Aaron Copland and His World

The Bard Music Festival

Book 16
Princeton University Press
Free sample

Aaron Copland and His World reassesses the legacy of one of America's best-loved composers at a pivotal moment--as his life and work shift from the realm of personal memory to that of history. This collection of seventeen essays by distinguished scholars of American music explores the stages of cultural change on which Copland's long life (1900 to 1990) unfolded: from the modernist experiments of the 1920s, through the progressive populism of the Great Depression and the urgencies of World War II, to postwar political backlash and the rise of serialism in the 1950s and the cultural turbulence of the 1960s.

Continually responding to an ever-changing political and cultural panorama, Copland kept a firm focus on both his private muse and the public he served. No self-absorbed recluse, he was very much a public figure who devoted his career to building support systems to help composers function productively in America. This book critiques Copland's work in these shifting contexts.


The topics include Copland's role in shaping an American school of modern dance; his relationship with Leonard Bernstein; his homosexuality, especially as influenced by the writings of André Gide; and explorations of cultural nationalism. Copland's rich correspondence with the composer and critic Arthur Berger, who helped set the parameters of Copland's reception, is published here in its entirety, edited by Wayne Shirley. The contributors include Emily Abrams, Paul Anderson, Elliott Antokoletz, Leon Botstein, Martin Brody, Elizabeth Crist, Morris Dickstein, Lynn Garafola, Melissa de Graaf, Neil Lerner, Gail Levin, Beth Levy, Vivian Perlis, Howard Pollack, and Larry Starr.

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About the author

Carol J. Oja is William Powell Mason Professor of Music at Harvard University and the author of Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s. Judith Tick is Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Music at Northeastern University and the author of Ruth Crawford Seeger: A Composer's Search for American Music.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jun 5, 2018
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Pages
503
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ISBN
9780691186153
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
Biography & Autobiography / Music
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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Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953), arguably the most popular composer of the twentieth century, led a life of triumph and tragedy. The story of his prodigious childhood in tsarist Russia, maturation in the West, and rise and fall as a Stalinist-era composer is filled with unresolved questions. Sergey Prokofiev and His World probes beneath the surface of his career and contextualizes his contributions to music on both sides of the nascent Cold War divide.

The book contains previously unknown documents from the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art in Moscow and the Prokofiev Estate in Paris. The literary notebook of the composer's mother, Mariya Grigoryevna, illuminates her involvement in his education and is translated in full, as are ninety-eight letters between the composer and his business partner, Levon Atovmyan. The collection also includes a translation of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky's unperformed stage adaptation of Eugene Onegin, for which Prokofiev composed incidental music in 1936.


The essays in the book range in focus from musical sketches to Kremlin decrees. The contributors explore Prokofiev's time in America; evaluate his working methods in the mid-1930s; document the creation of his score for the film Lieutenant Kizhe; tackle how and why Prokofiev rewrote his 1930 Fourth Symphony in 1947; detail his immortalization by Soviet bureaucrats, composers, and scholars; and examine Prokofiev's interest in Christian Science and the paths it opened for his music.


The contributors are Mark Aranovsky, Kevin Bartig, Elizabeth Bergman, Leon Botstein, Pamela Davidson, Caryl Emerson, Marina Frolova-Walker, Nelly Kravetz, Leonid Maximenkov, Stephen Press, and Peter Schmelz.

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

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

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) aimed to be more than just a composer. He set out to redefine opera as a "total work of art" combining the highest aspirations of drama, poetry, the symphony, the visual arts, even religion and philosophy. Equally celebrated and vilified in his own time, Wagner continues to provoke debate today regarding his political legacy as well as his music and aesthetic theories. Wagner and His World examines his works in their intellectual and cultural contexts.

Seven original essays investigate such topics as music drama in light of rituals of naming in the composer's works and the politics of genre; the role of leitmotif in Wagner's reception; the urge for extinction in Tristan und Isolde as psychology and symbol; Wagner as his own stage director; his conflicted relationship with pianist-composer Franz Liszt; the anti-French satire Eine Kapitulation in the context of the Franco-Prussian War; and responses of Jewish writers and musicians to Wagner's anti-Semitism. In addition to the editor, the contributors are Karol Berger, Leon Botstein, Lydia Goehr, Kenneth Hamilton, Katherine Syer, and Christian Thorau.


This book also includes translations of essays, reviews, and memoirs by champions and detractors of Wagner; glimpses into his domestic sphere in Tribschen and Bayreuth; and all of Wagner's program notes to his own works. Introductions and annotations are provided by the editor and David Breckbill, Mary A. Cicora, James Deaville, Annegret Fauser, Steven Huebner, David Trippett, and Nicholas Vazsonyi.

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

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


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



Bard Music Festival:
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Berg and His World

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

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

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



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

Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944), the most widely performed composer of her generation, was the first American woman to succeed as a creator of large-scale art music. Her "Gaelic" Symphony, given its premiere by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1896, was the first work of its kind by an American woman to be performed by an American orchestra. Almost all of her more than 300 works were published soon after they were composed and performed, and today her music is finding new advocates and audiences for its energy, intensity, and sheer beauty. Yet, until now, no full-length critical biography of Beach's life or comprehensive critical overview of her music existed. This biography admirably fills that gap, fully examining the connections between Beach's life and work in light of social currents and dominant ideologies. Born into a musical family in Victorian times, Amy Beach started composing as a child of four and was equally gifted as a pianist. Her talent was recognized early by Boston's leading musicians, who gave her unqualified support. Although Beach believed that the life of a professional musician was the only life for her, her parents had raised her for marriage and a career of amateur music-making. Her response to this parental (and later spousal) opposition was to find creative ways of reaching her goal without direct confrontation. Discouraged from a full-scale concert career, she instead found her métier in composition. Success as a composer of art songs came early for Beach: indeed, her songs outsold those of her contemporaries. Nevertheless, she was determined to separate her work from the genteel parlor music women were writing in her day by creating large-scale works--a Mass, a symphony, and chamber music--that challenged the accepted notion that women were incapable of creating high art. She won the respect of colleagues and the allegiance of audiences. Many who praised her work, however, considered her an exception among women. Beach's reaction to this was to join with other women composers of serious music by promoting their works along with her own. Adrienne Fried Block has written a biography that takes full account of issues of gender and musical modernism, considering Beach in the contexts of her time and of her composer contemporaries, both male and female. Amy Beach, Passionate Victorian will be of great interest to students and scholars of American music, and to music lovers in general.
Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953), arguably the most popular composer of the twentieth century, led a life of triumph and tragedy. The story of his prodigious childhood in tsarist Russia, maturation in the West, and rise and fall as a Stalinist-era composer is filled with unresolved questions. Sergey Prokofiev and His World probes beneath the surface of his career and contextualizes his contributions to music on both sides of the nascent Cold War divide.

The book contains previously unknown documents from the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art in Moscow and the Prokofiev Estate in Paris. The literary notebook of the composer's mother, Mariya Grigoryevna, illuminates her involvement in his education and is translated in full, as are ninety-eight letters between the composer and his business partner, Levon Atovmyan. The collection also includes a translation of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky's unperformed stage adaptation of Eugene Onegin, for which Prokofiev composed incidental music in 1936.


The essays in the book range in focus from musical sketches to Kremlin decrees. The contributors explore Prokofiev's time in America; evaluate his working methods in the mid-1930s; document the creation of his score for the film Lieutenant Kizhe; tackle how and why Prokofiev rewrote his 1930 Fourth Symphony in 1947; detail his immortalization by Soviet bureaucrats, composers, and scholars; and examine Prokofiev's interest in Christian Science and the paths it opened for his music.


The contributors are Mark Aranovsky, Kevin Bartig, Elizabeth Bergman, Leon Botstein, Pamela Davidson, Caryl Emerson, Marina Frolova-Walker, Nelly Kravetz, Leonid Maximenkov, Stephen Press, and Peter Schmelz.

New York City witnessed a dazzling burst of creativity in the 1920s. In this pathbreaking study, Carol J. Oja explores this artistic renaissance from the perspective of composers of classical and modern music, who along with writers, painters, and jazz musicians, were at the heart of early modernism in America. She also illustrates how the aesthetic attitudes and institutional structures from the 1920s left a deep imprint on the arts over the 20th century. Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Virgil Thomson, William Grant Still, Edgar Varèse, Henry Cowell, Leo Ornstein, Marion Bauer, George Antheil-these were the leaders of a talented new generation of American composers whose efforts made New York City the center of new music in the country. They founded composer societies--such as the International Composers' Guild, the League of Composers, the Pan American Association, and the Copland-Sessions Concerts--to promote the performance of their music, and they nimbly negotiated cultural boundaries, aiming for recognition in Western Europe as much as at home. They showed exceptional skill at marketing their work. Drawing on extensive archival material--including interviews, correspondence, popular periodicals, and little-known music manuscripts--Oja provides a new perspective on the period and a compelling collective portrait of the figures, puncturing many longstanding myths. American composers active in New York during the 1920s are explored in relation to the "Machine Age" and American Dada; the impact of spirituality on American dissonance; the crucial, behind-the-scenes role of women as patrons and promoters of modernist music; cross-currents between jazz and concert music; the critical reception of modernist music (especially in the writings of Carl Van Vechten and Paul Rosenfeld); and the international impulse behind neoclassicism. The book also examines the persistent biases of the time, particularly anti-Semitisim, gender stereotyping, and longstanding racial attitudes.
The New York Times Bestseller!

After decades of silence, Robyn Crawford, close friend, collaborator, and confidante of Whitney Houston, shares her story.

Whitney Houston is as big a superstar as the music business has ever known. She exploded on the scene in 1985 with her debut album and spent the next two decades dominating the charts and capturing the hearts of fans around the world. One person was there by her side through it all—her best friend, Robyn Crawford.

Since Whitney’s death in 2012, Robyn has stayed out of the limelight and held the great joys, wild adventures, and hard truths of her life with Whitney close to her heart. Now, for the first time ever, Crawford opens up in her new memoir, A Song for You.

With warmth, candor, and an impressive recall of detail, Robyn describes the two meeting as teenagers in the 1980s, and how their lives and friendship evolved as Whitney recorded her first album and Robyn pursued her promising Division I basketball career. Together during countless sold-out world tours, behind the scenes as hit after hit was recorded, through Whitney’s marriage and the birth of her daughter, the two navigated often challenging families, great loves, and painful losses, always supporting each other with laughter and friendship.
 
Deeply personal and heartfelt, A Song for You is the vital, honest, and previously untold story that provides an understanding of the complex life of Whitney Houston. Finally, the person who knew her best sets the record straight.
Winner of the 2015 Music in American Culture Award from the American Musicological Society When Leonard Bernstein first arrived in New York City, he was an unknown artist working with other brilliant twentysomethings, notably Jerome Robbins, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green. By the end of the 1940s, these artists were world famous. Their collaborations defied artistic boundaries and subtly pushed a progressive political agenda, altering the landscape of musical theater, ballet, and nightclub comedy. In Bernstein Meets Broadway: Collaborative Art in a Time of War, award-winning author and scholar Carol J. Oja examines the early days of Bernstein's career during World War II, centering around the debut in 1944 of the Broadway musical On the Town and the ballet Fancy Free. As a composer and conductor, Bernstein experienced a meteoric rise to fame, thanks in no small part to his visionary colleagues. Together, they focused on urban contemporary life and popular culture, featuring as heroes the itinerant sailors who bore the brunt of military service. They were provocative both artistically and politically. In a time of race riots and Japanese internment camps, Bernstein and his collaborators featured African American performers and a Japanese American ballerina, staging a model of racial integration. Rather than accepting traditional distinctions between high and low art, Bernstein's music was wide-open, inspired by everything from opera and jazz to cartoons. Oja shapes a wide-ranging cultural history that captures a tumultuous moment in time. Bernstein Meets Broadway is an indispensable work for fans of Broadway musicals, dance, and American performance history.
INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, from his rollercoaster lifestyle as shown in the film Rocketman, to becoming a living legend.

Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in his bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt, and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation to conquering Broadway with Aida, The Lion King, and Billy Elliot the Musical. All the while Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.

In Me, Elton also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father. In a voice that is warm, humble, and open, this is Elton on his music and his relationships, his passions and his mistakes. This is a story that will stay with you by a living legend.

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