its neighbours. No single "moment" claims priority, even as a beginning or ending; hence the nature of such a work is essentially "unending" (and, indeed, "unbeginning"). Significantly, each "moment" is, in Stockhausen's view, equally dispensable, rather than equally indispensable, to the listener: his unending forms are the outcome not only of his pursuit of equality among all constituents of a work, but also of his leanings towards indeterminacy, which he accurately enough attributes to the durations and intensities of his listeners' attentiveness. The listener's unpredictable ecstatic involvement with the "now" of one "moment" can be bought only at the risk of his equally unpredictable withdrawal from some other. Such "moments", grouped in succession to make up a "moment form", formed the structural constituents of Kontakte (1959-60), a work which appeared both as a purely electronic composition and as "Kontakte for electronic sounds, piano and percussion". Another example of "music in space", with four loudspeaker groups placed around the auditorium, Kontakte presents an encounter between electronic music and instrumental music with the emphasis on shared characteristics of timbre.
His major work using open form, on which he began work in 1961, is Momente for soprano solo, four choral groups and 13 in-strumentalists. The work is designed as a sequence of "moments" some of which may be omitted as occasion demands. The general structure is such that additional moments have been inserted freely in subsequent versions without necessitating any alteration to the ex-isting music. In this work, Stockhausen's imaginative range in com-bining words with music reaches perhaps its fullest expression; the texts are taken from many sources (the Song of Songs, Malinowski's The Sexual Life of Savages, passages from letters and personal names, onomatopoeic words* and samples of audience reaction), but the role of the chorus is not restricted to singing - it also makes clicking, stamping and clapping noises and performs on small percus-sion instruments.
From: The Dictionary of Composers; The New Grove Dictionary
1. In what areas is Ligeti's music especially inventive?
2. What effect does it have on the receptive listener?
3. How does Ligeti use the traditional technique of composition? Give examples.
4. To what school does Ligeti belong, in your opinion?
1. Briefly outline Stockhausen's career as a composer and teacher. Name his main works. Why is he regarded as the leader of the electronic avant-garde? What innovations did he bring into music?
2. Speak about his work Momente. What does the word Moment imply for Stockhausen?
3. What is the "open form" in Stockhausen's concept? How does he use it? What is the role of improvisation in the perfor-mance of his works?
4. Which composers contributed to the development of the tech-niques of new music after World War II? Comment on the most daring experiments in music.
5. What new information have you found in this part of the book? Will it be useful to you in your work?
1. Since 1900 we have seen more drastic changes in our way of life than man has yet known. But somehow we have ex-pected our musicians to continue as they did in previous times, producing a music of romantic feeling and sentiment while we live in a mechanical world. Music of the 20th cen-tury held no future if it was only to become more national-istic, more romantic, or more realistic - it must in some way reflect the age in which it is created. How far, in your opinion, is this a true statement?
2. Can it be that some day the instruments familiar to us will be banished to museums and our orchestras abolished? Or perhaps a wonderful and undiscovered world of sound lies ahead of us? What is your opinion?
3. How do you understand Varese's statement that "the elec-tronic medium has added an unbelievable variety of new tim-bres to our musical store and has freed music from tempered system, which has prevented music from keeping pace with other arts and science"?
4. Would Mozart have composed The Magic Flute in a machine age? Would Felix Mendelssohn have composed the Overture
to a Midsummer Nights Dream in 1826 if a railroad had run near his family's private estate in Berlin? How would Stock-hausen's Momente sound in Mendelssohn's garden? Give your opinion on the influence of industrialization on the listener.
5. How would you interpret the following statement by Robert Schumann: "If Mozart were alive today he would write piano concertos not of the type Mozart wrote but of the type Chopin wrote"?
6. Did you go to any of the concerts at The Third International
Festival of Contemporary Music held in Leningrad in 1988? What compositions made the strongest impression on you? Why?
7. Do you agree that modern music, as we have come to know it, appears less unique and strange, that today's musical audience is coming to know this music with increasing sympathy? Give arguments to support your view.
1. Make a written summary of the principal features of the styles we have discussed in this chapter in terms of quality of sound, expressive values, and technical resources.
2. Write a composition or give a short talk describing and illus-trating the changes in musical language since 1900. Note the following basic trends:
- growing stylistic diversity.
- exploration and decline of the major-minor tonal system.
- growth of complex rhythms.
- exploration and rejection of large-scale forms.
- development of the large orchestra and new timbres.
- growing importance of texture and timbre in composition.
- innovations of genre and form.
Popular music in the United States has been far from, monolithic. Its many versions have included minstrel songs,* operetta, Broadway ballads, ragtime, blues, jazz, folk, country and western,* and most recently, rock and roll. Bom in the 1950s, rock was an unpromising infant, was many times pronounced dying, and is now a teenage giant whose influence is being felt not only in popular music but throughout all areas of music. It has entered the conceit hall sponsored by such scholarly groups as the Pro Musica Antiqua;* the musical theatre with Hair,* the second-longest-running show currently on Broadway, and the church.
If jazz began the removal of the barrier between popular and art music, rock has now also taken up the work. But the interchange has been reciprocal. Not only has the musical world been affected by rock, but rock has become serious both in
its lyrics and in some of its techniques which it seems to have taken from art music.
Arnold Shaw, author, lecturer, composer, and performer, has worked successfully in both popular and serious music. He has lectured at Juilliard* and at the New School and has worked in music publishing. He has written the book The Rock Revolution (1969) to which the following article is the introductory chapter.
The phrase Rock Revolution may sound like a metaphor or hyperbole. It is neither a figure of speech nor a rhetorical exaggeration. It quite literally characterizes what has happened to American music in the 1960s-a complete upending of the pop music scene.*
When it first manifested itself in the mid-50s, rock was dismissed as an aberration and an abomination.* Before the Presley rockabilly* movement subsided, there was a rising tide of Negro rhythm-and-blues.* Then came Bob Dylan* and folk rock.* Beatlemania took England and Europe by storm and proceeded to inundate American teenagers.* Today, we have soul,* raga* rock, psychedelic rock* and an influx of exotic instruments, electronic sounds and magnetic-tape music that is rattling the rafters of the entire music world, art as well as pop.
The year of Dylan's embrace of the electric guitar and the Big Beat, 1965, was the year in which the teenage rebellion matured into full-scale musical revolution. By then it was clear that the old days of so-called good music were not coming back. The era of the Big Bands, the Big Ballads and the Big Baritones was gone, along with crewcuts. Rock was not just a passing fad, but the sonic expression of the Now, the Turned-On, the Hair Generation. Literature had the antinovel and antihero. The stage had its Theater of the Absurd. In painting, there were mixed media,* op,* pop* and ob art.* And in pop, it was rock.
The main features of the overthrow of the older generation's popular music culture may be listed as follows:
1. The guitar and other plucked, picked and strummed string instruments have superseded bowed instruments (violin), blown instruments (reeds and brass) and the piano as vocal accompaniment.
2. Control of pop has been taken out of the hands of major record companies, staff Artist and Repertoire (A & R) executives and Broadway-Hollywood publishing companies. The choice and character of material are now dictated by under-thirty artist-writers and independent record producers, and no major record company is today without a "house hippie"* in search of rock artists.
3. Established song forms, like the 32-bar chorus-cum-bridge, have given way to new forms characterized by odd-numbered
formations, shifting meters, radical stanza patterns and changing time signatures.*
4. The traditional division of labor among performer, writer and record producer has broken down. Instrumentalists sing and singers play instruments. Originators of material tend to account for the total product. "The medium is the message", and the record is the song.
5. Just as blues singers treated their voices as musical instruments, and balladeers of the 1940s handled the microphone as if it were an instrument, rock artists have made the recording studio their instrument and the amplifier their tool.
6. We are in the midst of an electrical explosion of sound. Magnetic tape and electronics have made the 1960s an era of echo chambers, variable speeds, and aleatory (chance) and programmed (computer) composition. New procedures include manipulation of texture as a development technique, "wall-of-sound" density* and total enveloping sound. Philosophical as well as esthetic concepts underlie these developments: a concern with sensory overload as a means of liberating the self, expanding consciousness and rediscovering the world.
7. New subject matter includes an exploration of the cosmos of strange experiences, from the psychedelic expansion of the mind back into the world of medievalism and beyond time into transcendental meditation. We are in an era of meaningful lyrics, protesting, probing and poetic.
8. But we are also in a period when sound itself, as in jazz but in a more complex way, frequently is theme and content. If the folk orientation of rock emphasizes meaning, the psychedelic stresses tone color, texture, density and volume. (...)
9. Superalbums represent a new driving force, with outrageous sums of money being lavished not only on recording but on packaging.
10. Rock groups are concerned not merely with uniqueness of sound, long for a requirement of singing and instrumental success, but with total image. Hair styles, wardrobe, LP* liners,* and even the styling of promotion matter are no longer left to professionals but are the subject of personal and group expression. (...)
12. For the first time in the history of popular music, we are developing canons of criticism. Just as there has long been a phalanx of concert and jazz critics, we now have an under-thirty group of reviewers whose work appears regularly in rock publications like Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Cheetah and Eye and is beginning to find space in The New Yorker, Esquire, Life, Vogue and other periodicals.
13. Rock has brought a renaissance of the bardic tradition. Like
the medieval troubadours, Celtic bards and epic Homers, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon* and John Lennon are poets, singing rather than reciting or just printing their verses.
14 Rock is a collage, capable of absorbing the most diverse styles and influences: folk, blues, bluegrass,* jazz, soul, country-and-western, rhythm-and-blues, motion picture themes, Broadway show tunes, Indian ragas, baroque, tape, computer and chance music. There is an increasing crossover between popular songwnting and serious composition. . .
15. In the outlook of the under-thirty generation, as reflected in rock, romanticism is dead. Realism, naturalism, mysticism and activism are the new acceptable and conflicting ideologies. Young people appear restless, tough, alienated, hostile, defiant, aggressive, frustrated, and vaccilating between the hippie* withdrawal from society and the yippie* assault on it.
From: Twentieth-Century Views of Music History. Abridged
1. What is the background to rock music?
2. What are the distinctive stylistic traits of rock? What forms does it have?
3. On what instruments do rock musicians most frequently perform?
4. How has rock influenced other musical genres? Do you think its influence as revolutionary as the author thinks it to be?
5. In your opinion, what are the most popular rock musicians and groups in the Soviet Union and abroad? Name current rock recordings which you like.
6. What major rock compositions do you know?
7. Which Soviet composers use rock elements in their work?
8. Discuss the social consequences of rock.
9. Speak about the impact of electronic technology on musical culture, the interdependence of live and recorded music, the growth of a new audience brought up on recorded music.
1. Write a composition of 150-250 words in which you explain why you like, or do not like, rock.
2. Give your opinion on current rock hits.
When Elvis Presley died on 16th August, 1977, radio and television programmes all over the world were interrupted to give the news of his death. Eighty thousand people attended his funeral.
The streets were jammed with cars, and Elvis Presley films were shown on television, and his records were played on the radio all day. In the year after his death, 100 million Presley LPs were sold.
Elvis Presley was the first real rock and roll star. A white Southerner singing blues laced with country and country tinged with gospel,* he brought together American music from both sides of the color line and performed it with natural hip-swiveling sexuality that made him a teen idol and a role model for generations of cool rebels. He was repeatedly dismissed as vulgar, Incompetent and a bad influence, but the force of his music and his image was no mere merchandising feat. Presley signaled to mainstream culture that it was time to let go.
Elvis Presley was born on January 8th, 1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi. His twin brother, Jesse Garon, died at birth. His parents were very poor and Elvis never had music lessons, but he was surrounded by music from an early age. His parents were very religious, and Elvis regularly sang at church services. In 1948, when he was thirteen, his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He left school in 1953 and got a job as a truck driver.
In the summer of 1953 Elvis paid $ 4 and recorded two songs for his mother's birthday at Sam Phillips' Sun Records studio. Sam Phillips heard Elvis and asked him to record That's All Right in July 1954. 20,000 copies were sold mainly in and around Memphis. He made five more records for Sun, and in July 1955 he met Colonel Tom Parker, who became his manager in November. Parker sold Elvis's contract to RCA Records. On January 10th, 1956, Elvis recorded Heartbreak Hotel, and a million copies were sold. In the next fourteen months he made another fourteen records, and they were all big hits. In 1956 he also made his first film in Hollywood.
In March, 1958, Elvis had to join the army. He wanted to be an ordinary soldier. When his hak was cut thousands of women cried. He spent the next two years in Germany, where he met Priscilla Beaulieu, who became his wife eight years later. In 1960 he left the army and went to Hollywood where he made several films during the next few years.
After a live performance on March 25, 1961, Presley left the concert stage and spent the next eight years making movies. With a few exceptions, the soundtrack music was indisputably poor. But by the mid-Sixties Presley was earning $1 million per movie plus a large percentage of the gross. Each of the movies had a concurrently released soundtrack LP, nine of which went gold.* Meanwhile, the younger rock audience heard Presley disciples like the Beatles more often than they heard Presley himself.
By 1968 many people had become tired of Elvis. He hadn't performed live since 1960. But he recorded a new LP From Elvis in Memphis and appeared in a special television programme. He became popular again, and went to Los Vegas where he was paid $750,000 for four weeks.
In 1972 his wife left him, and they were divorced in October, 1973. He died from a heart attack. He had been working too hard, and eating and drinking too much for several years. He left all his money to his only daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. She became one of the richest people in the world when she was only nine years old.
With the exception of three dates in Canada in 1957 and an impromptu performance while on leave in Paris in 1959 Presley never performed outside the U.S. Through it all, his records continued to sell. During his career, Presley earned 94 gold singles,* three gold EPs* and over forty gold LPs.*
Based on: The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia; Streamline English
1. What are the distinctive features of rock'n'roll?
2. Tell the story of Elvis Presley. What was his background?
3. In what films did Presley appear? Have you seen any of them?
4. Why is Elvis Presley sometimes called The King of Rock'n' Roll? What was his contribution to the development of this type of music?
5. What accounts for the popularity of this singer during his life-time and later?
6. What recordings by Presley have you heard? What do you like or dislike about his singing?
The impact of the Beatles - not only on rock and roll but on all of Western culture - is simply incalculable. As musicians, they proved that rock and roll could embrace a limitless variety of harmonies, structures and sounds; virtually every rock experiment has some precedent on Beatles records. As a unit, they were a musically synergistic combination: Paul McCartney's melodic bass lines, Ringo Stair's slaphappy no-rolls drumming, George Harrison's rocabilly-style guitar leads, John Lennon's assertive rhythm guitar - and their four fervent voices. One of the first rock groups to write most of their material, they inaugurated the era of self-contained bands, and forever centralized pop. And as personalities, they defined and incarnated Sixties style: smart, idealistic, playful, irreverent, eclectic. Their music, from the not-so-simple love songs they started with to their later perfectionistic studio extravaganzas, set new standards for both commercial and artistic success in pop. Although many of their
sales and attendance records have since been surpassed, no group has so radically transformed the sound and meaning of rock and roll.
The Beatles became nationally famous in England in October 1962, when their first single record, Love Me Do, entered the Hit Parade at number 27. The famous four who recorded that song were, of course, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr. This was the original line-up of the band.
Three years before, when John Lennon was 19 and George Harrison approaching his seventeenth birthday, the group was offered its first "big job" - playing at the famous Star Club in Hamburg. In those days there were five Beatles: Pete Best on drums, Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and the mysterious fifth Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe.
The Beatles returned to England penniless and exhausted. Stuart Sutcliffe left the group and stayed in Germany, where he died a few months later. The Beatles began a series of lunchtime concerts at Liverpool's Cavern Club. They were now playing better than ever.
The lunchtime concerts were a great success. The road outside the club was always crowded with girls who worked in nearby shops and offices. They came to see the Beatles during their lunch-break. Local shopkeepers often complained about the crowds and the noise. The man who ran the local record shop went to see what all the fuss was about. His name was Brian Epstein, the man who became the Beatles manager.
The first thing that Epstein did as manager was to sack Pete Best. There are many different stories about how this happened. Probably it was because there was a serious clash of personalities between Lennon and Best. Lennon said: "He goes, or I go." In Best's place came Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr), the drummer they met in Hamburg.
The job of producing the Beatles' records went to George Martin, an extremely nice and remarkably old-fashioned man who worked at the EMI studios in Abbey Road, North London. George Martin became the brains behind the recording successes of the Beatles ("although John Lennon never agreed with that).
Martin had some unusual and immensely successful ideas. He persuaded the group to have instruments on some of their songs that they didn't want to begin with: the cello on Yesterday, the violins of Eleanor Rigby, the oboe on You've Got To Hide Your Love Away.
During the sixties, it seemed that the Beatles were always in the news headlines. They made successful records and interesting films. Lennon caused anti-Beatle demonstrations in America by saying that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ. Beatlemania was the word used to describe the reaction of fans all over the world.
When Epstein died in 1967, things began to be wrong for the Beatles' industry. The relationship between Lennon and McCartney became very difficult; they disagreed about music, they disliked each
other's wife, and they disagreed about who should be the new manager of their affairs.
Eventually, an American called Alien Klein bought a controlling interest in the group. This was the beginning of the end, as McCartney couldn't stand Klein.
During the seventies, the Beatles went off in their different directions. Lennon became a solo performer and then property speculator in New York, buying and selling expensive apartments. McCartney formed a middle-of-the-road pop group called "Wings" with his wife, Linda. George Harrison was rarely seen, but spent time raising money for charity. Ringo Starr began a surprisingly successful career as a film star. John Lennon was murdered in New York in December 1980.
In October 1982, 20 years after Love Me Do entered the British Hit Parade, a Beatles song was again in the Top Ten. The song was ... Love Me Do.
From: Modem English International
1. Tell the story of The Beatles.
2. What were the sources of The Beatles music?
3. How many times did The Beatles visit Hamburg in the early years of their career?
4. Who was the first bass guitarist in the group?
5. What films with The Beatles were made?
6. What single made by The Beatles first became a hit?
7. Did the group visit India? What was the purpose of their visits? What was the first song written under the influence of Indian music?
8. When did The Beatles split up?
9. Have you got any Beatles records in your collection? Which of them are your favourites?
10. What accounts for the world-wide popularity of The Beatles, in your opinion?
11. Give your opinion on the influence of The Beatles' music in other countries, including the Soviet Union.
Contemporary musical life and related institutions. Much of English musical life is centered in London, but there is considerable activity outside the capital as well. Decentralization is encouraged by the Arts Council of Great Britain, which, since 1946, has been the agency that distributes government subsidies to the arts.
The two principal opera companies in London are the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and the English National Opera (formerly Sadler's Wells*), which performs in English, at lower prices, and usually without the great international stars, at the Coliseum. There are also more modest companies, such as the English Music Theatre Company, some of which mostly tour outside London.
Opera is a feature of several English festivals, including Camden,* Aldeburgh,* and, most notably, Glyndebourne.* Occasional productions at English universities have helped awaken interest in works outside the standard repertory. Those at Cambridge in the 1920s and 1930s were of particular historical importance in this respect.
Orchestras. London is remarkable for its four major symphony orchestras, the London Symphony (founded in 1904), London Philharmonic (1932), Philharmonia (1945), and Royal Philharmonic (1946). The London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic are the result of the activities of Sir Thomas Beecham (1879-1961). The BBC Symphony (1930) is based in London and gives public concerts. There are several excellent symphony orchestras outside London, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic (1840), and the Halle Orchestra of Manchester* (1858).
Chamber orchestras became an important part of London musical life through such groups as the London Chamber Orchestra (1921) and the Boyd Neel Orchestra (1932). The tradition they began has been carried on by several excellent newer ones, including the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields (1959), the English Chamber Orchestra (1960), the London Sinfonietta (1968), which specializes in 20th-century music.
Choruses. Choral performance has been traditional in England for several centuries and remains popular today, although the
tendency to have mammoth choruses singing Handel oratorios so much favored in thé 19th century, has been somewhat tempered by the changing taste and greater historical consciousness of the 20th. Amateur choral societies are common throughout the country. Among the many in London are the Royal Choral Society (1871), the Bach Choir (1875), and the London Bach Society (1946). London also has several excellent chamber choruses, including the Monteverdi Choir (1964). Cathedral choirs and such well-known bodies as the choir of King's College, Cambridge, are also important elements in English choral music.
Early music. An interest in performing and listening to old music is something of an English tradition, as evidenced by the concerts of the Academy of Ancient Music in 18th-century London, which had hardly a parallel elsewhere in Europe at the time. Arnold Dolmetsch* (1858-1940), the central figure in the beginning of the modern revival of early-music performance, spent most of his career in England and firmly planted the movement there. The work of English musicians, such as David Munrow (1942-76) and his Early Music Consort (1967), was important in arousing audience interest in early music beginning in the 1960s. English activity in this field flourishes at present, with many groups of varied scope, such as the Academy of Ancient Music (1973), which recreates the mid-18th-century orchestra with authentic instruments.
Music festivals have constituted a flourishing tradition in England since the 18th century, and they are at present almost innumerable. The Three Choirs Festival, begun around 1715 and almost certainly one of the oldest in Europe, represents the traditional type of choral festivals, of which several others also survive. Its site alternates among the homes of its choirs, Hereford, Gloucester, and Worcester. Among older English festivals, that at Haslemere was founded by Dolmetsch in 1925 to feature early music, and the Glyndebourne Festival, founded in 1934, early achieved and maintains an international reputation for its production of operas as integrated dramatic works.
Many British festivals began after World War II. They include the Alderburgh Festival (1948), long dominated by the personality of its founder, Benjamin Britten; the Bath Festival (1948), since 1959 similarly associated with Yehudi Menuhin; the English Bach Festival (1963); and the Tilford Bach Festival (1952) and others.
A festival of sorts and long a central feature of London summers are the Henry Wood* Promenade Concerts ("Proms") (1895), mostly given at the Royal Albert Hall.
Many aspects of musical activity in England were dominated by foreigners in the 18th and early 19th centuries, and the idea of conservatories and music schools to train native musicians developed slowly. The leading schools are the Royal Academy of Music (1822), the Royal College of Music (1883), both in London, and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester
(1792). Other important schools include Trinity College of Music (1872) of the University of London and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (1880), London.
The first degrees in music known to have been conferred by a university were awarded at Cambridge in the 15th century, and a professorship of music was created there in the 17th. Oxford awarded music degrees from the early 16th century and in the 17th instituted a lectureship that grew into a professorship, but the establishment of music in anything like a regular, systematic, and modern way as part of the university curriculum at any university in England was almost entirely a 20th-century development. About a dozen English universities now have full music programs.
History. England was an important musical center in the Middle Ages. The Sarum rite,* a dialect of the Roman rite originating at Salisbury Cathedral and widely influential throughout the country, gave a local favor to the chant. Sacred polyphony was well established by the early 11th century, and by the 13th, English polyphony had taken on traits distinguishing it from Continental styles. In the early 15th century, John Dunstable (ca. 1390-1453) achieved the widest reputation among several important composers. English music of that tune is usually held to have had a decisive influence on the development of Continental musical style and compositional procedures. Thereafter, although works of high quality were written, English music was of mainly local importance, and influences tended to run in the other direction, from Italy and France, producing such English versions of Continental developments as the English madrigal, the lute ayre,* and the semi-opera.*
The Puritan Commonwealth of the mid-17th century greatly disrupted the English musical tradition; however, the late 17th century produced several distinguished figures, including Henry Purcell (1659-95), one of England's greatest composers. The 18th and 19th centuries were in general a low point in the vitality of native English music, unless Handel is considered to have become an English composer, a not untenable assertion, so completely was his music absorbed into the native tradition. Much of English musical life, particularly that of London, was dominated in this period by foreign musicians attracted by the country's wealth and the large public provided by its sizeable middle class. The native tradition survived in church music and in local genres such as the catch,* the glee,* and the ballad opera,* which developed in the late 18th century into the English comic opera and eventually led in the latter part of the 19th century to the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, which constitute almost the only part of English 19th-century music surviving in the repertory.
With Edward Elgar (1857-1934), England produced its first native composer of international importance since Purcell, and in the early 20th century an English nationalist school flowered with Ralph
Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), Gustav Holst (1874-1934), and others. William Walton (1902-83), Michael Tippett (b. 1905), and Benjamin Britten (1913-76) dominated their generation. Younger composers of achievement include Richard Rodney Bennett (b. 1936), Harrison Birtwhistle (b. 1934), Peter Maxwell Davies (b. 1934).
Folk music. Most English folk music is closely related to the songs of the dance. Folk songs are generally syllabic and strophic,* frequently with a refrain. Notable types include the ballad, love songs of various sorts, and songs attached to particular occasions or activities, such as carols,* sea shanties,* children's singing games, and street cries. Two general varieties of folk dance exist: ritual or ceremonial dances, associated with certain seasons of the year and most often performed by costumed groups of men; and country dances, performed at social occasions by both men and women. Ritual dances include sword, morris,* and processional dances. Dance tunes usually come from folk song and are almost always in duple meter. Instruments used in folk music are the pipe and tabor,* the small-pipes (a sort of bagpipe), and, especially today, the fiddle, concertina, or melodeon.*
From: The New Harvard Dictionary of Music
1. What are the main opera companies in England? Where are operas performed?
2. Name the major symphony orchestras of England. Who founded the London Philharmonie and Royal Philharmonic?
3. What music festivals are held in Britain? Which of them is associated with the name of Benjamin Britten?
4. Find in the text the passage where the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts are mentioned. What does the word Prom mean? What kind of concerts are Proms? Where are they held?
5. What are the main musical educational institutions in England?
6. Briefly outline the main stages of English music history. When did the modern renaissance of British music begin? Who took an active part in its development?
7. Name some prominent composers of the younger generation.
8. Write a summary of the text about music in England.
The period from the defeat of the Spanish Armada* (1588) to the death of James I (1625) represents one of Europe's most brilliant "golden ages". In less than forty years England gave the
world Marlowe, Webster* and Bacon, the prose of Sir Walter Raleigh,* the scientific researches of Gilbert* and Harvey* and the music of Byrd, Gibbons, Morley, Weelkes, Wilbye, Bull and Dowland, all geniuses of the first rank, and a host of richly talented followers.
Elizabethan civilization was the fruit of an exceptionally favourable political and social union. The year 1588, which saw the defeat of the "Invincible Armada", ushered in an age inspired by a new sense of self-confidence and optimism. It was really from this moment that music and theatre began to spread their wings. In the theatre for which Shakespeare wrote, music held an important place, and composers actively collaborated in plays, which they enriched with numerous ayres accompanied on the lute or viols. Unfortunately, owing to the essentially ephemeral nature of the occasion, much of this music is now lost.
But perhaps one of the most remarkable features of the Eliza-bethan age was the popularity of music making. In a period when public concerts were still unknown, the abundance of musical publications is explained by the great demand for music by amateurs. Everyone sang madrigals, most sizeable households possessed a chest of viols,* and the virginal, for which the keyboard composers poured out such flood of fine music, was still more popular - the queen, herself a devoted virginalist, setting the example. As for the lute, such was its popularity that it was even to be found in barbers' shops, so that customers might pluck a few chords while awaiting their turn. Any young man unable to take his proper place in a vocal or instrumental consort became the laughing-stock of the society. If the people had opportunities to shave to the joys of music, popular music also greatly inspired composers, and the intimate fusion of art music with popular and folk elements remains one of the imperishable charms of the music of this golden age. Excepting large choral and orchestral works, Elizabethan music embraces every style and genre. But although it cannot offer us anything comparable to the large-scale splendour of the Venetians, the beauties of the keyboard and chamber music may be regarded as ample compensation.
Religious music plays a definitely lesser role compared with the preceding period, even though it is represented by the masterpieces of Byrd and Gibbons, not to mention those of Morley, Weelkes, Tomkins and Peter Philips. Apart from Philips, Byrd was the only composer in England to write music for Latin texts.
From: The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music
England was the first country to liberate harpsichord music from organ music and to form a distinct harpsichord style independent of
organ technique. For fifty years, approximately the latter half of the sixteenth century, English composers avidly produced secular pieces for keyboard instruments. There are various but not always verifiable reasons for the popularity of virginal music at this time.
The virginal was a great favourite of the English monarchs. Following the royal fashion, English society took up the virginal; William Shakespeare immortalized the instrument in his "Sonnet to a Lady Playing the Virginal" (Sonnet 128).
How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st The wiry concord that mine ear confounds, Do I envy those jacks, that nimble leap ' To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless'd that living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.
Едва лишь ты, о музыка моя,
Займешься музыкой, встревожив строй
Ладов и струн искусною игрой, -
Ревнивой завистью терзаюсь я.
Обидно мне, что ласки нежных рук
Ты отдаешь танцующим ладам,
Срывая краткий, мимолетный звук,-
А не моим томящимся устам.
Я весь хотел бы клавишами стать,
Чтоб только пальцы легкие твои
Прошлись по мне, заставив трепетать,
Когда ты струн коснешься в забытьи.
Но если счастье выпало струне
Отдай ты руки ей, а губы - мне!
Virginal music collections. The most important manuscripts and collections of English virginal music known to date are listed below.
1. My Lady Nevells Booke. This manuscript is dated 1591. It has forty three compositions by William Byrd, who was probably Lady Nevell's music teacher.
2. Parthenia or the Maydenhead of the first musicke that ever was printed for the Virginalls (London: G. Lowe, 1611). This
published collection contains twenty-one pieces by John Bull, William Byrd, and Orlando Gibbons.
3. Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. All the important composers of the period contributed to this manuscript, dating from about 1621.
4. Parthenia In-Violata or Mayden-Musicke for the Virginalls and Bass-Viol It was probably published in 1625. It contains seventeen pieces by Bull, Edmund Hooper, John Coprario, and others.
dominated the first-generation English keyboard composers. He was not only organist at the Chapel Royal, but also a lyric poet expert at writing descriptive music, such as The Bells. Byrd's talents as a musician had many facets, one of which, bis ability to compose superb choral music, earned him the title of the English Palestrina. Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505-1585), co-organist at the Chapel Royal, and William Blitheman (d. 1591) belong to Byrd's generation.
Perhaps the most famous names in the English virginal school are counted among the second-generation composers: Peter Philips, John Bull, and Giles Farnaby.
Philip's own compositions are a synthesis of the severity of the ricercar, the chromaticism of the madrigal school, and the ornamental Une typical of Italian music.
John Bull (1562-1628), onetime organist at the Chapel Royal, left England for religious reasons. He lived in Brussels, then Antwerp. A master of contrapuntal devices, yet endowed with innate musical sensitivity, Bull exercised the full range of his skill and talent to create virginal music. He excelled in the variation, and his reputation in this field is well substantiated by the thirty variations on the theme of Walsingham, in which he subjects the melody and its framework to most keyboard devices known at the time.
Giles Farnaby (ca. 1560-1640), a more spontaneous composer than either Philips or Bull, endowed his music with a grace and verve that make it seem to the twentieth-century ear more "modern" than the music of his contemporaries.
The outstanding spokesman for the third-generation composers was Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), court virginalist and a musician sincerely respected by his colleagues. Gibbons possessed a competent technical apparatus, but his keyboard works often appear somewhat rigid and artificial.
From: Five Centuries of Keyboard Music by J. Gillespie
Byrd retained a fondness for the jog-trot "plain style" poetry of the 1560s all through his life, from the earliest consort songs up to the pieces he wrote for Leighton. This may serve as a reminder that, although he composed steadily throughout Elizabeth's reign
and well into James's, he was essentially an early Elizabethan figure. Decorum, solidity and a certain reticence of expression were qualities that were prized in his formative years, qualities that came to him
He belonged to the pioneer generation that built Elizabethan culture. In music, Byrd did this alone, for unlike Tallis before him and Morley after, he had no immediate contemporaries of any stature (except of course Ferrabosco). The essential work was completed by the time of the Armada, as he himself seems to have acknowledged by his retrospective anthologizing at that time. He lived to write some of his greatest music later, but his younger contemporaries could not learn from this in the same way that they had from the earlier path-breaking compositions.
In recording his death, the ordinarily laconic Cheque Book of the Chapel Royal described him as "a Father of Musick". To another contemporary admirer he was "Brittanicae Musicae Parens". While Byrd's versatility as a composer is often mentioned, and quite rightly, it is less often pointed out how much he indeed fathered for English music. With his motets, first of all, he achieved nothing less than the naturalization of the high Renaissance church style. The true power and expressiveness of imitative counterpoint had never been channelled in native composition before his motets of the 1575 Cantiones.* As has been remarked, he rather stood back from the madrigal; but he was the first English composer who employed word illustration extensively - in motets of the 1580s. He found the English song in the 1560s in a dishevelled state* and pulled it together to produce a rich and extensive repertory of consort songs, a form that was very personal to Byrd and found no serious imitators. Its influence on the lute air, however, was palpable, and an offshoot of the consort song, the verse anthem,* might be said to constitute Byrd's most lasting legacy to English music, in the sense that other composers could and did follow his lead and the music was sung widely during his lifetime and after it. He kindled English virginal music from the dryest of dry wood to a splendid blaze which crackled on under Bull and Gibbons and even set off some sparks on the Continent. Even his later music for consort, which was overshadowed at the turn of the century by the new fantasias of Coprario and Alfonso Ferrabosco, provided a seminal idea of considerable importance. The crystallization of dance movements out of the sections of Byrd's two six-part fantasias looks forward to the fantasy suites of the 1620s and beyond.
Byrd's earlier music for consort represents a culmination of an older tradition. Brought up during the reign of Queen Mary, perhaps even in her Chapel Royal, he had live roots in Tudor soil. Traditional elements live on in his music along with innovatory ones. There are pieces in which these features have to a large extent been filtered put, such as Siderum rector from the 1575 Cantiones and the four-part mass, but Byrd deliberately returned to a more archaic,
rougher technique as better suited to the grain of his musical personality. Sometimes he turned archaic features to exquisite effect.
Byrd's musical mind is as hard to characterize in a few words as that of any other of the great composers. He is probably to be regarded as one of the most intellectual of composers, and yet he also had a magic touch with sonority. One admires, perhaps, the manifold ways he had of moulding a phrase, a period or a total piece. Line, motif, counterpoint, harmony, texture, figuration can all be brought into play, and they are brought not singly but in ever new combinations. Form was expression for Byrd, and the extraordinary variety of effect that he obtained in his pieces stemmed from his fertile instinct for shape, for musical construction.
In the six-part fantasia, and in another similar work in manuscript, Byrd worked out a remarkable large-scale form consisting of what are in essence linked movements, contrasting with one another and culminating in a galliard* followed by a coda. The manuscript fantasia also includes snatches of pre-existing melodies - Greensleeves* and perhaps others - as also happens in several other of the consort and keyboard pieces. This phenomenon should be considered along with Byrd's celebration of popular songs in his variation sets. He was closer to "folksong", it would seem, than any of the other great composers of early times.
Byrd's late keyboard music is full of new fantasy and new subtlety. He turned to writing mostly pavans* and galliards, though three of the most imaginative variations also appear to date from after 1590. When at last he found occasion to have some keyboard music published, in Parthenia, c. 1612/13, jointly with Bull and Gibbons, he included only pavans and galliards and some short matching preludes.
The linear and contrapuntal articulation of this superb dance pair is no less cogent than in earlier works, but beyond this keyboard texture is now used in a more integral fashion. Keyboard figuration, too, became more flexible in the late years, no doubt under the impetus of younger members of the English virginal school which Byrd had founded. Two of the greatest pavans refer to specific works by Morley and Bull respectively.
Morley and Tomkins were his pupils. If, as seems likely, Philips, Weelkes and Bull should be added to this list, Byrd's direct impact on English composition can be seen to have assumed almost Schoenbergian proportions. Much of his teaching must surely be preserved in Morley's Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke, 1597, which also contains some of the many remarkable tributes to Byrd known from the period. His contemporary reputation was not as commanding as, say, that of Sidney* in another artistic field or Josquin* in another century. But it was still something new in English music, and there can be little doubt that it went along with a sense of artistic mission on Byrd's part that was also new. The modern revival of this music dates essentially from 1901-24.
A complete edition was undertaken by Fellowes* late in life (1937-50): at last virtually all of Byrd's music was made available in one place, in a form designed to encourage performance.
From: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
The all-conquering vogue of the madrigal during the last twenty years of Elizabeth's reign and the early years of the next had precedents - the native tradition of part-song writing and the occasional traces of Italian influence from the 1550s which had prepared the ground for the English passion for the madrigal-but it suddenly gathered momentum after 1588, following Nicholas Yonge's Musica Transalpina published in that year. In his preface Yonge indicates that he had been led to edit and publish the collection because the group of amateur singers to which he belonged were regular and enthusiastic performers of Italian madrigals. There is plenty of evidence that Italian madrigals had been circulating in England in increasing numbers for at least the last fifteen years. Almost immediately the English composers began to produce their own madrigals. But these were by no means slavish imitations of their models. The English madrigal was generally lighter and gayer in mood than the Italian; despite the magnificent riches of contemporary English poetry the composers either preferred to use Italian madrigal texts or turned to minor English writers, whereas one of the distinguishing features of the Italian school had been its preference for texts of great literary merit. Unlike the Italians, however, the English composers were writing for an almost entirely amateur public, for whom the generally undemanding sentiments and comparatively simple technical demands were ideally suited. As Gustave Reese has said in his monumental Music in the Renaissance: "In every way the English madrigal was a less esoteric and more popular movement" (than the Italian). Of more than thirty talented composers the great names are Morley, Weelkes, Wilbye, Tomkins and Gibbons, while Byrd also produced notable if few
From: The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music
Henry Purcell, England's greatest composer, was born in the year 1659. Despite the most recent and intensive research, little is known of his life. He was for a time in the choir of the Chapel Royal. He received lessons from John Blow, who in 1680 surrendered his position of organist at Westminster Abbey to his brilliant young pupil. Although little is known of this "British Orpheus", perhaps no English composer before or since enjoyed such acclaim and admiration from his contemporaries. At the age of eighteen he had
been engaged as a composer at the court of Charles II, and five years later he became organist in the Chapel Royal and keeper of the king's instruments. Throughout his life Purcell devoted his immense talents to commissions which would now be regarded as beneath the notice of a serious composer: mediocre theatrical productions, royal birthdays, and official celebrations of all kinds. Yet it is obvious that he himself found nothing untoward in such work, and although we may regret that the society he served gave no scope for the full genius of a composer obviously capable of the finest flights of operatic composition, we have no cause to be discontented with the superb body of music that he left us. It is typical of the man that Dido and Aeneas, which despite its brevity is the first major English opera, was written to the commission of a friend for performance by his pupils at a school for girls in Chelsea. The grace, gaiety and humour of much of the score is well suited to its occasion, but the great dramatic moments are not avoided or rendered with a conventional pathos. The lament of Dido, written to that most typically Purcellian device is one of the most deeply felt and moving moments in opera. His instrumental compositions also include the magnificent fantasies for viols and the sonatas for three and four parts for violins, bass viol and continuo, with which Purcell proclaimed his intention of introducing the Italian style to the English. All these works reveal a unique and poignant sense of harmony which, if it derives in part from the English tradition of the golden age and perhaps also from the Italian madrigalists at the beginning of the 17th century, is nevertheless unmistakably his own. His chamber compositions for instruments include, besides, a number of fine keyboard pieces.
In addition to his one true opera Dido and Aeneas (1689), Purcell wrote five semi-operas which, like the earlier masque, employ spoken as well as sung passages. All these works contain much fine music. They are: Dioclesian, with a text by the actor Thomas Betterton after Beaumont and Fletcher; King Arthur, by John Dryden; The Tempest, adapted from Shakespeare; The Fairy Queen, a reworking of his Midsummer Nights Dream; and the Indian Queen, to which Dryden also contributed.
Purcell excels in every sphere - operas, music for plays, cantatas, church and chamber music, and keyboard music. His vocal works far exceed his instrumental compositions in number, although the quality of his instrumental music is equally high. His premature death, as much as the ungrateful period in which he lived, have prevented him from being recognized at his true worth as one of the greatest composers of all time. Purcell, like many a great artists, was not a creator of musical form and had to content himself with the scanty resources which England at the close of the 17th century offered him, from the hybrid semi-opera to the trio sonata in its early stages.
His receptive genius enabled him to fuse the most diverse and
contradictory influences in the crucible of his feverish personality. His fantasies for strings, his full anthems, and a thousand details in the writing of his other compositions, reveal his attachment to the great English masters of the past. But at the same time, he was open to the new trends from the continent. From the French he learned the art of the overture à la française, the chaconne, the colour of his orchestration and his conception of theatrical ensembles; from the Italians his use of concertato style, the trio sonata, his expressive use of chromatics (he had studied Monteverdi) and his dramatic recitatives and da capo arias. Yet all unite in a style full of grace, power and poetry, in which unpredictable gaiety, akin to traditional folk music, rubs shoulders with poignant melancholy. An interpreter of every human passion, Purcell could write with great power while at other times his music is imbued with a profound sadness.
From: The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music
1. What are the distinguishing features of The Golden Age in
2. Describe the English virginal school and name its main representatives. What collections of English virginal music do
3. How did Byrd contribute to the development of English
4. Why was William Byrd named the "father of musick"?
5. In what branches of music did he excel?
6. What characterizes the school of English madrigalists? Compare English and Italian madrigals and say in what ways they differ.
7. Characterize Henry Purcell's role as the founder of English opera. What composer has revived Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas in our time?
8. Have you heard much virginal music? Who, in your opinion, is the best performer of such music?
9. What ensembles performing early music do you know? What tradition do they follow?
10. What genres of 17th century dance music do you know?
11. What is the difference between the virginal and the
12. Which instruments were generally used for accompaniment in home music making and at concerts in the 16th - 17th
13. Do you agree with those critics who argue that Handel belonged to Germany much more than to England and there-fore he cannot be regarded as an English composer? Give your reasons.
The most characteristic American music combines elements of the cultures of two or more national or ethnic groups that have come to the New World.*
The history of American music may be divided into two major periods, (1) music written before America achieved artistic and aesthetic parity with the rest of the West (c. 1607 - c. 1929), and (2) the internationally important music of the recent past (1929 to present). Two factors determined the development of American music: immigration within a relatively short time to a largely empty continent and the predominance of the English settlers in the new land. The virtually unopposed tenure of the English thoroughly defined America's politics, religion, and language during the first two centuries, so that all succeeding ethnic groups had to choose between assimilation with or isolation from the Anglo-Saxon mainstream. Unequivocal evidence of English influence is found in traditional religious and folk or popular music, but there are indications of other influences, less easily traced to their origins. Although the precise process is difficult to determine, it would seem that various melodic inflections and rhythms of later ethnic groups were grafted onto the Anglo-Saxon stock. Thus, though the immigrants' native languages were abandoned for English, those elements of language, accent, and inflection that are essentially musical were integrated into the dominant Anglo-Saxon culture as music.
Also important was the importation of European art music and of professional European musicians. For example, the English version of Weber's Der Freischutz* (Berlin, 1821), performed in London in 1824, was brought to New York in 1825. Performances by traveling companies could not help but influence musical taste. Just as significant was the influx of professional musicians, many of whom left Europe because of political upheavals ranging from the French Revolution to the present. They transmitted European standards of musical excellence and craftmanship, without them American music would have remained provincial.
The development of American music took place in four stages: 1607-1790, the period of English influence; 1790-1865, the period of European professional influence; 1865-1929, the period of the second school of New England* composers; 1929 to the present, the arrival of American music on the international scene.
1607-1790. Presumably many of the early colonists at Jamestown (1607), Plymouth (1620), and Massachusetts Bay (1629) brought with them their native English music, sacred and secular; but only in the case of the northern settlements is the record clear.
Until 1700, however, the smallness of the population, the hard pioneer life, and the Puritan attitude of disapproval toward the lively arts inhibited more active musical development. However, although there are references in contemporary records to a few musical
instruments and even indications of musical scholarship, the Puritan colonists seem to have viewed secular amusements and excessive pleasures with suspicion and distrust.
Concerts in American colonial cities began to be held in the 18th century and apparently followed closely the advent of professional musicians who played for church, chamber, and theater. Organs were used in Episcopal services from an early date (King's Chapel,
Boston, after 1713).
Such musical amateurs as Benjamin Franklin and Francis Hopkinson (1737-91), a signer of the Declaration of Independence* and the first native-born American composer, stand out, Hopkinson for his songs in the simple and tuneful style of the contemporary London stage and Franklin for his "armonica,"* a species of mechanically spun musical glasses.
1790-1865. The American Revolution* interrupted musical activities, but afterward they were resumed, this time more intensively. In the last decade of the 18th century, a large-scale immigration from Europe brought musicians from England and, after the French Revolution, from France. Attracted by opportunities arising from the growing urban culture of the East Coast, singing actors, instrumentalists, and dancing masters immigrated, many of them equally at home in choirloft and theater. They had a lasting effect on American music. They molded musical taste, and through their publishing firms and music shops they satisfied the demand for the new music, instruments, and instruction books. As teachers, they trained almost two generations of amateurs.
The impact of the professionals began to be felt after the War of 1812. Once exposed to the sophisticated sounds of Handel, Haydn, Grétry, and J.W.A. Stamitz, church music committees and musical societies began to publish and perform only the music they considered "scientifically" correct, which was an inevitable result of the quest for cultural parity with Europe. Whether or not motivated by intellectual and aesthetic needs or merely by fashion, the establishment of such organizations for the performance of European masterworks as the Handel and Haydn Society (Boston, 1815), the Musical Fund Society (Philadelphia, 1820), and the Philharmonic Society (New York, 1842) - all of which survive today - laid the foundation for serious American art music.
1865-1929. Between the end of the Civil War* and the Great Depression of the 1920's, a spectacular growth took place in American music, fostered by rapid industrialization and an almost fourfold increase in population. After 1848, the arrival of German musicians with technical skills and aesthetic concepts of music far superior to any known in America influenced the quality of the development. By the 1920's American music had achieved an
Many immigrant groups brought their music to the New World. Families and small communities of various European extractions
clung to their Old World* traditions, including music, in America, but this music was isolated from the mainstream of American life. In the end, Africans, rather than European-Americans, made the greatest contributions to a distinctive American style.
African slaves were first brought to the Colonies* in 1619, to Jamestown.* The growth of a plantation economy in the South increased the demand for slaves greatly: more than 300,000 blacks had been brought to America by the mid-18th century; and by the time the slave trade was abolished in the 19th century, as many as 15,000,000 Africans had come to the New World. They brought their own music with them, constructing drums and other instruments similar to ones they had known in Africa and continuing traditional rituals and ceremonies. But slave owners soon suppressed all obvious manifestations of African cultural heritage, and at the same time, slaves began assimilating some of the music of their European masters. Black fiddlers accompanied white social dancing and took some of this music to their own people; the 18th century brought . Christianity to many slaves and with it the psalms and hymns as set to music by British composers.
By the early 19th century, black Americans had developed their own dialect of Christian song, with fragments of European times sung in call-and-response* patterns accompanied by hand-clapping or simple percussion instruments and with voices interacting in African-style polyphony. These shouts (or spirituals)* came to the attention of white main-stream culture in the years following the Civil War, through printed descriptions and transcriptions and through public performances of triadic, tonal arrangements of black melodies by the Fisk Jubilee Singers* and other black choirs.
Elements from Afro-American music began infiltrating several popular genres. Songwriters of the generation after Stephen Foster* produced verse-chorus songs* supposedly reflecting the life of Southern blacks in their texts and drawing on the style and mood of arranged spirituals in their choruses. By century's end, these pieces were drawing on rhythms associated with the cake-walk,* ragtime,* and other black syncopated dances. Military and community bands were popular throughout the 19th century, playing a repertory of European marches, dances, and arrangements of classical pieces. But by the 1890s, the band organized and led by John Philip Sousa* (1854-1932) had inspired a growing indigenous literature, much of it using rhythms of American syncopated dances. The popular piano repertory contained similar pieces also, culminating with the first published ragtime pieces by white composers (William Krell, Mississippi Rag, 1897) and black (Scott Joplin* Maple Leaf Rag, 1899).
In contrast, classical music remained firmly rooted in European practice and style. American orchestras were dominated by Germanic conductors, players, and repertory.
Around the turn of the century, many American composers did
begin to address the problem of making their music reflect the unique culture of their own country. At first this took the form of a belated imitation of the wave of nationalism that had swept various European countries earlier. Tunes taken from traditional music were incorporated into classical forms clinging to the harmonic, instrumental, and expressive practice of the late Romantic era. Indian melodies were drawn upon, as in Suite No. 2 ("Indian") by Edward MacDowell (1860-1908). Tunes taken from Negro spirituals and folk songs were used in the same way in The Dance in Place Congo by Henry F. Gilbert (1868-1918). Still other writers drew on elements of ragtime and early jazz, on the assumption that this was the most characteristic American "folk" music. A remarkable series of symphonies, songs, chamber and piano pieces, and choral works by Charles Edward Ives (1874-1954) were the most successful compositions of the period, making use of indigenous melodic material and also developing compositional techniques unlike those of European Music. But the Ives pieces remained virtually unknown until later, when American composers were concerned with other
The second quarter of the 20th century brought a new generation of highly talented composers, who created a succession of distinctive large-scale pieces refining the notion of musical nationalism so well that, for the first time, performers and audiences responded with enthusiasm to classical works by American writers. Typical of this period are the ballets Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland* (b. 1900); Rhapsody in Blue and the opera Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin (1898-1937); the film score for The River and the opera Four Saints in Three Acts by Virgil Thomson* (b. 1896); and Symphony No. 3 by Roy Harris* (1898-1979). But following a pattern that had become firmly established in American music, even these pieces were seen in Europe as less distinctive and less representative of American culture than were various genres of popular and vernacular music of the day.
Several generations of popular songwriters, based mostly in New York City and led by Irvin Berlin* (b. 1888), Jerome Kern* (1885-1945), George Gershwin, Cole Porter* (1891-1964), and Richard Rodgers* (1902-79), blended elements of European melody and harmony with the syncopated rhythms of American dance music. Texts were brash and sentimental. The best of these Tin Pan Alley* songs were disseminated throughout the Western world. At the same time, black Americans were producing a unique series of interlocking musical genres - jazz, blues, gospel music, popular songs - each of which used Western instruments and harmony, overlaid with African-derived performance styles, rhythmic vitality and complexity, and intensity of expression. Traditional Anglo-American styles developed into hillbilly,* country and western,* and bluegrass music,* genres that likewise had no precedent elsewhere in the world.
Two opposing trends dominated the composition of classical
music in the United States in the decades surrounding World War II. Many composers, most of them connected with academic institutions, turned away from musical nationalism and toward contemporary European music, which was dominated by neoclassicism and serialism. Walter Piston* (1894-1976), Wallingford Riegger* (1885-1961), and Roger Sessions* (1896-1985) were among the many talented Americans producing symphonies, chamber music, and pieces of keyboard music and voice in an abstract, international style that is fully comparable in technique and expression with the best compositions of this sort written elsewhere. This trend reached a climax with a succession of highly complex serialized works by Milton Babbitt* (b. 1916), George Rochberg* (b. 1918), and many of their peers, pieces expanding the concept of totally organized music pioneered by Webern and a generation of postwar Europeans including Messiaen, Stockhausen, and Boulez. Other American composers chose to follow paths laid out most effectively by the French-born Edgard Varèse, who sought both aesthetic guidance and sound sources from the contemporary world and the products of the European avant-garde. John Cage (b. 1912) created experimental works of an unmistakably American character. He had the greatest impact, with both his compositions and writings, on any American composer of the 20th century - with the possible exception of Ives. Henry Cowell* (1897-1965) drew in part on non-Western music in creating idiosyncratic styles, and some of the most original and successful products of recent decades have been based to some extent on the sounds, techniques, and aesthetic of Asian and African music.
Although these two schools of composition - the academic and the avant-garde - proceeded from quite different premises their products resembled one another from the perspective of most performers and audiences in their inaccessibility and their increasing remoteness from common-practice harmonic and melodic materials. A younger generation of composers had managed to integrate elements from both streams while making use of electronic technology in both studio composition and live performance - often in ways suggesting a common ground with the more experimental rock music of the era.
Meanwhile, the United States has reaffirmed its leadership in popular music, with the emergence of rock'n'roll in the 1950s and a variety of rock styles in the following decades.
For more than a century and a half, popular music in the United States has absorbed elements of the cultures of many of the immigrant groups coming to the New World in large numbers and has blended these into a succession of styles unlike those found elsewhere. This music has been regarded abroad as the most distinctive and influential artistic product created by the unique culture of this country.
From: The New Harvard Dictionary of Music
Charles Ives (1874-1954) is one of the most extraordinary and individual figures in the history of Western music. American music owes its existence as a separate phenomenon to his work.
In his music, many of innovatory and radical procedures adopted by younger avant-garde composers are anticipated or foreshadowed in
Ives was born in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1874. Throughout his life he cleaved to* New England: its countryside colours his music, and its characteristic philosophy (that of Emerson* and Thoreau*) seems to have influenced his technique. His father, a town bandmaster, experimented with tone clusters, polytonality, quartertones, and acoustics, inspiring similar interests in his son. George Ives, the father, exerted an important musical influence on his son. Naturally experimental himself, he constantly encouraged Charles to tinker with unfamiliar sounds, to investigate, as it were, what music could do rather than what it merely had done. He would make Charles sing in a key different from the accompaniment "to stretch our ears".
Ives later maintained that many of the more startling effects in his music were aural memories from his childhood: memories of hymn-tunes wrongly harmonized, or of accidental coincidences of sound in a small-town environment. Ives's earliest musical training was almost entirely unconventional. When he entered Yale University, in 1894, he tried hard to absorb an academic training, but failed. In 1898 he graduated and moved to New York as a clerk in an ensurance company, taking up several organist posts.
Ives's First Symphony, a student work, and his Second Symphony (1901) mix European influences (notably Beethoven and Dvorak). Ives divided his time between business and music knowing that his music had no hope of commercial success, or even performance. While working daily in an insurance office, Ives was composing some of the most extraordinary music ever written. From this period (1901-28) date the Third and Fourth Symphonies, the Concord Sonata for piano, Three Places in New England, the Holidays Symphony, the four violin sonatas, the Tone Roads for small orchestra, and various smaller orchestral works. In 1928 Ives was forced by illness to give up composition, and in 1930 he retired from insurance and thereafter spent all his time at his farm in Connecticut. He died in 1954.
Even after his retirement his music made its way very slowly. The earliest publications were at his own expense: of the Concord Sonata in 1919 and of the 114 Songs in 1922. Later, in the 1920s and 1930s a few scattered performances were put on. But the major works remained practically known until the 1950s. The Third Symphony won a Pulitzer Prize in 1947, but the Fourth Symphony
was not played at all until 1965 (when Stokowski conducted it), the Second Symphony not until 1951.
The modernisms in Ives's style are impressive precisely because they arise from philosophy rather than aesthetic theory. His potentiality and polyrhythms* gave a genuine and infectious exuberance which springs from a real contact with life.
Ives's true importance lies in having given American music self-respect. In this he represents young America as against old Europe to whom the United States were still a cultural province. And this has been the source of his strength and powers of renewal since his death.
Based on: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music; The Dictionary of Composers
by H. Cowell*
Charles Ives is the father of indigenous American art-music, and at the same time is in the vanguard of the most forward-looking and experimental composers of today.
Many composers before Ives tried to utilize American folk-material; (...) But some of their music yielded to banal European influence, because they invariably altered the original rhythms (often fascinating irregular) so as to fit the current European mode. Also, all the slight deviations of pitch in the musical scale of the American village folk, wrought in deepest musical ecstasy, were altered so as to suit the conventional European mode of tuning of the major or minor scales.
Ives was born in 1874 in a small Connecticut town where native music lived. His father, a musician, conductor of the band and experimental enough to be interested in acoustics, was evidently a splendid influence. He did not try to narrow down or standardize the views of his son, but allowed him to hear all the native music in its charming and naive entirety, and encouraged him to think for himself. This led into a scientific-musical understanding, and to the ability to sort and utilize his many impressions and to build from them a new musical structure. Such a structure is what Ives has created.
As a child, Ives heard the village band. Not all the members played exactly together; there was always a player or so a fraction either ahead or behind the rest. The pitch of the notes was not always the same with all the instruments; some played a bit sharp, some a bit flat. Sometimes the bass tuba would be an indistinguish-able pitch, almost a percussion noise. Perhaps the trumpet, or rather the cornet, would feel jolly enough to play his addition to the whole quite independently, so that bis part would be altogether different from the rest of the orchestra; yet he would eventually find a way to get in with "the bunch".
Or perhaps Ives heard the fiddling to a dance. The fiddler not only did not play in tune with the conventional notion - he did not want to, and it would have been wrong if he had. His idea of music was quite different, and through slips and slides, and slightly off-pitch tones, which could go loosely under the title of "quarter-tones", he created the right and proper music for the village dance...
Ives was also influenced by the village church music. With a wheezy and often out-of-tune-to-the-point-of-discord harmonium playing simple hymn concords as a base, the congregation sang soulfully and nebulously around the supposed tones of the tune. The so-called unmusical of the congregation sang along behind the tune is both rhythm and pitch, either a bit flat or those with great self-assurance over-aiming at the note and sharping on the high pitches!
Such native characteristics exist all through American village and country music. They are typically American and are the distinctions between American folk-music and the folk-music of the Europeans from which we spring. Yet the "cultivated" musicians who collected and published these songs of our people unconsciously and without question weeded out all such irregularities and the result was that there is not the slightest suspicion of an original, indigenous, or truly American feeling left in the published versions of these songs...
All the elements of back-country New England music were assimilated by Ives, on whom they made a deep impression. Working with musical feeling deeply rooted in the spirit of the music rather than from a purely intellectual point of view, he found that it was necessary to build his whole musical structure from the ground up. It was impossible for him to confine himself to the known scale, harmony, and rhythm systems brought from Europe.
He therefore found it essential to form a new and broader musical architecture, a scheme of things which, founded on American folk-music, permitted the use of all the elements to be found in it. He did not discard any elements of known musical culture; all of them are present in his work; but he also included the extra-European elements of the folk-music as actually performed, and made a new solid foundation on this music, which permits infinite development and cultivation.
From American Composers on American Music. Abridged
1. Briefly outline the most important stages in the development of American music.
2. What are the sources of American music?
3. How did the music of black Americans influence American art music?
4. What composers were active in the post-war period?
5. Briefly outline the main aspects of Charles Ives's musical career. Under whose influence did his style develop?
6. Comment on the educational views of Charles Ives's father. Do you share his views? If not, give your reasons.
7. What innovations did Ives bring to the music of his time?
8. Why was Ives's music not appreciated by his contemporaries?
9. Which compositions by Ives have you heard? Do you like or dislike his music? Explain why.
10. Summarize the text about American music in writing.
The origin of the word jazz is obscure. The term came into general use c. 1913-1915. It is used to designate a type of music which developed in the Southern States of USA in the late 19th century and came into prominence at the turn of the century in New Orleans, chiefly (but not exclusively) among black musicians. Elements which contributed to jazz were the rhythms of Western Africa, European harmony, and American "gospel" singing.* Before the term jazz was used, ragtime was the popular name for this genre. Ragtime lasted from c. 1890 to c. 1917. It was an instrumental style, highly syncopated, with the pianoforte predominant (though a few rags had words and were sung). Among the leading exponents of the pianoforte rag were Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton,* and J.P. Johnson,* with the cornettists Buddy Bolden* and King Oliver.* Some rags were notated (e.g. Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag) but the majority were improvised. About 1900 also, the "blues" craze began. "Blues" implies a largely vocal form and a repressed frame of mind on the part of the performer. The form originated from Negro spirituals, and made use of a blend of major and minor harmony, and non-tempered scale intervals. In instrumental blues the prominent instruments were trumpet, cornet, clarinet, saxophone or trombone. A leading figure of the blues era was the black composer W.C. Handy* whose Memphis Blues (1909) and St Louis Blues (1914) are jazz classics. Outstanding blues singers have been Bessie Smith and, later, Billie Holiday.
The subsequent history of jazz has embraced a diversity of styles, e.g. Dixieland, from c. 1912, which borrowed elements from both ragtime and blues and made a feature of group improvization led by the trumpeter. The principal Dixieland musicians included the trumpeters King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, the pianists Jelly Roll Morton and Earl Hines. In the 1920, jazz became more sophisticated as it spread to New York, Paris, and London and became a social "rage". The jazz arranger emerged and with him the bigger band: harmony became more conventional, melodies were played by a full instrumental section with the solos as central display-pieces, like cadenzas. These "big bands" had marked individual styles. Paul Whiteman popularized "symphonic jazz" using violins and elaborate arrangements. At the other extreme was the Negro style of Duke Ellington, the first great jazz composer. A "Chicago" style revived
smaller bands and more improvisation (its star was the trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke).
The 1930s coincided with the style known as "swing".* The swing bands - led by such virtuoso instrumentalists as Benny Goodman* (clarinet), Jimmy Dorsey (alto saxophone), Gene Krupa (drums), Glenn Miller (trombone), Tommy Rorsey (trombone), Artie Shaw (clarinet) - concentrated on precision, arrangement, and good ensemble work. Though Ellington's band was influenced by swing, its members were such superb players and such strong individualists that improvisation still played a large part in his compositions. Swing yielded in the 1940s to "be-bop",* principally for smaller groups of perhaps 7 players. Rhythm was the prime feature of be-bop, allied to scat singing (vocalizing to nonsense syllables). Tempi were fast and great virtuosity was needed. The dominant player was the alto saxophonist Charlie Parker* (1920-55). Also important were Dizzy Gillespie (trumpeter), Stan Getz (alto saxophonist), and Kenny Clarke and Max Roach (drummers). "Be-bop" was later re-christened "modern jazz". Among its derivatives were "cool" jazz,* led by Getz and Miles Davis, and by Shorty Rogers (trumpet) and Lennie Tristano (pianoforte). In the 1960s "free jazz" was pioneered but the jazz scene was overshadowed by the emergence of "pop" and the pop groups, e.g. the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and many others, these comprising usually a vocalist, guitarist(s), and percussionist.
The influence of jazz on so-called "serious music" had been widespread and beneficial. Ives composed ragtime pieces for theater orchestra as early as 1902; Debussy in 1908 wrote the Golliwogs Cakewalk; Ravel used the blues in his, violin sonata, and both his pianoforte concertos are jazz-influenced; Stravinsky wrote ragtime pieces and composed the Ebony Concerto (1945) for Woody Herman; Hindemith, Poulenc, Weill, Krenek, Lambert, and Copland all used jazz features, as did Berg in Lulu. Duke Ellington and Bill Russo are among the leading composers of jazz, while those who have written works throwing a bridge between jazz and symphonic forms include Gershwin, Rolf Liebermann, Leonard Bernstein, Günther Schuller, Richard Rodney Bennett, and John Dankworth.
From: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music
by George Gershwin
The great music of the past in other countries has always been built on folk-music. This is the strongest source of musical fecundity. America is no exception among the countries. The best music being written today is music which comes from folk-sources. It is not always recognized that America has folk-music; yet it really has not only one but many different folk-musics. It is a vast land, and different sorts of folk-music have sprung up in different parts, all 66
having validity and all being a possible foundation for development into an art-music. For this reason, I believe that it is possible for a number of distinctive styles to develop in America, all legitimately born of folk-song from different localities. Jazz, ragtime, Negro spirituals and blues, Southern mountain songs, country fiddling, and cowboy songs can all be employed in the creation of American art-music, and are actually used by many composers now. These composers are certain to produce something worth while if they have the innate feeling and talent to develop the rich material offered to them. There are also other composers who can be classed as legitimately American who do not make use of folk-music as a base, but who personally, working in America, developed highly individualized styles and methods. Their new-found materials should be called American, just as an invention is called American if it is made by an American!
Jazz I regard as an American folk-music; not the only one, but a very powerful one which is probably in the blood and feeling of the American people more than any other style of folk-music. I believe that it can be made the basis of serious symphonic works of lasting value, in the hands of a composer with talent for both jazz and symphonic music.
From: American Composers on American Music
The black man with the wonderful smile finished singing, mopped his forehead with a huge white handkerchief, raised the gleaming trumpet to his lips and played. The music was jazz. It was exciting and happy music, and soon everyone was smiling and feeling good, clapping and swaying to the rhythm. He finished playing and the crowd roared and applauded.
That was Louis Armstrong, one of the most famous and best-loved jazz musicians of all the time. Armstrong did a great deal to popularize this type of music. Jazz was created by black Americans from African drumbeats, work songs, blues, spirituals, and especially the lively marchingband tunes so popular right after the Civil War.
The cradle city of jazz was New Orleans. Louis Armstrong was born there on July 4, 1900. His family was very poor. He loved music from a very early age and would follow street bands at parades and even funerals just to hear the music.
On New Year's Eve, when he was twelve, he and his friends were having fun with shooting a small gun. Louis had brought his own gun and shot it off. It made such a big noise that it scared everybody and suddenly Louis found himself in the arms of a tall policeman. He was sent to the colored Waifs' Home, a place for black children who go into trouble. One of the teachers that Louis liked a lot was a music teacher named Mr. Davis, who had formed
a band in the school. Louis behaved himself very well and soon was asked to join the band. Mr. Davis gave him bugle and cornet lessons, and the boy had never been happier. He learned quickly and was soon made the leader. Louis finally left the Home after a year and a half and went to live with his father. Because his family was so poor, he had to go right out and earn some money, doing odd jobs like helping a junkman and shovelling coal. He managed to save enough money to buy a battered old cornet. He began to practise and listen to music every chance he got. Louis got his first real job playing when he was sixteen, working for whatever money the customers threw him.
He also began to play with Fate Marble on the riverboats that went up and down the Mississippi. With the Marble band he first learned how to read music well and also got the chance to play jazz for many who had never heard it before. Louis was becoming known as the best player around New Orleans.
In 1924 he got his own band, and some of the best music he ever played was recorded during this period. Louis did all sorts of new musical things. He began travelling all over with his band. Music was his whole life.
On his seventieth birthday a great tribute was paid to Louis. A number of jazz clubs had birthday celebrations. Many famous singers and musicians came and performed in his honour. Everyone acknowledged that he was truly the "King of Jazz".
Louis Armstrong died one year later, but the world will never forget the musician who did so much to make people happy and bring the people of the world closer together.
From: "Moscow News", No. 21, 1979
In 1932 Duke Ellington (1899-1974) wrote a song, It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, that provided a label for a new style of jazz developing among big bands during the 1930s. Duke was no newcomer to the field of jazz, having written his first song, Soda Fountain Rag, at the age of fourteen and having organized his first band not too many years later.
He had little formal training in music other than piano lessons. As a pianist he came in contact with Harlem's active pianists during the time and was particularly influenced by the playing of James P. Johnson, Willie-the-Lion Smith, Luckey Roberts, and Fats Waller. But Ellington's ideas were his own and his genius led him to create an orchestra style marked by rich and daring harmonies, by subtle contrasting of colors and timbres, and by an ingenious handling of solo and ensemble relationships. The orchestra became the vehicle through which Ellington expressed his creativity; it came to represent the ideal big "swinging band".
When Ellington's band began its memorable engagement in 1927 at the famed Cotton Club in Harlem, it included two trumpets, trombone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone (doubling with clarinet), guitar (doubling with banjo), bass, drums, and piano. Later it was enlarged to include three trumpets and two trombones, and in 1932 a third trombone and a fourth saxophone were added. It was during the Cotton Club years that Duke's orchestra began to win distinctions for its thorough musicianship and
Duke, as the leader, could accept the credit for it, but the contributions of his sidemen were significant. They were brilliant soloists in their own rights; they fitted in well with Duke's temperament; and they remained with him over long periods of
Many of Duke's arrangements were worked out with his sidemen in the true tradition of collective improvisation. Duke would bring to the meeting his musical ideas, and one or another of the bandsmen would make suggestions for changes or additions. Things were tried out on the spot in order to find out whether they worked. Often a composition was changed after it had been performed three or four times, sometimes resulting in an entirely new work. Duke's constantly reiterated statement was, "Good music is music that sounds good". Sometimes other musicians of the orchestra would bring their compositions to "creating sessions" to be worked out by the entire group. In 1939 Billy Strayhorn (1915-67), pianist-composer, joined Duke's orchestra as an arranger ana over the years developed into Duke's musical alter ego.* The collaboration between the two men was so close that often neither could identify which part of a musical work was his.
Ellington left more than 2,000 compositions, an impressive record equaled by few composers in the history of American music. His best known works included the symphonic suites Creole Rhapsody (1931), Black, Brown, and Beige (1943), Deep South Suite (1947), Liberian Suite (1947), Such Sweet Thunder (1957), and Far East Suite (1970); the ballet The River (1970); the pageant My People (1963); the television musical A Drum Is a Woman (CBS,* 1957); and the musicals Jump for Joy (1941; 1959) and Beggar's Holiday (1946). Best known of the hundreds of songs he wrote were Sophisticated Lady, In a Sentimental Mood, I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart, Mood Indigo, and / Got It Bad and That Ain't
Ellington made enormous contributions to the development of jazz and, indeed, to American music in general. His innovations, unusual at the time introduced, passed into the sounds of jazz so quickly that the jazz world accepted them as if always there; for example, the use of the voice as an instrument in Adelaide Hall's wordless solo on Creole Love Call (1928), or the employment of Cuban elements in Caravan (1937), or the use of concerto form in
Concerto for Cootie (1939). He was the first jazzman to write concert jazz in extended forms, and for seven years (1943-50) he presented annual concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York. He also was among the first to present jazz in the church.
From: The Music of Black Americans by E. Southern
The largest number of Negro folk-songs collected thus far are spirituals. They were first presented to the world at large by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who toured America and Europe from 1871 to 1878. The story of these singers - their organization and tours - is a fascinating and heroic one, and is so closely connected with the development of America's interest in the spirituals that it seems appropriate to relate a part of it.
Fisk University was established in 1866 for freed men by northern educational interests, as were so many of the schools for Negroes which were established in the South after the Civil War. Shortly after its founding many unforeseen problems arose to perplex the administration. The gravest of these was the problem of funds to carry forward the work of the school. The lack of money produced such a precarious situation that it seemed inevitable that Fisk must close its doors.
The treasurer of the school, Mr. George L. White, had listened with keen interest to the singing of the students, and in a moment of inspiration stated his belief that if the world could hear these strange songs it would experience the same exaltation which he felt when listening to them, and somehow, out of this, sufficient interest could be aroused to help the new educational experiment. He gained the reluctant permission of the authorities to undertake the organization of a group of students into a chorus, with the purpose of making a concert tour.
Excellent voices were abundant among the students. From these Mr. White selected twelve and began more than two years of intensive training.
The type of program to be offered presented several problems of large proportions. America had seen Negroes on the stage before - but they were minstrels. Was America prepared to receive Negroes on the stage in a serious role? What could these young people offer that would interest America and at the same time be worthy of a college? By what name should they be known?
Mr. White decided on a style of singing the spiritual which eliminated every element that detracted from the pure emotion of the song. Harmony was diatonic and limited very largely to the primary triads and the dominant seventh. Dialect was not stressed but was used only where it was vital to the spirit of the song. Finish, precision, and sincerety were demanded by this leader. While
the program featured the spirituals, variety was given it by the use of numbers of classical standard. Mr. White strove for an art presentation, not a caricature of atmosphere.
At last the singers were ready. They left Nashville on October 6th, 1871. During the first part of the tour Mr. White gave the group the inspired name, The Jubilee Singers, and called their music Jubilee Songs.
At first America did not know how to receive the Jubilee Singers. Its first attitude was one of indifference and derision. There soon developed, however, an enthusiasm which led the singers to heights of success far beyond their hopes.
After a successful tour of America, a smaller company of eight singers were taken to Europe where they scored a triumph. They sang before the crowned heads and were entertained by Gladstone.
In 1878 the Singers returned to Fisk with more than one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Just as important as this money, however, was the interest the Jubilee Singers had created over the world in Negro education and in the spirituals, known until recently by the name they gave them-Jubilee Songs.
Frequently today, but quite generally before and during the Reconstruction Period, the spiritual functioned in two ways other than religious expression. It served as the work song and as the social song. However, any spiritual which was used generally as a work song or a social song soon lost its religious significance.
Many grand songs have been eschewed by the church because they had been used too commonly in non-religious activities. One typical example of this is the spiritual Wasn't That a Mighty Day when Jesus Christ was Bom, majestic in melodic Une as well as in word. It was used and still is used by minstrel quartets who feature it with some ridiculous cadenzas for the bass singer.
So strong were the demands of the Negro church upon a member that he was forced to refrain from singing all songs of a secular nature. But, the Negro, compelled by nature to sing as he worked, had to sing religious songs. Frequently, in my search for songs I have found it impossible to persuade church members to sing a work song or a social song for me, because it was "sinful". The church placed the same ban on secular songs in entertainments and suppers that it sponsored.
From the standpoint of form, melodic variety, and emotional expressiveness, the spiritual is the most highly developed of the Negro folk-songs. There are many types of spirituals, but they can be classed in three groups: the "call and response chant"; the slow, sustained, long-phrase melody, and the syncopated, segmented
In the first main type we find such songs as Great Camp Meeting, Shout for Joy, Good Morning Everybody, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, and Sittin' Down beside the Lamb. The largest number of spirituals, and possibly the most interesting ones,
embrace this form. These songs are sung in a rapid tempo, and are characterized by fiery spirit. The calmness of Swing Low Sweet Chariot is an exception.
The second type of spiritual includes such songs as Deep River, Nobody Knows the Trouble I see, My Lord What a Morning, and Were You There? Several noteworthy characteristics are discernible from an analysis of these sprirituals. The tempo of songs in this class is slow and the phrase line long and sustained. Usually the words make long phrases or complete sentences. Fewer songs are known in this mold than in the others. In the spirituals created today this type is rare.
In the third class of spiritual we find the songs which probably are the most popular, such as Shout All over God's Heab'n, Little David Play on Yo' Harp, Ain't Going to Study War No Mo. The tempo of these songs is usually fast and the rhythm features a swing which stimulates bodily movement. The musical line instead of being a complete, sustained phrase is often made up of segments or rhythmic patterns with a syncopated figure. As is to be expected the words are usually in short phrase length, or one repeated word, rather than in complete lines as are found in Were You There? and songs of its class.
A prominent characteristic of this type of spiritual is a repeated, short rhythmic-pattern usually syncopated, but if not syncopated, featuring an important pulse note. There is frequently an unusual distribution of notes within the pattern.
There is a certain elusive quality heard in the native singing of the melodies that defies musical notation. For lack of suitable symbols, it is impossible to record on paper many of these songs as they are sung in their native environment. Extravagant postamenta, slurs, and free use of extra notes serve to mystify the collector of these songs who strives for accuracy.
Of much interest are the scales of the Negro employed in the spirituals. He unconsciously avoided the fourth and seventh major scale steps in many songs, thereby using the pentatonic scale. But there were employed notes foreign to the conventional major and minor scales with such frequency as to justify their being regarded as distinct. The most common of these are the "flatted third" (the feature note of the blues) and the "flatted seventh".
The latter note is seen prominently in the songs Roll Jordan Roll, Soon-a Will Be Done (second tune), Great Camp Meeting, and Wish I's in Heab'n Settin' Down. The scale employed in You May Bury me in the East corresponds closely to the Dorian mode. Several songs make use of the Phrygian mode. Lord Help the Po' and Needy is one.
Although the spirituals usually lend themselves readily to four-part harmony, and concert singers have sung them with varied tempos and dynamics quite effectively, nevertheless, in the rural churches from where they mostly spring they are sung with a
minimum of such modifications. There are few contrasting passages such as loud and soft; no notes are held for effect longer than the pulse indicates; and strangest of all, there are no retards to anticipate the closing cadence. The leader establishes his tempo and maintains it throughout the song. Harmony occasionally is in two parts, rarely in three. I have never encountered four-part harmony.
The leader is a most important factor in the singing of spirituals. It is he who sets the pitch and tempo, and it is he who sings the verses. The leader sometimes must sing his refrain through several times before the group will join him. He must have at his disposal many verses for each song.
Many churches have spirituals which are led exclusively by special singers. Thus, within a church a spiritual may be designated as Brother Jones' Song, or Sister Mary's Song. Such songs may have been composed, or merely introduced into the church singing by the leader. The "ownership" of such a song carried with it the indisputable ability to sing it effectively. In this manner traditions of singing grew around certain spirituals. It was not unusual that a song ceased to be sung in a church after a famous leader of it had died.
From: American Negro Songs and Spirituals Ed. by John Work
The spirituals are the manifestation of Afro-American folk music in choral singing. The blues are the manifestation of Afro-American folk music in solo singing.
The blues probably took shape gradually after the Civil War. They were widely sung throughout the rural South in the final decades of the nineteenth century, and soon emerged as a (normally) twelve-bar song form with instrumental accompaniment, basically antiphonal in structure. Taken up by the Negro musicians who con-verged on the cities of the South and Middle West in the 1890s in search of employment, the urbanized blues branched off from the archaic or folk blues (which continued on their own course) and took a Une of development that in turn branched off into two dis-tinct channels: the blues as popular song and the blues as jazz.
Often the verses of the blues, likе those of the spirituals, were made up of current tag Unes strung together in the moment of im-provisation.
Since the singer was giving relief to his feelings - of lonesome-ness, or longing, or resentment, or sorrow - there was consolation in repeating the sentiment that he wanted to express. He began by telling what was on his mind, repeated it once for emphasis, and finished it off with a second repetition for good measure. This pattern was certainly no strain upon the singer's powers of improvisation. When the latter sought more scope, a variation in the
third line resulted:
I've never seen such real hard times before
I've never seen such real hard times before
The wolf keeps walkin' all 'round my door.
This three-line stanza, consisting of statement, repetition, and "response", is the classic verse form of the blues.
Although most blues have the burden of lament associated with the expression "Feeling blue", they have an undertone of humour, not so much stressed as implied, that gives them a character utterly different from that of the ordinary sentimental song.
Besides being a type of folk song in their own right, and later a form of American popular music, the blues were a means of effecting the transition of Afro-American "hot" music from the vocal to the instrumental realm through the medium of piano blues and the jazz band. The blues are therefore of far-reaching significance in the development of American music.
The usual structure of the blues consists of a twelve-bar pattern. Each line of the verse corresponds to four measures of the music. To express it in another way, there are two complete melodic state-ments (corresponding to the verse statement and its repetition), each ending on the tonic (or the third or fifth of the tonic chord), fol-lowed by the melodic "response" (corresponding to the third line of the verse), which also ends on the tonic.
Many of the folk blues use the pentatonic scale, but this scale, so wide spread in folk music, is not what gives to the blues their peculiar melodic quality. The characteristic trait is rather the flatting of the third and seventh degrees of the diatonic scale. These are the so-called "blue notes" that have been of such significance in modern music. I
The blues scale (diatonic, with microtonally flatted third and sev-enth) lies at the very core of Afro-American folk song, and its influ-ence has permeated large sectors of American music, both in the popular and in the fine-art idioms.
All the evidence indicates that the blues scale, and the blues intonation that goes with it, are an original and unique contribution of the Negro race to America's music.
Many musicians and many singers, some anonymous, some leg-endary, some obscure, some famous, many now dead, some still living, were responsible for the transition of the blues from a folk song of one region and one group to a type of song known throughout the land, widely imitated, often changed, frequently dis-torted, occasionally cheapened, but generally asserting its essential integrity and individuality as a musical form and as a nonsentimental expression of feeling. Among these musicians, there is one whose name has been particularly associated with the rise of the blues as a type of popular music: W.C. Handy, known above all as the com-poser of St. Louis Blues.
From: America's Music From the Pilgrims to the Present by G. Chase
When Africans sang, they slid into and around notes instead of hitting them straight. They didn't stay on pitch. Their voices played around it; and the slides and swoops gave their songs a strange haunting quality quite unlike anything known in Western music. American Negroes, in slave days, sang with the same changes of pitch and the same subtle gliding from note to note.
It seems likely that the blues sound - so important in jazz - goes back to the African way of singing between and around notes. In blues, the third and seventh notes of the scale are flatted - not by half tone, to which we are accustomed, but by a fraction close to a
These slurred notes occur through Negro folk music and jazz. The great blue singer, Bessie Smith, could slide lazily into tones that can't be placed exactly on the scale. So could Billie Holiday. Ella Fitzgerald and Mahalia Jackson, among present-day singers, swoop and glide into notes in a way impossible to put down on paper. This is the opposite of the European musical tradition. A classically trained singer is taught to hit notes in a straightforward, precise way. To such a singer a deviation from pitch is a catastrophe. This differ-ence in training may explain why opera singers do not make good
West Africans used vibrato in their songs, and this, too, was adopted in jazz. Vibrato is a slightly tremulous or pulsating effect. African singers used this device to make certain parts of the songs more important or to give them emotional intensity. In jazz, vibrato serves much the same purpose and also sets up a rhythmic pulsation within the larger system rhythm of the piece - a beat within a beat.
From: What Jazz is All About? by L. Erlich
1. How did jazz originate? What elements contributed to the de-velopment of jazz?
2. What are the main stylistic features of jazz?
3. Who were the legendary figures of the early generation of jazz musicians? Characterize the role which each of them played in the development of jazz.
4. Comment on the role of improvisations in jazz.
5. What are the principal sources of the blues? When were they
6. What are the characteristic features of spirituals and blues?
7. How do spirituals differ from blues?
8. Name the most distinguished blues singers.
Music lives through interpretation. Between a musical work and the world stands the interpreter who brings the score to life by his performance. The relationship between the performing and the cre-ative artist, however, has changed profoundly in the history of music and continues to do so. This situation in music, as compared with the other arts, is unique. Paintings in the gallery speak to the visitor without the help of a mediator; this is true similarly of the works of sculpture and architecture. In reading poetry or prose, we act, as it were, as our own interpreters. But in music, the score of the St. Matthew Passion, as such, has meaning only for the intellect of the trained musician. The large mass of music lovers, in order to hear masterworks, is dependent upon actual performance of them. Thus it becomes obvious that in music, in contrast to the other arts, the in-terpreter is of paramount importance-a factor sine qua non.*
Our musical life has become more and more a cult of the inter-preter. The present over-emphasis on the interpreter's role is sharply contrasted by the disregard of it in former periods. The ecclesiastical spirit of the Middle Ages did not acknowledge interpretation in our modern sense, as the individualized expression of the performer. The picture has gradually changed in the last four hundred years, so that the interpreter, who was formerly very much in the background, has now become the star of the performance. Small wonder, then, that the musical world is disturbed by heated arguments over the rights and limits of interpretation. What are the interpreter's rights? Where are these limits?
Interpretation: Objective or Subjective? The subjective approach reflects the interpreter's individuality more than it does the world of the masterwork - not only in details, but also in the delineation of the composition as a whole.
In opposition to such a subjective reading stands the objective treatment, where the interpreter's principal attitude is that of uncon-ditional loyalty to the script. Setting aside his personal opinion and detaching himself from his individual feelings, the objective inter-preter has but one goal in mind: to interpret the music in the way the author conceived it. For instance, the objective interpreter of
Beethoven's Fifth Symphony will perform the opening measures ac-cording to metronomic and other objective determinations, as indi-cated by the score and not by his personal feelings.
If we turn from the particular case of the Fifth Symphony to any classical score, in fact to a score of any period, the inevitable question arises as to whether the score could be interpreted literally or whether the performer should have carte blanche* in general in-terpretation, on the ground that, besides the script of the score, its background must also be freely taken into consideration. If all this could be answered by a simple formula, the continual argument about interpretation would not exist.
However, this problem of objectivity or subjectivity in musical interpretation is one of great complexity. First of all, interpreters are all different human beings. Each one's natural impulse toward one and the same score is bound to differ. Each one's personal back-ground, education, culture, and human and artistic experiences, are likewise different. In spite of this, it would still be conceivable to in-sure what we call authenticity of interpretation, namely, the objective realization of the author's wishes, if the score as such were explicit enough to protect the composer's intentions against any misinterpre-tation on the performer's part.
Notation Cannot Express Intangibles. Even the modem score, however, frequently admired as one of the highest achievements of the human spirit, is far from perfection. Of course, great composers have superbly transformed their ideas into scores, making the best possible use of musical notation. But it is this very notation that is imperfect and may remain so forever, notwithstanding remarkable contributions to its improvement. There are certain intangibles that cannot be expressed by our method of writing music-vital musical elements incapable of being fixed by the marks and symbols of no-tation. Consequently, score scripts are incomplete in representing the composers' intentions. No score, as written in manuscript and pub-lished in print, can offer complete information for its interpreter.
The performer's first task, that of setting the main tempo, be-comes mere guesswork unless he is thoroughly acquainted with cer-tain fundamental facts concerning the style of the period concerned. After all, time is relative in music, as elsewhere, and so the purport of the different designations, from adagio to presto, has to be ad-justed according to the peculiarities of the composer and his work. And there are still numerous other questions confronting the inter-preter. In the scores written since the end of the eighteenth century, these are partly answered by the marks of dynamics or phrasing.
Interpretation Lives Through Style. Sketchy as the old score may seem to the modern performer, it fulfilled its function by of-fering the necessary information in its own day, when the composer and the interpreter were so often one and the same person. Palestrina conducted his own Masses, Handel his own oratorios, Mozart
his own operas, and Bach himself sat on the organ bench of the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, playing his fugues and chorales.
The composer knew what he wanted. He could not afford to write the score according to his fancies and to design the pictures of his own script in lines that appear vague to us. Should we infer from facts like these that the old master had greater trust in the capacity of his fellow-interpreter to read and render his works? After all, the composer could not have expected to be his own interpreter forever. One thing is certain: modern composers do not have such faith in their interpreters. This becomes clear by comparing the manuscripts of the scores of old and modern times. Today, the. in-terpreter of contemporary works frequently has little or no personal choice, as he is forced to follow the very strict directions of the composer.
Starting with the instructions of the Classicists, and increasing with those of the Romanticists, we reach the height of direction in the modern score. In a work like Mahler's Second Symphony, written at the turn of our century, the composer has given instructions complete enough for a scenario. Players in the finale are told exactly when to enter and when to leave the podium for the backstage mu-sic; they are also told in which position to hold their instruments for better tone production. Again, in significant contemporary scores, particularly in those of Schoenberg, letters help the performer to un-derstand the polyphonic texture by pointing out the relationship be-tween principal part and accompanying part.
Stravinsky does not hesitate to compare a good conductor with a sergeant whose duty it is to see that every order is obeyed by his player-soldiers. The question arises whether through such a point of view the interpreter is not demoted to the role or nothing more nor less than a musical traffic policeman. He might find solace in this statement of Sibelius: "The right tempo is the one the artist feels!" This dictum of Sibelius again opens the door to subjective interpretation. What the artist feels becomes the decisive factor in the rendition. Obviously, one cannot expect to set an inflexible, mathematical standard in art; if ideas of composers are subjective and their directions relative (in spite of such mechanical aids as the metronome), the interpreter's knowledge is likewise subjective, and therefore his ways of performance are subjective too. We conclude, then, that the ego of the interpreter and the score of the composer provide the very combination through which creative inspiration may be translated into musical reality.
Nothing is more difficult than the task of rethinking the old works, on the basis of the original elastic score script, in terms of the great masters who wrote them. There are three paths that will lead the interpreter out of this labyrinth. First, he must learn how to read the script and to understand its language. Second, his fantasy must discover the musical essence, the inner language behind the written symbols. Finally, the interpreter should be fully acquainted
with the background and the tradition of a work - with all the cus-toms surrounding the score at the time of its creation.
This end can be accomplished only if the interpreter leans on the accumulated knowledge of the trained historian as the true guardian of the authentic style. Of course, style is not the only requisite for fidelity of performance, but it is certainly the framework. If music lives through interpretation, then true interpretation can live only through the genuine style.
From: The History of Music in Performance by F. Dorian
1. What is the role of interpretation in music as compared with the other arts? What is musical interpretation in a modern
2. Find in the text a passage describing the difference between the subjective and objective approach in a musical perfor-mance. Why does the argument about interpretation continue? What are the interpreter's rights and where are their limits?
3. What evidence does the author provide to show that modern musical notation is imperfect?
4. Find in the text passages describing the relationship between the composer and the performer. What was the performing practice in Palestrina's time? How has it changed since then? Why is it so difficult to perform old works?
5. How have theories of interpretation changed throughout the history of music? Give examples of how twentieth-century composers have tried to limit the freedom of the performer.
6. What are the three recommendations which the author makes to the performer?
7. Give a summary of the text in writing.
1. Music for the public has always been dependent upon the performer. His role in the present organisation of concert-giving is so emphasized that he often overshadows the com-poser himself. What do you think of this? Do you agree? If not, give your reasons.
2. What, besides inborn, instinct and good taste, is to set the limits beyond which the performer may not go? Tradition, handed down from one generation of musicians to another, is often distorted in the process; yet how else, after the com-poser's death, are his wishes to be translated into sound? By what standard can one reading of composer's work be con-sidered better than another?
3. What Soviet musicologists have dealt with questions of musical
interpretation? Have you read their books? What is your opinion of them?
4. What do you think makes a performance convincing and in-teresting? In your opinion, what is truth in musical interpre-tation?
1. Write a short critical review of a performance. Discuss the art of the performer in all its aspects - historical, technical and spiritual. Give examples.
2. Write an essay about your favourite performer. What qualities do you value in him/her most of all? In what music does he/she excel? How does he/she tackle the problems of in-terpretation?
3. Write a composition or give a short talk explaining and illus-trating the following statement: "The comprehension of for-mer style sharpens the senses for modern styles."
Conducting involves not only precise indication of speed, dynam-ics and phrasing, but also careful preparation to ensure that the bal-ance is correct and that the intentions of the composer are ade-quately represented. These requirements are not always observed, but a good performance is impossible without them. Unlike the singer or instrumentalist, the conductor has to persuade others to accept his view of the music and so help him to shape it into a unified and convincing whole. The method by which this is achieved varies ac-cording to the individual. Some conductors make detailed annotations in the orchestral parts or vocal scores, indicating details of bowing to the string-players or of breathing to the singers. Others rely on verbal instructions at rehearsals and on the impress of a strong per-sonality.
The use of a baton, though at least as old as the 15th century, did not become the almost universal method of directing a perfor-mance until the second half of the 19th century. Other methods be-fore that time included the hand, a roll of paper, or a violin bow. When a stick was employed it was sometimes used to beat time au-dibly, e.g. at the Paris Opera in the 17th and 18th centuries. Else-where in the 18th century it was normal for opera to be directed from the harpsichord, which was in any case necessary for playing the recitative, and for symphonies to be directed by the principal first violin (still known in Britain as "leader" of the orchestra). When the baton was introduced to London by Spohr in 1820 and to Leipzig by Mendelssohn in 1835, it was regarded as a novelty. The increasing complication of orchestral writing and the growth of the forces employed made a clear and visible direction indispensable, and 80
the use of the baton soon became general. Even today, however, there are a few conductors - e.g. Boulez - who prefer to dispense with it and use their hands.
The original purpose of conducting was simply to keep the per-formers together, and hence it was very necessary when large forces were employed for church or court festivals. By the latter part of the 18th century, however, the growing subtlety of orchestral expression called for something more than the mere indication of time. By the middle of the 19th century the conductor had become an interpreter. Berlioz, Wagner, von Bülow and Richter showed that a conductor needed to be a consummate* musician, with an intimate understanding of every detail of the score and the power to communicate his understanding to others. Hence the rise in the 20th century of the "star" conductor, who is worshipped as intensely as the operatic singer in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The only satisfactory training for conducting is continual practice, which naturally depends to some extent on opportunity. Among the other indispensable requirements are practical familiarity with orches-tral instruments and a knowledge of their capabilities and limitations, ability to read a full score and to hear it mentally, and an intimate knowledge of the style of widely different composers and periods.
From: Collins Encyclopaedia of Music
by Leonard Bernstein
One of the first to recognize the artistic mission of the conductor was Felix Mendelssohn, who dedicated himself to an exact realization of the score he was conducting, through manipulation of the baton. There soon arrived, however, a great dissenter named Richard Wagner who declared that everything Mendelssohn was doing was wrong and that a conductor should personalize the score he was conducting by coloring it with his own emotions and his own cre-ative impulse. And so out of the clash of these two points of view the history of conducting was born; and there arose all those great names in conducting, as well as all the fights that go on about them right up to our own time. Mendelssohn fathered the "elegant" school, whereas Wagner inspired the "passionate" school of con-ducting. Actually, both attitudes are necessary, and neither one is completely satisfactory without the other.
The ideal modern conductor is a synthesis of the two attitudes, and this synthesis is rarely achieved. In fact, it's practically impossi-ble. Almost any musician can be a conductor, even a pretty good one; but only a rare musician can be a great one. This is not only because it is so hard to achieve the Mendelssohn-Wagner combina-tion, but also because the conductor's work encompasses such a tremendous range. Unlike an instrumentalist or a singer, he has to
play on an orchestra. His instrument is one hundred human instru-ments, each one a thorough musician, each with a will of his own; and he must cause them to play like one instrument with a single will. Therefore, he must have enormous authority, to say nothing of psychological insight in dealing with this large group - and all this is just the beginning. He must be a master of the mechanics of con-ducting. He must have an inconceivable amount of knowledge. He must have a profound perception of the inner meanings of music, and he must have uncanny powers of communication. (...)
The qualities that distinguish great conductors lie far beyond and above what we have spoken of. We now begin to deal with the in-tangibles, the deep magical aspect of conducting. It is the mystery of relationships - conductor and orchestra bound together by the tiny but powerful split second. How can I describe to you the magic of the moment of beginning a piece of music? There is only one pos-sible fraction of a second that feels exactly right for starting. (...)
This psychological timing is constantly in play throughout the performance of music. It means that a great conductor is one who has great sensitivity to the flow of time; who makes one note move to the next in exactly the right way and at the right instant. For music exists in the medium of time. It is time itself that must be carved up, molded and remolded until it becomes, like a statue, an existing shape and form. This is the hardest to do. (...)
These are the intangibles of conducting, the mysteries that no conductor can learn or acquire. If he has a natural faculty for deep perception, it will increase and deepen as he matures. If he hasn't he will always remain a pretty good conductor. But even the pretty good conductor must have one more attribute in his personality, without which all the mechanics and knowledge and perception are useless; and that is the power to communicate all this to his orches-tra - through his arms, face, eyes, fingers, and whatever vibrations may flow from him.
But the conductor must not only make his orchestra play, he must make them want to play. He must exalt them, lift them, either through cajoling or demanding or raging. But however he does it, he must make the orchestra love the music as he loves it. It is not so much imposing his will on them like a dictator; it is more like pro-jecting his feelings around him so that they reach the last man in the second violin section. And when this happens - when one hun-dred men share his feelings, exactly, simultaneously, responding as one to each rise and fall of the music, to each point of arrival and departure, to each little inner pulse - then there is a human identity of feeling that has no equal elsewhere. It is the closest thing I know to love itself. On this current of love the conductor can communi-cate at the deepest levels with his players, and ultimately with his audience.
And perhaps the chief requirement of all is that the conductor be humble before the composer; that he never interpose himself 82
between the music and the audience; that all his efforts, however strenuous or glamorous, be made in the service of the composer's meaning - the music itself, which, after all, is the whole reason for the conductor's existence.
From: The Joy of Music by L. Bernstein
1. Describe the main functions of the conductor of a great or-chestra nowadays. Why is a conductor necessary?
2. What was the original purpose of conducting? How has the practice of conducting changed since the 17-18th centuries?
How has the role of the conductor changed through the centuries? Give examples.
3. Why cannot a modern orchestra of highly-trained professional musicians perform without a conductor? Why do they need a person beating time for them? Cannot the concertmaster, the principal violin, indicate the movement of the work with his bow?
4. Who was the first to recognize the artistic mission of the conductor?
5. What distinguishes great conductors from mere time-beaters? What makes a conductor great?
6. Speak about the relationship between the conductor and the orchestra. By what means can a conductor persuade the members of the orchestra to accept his interpretation?
7. What qualities does Bernstein especially value in a conductor? Do you share his view on the ideal modern conductor?
8. What is meant by "true musicianship", "interpretative gifts" with reference to a conductor?
Until its fateful third decade, Berlin was the music capital of the twentieth century. Any aspiring composer or performer who hap-pened to grow up there was, as a matter of course, exposed to the highest standards, the busiest, most exciting of musical scenes.
There were, among others, composers like Arnold Schoenberg, Franz Schreker (who was my own teacher of composition), Ferruccio Busoni, and Paul Hindemith. The great conductors included Wilhelm Fürtwängler, Bruno Walter, Erich Kleiber, and Otto Klemperer, and there were three full-time opera houses, each with its own public and its own particular viewpoint.
The chief advantage for a young musician in such a scene was, of course, the chance to attend the unforgettable performances of
these great conductors. Moreover, there were the occasions to ob-serve them in rehearsal and in various personal encounters. (...)
At the N.Y. Philharmonic. Some years later, the course of events took me again to New York. At Klemperer's invitation I joined the New York Philharmonic as official pianist, and later on as assistant conductor (Klemperer at that time shared the season with the music director, Toscanini).
This post in the new world-center of music proved to be another ideal spot to witness and absorb the practical application in day-to-day work of top-level artistic standards. One could closely observe the various demands conductors make, the manner and technique employed, and the resulting interaction with the orchestra.
Toscanini, who actually came to the concert podium relatively late in his career, was in all he conducted the servant of the score, as he personally saw it. In historical context, this was of course to his everlasting credit. As a dedicated Italian, he restored to Verdi's work the original intent, dignity, and integrity - all of which had been routinely violated by mediocre conductors and singers alike. The quintessential dictator, Toscanini could be rough with the orchestra. Yet the men sensed that he was toughest with himself, deep down humble and sincere. So they forgave and really played for him. No need to mention the Toscanini temper tantrums,* were it not for the notable exception to the rule I once witnessed. At a rehearsal of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, his gorge rising, Toscanini suddenly grabbed the big score with both hands, ready to fling it to the floor as was his custom. But then he hesitated, meekly putting it back on. the stand. It had all his markings!
Klemperer and Walter. When it came to guest conductors, this same orchestra's responses varied considerably. The eminent Otto Klemperer, whose rather bizarre behavior became a trademark, nevertheless imposed his conceptions by meticulous, consistent rehearsing, step by step. Eventually and without fail he did get what he wanted. But along that arduous road there were some confrontations. (...)
Another frequent guest was Bruno Walter, whose artistic profile differed sharply from both Toscanini's and Klemperer's. The most amiable of conductors, he was basically a lyricist, favoring delicate shadings and flexibility of rhythm. This was not easy to achieve for an orchestra primarily drilled for accuracy to the ultimate degree. Particularly since Walter was so conciliatory, virtually pleading with them. "I am not happy," he would exclaim. (In his Memoirs Bruno Walter writes about this tendency of his, which at times impaired his authority over an orchestra.) In the end, of course, he succeeded, but not without a costly struggle. His style of conducting was not conducive to orchestral precision nor was that his aim. I recall his revealing remark: "When one conducts for precision, one does in-deed get precision. Period!" Wisdom from a great musician.
As is by now rather evident, guest conducting, like every good thing, has its drawbacks, particularly when it comes to the bread-and-butter* repertory. The orchestra knows all these pieces. "What can you teach us? "Perhaps the primary element here is in the mat-ter of tempo. Any conductor worth his salt has his own built-in con-cept of tempo, his own life-pulse, as it were. And within artistic limits, everyone is so entitled. As William Steinberg, in a moment of Olympic detachment, once said to me: "I don't care. I still prefer my own wrong tempi to the wrong tempi of my colleagues." Amen!
Stokowski, noted guest. One noted guest, legendary Stokowski, when confronting the New York Philharmonic, encountered some problems of his own. Fresh from Philadelphia, where he had built that fabulous orchestra in bis own image, he brought with him some strong convictions. A pioneer in orchestra seating, free bowing, acoustical innovations,* and a very personal style of conducting with-out baton, he faced some recalcitrance.* The Philharmonic musicians, traditional in orientation, resented his "improvements." And the famed Stokowski sound failed to materialize, even when it came to concert time.
Only once, during his Philharmonic engagement, was there a sin-gle light moment. Rehearsing a work of the Romantic period, Stokowski stopped with the admonition: "Gentlemen, don't play so mechanically." A burst of laughter from the orchestra. Stoki was taken aback, until there came the explanation. Evidently a short time before, the Mexican conductor/composer Carlos Chavez, at a re-hearsal, had demanded of the Philharmonic: "Please, genltemen, play more mechanically!"
Sir Thomas Beecham's appearances with the New York Philhar-monic were rather unique. His programs consisted almost entirely of works by English composers, most of which the orchestra had never played. From a high stack of scores he would grab the first piece, conduct a run-through,* not stopping for corrections, then throw the score to the floor and go on to the next number, at times singing the tune lustily. He paused only for intermission, and for one single time when the orchestra sightreading, simply broke down. He was perfectly content to let matters rest, until concert time. The aston-ishing thing was that the concerts went off very well, and certainly very much to the public's liking! Either he did not care to rehearse, or he simply did not know how. In any case his sound musical in-stinct and enthusiasm always seemed to carry the day.
Stravinsky's tempos. The scene now shifts to the Metropolitan Opera, which I joined early in the Bing* regime as assistant con-ductor, later moving on to full conductor after my successful debut directing Eugene Onegin and Vanessa. One of the important mile-stones was the new production of Stravinsky's Rake's Progress con-ducted by the brilliant Fritz Reiner.* Soon the musical staff got into full action. We were armed with pocket metronomes to impose the composer's very own metronome markings as printed in the score.
Thus we coached the entire cast according to Stravinsky's wishes, while certainly our conductor, Reiner, was a most exacting, precise music director.
After a week of intense music ensemble rehearsals, Stravinsky was invited to a run-through of the music with piano. He seemed very pleased - with a single exception. Most of the tempos - of course, his own from the printed score - he found too slow! The re-quired adjustments were duly undertaken.
Here, again, the eternal question: what is the right tempo? It was evident that only when confronted with hearing his music played, and - more important - sung, did Stravinsky feel what the tempo giusto* should be. In the abstract he had no real perspective. (And so it has gone with numberless examples of nineteenth-century composers and their own music. Beethoven, Wagner, and Verdi, among others, later on in their lives gave up putting in metronome marks altogether, learning from practical experience how misleading they could be.)
The single aim. In their individual, different ways, conductors of quality share the single aim: to bring music to life. Theirs is the in-sight to discern the essence of each piece, its style, structure, and prevailing mood. As they tend to be men of strong convictions, much has been made of their rivalries and disagreements.
The fact is that every artist in his quest for truth can use the stimulation of opposing views, and periodic self-examination can be revitalizing. In art, as in life, the one thing to fear is stifling con-formity.
From: High Fidelity, 1983. Abridged
1. What have you learnt from the essay "Some Musical En-counters"? How are the personalities of such great conductors as Toscanini and Stokowsky described in the memoirs of their contemporary?
2. Find in the text a passage describing Klemperer's and Walter's methods of working with the orchestra. In what aspects did they differ?
3. How is Stravinsky's musical personality described in the mem-oirs?
4. Find in the text passages in which the problem of tempo is discussed. How do you understand Steinberg's statement: "I still prefer my own wrong tempi to the wrong tempi of my colleagues"? Do you share his views? Who, in your opinion, is to establish criteria?
5. What innovations did Stokowsky introduce?
6. What were Beecham's ways of dealing with the orchestra? What do you know about Beecham's contribution to the de-velopment of orchestral playing in England?
Versatility in an artist can be a disadvantage, for it tends to blur the general public appreciation of his work and delays a proper evaluation. For some people, such versatility implies a lack of depth. If the artist also does not possess a clear notion of what he has to achieve, the many facets of his work can dissipate his energy.
That Bernstein is versatile is not disputed: as a conductor his repertoire is wider than that of any of comparable stature; as a pi-anist he is certainly of virtuoso standard and as a composer he has made significant contributions to the myriad genres he has essayed, from serious concert pieces to works for the "music theatre". In ad-dition, Bernstein is a noted communicator and propagator for the arts in general and music in particular.
Bernstein was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts on August 25th 1918 and took his first piano lessons at the comparatively late age of ten. His progress was remarkable for he entered the New England Conservatoire at thirteen, continuing his piano studies with three teachers. In 1935 he entered Harvard University. His most famous teacher, for counterpoint and fugue was Walter Piston - indeed there was no finer in the USA. Bernstein graduated from Harvard in 1939 having already made his debut there as a conductor and pianist and in 1940 became a student of Serge Koussevitsky. He also did post-graduate work at the Curtis Institute of Music, studying conducting under Fritz Reiner and in 1942 he was appointed assistant to Kous-sevitsky at Tanglewood.* In 1942/3 Bernstein led a varied eighteen months: pursuing his ambition to be a conductor, he also composed his magnificent Clarinet Sonata and Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah) for soprano and orchestra. On August 25th 1943 Bernstein was appointed Assistant Conductor of the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York. On November 14th 1943 Bernstein made his sensational debut with the New York Philharmonic (as it became) deputising at less than twenty four hours notice for an ailing Bruno Walter. In one sense the rest is history, for few conducting debuts can ever have been so triumphant or given under such fraught circumstances. Had Bernstein merely acquitted himself well it is most unlikely that his subsequent career would have developed at the pace it did, but such was his total command of the orchestra, so clearly did he stamp his own personality on the performances, so assuredly did he demon-strate his grasp of the essential features of bis task, and so vividly show his considerable interpretative rifts that it was clear to every-one in the Carnegie Hall audience that they had witnessed a wholly remarkable and indeed historic event. Within a very short while Bernstein's name was on everyone's lips, not only as a conductor but also as a composer. In this last capacity 1944 was a most im-portant year for in January he conducted the première of the First Symphony in Pittsburg, in May that of the ballet Fancy Free in
New York and towards the end of the year his first great musical On The Town also in New York.
In 1945 he was appointed music director of the New York Sym-phony Orchestra, his programmes being notable for their wide catholicity* of taste and the following year made his first foreign tour as a conductor, appearing with the Czech Philharmonic in Prague (in two concerts of all-American music) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, conducting Fancy Free at Covent Garden during the same visit. A month later back in the USA he conducted the American première of Britten's Peter Grimes (commissioned by Koussevitsky, and of which Bernstein was to have conducted the world première in the USA).
His compositions at this time climaxed with the Symphony No. 2 The Age of Anxiety for piano and orchestra which Bernstein premiered under Koussevitsky with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in April 1949. In 1965 Bernstein revised the Symphony, particularly the finale, which was improved by this attention. Bernstein conducted another important world première with the Boston Symphony Or-chestra at the end of 1949, Messiaen's Turangalila-Symphonie.
In 1952 his magnificent one-act chamber opera Trouble in Tahiti appeared. Trouble in Tahiti is an utterly unique work and is, in its own way, a masterpiece. Bernstein wrote his own libretto. In 1953 he became the first American to conduct at La Scala in a perfor-mance of Cherubini's Medea with Callas which the diva regarded as one of the high artistic achievements of her career.
In 1955 Bernstein returned to La Scala for La Somnambula and La Boheme, and his operetta Candide was premiered the following year. By this time he had moved record labels from RCA (when his first recording of Schumann's Second Symphony, still the greatest interpretation ever committed to disc, showed his qualities to the widest international audience) to CBS, and during the best part of the next twenty years he made hundreds of records with the New York Philharmonic for that company, of which orchestra he became musical director in 1958. Bernstein was forty, widely experienced and a charismatic personality. Like Stokowski forty five years before he instituted some daring experiments, not all of them successful, but each one guaranteered to keep the affairs of the New York Phil-harmonic of interest to all sections of the media. Almost exactly a year before, in September 1957, Bernstein conducted the opening night of his greatest stage work West Side Story, quite clearly a work of genius.
Whatever one may think of Bernstein's ability, and only the non-musical would deny his great gifts, he has fearlessly used his position and influence to promote much music which had been neglected. Of all the composers Bernstein promoted in this way, above all his championship of Mahler must take pride of place.
For many people, Bernstein is Mahler, possessing rare qualities which place his interpretation of this composer's music out of the
ordinary. Both were great conductors who were men of the theatre; both conducted the same orchestra and those musicians who saw both conduct attested to their remarkable similarities in matters of technique; both were composer-conductors and both were of Jewish background. In addition, Bernstein was the same age when he recorded the Mahler symphonies that Mahler was when they were written: no other conductor possessed this unique combination of qualities with regard to the interpretation of Mahler's music. It should also be remembered that Bernstein was the first conductor to record a complete Mahler symphony cycle; he has recorded a second cycle on video with the Vienna Philharmonic.
Like all great conductors, there are several composers in whose music Bernstein excels, Mahler of course, but his Beethoven is exceptional as indeed is his Haydn. From the romantic repertoire, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, Brahms' Fourth Symphony and Liszt's Faust Symphony (which he has recorded twice) have always been outstanding interpretations. Bernstein's range of sympathy with twentieth century music is wholly remarkable, having given thirty six world premieres with the New York Philharmonic, and having be-come world famous for his performance of music by Stravinsky, Hindemith and Bartok.
His championship of American music has always been consider-able, and his performances of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue which he directs from the keyboard is another famous item in his reper-toire, one of about ten piano concertos Bernstein has played and recorded. It is a pity that he has not developed this aspect of his art for he is a pianist of considerable calibre, early in his career having given a first performance of Copland's Piano Sonata. Since 1963, the year of his Third Symphony (not really in the same class as its predecessors) he has devoted less time to composition.
In 1971 his remarkable Mass opened the John F. Kennedy Cen-ter of Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. This is a controversial work, but a genuine one, which contains Bernstein's finest music and shows his power at creating compelling music over long time-spans. This was followed by several major works during the next half dozen years: the big ballet Dybbuk, the musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Songfest (a cycle for six singers and orchestra, and Three Meditations for cello and orchestra (for Rostropovitch) based on ma-terial from Mass. Of late Bernstein has spent much time in Vienna, where he is greatly admired. His recent complete Beethoven cycle (his second complete cycle - some individual symphonies he has recorded as many as four times) with the Vienna Philharmonic is, likе most of his recordings nowadays, taken from live performances.
But recently we have had possibly this most prolific of all recording conductors greatest performance on disc: the complete recording of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, worthy to take its place alongside the two previous greatest recordings of the music-drama by
Furtwängler and Böhm. Bernstein's genius is here demonstrated at its most profound.1
From: Music & Musicians, 1986. Abridged
1. Briefly outline Bernstein's conducting career. Which world's premières did he conduct? With what leading orchestras did he appear?
2. Find in the text a passage describing Bernstein's début with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. What was it about Bernstein's performance that so pleased the audience?
3. Find in the text passages describing Bernstein's repertoire. In what music did he excel? What were his tastes in opera?
4. What performance did he conduct at La Scala in 1953? Who sang the main part?
5. Briefly outline the creative career of Bernstein - the composer. In what branches of music did he excel?
6. Which of Bernstein's compositions have you heard? What do you think of them?
7. Which of Mahler's works did Bernstein record? Compare Bernstein's interpretation of Mahler's symphonies with that of Karajan. In what way do they differ? Which of them do you likе better? Explain your preference.
8. Describe Bernstein's musical personality. Characterize his activ-ity in the field of musical appreciation and musical education.
9. What evidence does the author provide to support his view that Bernstein belongs to the select handful of major inter-national conductors?
Herbert von Karajan's influence on the make-up of the European musical scene is almost incalculable.2 His contribution to music on record has been vast; indeed, there can be few record collectors who are without at least one of his discs. In some repertoires he is peerless,* in a good many more he achieves a level of performance large number of his colleagues must envy. Even his detractors can often begrudgingly be persuaded to nominate one of his recordings as truly outstanding. One of the last great maestros who have achieved their status the old way - a long, arduous but invaluable apprenticeship - Karajan has in his time led and shaped many of the great European orchestras. But it is the Berlin Philharmonic with whom his name is inextricably linked. This almost unique situation -only the Vienna Philharmonic shares his attention - has produced an
1 L. Bernstein died in 1990.
2 H. von Karajan died in 1989
endless stream of recordings that are characterized by a remarkable level of musicianship and mutual understanding. It is an extraordinary tribute to single-minded ambition achieved through tenacious hardwork and great technical prowess. Whether one man should exercise the sheer power Karajan wields throughout Europe is debatable - careers can literally be made overnight by sharing the platform with him. However, in an age in which young conductors learn their repertoires on the podia of the great concert halls of the world (no Ulms or Aachens for them) the phenomenon of Karajan and his orchestra remains unsurpassed; it is a unique relationship, not always untroubled, but ever astounding.
Placido Domingo Speaks:
I shall never forget the rehearsals for the Salzburg Don Carlos in 1975, which marked my debut at the festival. When, during a stage rehearsal, I began acting energetically, stretching out my arms, he interrupted me with the words: "Stay completely motionless, arms are there for conducting." With Karajan, you suddenly experience music with new ears; you hear unfamiliar things in the orchestra, things you have never heard before, even if you think you know the piece well.
Claudio Abbado Speaks:
I recall my performances under Herbert von Karajan's direction which have touched and moved me profoundly. Among these were concerts during my student years in Vienna, in which I sang in the chorus in Brahms's German Requiem and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis.
I remember, with fondness and gratitude, how, in my early days as a conductor, Herbert von Karajan stood by me like a father, in both word and deed. He gave me lots of useful advice, and I owe him my thanks for my first invitations to Berlin and Salzburg. For my debut at the Salzburg Festival in 1965 he suggested I conduct a mass by Cherubim; I expressed a preference for Mahler's Second Symphony and he accepted this.
From: Gramophone, 1988
Richard Osborne talks to Herbert von Karajan at his home near Salzburg.
RICHARD OSBORNE: You had already conducted major orches-tras like the Berlin Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw* with great success. How did you tolerate bad orchestras which were obviously not producing what you wanted?
HERBERT VON KARAJAN: I can tell you frankly, I heard in
my inner ear what I wanted to hear and the rest... well, it went down! But, you know, then comes one moment when your inner ear is astonished what comes out. With a big orchestra after a certain time and if they are used to you and really play as they can, they will sometimes rive you something more beautiful than what you thought you could hear; and then the real work begins to work it up to a higher and higher level, and this surely cannot be done until you have 15 or 20 years working with the one orchestra. This is the reason why I said I will have the orchestra for my lifetime, otherwise I do not sign the contract. And this pays in the results you get after a very long time.
R.O. We have had many proofs of that but I remember espe-cially the performances you gave in 1982 of Mahler's Ninth with the Berlin Philharmonic. You had made a very fine LP set and then you asked for the 1982 live Berlin performance to be issued separately on CD. Why was this?
H.K. We had a feeling that if there was no noise in the hall we could have an even better result. And I know I was madly, madly involved with the symphony to the extent that when it was done -and it is one of the few works I say this of - I would not dare to touch it again.
R.O. You had exhausted the piece.
H.K. Yes, completely.
R.O. Why did you turn to this music at this time in your life?
H.K. This I can answer exactly. I spent three years in Vienna as a student. We heard this music - Mahler, Webern, Schoenberg - a great deal; it was our daily bread. Then the war came and after the war concert managers offered me the chance to do all the Mahler symphonies. I asked them, how much rehearsal do I get? "Two re-hearsals for each concert." I said, "Gentlemen, please forget it." Mahler is very difficult for an orchestra. First, you must, as a painter would say, make your palette. The difficulty is great and the greatest danger is when the music becomes banal. I conduct a lot of light music and it can be very difficult for an orchestra to realize it properly. I once spent a whole rehearsal on the Barcarolle from Les contes d'Hoffmann,* which is to me one of the most tragic things in opera; it is not joyful; a man goes from life to death. And in Mahler there is much of this.
R.O. The Ninth seemed to be a work to which you are musi-cally close.
H.K. It is especially difficult to come to the end of the sym-phony. It is one of the hardest tasks in all conducting.
R.O. I remember an interview you gave to Austrian Television in 1977 in which the interviewer said, "Mr von Karajan, you don't con-duct enough twentieth-century music." But you have conducted an enormous amount of twentieth-century music right up to Ligeti, Pen-derecki: but you don't make a fuss about it?
H.K. Yes, but I can only do it if I am convinced. It is very easy
sometimes, but with other works it is difficult if you get a score and you don't know what he is thinking.
R.O. One thing I have sensed with the great records you have made of twentieth-century music - the Berg Three Orchestral Pieces, the Prokofiev Fifth, the Honegger Liturgique,* the Shostakovich Tenth - they are works which somehow express the tragedy of our century. You were six years old when the First World War started. Is this something which is in your consciousness, this sense of the tragedy of our times and music's healing capacity?
H.K. Yes, yes, certainly. I had very good relations with Shostakovich. When I was the last time in Moscow I played the Tenth Symphony. He was so nervous and at the same time so im-pressed... he said, I can't speak but... he was a very great composer.
R.O. I heard once that you wanted to conduct his Sixth Sym-phony but you said that Mravinsky had done it so well that you wouldn't touch it.
H.K. Yes, I did.
R.O. You said that?
H.K. That's true.
R.O. He was a great conductor.
H.K. I am a great admirer of him. He was the representative of this older generation in perfection.
R.O. Did you ever conduct the Leningrad orchestra?
H.K. No, but I would gladly if I had the time; but they always say if you come,.bring your own orchestra. (...)
R.O. You have made two memorable recordings of Tosca. It's a thrilling piece, but the characters are not exactly pleasant; Tosca, Scarpia...
H.K. No, not at all pleasant! But Tosca has always fascinated me. Goethe once said "I was able in my life to commit all crimes if I did not have the possibility to express them." Sometimes you must conduct it, otherwise one day you may kill someone! I am fas-cinated by every single bar.
R.O. John Culshaw who produced your RCA recording of Tosca with Leontyne Price* said you were not afraid of the melodrama in Puccini.
H.K. That's true.
R.O. He also told a touching story of your listening to part of the Victor de Sabata* recording and saying this is genius but I can-not do it the way he does. He was a conductor you greatly ad-mired?
H.K. He was probably the only person who never said one word against another conductor. He lived at a very difficult time; they wanted him back at La Scala but there was always the possibility that Toscanini would return. I asked him once, "What do you feel when you conduct?" and he said "I have in my mind a million notes, and every one which is not perfect makes me mad." He suf-fered in conducting. And that, I must say, I have passed.
R.O. And we have just had reissued by EMI the Madama But-terfly which you recorded with Callas. Do you have any memories of working with her? She must have been a very extraordinary artist.
H.K. If she was rightly handled she was very easy. She was al-ways prepared to the utmost and if she felt she had been given good advice, immediately, she took it. But she could sometimes be the diva. I remember I was once experimenting with a gauze,* it had been in La Scala 100 years and was full of dust and she was very short-sighted and could not see into the hall. She came to the rehearsal and came down to the bridge over the orchestra where I was directing and she said to the manager "If this veil remains, I do not sing." So I let her just pass, and I said "Oh, darling, I am looking for a new 'element' ..." and after half an hour the manager came back to me and says she sits up there, weeping. So I said "Maria, I was experimenting and when I say 'experiment' I mean I want to see how it presents itself. But I don't know if I will take it." Of course, we took it, but then she saw the reason. But I never would wish to upset anyone unless there was some very positive idea: which we must try.
R.O. In her Juilliard classes she advised her pupils to work within the rubato available to the conductor. But she herself had a very remarkable rhythmic sense?
H.K. Incredible. When she had the piece within her I said "Maria, you can turn away from me and sing, I know you will never be one tiny part of a bar out." She heard so well and sang always with the orchestra. I regret deeply, deeply that I could not persuade her to make a film of Tosca. I told her that we already had the tape and she would have nothing to do but be there and
play the role. Onassis invited me - I didn't know him at the time ut later we became great friends - and we talked. But then Maria began to get mad and she insisted on seeing everything before. And he said "Maria, I am not rich enough to pay for all this!" But still I asked her but she was afraid, she was afraid; she had left the thing and felt out of it...
R.O. We are very excited that you are going to conduct and record Un ballo in maschera* soon. Have you conducted it be-fore?
H.K. Yes, 40 years ago! John Schlesinger is going to direct it; he is a very well-known film director and has only directed a few op-eras but I was fascinated by the one I saw, so we got together. When I played Un ballo in maschera it came back to me as things do when you are young: they stay in your mind all the time. So I knew exactly why I wanted to conduct it. It has one special interest for me because - just to take one aspect - it has an enormous num-ber of long ensembles: a bit like Figaro. I said to Schlesinger we must find ways of dealing with this and the complex interplay of the characters.
R.O. It has a lot of black comedy in it as well as high drama?
R.O. And which version will you use?
H.K. The Swedish one, of course.
R.O. And your cast is...
H.K. Domingo, and the English girl who sang here in The Black Mask - the Penderecki - Josephine Barstow. I once asked her to sing the aria from Fidelio which I very much wanted to do. She came to sing - she has a wonderful figure, she moves well, and she sings with taste and expression; so when it came to Un ballo in maschera I said...
R.O. She is the one! And your baritone?
H.K. Nucci. So I am very contented to do it. Sometimes things pass by and you don't catch them but here I saw there was a chance to do it with a beautiful cast. (...)
From: Gramophone, 1988. Abridged
Discussion Activities Comprehension Questions and Points for Discussion
1. What points are discussed in the Interview with Herbert von Karajan?
2. What do you know about his conducting career? How long did he direct the Berlin Philharmonic? With what other ma-jor orchestras did Karajan work?
3. Give examples of long collaboration between a conductor and an orchestra, e.g. the Berlin Philharmonic (Furtwangler, Karajan), the NBC Symphony Orchestra (Toscanini), the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Koussevitsky).
4. What sort of repertoire did Karajan conduct? What were his tastes in opera? What festival did he found?
5. How did Karajan describe his work with Maria Callas?
6. What were his concepts of musical interpretation?
7. What was his attitude to contemporary music? Which works did he perform?
8. When did Karajan visit the Soviet Union? What concerts did he give?
9. Which of Karajan's recordings have you heard? What do you think of them? In your opinion, what qualities make Karajan an outstanding conductor of our time?
1. Give your opinion of the following statements:
"There are no bad orchestras; there are only bad conductors"
"There is no such thing as tradition, only genius and
"In every performance a work must be reborn" (Mahler). "Conductors are born, not made" (Stokowsky). "Without a magnetic personality no conductor can achieve greatness. Genius has not only the capacity for creating great art; it is often capable of producing great art in others. A minor orchestra will sound likе a major one; and a major or-chestra will outdo itself in the presence of genius" (Eugene Ormandi).
2. Do you agree that a great conductor is a great personality? Explain. Give a talk on your favourite conductor.
3. Do you agree that complicated modern music calls for a con-ductor of the highest skill? Explain.
4. Write a composition of 150-250 words describing your ideal conductor.
Glenn Gould (1932-1982), a Canadian pianist, trained at the Toronto Royal Con-servatory, sprang into prominence in the 1950s. He made his European tour in 1957, first appearing as soloist with Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He also toured the USSR. Gould had an exceptionally wide repertory, from 16th-century keyboard works to jazz. He specialized in Bach on the concert grand.
Glenn Gould was an extraordinary pianist, at the height of his powers, and he will of course be missed for that reason alone; we can never have enough such performers. But he was something rarer as well, a musician who took nothing for granted, from the funda-mentals of piano technique and sound, through the generally accepted concepts of style and interpretation, to the whole idea of performing public concerts. One doesn't have to have agreed with Gould's conclusions about any of these matters to recognize the value of the questions he asked, and to regret deeply that he is no longer around to ask further questions.
From: High Fidelity, 1983
Just about everything concerning Glenn Gould is, to say the least, unconventional. He is practically self-taught; he gave public, live concerts for a very brief time, yet his records and tapes are heard constantly wherever classical piano music is broadcast His life style is unconventional He defies tradition in his views toward his instrument, classical music, and the whole aura that surrounds the usual concept of the world of the classical pianist
It was very natural, then, to begin the conversation with the comment that no one had heard Glenn Gould play a live concert in the United States for a number of years. His reply was typical
Nobody else has either because I haven't given concerts since 1964. In the first place, I toured for only eight years, which is really not very long. In the 1956-57 season, I began touring Europe as well as the United States, and that continued to '64. Before I began touring in '56, I had not in my whole life played more than may be thirty or forty concerts; and that's incredibly few. But I did a lot of broadcasting at that time and I found even in my early teens that for me the most comfortable situation was the studio environment and not the concert environment (...).
From the moment I began broadcasting, that medium seemed like another world, as indeed it is. The moment I began to experi-ence the studio environment, my whole reaction to what I could do with music under the proper circumstances changed totally. From then on, concerts were less than second best; they were merely something to be gotten through. They were a very poor substitute for a real artistic experience.
Now, I obviously couldn't imagine how many effects this view was going to have on my life, but I was immediately attracted to the whole electronic experience (...).
After a time, about 1956 or '57, I became profoundly dissatisfied with the whole experience of giving concerts because not only did I not enjoy them per se, but my then-new experience with recording now put what I was going to do in concert in direct competition with what I could do in the studio; and I knew there was no way those two things could properly be reconciled. The recording, for me, is not a picture postcard of a concert. The attempt to record as though one is trying to capture a mystical moment in time - so-and-so at the Royal Albert Hall on a particular night with eighty-five de-gree temperature and ninety percent humidity - is a form of neoromanticism. Trying to capture such a mood, I think, is against the nature of the recording process because, first of all, recordings are to be a certain degree timeless. Recordings are something outside of history, outside of a particular environment context (.,.).
As long as we're on the subject of recordings, which would you say are your finest recording accomplishments? Is there any one or two or three, or any group of things that you've done that stand out as especially good to you?
My favorite record from my catalogue, I think, is a recording of music by Byrd and Gibbons which, first of all, as music, is very close to my heart. I have always been very fond of music for the virginals - indeed, all of the music of the English Tudor com-posers-and, fortunately, I have a piano which can be made to sound rather harpsichordistic, if not clavichordistic.
It is strange you should choose that recording. Ordinarily when one thinks of Glenn Gould, one thinks of Schoenberg and Bach. Would you say you're a specialist in those two areas, or would you not, want to be labeled in any such way?
I don't mind being labeled as a specialist that way, but I think it's necessary occasionally to remind people that I have also recorded all the Mozart sonatas, most of the Beethoven sonatas, and of course all the Beethoven concertos, as well as a lot of things by Hindemith, and pieces by Prokofieff, and Grieg, and Bizet, and Scriabin, and so on. As a matter of fact, not long ago I recorded an album of Sibelius (...).
What is it about Schoenbergs music that attracts you?
I think I was first attracted to it because some of my teachers hated it... . Actually I've always been attracted to music that is in one way or another contrapuntal, whereas I'm essentially bored by homophonic music. Indeed, I've often said that I have something like a century-long blind spot with regard to music. It's roughly demar-cated by The Art of Fugue on one side and Tristan on the other, and almost everything in between is, at best, the subject of admira-tion rather than love. I'd have to exclude Beethoven from that gen-eralization and certain works of Haydn and Mendelssohn, but there's a great deal of music written during that time that I don't play at all - Schubert, Chopin, Schumann, for example. (...).
And my tastes in contemporary music, similarly, are really very limited. I cannot bear Stravinsky, for example; I've never been able to tolerate his music. And his music certainly is vertically oriented to a very high degree, and only minimally interesting from the hori-zontal perspective. By comparison, the integration between line and harmonic balance is very apparent in the best of Schoenberg's works; in fact, one could say that the pursuit of that kind of integration is one of Schoenberg's tradesmarks, and I'm not just speaking of the twelve-tone works. But as far as what attracts me is concerned, I guess I'd have to say that I'm attracted to different aspects of his art at different periods of his life. (...). Experiments aside, I find the mood of those early twelve-tone pieces remarkable. They have a charm and freshness of approach which is quite extraordinary (...).
What about Bach?
Well, you know, the only pianist who had any kind of influence on me when I was growing up-vis-à-vis the Bach repertoire - was Rosalyn Tureck.* I have a great admiration for her principally be-cause, back in the forties when I was a student, one was told one must look for guidance regarding Bach interpretation to figures like Edwin Fisher, Landowska, Casals, and so on. And these were late-romantic figures who certainly played in a very mesmeric way - no question about it. But what they did, for the most part, didn't seem to me to have a great deal to do with Bach. And then I heard Tureck. By the time I heard her recordings, I was, I think, about sixteen (...) By that time, my own style was quite formed - spare,
unpedaled; and then I heard somebody else who was doing some-thing essentially similar... And so my exposure to her recordings was not so much a question of influence as of reinforcement; it was nice to know that somebody else was working in essentially the same di-rection. I must say that I found her tempi then, as I do now, un-necessarily slow most of the time; but that didn't really matter be-cause the relationship between the parts, both in terms of architec-tural parts, and linear parts, was so well thought out that tempo be-came a relative, essentially unimportant matter, subservient to some-thing else.
What about the format, the represantation, for example, of the recital? There are rumors that the recital format is out, or at least is on way out.
Well, I don't go to concerts - I rarely did, even when I was giv-ing them... so I can't honestly tell you that such a format has no validity in today's scheme of things. But it doesn't for me, certainly, as far as I'm concerned, music is something that ought to be lis-tened to in private. I do not believe that it should be treated as group therapy or any kind of communal experience. I think that mu-sic ought to lead the listener - and, indeed, the performer - to a state of contemplation, and I don't think it's really possible to attain that condition with 2,999 other souls sitting all around. So my strongest objections to the concert are primarily moral rather than musical (...).
From: Great Pianists Speak for Themselves by E. Mach
1. Briefly outline Gould's career, describe his repertoire.
2. What points are discussed in the Interview with Gould? What did the recording process mean to Glenn Gould?
3. Why does the interpreter of Bach's keyboard music have to solve the problems of tempo, dynamics, and articulation? What is it that makes Gould's interpretation an authentic performance?
4. Do you agree with Glenn Gould that music must be listened to in private? Give your reasons.
5. What do you know about Gould's visit to the Soviet Union?
6. Which do you prefer: to hear Bach's keyboard music played on the harpsichord or on the piano? Why? Who, in your opinion, is the best harpsichordist of our time?
7. Why, in your opinion, do some performers differ vastly in their artistic approach to the recording studio and the concert hall?
Ysaye, Eugene (1858-1931), Belgian violinist, conductor, and composer. He studied at the Liege Conservatoire with Joseph Massait, and later with Wieniawsky
(from 1873) and Vleuxtemps (from 1876). From 1879 to 1882 Ysaye was first violin in Belse's orchestra (Berlin). In the early 1880s he gave some successful concerts in Leipzig and Paris. From 1886 to 1898 Eugène Ysaye held a professorship at the Brussels Conservatoire, training a whole galaxy of excellent violinists. He founded and conducted the Ysaye concerts in Brussels. His American début was in 1894. Ysaye made many tours from 1899. His appearances on the leading concert plat-forms of the world, which lasted for nearly forty years, comprise an epoch in the history of musical interpretation at the turn of the century. Ysaye was considered - one of the most remarkable virtuosi of his day, with powerful tone. He wrote six violin concertos, several solo violin sonatas. He conducted the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1918 to 1922.
Eugène Ysaye's artistic personality should be studied in its unity of performer and composer. It cannot be denied that his aesthetic views underwent certain modifications in the course of his life.
While speaking of his many-sided musical gifts and noting the artistic value of some of his compositions, we should, nevertheless, accord first place to Ysaye's art as an interpreter, for it was this art that for decades used to attract vast audiences in all parts of the world and excite their unbounded admiration. Eugène Ysaye was nicknamed "the king of violinists", "the artist of the bow", "the king of the violin", and his concerts were invariably his triumphs.
In the first place, it was the artist's rich gifts, his vivid creative personality. His listeners were captivated by the romantic fervor, poetry, lyricism and improvisatory nature of his interpretation, and they enjoyed the artist's original and perfect mastery of all the ex-pressive potentialities of his instrument.
Eugène Ysaye is often spoken of as the last representative of the romantic trend in violin playing, a trend initiated by Paganini, whose exponents - in a greater or less degree - were Joseph Slavik, Henryk Wieniawski, Henry Vieuxtemps, Pablo de Sarasate and some other virtuosi of the past century.
At the same time much in Ysaye's playing was determined by realistic principles.
Ysaye's art was truthful and sincere, deeply felt and thought out. He used to say that art was the result of perfect harmony between thought and feeling.
His vivid artistic personality, rich imagination, unity of emotion and intellect, subjective and lyrical, and the objective and the no-tional; his ability to bend his artistic impulses to the logic of the phrase and of the entire work, are qualities which put Ysaye in the same rank with such outstanding performers as Joachim, Casals, Enesco, Rachmaninov - to name but a few.
As in the case of these artists-instrumentalists, the originality of Ysaye's performing style was determined by his own creative person-ality and by the national cultural idiosyncrasies. Like these artists, the Belgian musician fully understood the creative nature of the in-terpretative art. He highly valued the ability of the artist to create visions, to express good and bad, joy and sorrow.
An entry in Ysaye's notebook reads: "Without the interpreter the composition is a voice crying in the wilderness... The interpretative artist is the life-blood of music."
Eugene Ysaye possessed a rare gift of penetrating the spirit of the music he was playing. He could bring it to life likе none other. The means he employed for this purpose were his astonishingly pure and expressive tone, warm vibration, virtuoso technique that was perfectly natural and spontaneous, exceedingly wide range of dynam-ics and highly original and poetic rubato.
This last device enabled the artist, for all his rhythmic precision, to overcome the purely metronomic regularity and attain a living declamatory phrasing, which was always noted by his contemporaries.
His rubato was not a matter of chance - it was called forth by the logic of the phrase, while its duration was determined by the artist's feeling, thinking and sense of style, of the spirit, of the work performed. Deeply thought out in the course of preliminary work and brought in conformity with the musical phrase, Ysaye's rubato during the performance was the result of his artistic intuition and in-spiration of the moment. It was simple and natural and usually k did not go beyond a musical phrase and contained no hint at premeditated effect.
"You must phrase as you breathe," Eugene Ysaye used to say. ;
Ysaye's style of interpretation combined the subjective and the objective; he knew how to convey the essence of the work per-formed and do it not in a detached and passionless way but to im-bue his performance with his own artistic understanding and creative feeling. The interpretative artist "must be at once subjective and ob-jective, he must be able to penetrate even deeper than the author himself into the aesthetics of the work. It is for him to bring into relief all those evanescent details which the author does not underline or even write, details which do not become apparent when the work is merely read. The interpretative artist is a sculptor whose work may well become permanent, for once a character has been created and has been brought into being by a model interpretation, it becomes a tradition. It remains an example to be followed, and is an integral part of the work itself," wrote Ysaye in his notebook.
Ysaye's beautiful and expressive tone was particularly impressive: now powerful and manly and again tender and lyrical, it was invari-ably pure and singing.
In everything he plays, Ysaye appears before us as a sincere and inspired artist who seems to share with the listeners his own emo-tions and moods, which cannot but reach the very heart of his audi-ence,
From: Eugene Ysaye by L. Ginsburg
1. Speak about Ysaye's career as a concert violinist and a com-poser. What compositions did he write?
2. Give the distinguishing features of his style of performance. In what lies the explanation of the tremendous impact of Ysaye's playing?
3. How do you understand Ysaye's statement: "You must phrase as you breathe"?
4. What do you know about Ysaye's tours of Russia, his pro-grammes? What were the reviews likе?
5. What do you know about the Queen Elizabeth Competitions? When was the competition founded and what was it origi-nally called? How often does the competition take place? Which outstanding Soviet violinists won prizes in this compe-tition?
6. Divide the text into logical parts, give a title to each of them and summarize the text in writing.
To mark the Handel tercentenary SIR CHARLES MACKERRAS, eminent practitioner of Handel on stage, discusses the practical problems of performing his operas in conversation with HAROLD ROSENTHAL.
HAROLD ROSENTHAL: How were you first attracted to Han-del opera?
CHARLES MACKERRAS: The way that so many people with English musical backgrounds were - through the oratorios, and then through the instrumental music. Only much later did it become clear to me that Handelian opera séria could be viable as a dramatic en-tertainment rather than just as music. I'd conducted a great deal of Handel but I'd never worked on an opera on stage before doing Julius Caesar for the ENO.*
H.R.: Did you have doubts as to whether Handel opera was fea-sible in dramatic terms?
C.M.: I'd never thought that it could be staged until I'd seen performances in which they did Handel as I imagine the composer himself thought of it - without trying to send it up, or do it as if it were a play within a play, or change the order of the sequences, or generally dramatise it in a way different from that which the com-poser intended. The operas are of course intensely naive: the good people very, very good and the bad people very, very bad. But Han-del, being a greater composer than all the other opera composers of the time, manages through his music to portray deeper characters than the librettists ever imagined, just as Mozart did two generations later.
H.R.: Are the conventions readily acceptable to an audience in the 1980s, or do you have to compromise?
C.M.: I don't see that they are any more difficult to accept than any other form of non-realistic opera. The exaggerated good, the ex-
aggerated evil of the characters and the way they react are no more unacceptable than many of the characters in a Verdi or Donizetti opera: it all depends oh the way it's put over as to whether it's dramatically effective or not. If you have theatrical animals perform-ing the various roles it will be a dramatic entity, if you have mere puppets just singing the notes and not acting out the words, then it will not impinge upon the audience as drama.
H.R.: How do you get singers today who, after all, have not been brought up in the Handel tradition unless they happen to be British oratorio singers, to acquire Handelian discipline, and how do they react to this kind of formal music?
C.M.: There are now large numbers of English and English-speaking singers who take very readily to the Handelian style and to the style of the "aria" opera.* You said "the discipline" - I think the discipline is something they have to do for themselves. The arias are tremendously taxing whether or not you add ornamentations - they are difficult enough to sing as written. People who try to reconstruct the original performance conditions know that the singers used to improvise freely, particularly in da-capo arias,* and they tend to write out ornaments that often don't sound natural. You've got to have a singer who is adept at ornamentation and able to make it sound as though it is improvised, even though it is not. Perfor-mances of Handel in the early 18th century or of Mozart in the late 18th century were much more informal affairs than they are now, the singers would frequently talk to people in the audience, particu-larly aristocrats - they had much more personal contact and were less concerned with building character than they are today. It's difficult dealing with the "aria" opera today, because modern producers ex-pect singers to perform the same actions exactly in every perfor-mance, while the musicians tend to lay down exactly what kind of ornaments will be sung, what appoggiatura* on which note, and the singers perform them the same way every time. It wasn't done that way in Handel's time.
H.R.: Do you believe in performing the scores in full, or are there times when they should be cut?
C.M.: Many of the long operas can be cut. In festival perfor-mances, of course, there is a stronger case for doing them complete than in a run of performances in a repertory house. (...)
H.R.: I don't know whether you heard Handel performances in the immediate post-war period in Germany, but in your experience how does the German Handelian tradition differ from our own?
C.M.: Where does one start? It is so different. Not to speak of production, but just musically... The idea has always been that the opera-seria style needed an interpretation.
H.R.: With a capital "I"?
C.M.: Yes, and in inverted commas. It needed bringing up to date to make it acceptable. All those words in inverted commas! Ac-ceptable to audiences. The whole opera-seria style, even as applied
by Mozart to works like Idomeneo, Remember the version that Richard Strauss did of Idomeneo: he thought that it needed to be altered, bearbeitet* in order to make it acceptable to a modern audi-ence.
H.R.: As also with Gluck - Strauss and Gluck. C.M.: Exactly, and Wagner too. They saw that whole style of opera through the style of their own music and their own period. The big difference today is that we are at least trying to imagine how Handel might have seen his own works and how audiences might have reacted to them, and to create similar circumstances in which we can try and make our audiences see the drama in Han-del's operas as people in the 18th century also felt the greatness of his music. That's the difference between performances of ancient music in the first half of the 20th century and the second. In the first half they were constantly trying to make works such as Han-del's acceptable; they realised that the music was great and felt they had to change it about. In the second half we're trying to see the music as it might have been seen by its composer and the people of his time. There's still plenty of scope. There are many different styles of performing Handel's music all of which claim to be either authentic or in the spirit of the period, and the same is true of the production side. Producers claim that they are interpreting Handel in a way that he might have approved of, getting down to the roots of the music and the drama. Each generation produces a new kind of so-called authentic interpretation. The word "authentic" is bandied about too much these days, I think. What does it mean? There are endless varieties of authenticity. I myself, although I take my role very seriously as a person who tries to create the atmosphere of original performances, to delve into the minds of Handel and Mozart, I'm terribly wary of using the word "authentic" because, just as in fads in medicine, in three years' time there'll be a new authentic way of doing the music. We strive to get nearer and nearer to the sound that Mozart and Handel would have heard, but often I feel that when we get near to it we don't really like it. I've recently heard several performances of Mozart operas by various people, all of them claiming to be more or less authentic, and I must say that although I'm a stickler for authenticity myself, I didn't like the sound that was produced. So just as there are infinite varieties of interpreting the works of the great masters in an unauthentic way, then even within the framework of so-called authenticity there is still a virtually infinite variety of interpretation. That is one of the fascinating things about the great masterpieces: they still emerge as masterpieces however you perform them.
H.R: I'm very glad you're wary about using the word "authenticity". What is authentic in one age is not considered au-thentic in another. What Beecham might have considered an authen-tic version, for example, we don't today.
C.M.: They used the word in a very different sense. I don't
think Beecham cared about authenticity - it's a relatively new con-cept. So is "interpretation". People didn't talk about interpretation 100 years ago. They performed the music as best they could with their own virtuosity. They didn't interpret music as a modern con-ductor does. The old conductor was just a time-beater. The differ-ence between a good and a bad conductor was whether he set the right tempo, whether he could train an orchestra to play the work correctly. Nowadays we take it for granted that the music is played correctly and we expect interpretation into the bargain. A very new thing!
H.R.: Have you ever heard Toscanini's definition of tradition? "Some fool's memory of the last bad performance."
C.M.: Yes, that marries up with Mahler's "Tradition is slovenli-ness." It's a similar concept, isn't it?
From: Opera, 1985 Comprehension Questions and Points for Discussion
1. What points about the production of Handel's operas are dis-cussed in the interview?
2. What is Mackerras' view on Handel's music and the librettos?
3. How does Mackerras characterize great Handelian singers? What special vocal training and qualities do Handelian operas require from the singers?
4. What problems confront the present-day producer in staging Handel's operas? How have Handel's operas been made ac-ceptable to the present day public? How has the problem of authentic performance been tackled?
5. Which of Handel's operas have been staged in the Soviet Un-ion? Have you heard any of them, live or recorded? Express your opinion. Do you think Handel's operas suitable for staging nowadays?
6. What are your views on authenticity of performance? Do you share Mackerras' view? How would you answer those ques-tions which were put to Mackerras?
by Lanfranco Rasponi
Franco Zeffirelli has left his mark in stage direction as well as set and costume designs for opera, theater, television and cinema. He goes from one to the other with skill, assurance and ease. Watching him rehearse an opera is an engrossing experience. He is never prejudiced and will listen to advice if he deems it sensible. He never asks the impossible of singers, knowing instinctively their limitations, working his way around them with a firm yet elastic hand.
Between making Endless Love and the delicate, long task of cutting it, he managed to squeeze in a new Cavalleria and Pagliaccl at La Scala in January 1981, even filming it for television with a few changes in cast (Teresa Stratas taking on Nedda, Renato Bruson as Alfio). (...) After launching his new Bohème at the Metropolitan, he has a new Traviata coming up at London's Covent Garden, which he will also film. These opera motion pictures are intended not for television but for regular audiences. Zeffirelli feels they now have a far bigger opportunity to succeed than previously, not only because of the greater thirst of the public for this formula but also because of advanced techniques in the medium. (...)
Since long before Zeffirelli became an international celebrity, he has gone at a furious pace, though he no longer needs to prove himself. His hair is now silvery, but he still maintains the same youthful face on which are mirrored the frequent changes of his state of mind. It is difficult to keep him on one subject for long: his interests are so varied, his thinking so agile, that he jumps away from the discussion.
How and when he finds time to read has always been a mys-tery, but somehow he does. Not only is he highly cultivated on artistic and humanistic levels, he is generally well-informed as to what is going on everywhere. (...)
Asked to define his continued success, he replied, "We have no guarantee for the present or the future. Therefore the only choice is to go back to the past and respect traditions. I have been a pioneer in this line of thinking, and the results have proven me right. People who think they can do better than previously, interpreting works of art in a new key, are very foolish. The reason I am box-office ev-erywhere is that I am. an enlightened conservative continuing the dis-course of our grandfathers and fathers, renovating the texts but never betraying them. The road has been irrevocably lost, and there must be a seath as to why and where this new breed of destructive thinking came into being, often encouraged by the press. (...)
In regard to Wagner, it has been said I'm not interested in di-recting his operas, but nothing would please me more, and Carlos Kleiber wants me to collaborate with him on Tristan. The problem is, how can one do this glorious work without the proper voices? Kleiber is unhappy about the recent recording he made - he had hoped, with the miracles of recent sound technique, the vocalists would appear more heroic. I'm not a director who worries only about the stage. The music is an essential part of the package, and I'm stunned by the shortage of first-rate singers. I can always find solutions for great singers who are not gifted actors, but there's nothing to be done about those who have a sense of theater and no voices. While acting is important in opera, the voice comes first, in no uncertain terms. Pathos or comedy is just as much vocal as vi-sual."
As for his new production of La Bohème at the Metropolitan, he
related, "Strangely, it's only the second time I've agreed to do this opera. The first, with Karajan in 1963 at La Scala, was such a suc-cess that for a long time I didn't see how I could improve it. It is still being given, with another series of performances last May, and it went on loan to the Salzburg Easter Festival and Vienna State Opera. I accepted the Met's invitation when I realized, with such an imposing revolving stage, I could fulfil ideas that had been circulating in my head for some time. This new conception brings out the fragility of the Bohemian group as against the large, gray French capital. (...)"
Discussing Zeffirelli's career, it is difficult to stick to opera. So many other elements have entered into it, starting with architecture studies at the University of Florence and going on to his long ap-prenticeship in various phases of the entertainment world, leading eventually to his explosion into orbit. Though he really began as an actor, he also got started early in opera at the famous Academia Chigiana in Siena. Here his mother's first cousin, the former La Scala soprano Ines Alfani Tellini, not only taught interpretation in the summer courses but also put on productions of forgotten mas-terpieces to give experience to her students. She asked Franco to help with sets and costumes, and he turned out delightful, inexpen-sive décor for the revivals of La Zingara by Rinaldo di Capua, Il Giocatore by Orlandini and Le Serve Rivait by Traetta. He knew he could deal with opera, a form he had loved since childhood. But fur-ther work had to wait a while, because he was involved in other projects.
His first meeting with Visconti was in 1947. The great innovator of the Italian legitimate theater had come to rehearse Tobacco Road at the Pergola in Florence with Vittorio Gassman and Massimo Girotti. (...) The following year Visconti engaged Zeffirelli to act in Anouilh's Eurydice and an adaptation of Dostoevsk's Crime and Punishment, alongside some of Italy's most highly reputed actors. From then on, all Visconti's productions credited the name of Zef-firelli in some capacity. (...)
For several years Zeffirelli worked as Visconti's assistant director, and he also designed the décor and costumes for most of Visconti's theatrical ventures.
"I was contracted to design a new Italiana in Algerl in 1953 with Giulietta Simionato and Giulini conducting," he said. "It was a hit, and when they offered me Cenerentola for the next season, with more or less the same principals and conductor, I accepted, providing they also let me do the directing. That same year I went on to L'Elisir d'Amore, with Giulini again, Di Stefano at the top of his form and Rosanna Carteri.
"In 1955 came my first experience with Maria Callas, in the only comic opera she ever really scored in, Il Turco in Italia. My inter-national career began the following year with a production of Falstaff, again with Giulini, at the Holland Festival. My association
with Covent Garden started in 1959 with Lucia di Lammermoor at the suggestion of Tullio Serafin - a real event, which established Joan Sutherland as a star. (...)"
Asked who was the most complete singing actor or actress he had worked with, without a moment's hesitation, Franco answered, "Maria - a genius in every role she approached. (...) I worked with her on La Traviata, Lucia, Norma and Tosca in Dallas, London and Paris. There were some really glorious moments, but then I lived through the nightmare when she became more and more un-sure of herself and the voice began to decline. At moments she was courageous, at others terribly afraid. Sometimes she made me feel I was very close to her, then suddenly there existed a wall. In the end she withdrew from everyone. I have known many complex human beings in my life but none more than she." (...)
At fifty-eight, Zeffirelli has more than fifty opera productions be-hind him. The works that fascinate him most are Falstaff and Don Giovanni. One he hates with a passion is the late Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra, which opened the new Met in 1966. "I didn't really believe in it from the beginning, but Mr. Bing had made his decision, commissioned the score and felt that it should be the work of an American composer. I liked Vanessa well enough and hoped this would even be better. At the orchestra rehearsals I kept waiting for some real music to emerge, but there is more meat in II Segreto di Susanna. When I tried to tell Sam that he must reinforce the score, he was adamant. I kept sensing a precipice facing us and did all I could to compensate with a lavish spectacle. We headed toward disaster, the score redeemed by a lovely finale, superbly sung by Leontyne Price."
Franco has seven productions of Falstaff to his credit, including the one that marked his bow at the Met in 1964. Now he would like to do another, with Carlos Kleiber, whom he finds the kind of perfectionist that is disappearing from the musical scene. (...)
What opera heroine does he consider the most complete? "Undoubtedly Violetta," he declared. "There's not one superfluous note. Then there are Carmen and Tosca, and it's interesting that all three existed as literary figures before being put to music. (...)"
"Opera is far more stable than the legitimate stage," ne went on. "The same works appeal to totally different publics, but with plays, one never knows. Two De Filippo comedies I directed in London with Sir Laurence and Lady Olivier were a tremendous suc-cess, but in the U.S. this Italian playwright is not appreciated, de-spite the huge Italo-American audience."
While he serves his art, he leads his profession. As he says, "Let's respect the geniuses responsible for these supreme works of art and realize we're here only to serve them."
From: Opera News, 1982
Comprehension Questions and Points for Discussion
1. What is Zeffirelli's artistic approach to the score?
2. Briefly outline his career as an opera and film director.
3. Find in the text the passage describing Zeffirelli's principles of casting the singers for his productions. Do you agree with him? Explain.
4. When and how did his collaboration with Maria Callas begin? In what productions did she appear?
5. What was Zeffirelli's contribution to the art of opera produc-tion? Name some of his world-famous productions.
6. Summarize the text.
7. Have you seen Zeffirelli's film La Traviata with Teresa Stratas as Violetta? What do you think of the film? What other films were produced by Zeffirelli?
Maria Callas (1923-1977), American-born soprano of Greek parentage. Studied at the Athens National Conservatory from 1936 with the Spanish coloratura soprano Elvira di Hidalgo. Her Italian debut was in Verona, in 1947, in La Ciaconda. Her potentialities were recognized by the conductor Tullio Serafin when, in 1948, she was singing Brunnhilde in Venice. With Serafin and de Sabata, Callas revived operas wholly or relatively neglected in Italy for over a century, including Rossini's Armida and Il Turco in Italia, Cherubini's Medea, Donizetti's Anna Bolena, and Bellini's // Pirata, thereby changing the face of the post-1945 opera repertory. Maria Callas made her La Scala début in 1951. From then until 1959 she reigned supreme there, earning the title La divina in her vivid portrayals of Norma, Violetta, and Tosca, working with de Sabata, Giulini, Bernstein, and Karajan as conductors, and the pro-ducers Visconti and Zeffirelli. Her musicianship was impeccable, her insight remark-able, and her acting ability exceptional, so that she presented her roles as organic wholes. Her Norma, Tosca, and Violetta were unforgettable examples of dramatic opera singing-acting. Callas sang at Covent Garden in 1952-53 (Norma), 1957-59, and 1964, and at the Metropolitan Opera in 1956 (Norma). She retired from the stage in 1965 (her last performance was as Tosca at Covent Garden), but she continued to record and gave some concerts in 1973 and 1974.
From: The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music
It has been suggested, and not without reason, that Callas' "voice had less going for it than any other voice that has achieved interna-tional celebrity via the phonograph - a medium that necessarily puts a premium on timbral endowment, since it cannot directly transmit physical and dramatic qualities." Yet it was a voice that was better than beautiful, for it was a voice which once heard could not be easily forgotten. It haunted and disturbed as many as it thrilled and inspired, and it was the very personal colours of her voice, combined with its deficiencies, which made her sound so strikingly individual.
Her manner of singing was equally arresting. Callas had a stern bel canto upbringing from her teacher Elvira di Hidalgo, a musical
outlook later reinforced by her mentor Tullio Serafin. This sort of vocal strait-jacketing was ideally suited to Callas' nature. She was a committed traditionalist, a musical puritan, who eagerly sought stylis-tic boundaries and flourished within them. The greater the confines, the greater was the challenge and, ultimately, the freedom. A score set forth the limitations of a given problem for her. The mastering of a problem was the incentive which spurred Callas on to conquer, and to set and meet new demands on her voice and her abilities. This, in turn, led to a prodigious grasp of such challenges as the trill, the acciaccatura,* scales, gruppetti and other abbellimenti.* These, combined with her open throat, an inborn sense of legato, and diction rooted in vowels, all predestined her prominence in the bel canto repertory, though her voice was basically that of a dra-matic soprano.
In the long run, however, Callas' distinct sound and her technical achievements would have been less influential if she had not em-ployed both to shape music to creative and expressive ends. All the resources open to a singer - breath, tempo, dynamic and agogic ac-cents,* embellishments, rubato,* even silences* - were used to their fullest to communicate impressions and moods. Indeed, Callas seemed incapable of being inexpressive; even a simple scale sung by her implied a dramatic attitude or feeling. This capacity to communi-cate is something she was born with. It was her capacity for hard work and her equally great curiosity which led her to question re-lentlessly what score demanded of her, and what she in turn de-manded of herself. Little by little she mastered the art of filling a phrase to exactly the right level of expression and producing unerringly the right stress to underline or highlight a thought. At her finest, Callas' voice became a mirror held up to human emotion. At her best, tone and intent were wonderously interlocked. She never offered a string of high points in performance mixed in with indif-ferent or unfinished patches, as many do. With Callas, a recitative was as integrated and thoughtful as an aria. Perhaps you could not agree with this or that aspect of her singing, and you might feel that she was as wrong for this role as she was right for that one, but Callas was usually able to force one to accept or reject her con-cept as a whole, so clear-eyed and consistent was her approach to a past. This was her ultimate justification as an artist.
From: The Callas Legacy by J. Aidoin
by Herbert Von Karajan
She was born with the instinct of the true prima donna, and that, I think, is something one cannot learn. I don't know if this was really the case, but certainly before an audience she displayed remarkable assurance, and enthusiasm quite out of the ordinary: she really believed in opera. 110
Her roots were in bel canto, of which she was an admirable ex-ponent. It should also be said that she was marvellously guided by that master and great connoisseur of bel canto style Tullio Serafin.
One very characteristic aspect of her personality was the im-mense care she took with preparation. She would already have mastered a work by the time she arrived for the first rehearsal, which meant of course that we could then work on those details that lent her performances such authenticity. She grasped everything immediately. It was unthinkable that she would ever bring a score,* as so many singers do. She was sure of herself, and she understood things straight away, without the slightest prompting - hence my great admiration for her. We always worked happily together. She didn't have very good eyesight - I doubt she could even see the conduc-tor-but she was guided by an inner sense. She would turn her back to you and sing perfectly in tempo. With her, making music was the simplest thing in the world.
From: Gramophone, 1987
1. Briefly describe Callas' career.
2. What kind of voice did she have? Characterize her style of performance.
3. Which tenor was her almost constant partner?
4. What was Callas' approach to the score? How did she work on it?
5. In what roles did she excel?
6. Which of Callas' qualities did Karajan point out in his mem-oirs?
7. What makes Maria Callas a great opera singer?
8. Have you heard any of her records? What do you think of them?
It is hard to think of any British male singer who has had so long, versatile and influential a career.
Pears was born in 1910 at Farnham, Surrey. He won a scholar-ship to the Royal College of Music in London, sang in the BBC Chorus, and, in 1938, the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus. By now he had met the young Britten, whose lifelong companion and chosen interpreter he became. They had already given the first of what was to become a long and outstandingly distinguished series of recitals in which the song-cycles which Britten wrote for them featured with other English songs of many styles and periods and - most notably - with the Lieder* of Schubert and Schumann.
With Britten he went to the USA in 1939 for three years. On their return Pears started his operatic career, mainly, in those days,
at Sadler's Wells. Here, in 1945, he sang the title-role in the memo-rable first performance of Peter Crimes, the first of many leading roles composed by Britten "on" the voice of Pears, culminating nearly 30 years later in Aschenbach in Death in Venice (1973).
Profound musicianship, intelligence and theatrical flair enabled Pears to be convincing in characters one might have thought outside his natural scope - for example the rough, half-crazed fisherman Grimes, the grocer's boy Albert Herring, the Madwoman in Curlew River.* It was less surprising (though the degree of success was re-markable) that he should shine as the introspective Vere in Billy Budd, as the sinister Quint in The Turn of the Screw, the impetu-ous Essex in Gloriana, and the military grandfather in Owen Win-grave. He excelled in the principal tenor roles of Mozart, coming to Idomeneo at about the same age as Raaff, the original singer of the
Of equal importance was Sir Peter's Protean concert work, not only in recital with Britten and other eminent partners but in spe-cially-written works by Berkeley, Tippett, Henze and many other composers. He was pre-eminent in oratorio - Schütz, the Bach Pas-sions (as Evangelist), Elgar's Gerontius,* Britten's War Requiem. These no less than his operatic roles made him a widely admired figure in Europe and further afield.
Pears was a founder-member of the English Opera Group, a re-sourceful, tireless, active director of the Aldeburgh Festival, a pillar of the Britten-Pears School at nearby Snape. Through these and kindred activities he left his mark on the succeeding generation of British singers. He was not inimitable. Many singers could and did imitate, even unconsciously mimic, him. But his influence went deeper than the surface mannerisms. Numerous gramophone records will perpetuate as well as peculiarities of timbre and diction his acutely musical style, and his wide culture, gift for languages and his unassailable musical integrity.
From opera, 1986. Abridged
1. What have you learnt about Pears' career, his personality, his style of performance?
2. Which operatic roles did Britten compose for Peter Pears?
3. What was Peter Pears' contribution to operatic art?
4. Have you heard Pears' recordings? What do you think of his style of performance?
Questions on the Topic about the World of Opera
1. Which, in your opinion, is more important in opera: a good director or good opera singers? What makes a good opera production? What do you think of the Wagnerian ideal of production?
2. What are some of the problems in producing historically-accu-rate scores for opera production? What are some of the problems in adapting historical subjects for modern opera or-chestras and singers?
3. What is the status of opera nowadays? Will it survive?
4. What, in your opinion, are the functions of music critics? Do you find their reviews useful? Can we have an absolute scale for judging works of art? Who could establish it and how?
5. Write a composition or give a short talk on your ideal opera production.
6. Write a favourable (or unfavourable) review of a recent opera performance.
Impressionism - an artistic movement of the late 19th and early 20th c., represented in music chiefly by Claude Debussy (1862-1918).
Impressionism was first fully realized in Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun (1892) and later in his Nocturns for Orchestra (1893-99), the orchestral suite La Mer (1903-1905), the opera Pelléas et Mélisande (1902), and the collections for pianoforte, Images (1905, 1907), Préludes (1910-1913). Many other composers were strongly in-fluenced by Debussy's innovations, e.g., Ravel, Dukas, Roussel, de Séverac in France; Delhis, Bax, Scott in England; Réspighi in Italy; Falla in Spain; Carpenter and Griffes in America. Among important technical devices of impressionistic style are parallel chords and the whole-tone scale.
post-Romanticism (or late Romanticism) - a term sometimes used in reference to composers such as Mahler, R. Strauss, and others, who continued the essential Romantic expression in music after its high period in the mid-19th century.
Expressionism - a term denoting a certain trend in music begin-ning during the second decade of the 20th c., particularly in Austria and Germany. The term was taken over from the graphic arts (Nolde, Kirchnek) and used, more or less metaphorically, for music written in a deeply subjective and introspective style, conveying a typical "expressionistic" expression of tortuous emotions and psycho-analytical complexes.
The composers most often identified as "expressionists" are Arnold Schoenberg (who was also a talented painter), Alban Berg and to some extent Anton von Webern.
Dynamism - a term sometimes used in reference to the style of Stravinsky about 1910. It is characterized by a large, brilliantly colourful orchestra, by strongly percussive rhythms in irregular metric patterns, and by harshly dissonant harmonies.
Neoclassicism - a movement of the 20th c., which is essentially a reaction against the subjectivity and unrestrained emotionalism of late
Romanticism. It is characterized by the adoption of aesthetic ideal and of forms or methods derived from the music of earlier masters, especially those of the 18th c. such as Bach, Handel, Mozart, etc. Neoclassicism became the most widespread and most important trend in music about 1920. Stravinsky's Sonata for Pianoforte (1922) and Octet for Wind Instruments (1923) are among the definitive exam-ples of neoclassical style.
atonality (literally, the absence of tonality, of a definite tonal centre) - the abandonment of key as a system of organization. At first it was used to describe characteristics of certain pioneering works by Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg.
twelve-tone technique (Am. E.), twelve-note technique (Br. E.) - a 20th-century method of composition devised (c. 1920) by A. Schoenberg. (See also Serial music, note to p. 6). Others, e.g. J.M. Hauer, had invented similar systems prior to Schoenberg. A system of composition in which all twelve tones within the octave are treated as "equal", in an ordered relationship where no group of tones predominates as in major/minor system.
Allegro barbaro ('Варварское аллегро') - work for solo piano by Bela Bartok (1921), orchestral transcription by Kenessy (1946)
Cocteau, Jean (1889-1963) - French poet, novelist, and playwright, often associated with music as librettist or propagandist. Wrote sce-nario for Satie's Parade (1917) and librettos for Honegger's Antigone, Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, Milhaud's Le Pauvre Matelot (The Poor Sailor), among others.
futurism - a movement in literature and the arts founded in 1909 by the Italian writer Filippo Marinetti (1876-1944). It emphasized the machine age and the dynamic character of the industrial society. Musically this meant all kinds of noise, and special instruments were invented, such as thunderers, whistlers, etc.
quarter-tone - an interval equal to one half of half tone (one quarter of the whole tone. Some 20th c. composers who have written in quarter tones have built special pianos, e.g. Hans Barth and Alois Hâba. Quarter-tones have been often used since World War II by serial composers such as Boulez, Stockhausen, and others.
Malipiero, Gian (1882-1973) - Italian composer. He discovered and transcribed the almost forgotten works of Monteverdi, Tartini, Stradella, etc. This determined him to rebel against the "operatic tyranny" of Italian musical life. In 1913 he met Casella, who became his colleague in the struggle. He published complete edition of Monteverdi in 1926 - 42 which stimulated present revival of interest. Also edited many volumes of Vivaldi's complete works. Author of books on Vivaldi, Monteverdi, and Stravinsky.
Casella, Alfredo (1883-1947) - Italian composer, conductor, pianist,
and author. Studied with Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire. A cham-pion of all that was new in the arts. Anticipated tastes of a later epoch by interest in Italian baroque music, particularly Vivaldi.
Milhaud, Darius (1892-1974) - French composer and pianist, member of Les Six (The Six). In his early works he showed a con-siderable interest in polytonality. He experimented with many instru-mental combinations and also with tape.
Gebrauchsmusik (Germ.). A term originated in the 1920's mean-ing "music for use", i.e. music intended for practical use by ama-teurs, in the home or at informal gatherings as distinguished from music intended for concert performance. Paul Hindemith was closely identified with this type of music.
Johnny Spielt Auf (Germ.) - Johnny Strikes up the Band ('Джони наигрывает'), opera in 2 acts by Ernst Krenek to his own libretto (1927).
prepared piano - a piano whose sound is artificially altered by various devices, e.g., metal clips or metal bolts attached to the strings; strips of paper, rubber, felt, etc., inserted across the strings. The prepared piano was introduced by John Cage (b. 1912).
concrete music (Fr. musique concrete) - a historical source of electro-acoustic music and a continuing genre in which sonic material is derived from recorded sound. The first examples were music for radio plays composed by Pierre Schaeffer at the studios of French Radio in Paris (1948). In 1951 an experimental studio under Schaeffer's direction was established, the first to be devoted to electronic music (Groupe de Recherches de Musique concrete). Between 1948 and 1980, 935 works were composed in the studios, including pieces by Varèse, Berio, Stockhausen, Cage and Boulez. See also note to p. 6 Electro-acoustic music.
serial music - music constructed according to permutations of a group of elements placed in a certain order of series (tone row). These elements may include pitches, durations, or any other musical values. Strictly speaking, serial music encompasses twelve-tone music as well as music employing other types of pitch series. Normally, however, the term is reserved for music that extends classical Schoenbergian twelve-tone pitch technique and, especially, applies se-rial control to other musical elements, such as duration. Such music, mainly developed after World War II is often distinguished from twelve-tone serialism as "integral" or "total" serialism.
aleatory music - music in which the composer introduces ele-ments of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the compo-sition or its performance. The terms aleatoric, chance music, music of indeterminacy have been applied to many works created since
1945 by composers who differ widely as to the concepts, methods, and rigor with which they employ procedures of random selection. The first well-known example of 20th-c. aleatory composition was John Cage's Music of Changes for piano (1951).
Babbitt, Milton (b. 1916) - American composer and mathemati-cian. His compositions developed from the twelve-tone system of Schoenberg and Webern, later employing electronic devices such as synthesizers and tape. Author of articles and monographs on Bartok, Varèse, and Schoenberg. One of the most influential composers and teachers in the USA since World War II.
Cage, John (b. 1912) - American composer, pianist, and writer. Studied with Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg. In 1938 he in-vented the "prepared piano". Study of oriental philosophies led to his utilization of "chance" in his music, as in Music of Changes (1951). In 1952 he produced his first piece involving tape, Imaginary Landscape No. 5, and in the same year came 4'33" in which the performer makes no sound. He also used a wide range of electroni-cal and visual techniques.
Feldman, Morton (b. 1926) - American composer. His music was influenced by the theories and ideas of John Cage and Earle Brown. He has used indeterminacy and graphic notation in his music since Projections (1950-51).
Brown, Earle (b. 1926) - American composer. Worked with Cage in New York (1952-55) on a project for music for magnetic tape. Influenced by visual arts. His Twenty-five Pages (1953) for 1-25 pi-anofortes uses "open form" and space-time notation, e.g. pitches and durations are specified but, clefs being absent, the pages can be played either way up. The score consists of 25 pages to be arranged in any order. In open-form composition the ordering and combina-tion of the written-out material is left to the choice of the performer or conductor.
in terms of texture and color - в понятиях (категориях) фак-туры и тембра (окраски звука)
Berio, Luciano (b. 1925) - Italian composer. His compositions are influenced by serialism, electronic devices and indeterminacy. He has developed individually the "collage" technique, borrowing extracts from other composers or imitating stylistic characteristics. Examples are Simphonia and Laborintos II.
Foss, Lukas (b. 1922) - German-born American composer and conductor. Studied with Hindemith and Koussevitsky. Foss's music is both traditional and experimental, the latter employing indeterminacy though scores are wholly notated.
microtone - an interval smaller than a half tone, e.g. quarter tone (see note to p. 5).
Johnston, Benjamin (b. 1926) - American composer, pupil of John Cage. Compositions which use microtones, serialism and inde-terminacy, include 3 string quarters, dance-opera, sonata for micro-tonal piano, and 2 Oboes and 2 Tables and 2 Banyas.
Kagel, Mauricio (b. 1932) - Argentinian-born composer, conductor, and teacher. He has worked in theatre as composer and director of his own works since 1963. His music uses tape and electronic proce-dures. In his later works, visual and theatrical elements ("mixed me-dia") have predominated. Many of the scores involve indeterminacy.
Rzewsky, Frederic (b. 1938) - American composer and pianist, pupil of Cage and Stockhausen. He has written works involving dances, film, tape, etc.
Cardew, Cornelius (b. 1936) - English composer and guitarist. Studied electronic music in Cologne 1957-58, becoming an assistant to Stockhausen 1958-60. His early piano works are in the style of the early Boulez and Stockhausen, but later compositions follow a Cage-like indeterminacy, e.g. Treatise (1963-67).
electro-acoustic music - music that is produced, changed, or re-produced by electronic means and that makes creative use of elec-tronic equipment. Since 1948 several genres have emerged that are usually related to the artistic potential of specific electronic devices. Musique concrète (concrete music) uses the phonograph and tape recorder to combine, modify, or store "natural sounds". Electronic music consists either wholly or partially of sounds produced by elec-tronic oscillators and modifying devices such as synthesizers and then stored on magnetic tape. Tape music (USA) and electrophonic music (Great Britain) combine concrete and electronic sounds and tape. Computer music is either composed or generated by a digital com-puter. Live/electronic music uses any of the equipment above for live performance. Text-sound compositions take spoken language as their literary and musical source.
mixed media - the merging of elements from different arts into a single, composite expression, usually as in recent works in which live sound (including music) and movement (including dance and dra-matic action), film, tape, and setting are combined, often incorporat-ing indeterminate elements (see note to p. 6, aleatory music) and audience participation there has been a constant cross-fertilization between Western art music and popular music - в западной музыкальной культуре шел непрерывный процесс взаимообогащения серьезной музы-ки и музыки массовых бытовых жанров
rock - the dominant type of American popular music since 1955. The term, strictly defined, refers to a musical style that emerged in
the mid-1960s; in a broader sense it encompasses both this and rock-and-roll, which prevailed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
minimalist school - a term applied from the early 1970s to vari-ous compositional practices, current from the early 1960s, the features of which (harmonic stasis, the use of rhythmic patterns, and repetition) have as their underlying impulse the radical réduction at compositional materials. The best-known composers of minimalist music are Le Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip
Rochberg, George (b. 1918) - American composer Influenced by Schoenberg Mahler, his music developed an individual type of serialism but later returned to tonality. Author of many critical articles.
(especially since most composers tend to juxtapose them with post-tonal techniques) - (особенно поскольку большинство компо-зиторов стремится использовать их (т.е. классические тради-ции) наряду с пост-тональными техническими приемами)
at the tail end of the Wagnerian hegemony - на исходе гос-подства вагнеровской традиции
Verklärte Nacht (Germ.) - Transfigured Night, a work in one movement for 2 violins, 2 violas, and 2 cellos by Schoenberg, op 4 (1899) inspired by a poem of Richard Dehmel. It was later arranged for string orchestra (1917, revised in 1943), and it has served as the basis for many ballets, including Pillar of Fire (1942).
Tristan - Tristan and Isolde, musical drama in 3 acts by Wagner to his own libretto (based on G. von Strassbourg's Tristan c. 1210, and ultimately on Arthurian legend), produced in Munich, 1865.
Pierrot lunaire (Fr.) - Pierro in the Moonlight, a cycle of 12 short pieces, for a "singing narrator" and chamber orchestra by Schoenberg (1912), based on poems by A. Giraud.
Zemlinsky, Alexander von (1872-1942) - Australian-born composer and conductor. Studied at the Vienna Conservatory (1884-90). Be-friended Schoenberg in Vienna, gave him counterpoint lessons. Friend of Mahler.
Harmonielehre (Germ.) - Treatise on Harmony by Schoenberg (1911); complete English translation by R.E. Carter, 1978.
root - (муз.) основной тон аккорда
to which every harmony and harmonic succession must be referred - с которым должна быть соотнесена каждая гармония или гармоническая последовательность
in statu nascendi (Laù) - в состоянии зарождения
Dohnânyi, Erno (1877-1960) - Hungarian composer, pianist, and conductor. Concert pianist, international repute 1897-1908.
ancient pentatonic Magyar airs - старинные пентатонические венгерские песни
Ludus Tonalls (Lat) - Tonal Play ('Игра тонов'), a work for pianoforte (1942)
Rameau, Jean-Philippe (1683-1764) - French composer, harpsi-chordist, and organist, author of the famous Treatise on Harmony (1722)
Gebrauchsmusik (Germ.) - see note to p. 6
Neues vom Tage (Germ.) - News of the Day, comic opera in 3 parts by Hindemith to the libretto by М. Schiffer
Berlin Hochschule (in full the Staatliche Akademische Hochschule für Musik) - formerly the Royal High School for Music. Founded in 1869, with Joachim as director.
Yale - Yale University (USA)
sine qua non (Lat) - necessary requirement
when viewed with hindsight - когда воспринимается ретро-спективно
serial techniques - see note to p. 6, serial music
chord patterns - сочетания аккордов
the growing position of texture and timbre - усиливающееся внимание к фактуре и тембру
the jagged synchronizations of irregular patterns - остро вос-принимаемые одновременные столкновения нерегулярных рит-мов
no musical element may be isolated from its rhythmic iden-tity - ни один элемент в музыке не может рассматриваться вне его ритмических характеристик
a sort of megaconsonance - своего рода гигантский консонанс
Craft, Robert (b. 1923) - American conductor, musicologist, and author. Skilled interpreter of music of Webern, Shoenberg, Berg, and especially of Stravinsky, with whom he was on terms of intimate friendship, collaborating with him on seven books.
mauere (Fr.) - материал musique concrète (Fr.)-see note to p. 6
Gesang der Junglinge (Germ.) - Song of the Young Boys, elec-tronic composition (on tape) by Stockhausen (1955-56)
what they cannot possibly contact directly with their own ears or understanding - то, что они, по-видимому, не, могут воспри-нимать непосредственно с помощью слуха или разума
Auden, Wystan Hugh (1907-1974) - English-born poet (later American citizen) and librettist. Wrote libretto for Britten's first opera Paul Bunyan (1941) and, with Chester Kallman, for Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress (1951).
is a self-contained tableau - представляет собой самостоятель-ную зарисовку
his idiom modal. Имеется в виду, что композитор использу-ет смешанную технику с обращением к старинным ладам.
"permanent melody" - (зд.) лейтмотив
libretto per se (Lat) - либретто как таковое
Götterdämmerung (Germ.) - 'Сумерки богов', музыкальная драма Р. Вагнера (1869-74)
Eliot, Thomas (1888-1965) - American-born English poet, critic, and playwright, a major figure in English literature
Owen, Wilfred (1893-1918) - poet of World War I, killed just before the Armistice and before he was able to complete the book of poetry he had planned, of which he said in the preface "the subject of it is War and the pity of War". His Collected Poems were published in 1920 by his friend Sassoon. Britten's War Requiem uses the Latin Mass interspersed with the poems by Wilfred Owen.
Yeats, William (1865-1939) - Irish poet and playwright
Jung, Carl Gustav (1875-1961) - Swiss psychologist. The terms extrovert and introvert which he introduced into his study of psycho-logical types have become part of everyday language.
trailblazer - (зд.) первопроходчик, новатор
Dukas, Paul (1865-1935) - French composer, music critic and teacher. His finest work is his opera Ariadne and Bluebeard. He was professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire from 1909 to 1935.
Dupre, Marcel (1886-1971) - French organist and composer; noteworthy improviser
Baudrier, Yves (1906) - French composer; founder of the group Young France
Daniel-Lesur (b. 1908) - French composer and organist, professor of counterpoint at the Scholar Cantorum (1935-1962)
Jolivet, André (1905-1974) - French composer; one of the founders of the Jeune France group; conductor and later music director of Comédie Française (1943-59)
La Jeune France (Fr.) - Young France, a group of French com-posers formed in Paris in 1936 to re-establish then unfashionable idea of "a personal message" in composition (members were Baudrier, Jolivet, Lesur, and Messiaen)
Oiseaux exotiques (Fr.)-Exotic Birds
Catalogue d'oiseaux (Fr.) - Catalogue of the Birds, work by Messiaen for solo piano in 7 books (1956-58), based on birdsong as noted and remembered by the composer
modal progressions of chords - последовательности аккордов, соответствующие логике закономерностей старинных ладов
ondes Martenot - 'волны Мартено' (электроинструмент, созданный Морисом Мартино в 1928 г.)
Turangalîla-symphonie (Sanskrit) - symphony in 10 movements by Messiaen for large orchestra including ondes Martenot, piano, and section of pitched and unpitched percussion. Largest of 3 works in-spired by the Tristan and Isolde legend. Written between 1946-1948.
Atmospheres - Atmosphere, work for orchestra by Ligeti, compo-sed in 1961, first performed at Donaueschingen
Lux aeterna - Eternal Light, work for 16-part choir by Ligeti, composed in 1966. The text is from Agnus Dei of the Requiem Mass.
Lontano - In the Distance, work for orchestra by Ligeti, com-posed in 1967, first performed at Donaueschingen
open form - a musical design with no fixed beginning or end. First employed by Charles Ives, and Henry Cowell, but developed as indeterminacy by Cage and Earle Brown. In Boulez's Third Piano Sonata, for example, the 5 movements may be played in any order except the third which must stay central.
musique concrete - see note to p. 6
Kontakte (Germ.) - Contacts, composition by Stockhausen for pi-ano, percussion and electronic sounds on 4-track tape (1959-60)
Gruppen (Germ.) - Groups, composition for 3 orchestras by Stock-hausen (1955-57), each placed in a different part of the hall and each playing different music
onomatopoeic words - звукоподражательные слова
Minstrel songs, Minstrels - in modern usage, the term is loosely applied to all sorts of musical entertainers, ancient and modern, es-pecially for comedians appearing in the guise of Negroes. The Negro minstrel shows became a popular national institution in the US in the 1830s.
country and western music - a mass-disseminated product of the present century in America, derived from traditional oral music brought by non-literate immigrants from the British Isles. Singing styles retain the nazal, "high-country" sound of older music; instru-mentation consists of one or two fiddles, a banjo, guitars, and usu-ally a bass; texts are often concerned with such harsh realities as death, alcoholism, desertion, crime, etc.; and both melody and ac-companiment reflect a solid harmonic foundation. In the 1960s and
1970s songs by Jim Reeves, Don Williams, and Slim Whitman at-tracted many listeners in Europe and then in other parts of the world.
Pro Musica Antiqua - name under which the New York Pro Musica ensemble was founded by Noah Greenberg in 1952
Hair - a popular American musical composed by Galt MacDermot (1968)
Juilliard - The Juilliard School, American musical college established in New York in 1924
a complete upending of the pop music scene - совершенный переворот в популярной музыке
rock was dismissed as an aberration and an abomination - рок отвергли как заблуждение и нечто отвратительное
rockabilly - a form of American popular music that combined the plucked string sounds of country and western music with song-forms and lyrics of rock'n'roll. The genre flourished from about 1954 to 1960 in the southern US and for somewhat longer in England. Its essential representatives include Jene Vincent, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and the young Elvis Presley.
rhythm-and-blues (also rhythm'n'blues, R'n'B) - Black American popular music from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. Rhythm-and-blues continued to be a general term for many styles of black popular music throughout the 1960s, but the classic rhythm-and-blues style was supplanted in popularity in the late 1950s by rock-and-roll (essentially a blend of rhythm-and-blues and country, which was pio-neered by Elvis Presley and became part of white youth culture), and slightly later by soul music (which resulted from the application of gospel singing styles to rhythm-and-blues, as developed by Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, and quickly became the most popular style among black teenagers).
Bob Dylan (Zimmerman, Robert, b. 1941) - folk and rock singer and songwriter. He was the most influential figure in the urban folk music revival of the 1960s and 1970s.
folk rock - a combination of folk music with the amplified in-strumentation of rock usually including drums and electric stringed instruments
proceeded to inundate American teenagers - (зд.) захлестнуло также и американских подростков
soul - a type of black American popular music that appeared in the mid-1960s. Popular vocalists are Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and
James Brown. They brought to secular singing the impassioned im-provisatory vocal devices of black gospel music (sudden shouts, falsetto cries, moans, etc.) and a collection of church-derived, id-iomatic formulas. See also rhythm'n'blues above.
raga - a traditional form in Hindu music, consisting of a theme that expresses some aspect of religious feeling and sets forth a tonal system on which variations are improvised within a prescribed framework of typical progressions, melodic formulas, and rhythmic patterns.
psychedelic rock (also acid rock) - a style of rock, played chiefly by bands in the San Francisco area in the 1960s. It is char-acterized by extended, blues-inspired improvisations and surrealistic lyrics, and sometimes uses exotic (especially Indian) instruments; the music is intended to evoke or accompany a drug-induced state. The performances took place in large "rock palaces" and were accompa-nied by lavish light shows.
mixed media - see note to p. 7
op art - optical art which is based on the idea that the painter or sculptor can create optical effects that persuade the spectator to see visual illusions
pop art - a form of ' art that depicts objects of everyday life and adapts techniques of commercial art, such as comic strips
ob art - object art ('искусство объекта')
"house hippie" - (here) hippie (see note to p. 40) on the staff of the firm
Established song forms, like the 32-bar chorus-cum-bridge, have given way to new forms characterized by odd-numbered formations, shifting meters, radical stanza patterns and changing time signatures. - Устоявшиеся песенные формы, подобные 32-тактовому куплету со связкой, уступили место новым формам, которые характеризуются построениями из нечетного числа тактов с метрическими смещениями, радикальными строфиче-скими схемами и меняющимися обозначениями метра.
"wall-of-sound" density - плотность 'стены звучания'
LP - long-playing record (33 1/3)
liner - (here) removable plastic lining on records
a melange of vibrating colors, blinding images and deafening sound - смесь вибрирующих цветов, слепящих бликов и оглу-шающих звуков
as after-hour pads for teenagers - в качестве мест для сбо-рищ подростков после занятий или работы
Simon, Paul (b. 1941) - singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Formed with Garfunkel a popular duo.
bluegrass - a style of country music that grew in the 1940s from the music of Bill Monroe and his group, the Blue Grass Boys
hippie - person who rejects organized society and established so-cial habits. Hippies adopt an unconventional way of life, style of dress, etc.
yippie-youth movement, popular in the 1960s, known for their aggressiveness (stands for Young International Party)
gospel - religious music of black American origin in a popular or folk style
went gold - (зд.) были распроданы в количестве более мил-лиона копий; в этом случае фирмы звукозаписи выпускают зо-лотую пластинку
single - a record with only one short song on each side
EP - extended play record (45)
LP - see note to p. 39
Sadler's Wells Opera Company (also English National Opera) dates from 1931. It took its name from the theatre in which it was originally housed. In 1968 the much-expanded company moved to the London Coliseum, leaving the Sadler's Wells Theatre available to house visiting companies for short seasons. In 1974 the company's name was changed from Sadler's Wells Opera to English National Opera.
Camden Festival (London) - performances of all kinds, concerts, recitals, chamber' music, solo, choral, dance; poetry readings, exhibi-tions, lectures, but most especially, rarities from the operatic archives, and the choicest repertory in all of Great Britain.
Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts (Suffolk) - a festival started in 1948 by B. Britten and Peter Pears with fellow musicians, writers, and artists. They have turned the fishing village of Aldeburgh on the North Sea into an international centre for music and musical theatre. The English Opera Group is the performing organization for theatrical presentations. The names of Rostropovich,
Richter, and Dietrich-Fischer-Dieskau are often associated with this festival.
Glyndebourne Festival Opera (Sussex) - founded in 1934 as a private venture by John Christie and his wife, the opera singer Au-drey Mildmay. They built an opera house in the grounds of their Sussex manor house in which they could give opera performances of a standard that was unknown at that time in England. Glyndebourne remains the prestige opera festival of Europe, and a social event.
the Halle Orchestra of Manchester - one of the finest professional orchestras in the world, which achieved international recognition under the direction of Charles Halle and John Barbirolli. Charles Halle (1819-1895), German-born pianist and conductor, settled in England in 1848; champion of new works, especially those of Berlioz.
Dolmetsch, Arnold (1858-1940) - Swiss musician and maker of old instruments. Settled in England in 1914, establishing workshop for manufacture and repair of clavichords, harpsichords, viols, lutes, etc., and founding annual festival at which old music was performed by himself and his family on authentic instruments.
Henry Wood (1869-1944) - English conductor and organist, tireless champion of contemporary music. List of works of which he gave first performances and first performances in England is long and honourable. In 1895 Henry Wood was engaged by Robert Newman as conductor of his new series of Promenade concerts in London. These he built from rudimentary beginnings to be a premier feature of English musical life. The "Proms" (Promenade Concerts) are held in the Royal Albert Hall for 8 weeks from mid-July each year. (Literally, Promenade Concerts are concerts at which the audience can walk about, but in modern usage concerts at which a section of the audience stands.)
Sarum rite (also Sarum use) - the ritual used in the Cathedral of Salisbury, England, which differed in certain details from the Ro-man liturgy. It prevailed during the later Middle Ages throughout much of England, until it was abolished by decree in 1547.
lute ауrе-арии (песни) в сопровождении лютни. Этот жанр в английской музыке увековечил Дауленд (Dowland).
semi-opera - Музыка к драматическим спектаклям. Перселл внес в