Louise Talma: A Life in Composition

Routledge
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American composer Louise Talma (1906-1996) was the first female winner of two back-to-back Guggenheim Awards (1946, 1947), the first American woman to have an opera premiered in Europe (1962), the first female winner of the Sibelius Award for Composition (1963), and the first woman composer elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1974). This book analyses Talma’s works in the context of her life, focusing on the effects on her work of two major changes she made during her adult life: her conversion to Catholicism as an adult, under the guidance of Nadia Boulanger, and her adoption of serial compositional techniques. Employing approaches from traditional musical analysis, feminist and queer musicology, and women’s autobiographical theory to examine Talma’s body of works, comprising some eighty pieces, this is the first full-length study of this pioneering composer. Exploring Talma’s compositional language, text-setting practices, and the incorporation of autobiographical elements into her works using her own letters, sketches, and scores, as well as a number of other relevant documents, this book positions Talma’s contributions to serial and atonal music in the United States, considers her role as a woman composer during the twentieth century, and evaluates the legacy of her works and career in American music.
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About the author

Kendra Preston Leonard is a musicologist whose work focuses on women and music in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; music and screen history; and music and disability. She is the author of The Conservatoire Américain: a History and received the inaugural Judith Tick Fellowship from the Society for American Music for her work on Louise Talma.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Apr 22, 2016
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Pages
174
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ISBN
9781317103219
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / History & Criticism
Music / Individual Composer & Musician
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Born into a poor Virginian family, John Treville Latouche (1914-56), in his short life, made a profound mark on America's musical theater as a lyricist, book writer, and librettist. The wit and skill of his lyrics elicited comparisons with the likes of Ira Gershwin, Lorenz Hart, and Cole Porter, but he had too, noted Stephen Sondheim, "a large vision of what musical theater could be," and he proved especially venturesome in helping to develop a lyric theater that innovatively combined music, word, dance, and costume and set design. Many of his pieces, even if not commonly known today, remain high points in the history of American musical theater. "A great American genius" in the words of Duke Ellington, Latouche initially came to wide public attention in his early twenties with his cantata for soloist and chorus, Ballad for Americans (1939), with music by Earl Robinson-a work that swept the nation during the Second World War. Other milestones in his career included the all-black musical fable, Cabin in the Sky (1940), with Vernon Duke; an interracial updating of John Gay's classic, The Beggar's Opera, as Beggar's Holiday (1946), with Duke Ellington; two acclaimed Broadway operas with Jerome Moross: Ballet Ballads (1948) and The Golden Apple (1954); one of the most enduring operas in the American canon, The Ballad of Baby Doe (1956), with Douglas Moore; and the operetta Candide (1956), with Leonard Bernstein and Lillian Hellman. Extremely versatile, he also wrote cabaret songs, participated in documentary and avant-garde film, translated poetry, adapted plays, and much else. Meanwhile, as one of Manhattan's most celebrated raconteurs and hosts, he developed a wide range of friends in the arts, including, to name only a few, Paul and Jane Bowles (whom he introduced to each other), Yul Brynner, John Cage, Jack Kerouac, Frederick Kiesler, Carson McCullers, Frank O'Hara, Dawn Powell, Ned Rorem, Virgil Thomson, Gore Vidal, and Tennessee Williams-a dazzling constellation of diverse artists working in sundry fields, all attracted to Latouche's brilliance and joie de vivre, not to mention his support for their work. This book draws widely on archival collections both at home and abroad, including Latouche's diaries and the papers of Bernstein, Ellington, Moore, Moross, and many others, to tell for the first time, the story of this fascinating man and his work.
When writer and director Joss Whedon created the character Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he could hardly have expected the resulting academic interest in his work. Yet almost six years after the end of Buffy on television, Buffy studies—and academic work on Whedon's expanding oeuvre—continue to grow. Now with three hugely popular television shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, and the film Serenity all available on DVD, scholars are evaluating countless aspects of the Whedon universe (or "Whedonverse"). Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon studies the significant role that music plays in these works, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Kendra Preston Leonard has collected a varying selection of essays that explore music and sound in Joss Whedon's works. The essays investigate both diegetic and non-diegetic music, considering music from various sources, including the shows' original scores, music performed by the characters themselves, and music contributed by such artists as Michelle Branch, The Sex Pistols, and Sarah McLachlan, as well as classical composers like Camille Saint-Saëns and Johannes Brahms.

The approaches incorporate historical and theoretical musicology, feminist and queer musicology, media studies, cultural history, and interdisciplinary readings. The book also explores the compositions written by Whedon himself: the theme music for Firefly, and two fully integrated musicals, the Buffy episode "Once More, With Feeling" and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. With several musical examples, a table with a full breakdown of the Danse Macabre scene from the acclaimed Buffy episode "Hush," and an index, this volume will be fascinating to students and scholars of science-fiction, television, film, and popular culture.
Shakespeare's three political tragedies_Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear_have numerously been presented or adapted on film. These three plays all involve the recurring trope of madness, which, as constructed by Shakespeare, provided a wider canvas on which to detail those materials that could not be otherwise expressed: sexual desire and expectation, political unrest, and, ultimately, truth, as excavated by characters so afflicted. Music has long been associated with madness, and was often used as an audible symptom of a victim's disassociation from their surroundings and societal rules, as well as their loss of self-control. In Shakespeare, Madness, and Music: Scoring Insanity in Cinematic Adaptations, Kendra Preston Leonard examines the use of music in Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear. Whether discussing contemporary source materials, such as songs, verses, or rhymes specified by Shakespeare in his plays, or music composed specifically for a film and original to the director's or composer's interpretations, Leonard shows how the changing social and scholarly attitudes towards the plays, their characters, and the conditions that fall under the general catch-all of 'madness' have led to a wide range of musical accompaniments, signifiers, and incarnations of the afflictions displayed by Shakespeare's characters. Focusing on the most widely distributed and viewed adaptations of these plays for the cinema, each chapter presents the musical treatment of individual Shakespearean characters afflicted with or feigning madness: Hamlet, Ophelia, Lady Macbeth, King Lear, and Edgar. The book offers analysis and interpretation of the music used to underscore, belie, or otherwise inform or invoke the characters' states of mind, providing a fascinating indication of culture and society, as well as the thoughts and ideas of individual directors, composers, and actors. A bibliography, index, and appendix listing Shakespeare's film adaptations help complete this fascinating volume.
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