Monday, November 17, 2008

Shameless Plug: Boston's Spectrum Singers Nov. 22nd!

Tired of the same old holiday concert? Well, this year, come hear Spectrum Singers' Christmas Prelude Celebrating St. Cecilia's Day, this Saturday, November 22nd at 8pm at First Church Congregational in Cambridge. Better yet, come at 7pm to hear an engaging pre-concert lecture by acclaimed musicologist Steven Ledbetter. The concert will feature:

  • Benjamin Britten's Hymn to St. Cecilia
  • Norman Dello Joio's To Saint Cecilia (performed in memory of the composer)
  • Daniel Pinkham's A Song for St. Cecilia's Day
  • Herbert Howells' Hymn for St. Cecilia
  • as well as works by Ireland, Houkom, and Mathias.
Come celebrate music's patron saint and enjoy this unique holiday experience. Tickets: $15/$35/$45. I have discounted tickets available. If you are interested, leave your name and some form of contactable info (e-mail/link) in the comments.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Playlist for Tuesday, 11/18/08

I find, as I get closer to the end of my course, that my lectures are resembling Time-Life Audio Collection infomercials. While that disturbs me at some level, it does make for fun listening. I'm not sure I could come up with an infomercial to encapsulate the following playlist, but feel free to try, if you like.

Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin)--- Ella Fitzgerald
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Kern)--- Helen Morgan
You Send Me--Sam Cooke
Under the Boardwalk--- The Drifters
Hound Dog--- Elvis Presley
In the Ghetto--- Elvis Presley
Can't Help Falling In Love--- Elvis Presley
It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels--- Kitty Wells
It's Mighty Dark To Travel--- Bill Monroe
Talk About Jesus (Dorsey) --- Marion Williams
Precious Lord (Dorsey)--- B.B. King
Take My Hand, Precious Lord (Dorsey)---Mahalia Jackson
Mercedes Benz--- Janis Joplin
Summertime (Gershwin)--- Janis Joplin
Summertime (Gershwin)--- Willie Nelson

Friday, November 14, 2008

AMS/SMT 2008: Nashville, TN

Alright, I guess it is my turn for not-so-much-live blogging from AMS. Now that I've made my public service announcement, recovered from two hours on the tarmac at Washington-Dulles, and have caught up on some sleep, I can offer a few thoughts and highlights.

Like Drew, I got there early (Wednesday), but alas, unlike Drew, did not meet with Rich Crawford. I ventured out to the streets of Nashville for dinner, alone and in conference attire, then turned right back around and ate at the hotel. Having been raised in Los Angeles, I've learned to trust my instincts. Something about being alone, sans cowboy boots and jeans, made me feel rather conspicuous. I will give the hotel restaurant props for their excellent hospitality.

Thursday morning I waited not-so-patiently for the registration desk to open so that I could obtain my name tag and bag, absolute necessities to complete my conference ensemble. I spoke with Al Hipkins who was really on top of things (enough so to suggest that we probably didn't need room for 100 people for the Haydn Society Meeting and I should let him know...). Then after text messaging my roommate (who was in Memphis enjoying the Civil Rights Museum), I plopped myself down in a chair at Starbucks and tried to look busy. I read through my program and programmed all the sessions I wanted to/had-the-best-of-intentions to attend into my PDA/superphone, and ordered another latte.

Thursday Afternoon
I ran into W. Dean Sutcfliffe and asked if he would announce (at the Haydn Session) that the time and place for the Haydn Society meeting were incorrect in the program. I went to the Haydn session at 2, made myself useful by helping pass out handouts (I had to do something secretarial), and settled in. I enjoyed all the papers, especially Elaine Sisman's. I mused upon how many opportunities one has to look at anatomical drawings in a musicology session (Sarah Day O'Connell's paper) and thoroughly enjoyed Peter Hoyt's offerings of English prints of clerics with windmills on their heads (yes, still in the Haydn session). I did wish to clone myself so that I could have been in the Messiaen session at the same time.

I joyfully greeted my roommate (safely arrived from Memphis) and we headed to the opening reception which resembled a swap meet with drinks. I scored a drink ticket from my wonderful chair, and proceeded to chat with my grad school cohorts. It was a strange feeling as four of us are now "Drs." and we all have some sort of employment.

Friday morning I missed the Convent Music session (sorry!) to go hear Michael Cuthbert and Giovanni Zanovello both give extraordinary papers at the "Discovering Repertories of Italian Sacred Music." My presence at a Med/Ren session did earn me the anticipated remark about my presence at a Med/Ren session, but I didn't mind this time. I did feel it was unfair to have Giovanni's paper on musical repertories of the Santissima Annunziata convent at the same time as the other "convent" session, but decided that unlike me, most people probably do not attend those sessions because of a strange fascination with nuns.

I hopped over to the Instrumental Eccentricities session to see my former grad school colleague Ed Johnson give a very fine paper on "The Death and Second Life of the Harpsichord." In addition, Ed also gets the award for best conference handout (this needs to be added to the awards handed out at the business meeting).

Things I missed with a high degree of guilt and/or dismay:

  • Drew's paper (at least I missed it for another American music topic, but still...)
  • Samantha Bassler's presentation (Scholars with Disabilities)
  • More of a chance to chat with Elissa
  • "From Broadway to the Concert Stage" session
  • "Sacred or Profane? Popular Music and Religion in the United States" session
  • The recognition of Ryan's Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship (GO RYAN!)---I did go to the business meeting but left right after all the AMS-50 presentations. I'm still digesting the triumphal fanfare that opened the meeting.
  • "Political Polarities in the '30s" session (met the fate of many a Sunday session for me)
  • Not seeing the 10-15 people to whom I said, "Let's catch up in Nashville!" HAH! Right.

Other Highlights:

  • Coffee with Steve Fisher
  • A successful Haydn Society of North America business meeting
  • Late evenings at the bar with friends and colleagues
  • People-watching in the lobby/bar
  • A chance to celebrate Bill Prizer's birthday and Festschrift!!
  • An extravagant and glorious birthday dinner with my undergrad mentor and his wife, and my dear friend/roomie
  • The Norton reception and chatting with Steve Hoge

I will save my letter to United Airlines regarding my Washington-Dulles experience for another post.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some things are too important...

As most of you know (those of you who read my blog regularly, anyway) I occasionally write about things other than music or musicology. I wanted to write an AMS wrap-up post. I wanted to bask in Obama's victory. But instead, I think I need to post this. I hope you will watch it if you haven't seen it already.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Adventures in Teaching: Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing

I'm always reading about creative pedagogy and drooling over the idealized students to whom these techniques must apply. Yes, of course I'd love to bring in some clay (engaging other senses!) and have the group (group work!) create a life-size replica of their favorite (ownership of ideas!) American composer (visualization of subject matter!). Ok, so I exaggerate--just a little.

But let me tell you that I love my students this semester. I'm not sure they'd be up for "Let's Pretend-to-be-Rodin" but here's what they DID do this past week:

We were discussing the African-American spiritual, and on a whim, I decided I was going to get them to four-part harmony, no less. Keep in mind, that this is a class of non-majors, most of whom have little to no music background. I wasn't about to take no for an answer. I chose "Go Down Moses" (which their text discusses), because it gave me a chance to do something responsorial (where I would sing, and then they could come in on "Let My People Go.")* So I asked the women, "Who sings soprano? Alto?" As you might expect, they were fairly reticent to claim any voice part, so I divided them up myself (which was easy, since the "soprano" part is in the same range as the alto). The men were likewise reluctant, but it turns out that my class is mostly tenors (where is Paul Robeson when you need him??).

So I played each part separately and had each group sing. What surprised me was the gusto applied by the gentlemen!! It wasn't necessarily completely in tune, but it was...intense! The women were pretty timid, but I had a few voices in there who were unafraid. So, when it came time to put it all together, there was a lovely and sincere quality to their singing. I feel really strongly that they get in touch with this more vernacular music in a visceral way and singing was the best way to that. There was nervous laughter, of course, but I think they enjoyed it (the evaluations will tell, of course).

Of course, my little experiment put us slightly behind in the schedule (sorry, Sousa, you are getting short-changed), but I think it was worth it. For a few of them, it may be the first time they've heard themselves in harmony with other voices. I remember the first time I heard my own voice blend with a chorus of others, and it changed my life. Did singing "Go Down Moses" change their lives? No, probably not. But I hope it gave them some sense, even on a subconscious level, that they can sing. Not all of them could/should charge money for it, but they have the right to make their own music.

*While I don't think it should ever be necessary to defend singing a sacred song as a demonstration of a musical tradition, I can think of some places I've taught where I could not have done this without some kind of backlash.

Friday, September 26, 2008

On awards, books and the merits of You Tube

First off, I would like to add my congratulations to Alex Ross, for his well-deserved 2008 MacArthur Fellowship. I'm really leaning toward using his book for my non-music majors in next semester's course, Music of the Twentieth Century. If anyone has any other suggestions appropriate for the non-major, I'll be happy to consider them. I find that a lot of the standard textbooks are unsuitable as they get bogged down in musical details that will be meaningless to those without musical background, OR they make blatant (and erroneous) stylistic generalizations about the music of the 20th century. Nope, I'm not naming names.

Earlier this year, Ryan posted about the merits of YouTube as a research/teaching tool, and this resulted in a fascinating discussion. While I took sort of a hard line against the citation of YouTube clips as authoritative sources (since they can be heavily edited), I have found myself calling upon YouTube (in class) a whole lot this semester. We read a chapter in Stephen Marini's Sacred Song in America about the Sacred Harp tradition. Marini is wonderfully descriptive in his writing about the modern tradition, but I have a feeling this particular YouTube clip really helped my students "get it." Somehow, a homemade video of this Sacred Harp convention (they are singing from the Missouri Harmony) seemed appropriate...maybe even more than nuanced documentary footage.

Friday, September 05, 2008

On Journeys and Cacophony

Well, it has begun. Once again we mark our year by due dates, concerts and conferences. I'm in a new place, both literally and figuratively. I'm teaching at a new institution and I'm teaching "Music in the United States" for the first time. My students are smart and ready to go. We packed our suitcases full of "fundamentals" this week, and I assured them we'd be pulling them out again at appropriate places in the journey. We'll make an interesting bunch. I have one student who clearly knows more about the British Invasion than I ever will. Another is a Bob Dylan fan who sees Dylan as a distinctively "American" voice. One student wants to learn about sacred music and jazz. I played a clip of Run DMC and I think they were relatively insulted when I suggested they might not know Run DMC (HEY...I teach students who haven't seen E.T!!).

So, we loaded the bus and determined our windy path through Music in the United States. Well, actually, I guess I'm driving the bus, but I think I'll have a whole lot of back seat drivers. I'm looking forward to it. :-)


On an additional note, I teach in a very new music building. The classes all have internet/computer access, reasonably good pianos, etc. One thing everyone complains about is the lack of soundproofing (guess someone forgot that detail). However, as I sat in my office yesterday, hearing a trumpet on one side, a harp on the other, and a vocalist across the hall...I thought, yes. THIS is what a music department sounds like. I welcomed the cacophony. I have been at other institutions that have been all too silent.

Oh, and the photograph? Just a shot I took last weekend at a local pond. A little reminder that summer will end...soon.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My two, in this market, maybe only one.

I will be the first to admit that there are topics discussed on the AMS-List that interest me less than they probably should. Some topics stimulate such voluminous discussion that I feel more overwhelmed than inspired. But the joy of email is that it can be deleted with one click of a mouse. Gone. Forever.

Occasionally, however, when I can invest the time, I do like the check in with the list, which is why it is so disappointing when I see the list used as a forum for self-promotion and ad hominem attacks. And by self-promotion, I do NOT mean calling our attention to your new book on a musicological subject.

I rarely participate in the discussions because I don't care to get into debates that amount to "my Ph.D. is bigger than your Ph.D." (not a direct quote, thank goodness). Yes, yes...I know...part of it is just academia. But I don't have to like it. If, at the end of the day I don't gain notoriety and acceptance from the entire musicological community, but I still have a little bit of healthy idealism intact, I'd say I've stayed true to myself, my students, and my profession.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hello, again...Hello.

Well, I've been on quite a vacation, but believe me, the only vacation I have had has been in the virtual realm. My friends with whom I communicate via e-mail must think I've gone AWOL. I won't make any promises about the frequency of my posting, but let's just say I'm hoping to be more present, at least in my reading of wonderful musicological blogs. I devoted some time today to "catching up" with the blogging community, and discovered I missed this wonderful post by Phil Ford over at Dial M. I have watched my own writing develop, and can gladly say that I no longer feel it necessary to include the word "polemic" in every single piece of academic writing I produce. I'd like to think I use it with more discretion now. Writing, much like teaching, can always be better. Part of the "fun" is the revision process (although it is rarely fun in the moment) because you catch those entire paragraphs that probably made sense to your sleep-deprived brain at the time, but now read like a sermon in Swahili. Thank goodness for peer-reviewers and editors.

Before I tell you what has kept me from engaging with the blogosphere this summer, I have two bits of inconsequential but fun news to share.

First, I received my wonderful t-shirt from Soho The Dog. I'm wearing it proudly today as I'll be meeting with a musicologist colleague later. I prefer to think of it as "edgy coolness" rather than nerdiness.

And, this came in yesterday's mail. One down, one to go!

So what has Rebecca been up to? For the first summer in a long time, I have not left the state of my residence (and now that I live in Massachusetts, we will not be counting day trips to New Hampshire or Rhode Island). I did, however, receive a flurry of house guests all in the span of three weeks: friends, parents, and in-laws. I took a course in Marketing for Performing Arts Organizations. I've been organizing conferences, sitting on boards, doing some preliminary house-hunting, and trying to enjoy the summer offerings of Massachusetts.

Musicologically speaking, I'm working on several projects. One involves the Pittsburgh Symphony, but that is on hold until my dear friends move to Pittsburgh in a few weeks. M has just accepted a professorship at U Pitt (in physics), and he and his wife have bought a house...with plenty of room for guests. So, you see my strategy---free accommodations should never be rejected.

Secondly, it appears I'll be teaching a class entitled "Music in the United States" this fall. So, I'm going through the gratifying/frustrating process of constructing a syllabus. It is a general course for non-majors, and cross-registered with American Studies. I'll be using Richard Crawford's America's Musical Life, which I think will suit my class quite well. Of course I'm struggling with distribution and how much time to spend on the potpourri of musical styles I'll need to cover. I'm considering some overarching themes ( "Music and Religion," "Music and War," for example) to guide the course structure, rather than a strict chronological approach. I'd love to be able to talk about William Billings and William Schuman (New England Triptych) in the same class. Why does this feel so risky to me? (Not a rhetorical question---I'd like to hear your thoughts!)

It is my hope that my connections between ye olde American musicke and modernity will lend some kind of resonance to the subject matter. I don't think these students are taking this particular course so that they can recite some sort of canonized development of music in the United States. The timeline aspect is important, yes, but I think it is secondary to understanding the major interactions between society, culture, politics and music. Isn't that why I'm a musicologist in the first place? So, I'm going to continue to pull from the past and pull from the present, and hopefully the class will come to appreciate music history as part of a greater work in progress.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vacation Shots only a Musicologist Will Appreciate

When visiting the Grand Canyon two years ago, I was surprised to come upon this statue:
Not a great photo, I know. For those of you who may not be able to recognize "The Swedish Nightingale," that is Jenny Lind, the Swedish opera singer who toured the United States with PT Barnum in the 19th century. Now, Jenny gets her due--there is a Jenny Lind, California (an unincorporated community in Calaveras County); she is honored during a Barnum festival in Bridgeport, Connecticut, etc. But I wasn't expecting her to turn up at the Grand Canyon (her tour was on the East Coast), nor was I expecting to see this:
This past weekend, on our way back down to Boston from Cape Cod, we made an obligatory stop to see a lighthouse (The Highland Light in Truro, MA). Off in the distance, I see this mini-turret in the shrubbery. That is the Jenny Lind Tower. Well, of course, it is! Originally from the Fitchburg Train Depot, it was moved to this bizarre location in 1927. Legend has it that Jenny Lind sang on top of the tower to calm the angry crowd unable to get in to see her actual concert. Now immortalized in the fields next to a national lighthouse, golf course, and air force base, the tower is supposedly off-limits (due to the air force base). However, according to this site one can hike to the tower without getting shot (on my to-do list for our next visit).

I'm thinking a Jenny Lind Tour might be in order...any takers?

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm still here...

Apropos of nothing:
This definitely falls under the "Miscellaneous" category. This is our annual visitor. This year he/she brought a friend and the two of them have been hanging out on our grape arbor and entertaining this guy (through the window):

I'm sorry I've been an absent blogger. I've been busy organizing conferences, serving on boards, contemplating summer hail, and very occasionally, doing research! I'd like to switch these priorities around (especially the summer hail part), but I fear the first two are only going to take up more time in the coming year. But we shall see.

But, in the meantime, while I plan to remedy my absence from the blogosphere, I offer some musicologically miscellaneous humor. You have to love the connections only Amazon can make between these two works:

"We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated A History of Music in Western Culture by Mark Evan Bonds...have also purchased Mel Bay presents All-American Concertina Album by Alan Lochhead. For this reason, you might like to know that Mel Bay presents All-American Concertina Album is now available. You can order yours for just $9.95 by following the link below."

I suddenly find myself wanting to transcribe the Bonds anthology for concertina. A good summer project, to be sure.

NOW PLAYING: Veljo Tormis, North Russian Bylina (Estonian National Male Choir, Olev Oja)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Summer Plans for MMM!

Well, just as the guys over at Dial M are taking a vacation, I'm thinking it is high time I got back to blogging! Fortunately, Ralph Locke and Brent Reidy are filling the vacancy at Dial M.

Upon my graduation from college, a wise mentor of mine counseled me to "listen to as much music as possible." This has stayed with me over the past decade, but I have failed to heed it. So, this summer, I plan to rectify that. I'd love to say I could do a new piece every day, but that may not be realistic (we musicologists have to read too and I find that I cannot do both at the same time). Real listening is a time investment for me. So, I'm going to aim for at least twice a week (let's hope this goes better than my exercise goals...).

In the meantime, remember this? For those of you who have been dying to know the answers, here they are:

1. O Lord, My God, I take refuge in you

"O Sing unto the Lord" by Phyllis E. Zimmerman. Ok, so it was a loooooooooong shot. A really loooooooooooooooooooong shot.

2. Mit Staunen sieht das Wunderwerk HINT: 18th-c

I was surprised this one had no takers! Haydn, Die Schöpfung (No. 4 for soprano solo and chorus)

3. De profundis clamavi ad te...(hint: it is from the 20th-c, and relevant to my dissertation work)

Like I said, the sacred music texts were a little unfair. But, this would be from Bernstein's Mass.

4. Da die Hirten ihre Herde

Mark got this one! Schoenberg's Friede auf Erden, Op. 13

5. We met in the quiet of the meadow

Another obscurity. A song called "The Other Side of the Wood" by a former lawyer-turned folk singer-now Unitarian minister named Fred Small.

6. My life goes on in endless song HINT: new age/Celtic

Enya, "How Can I Keep From Singing?" I was hoping someone would recognize the words of the hymn.

7. Adonai, Adonai... Lo gavah libi

I gave Scott half-credit for this one since he guessed Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony. It was from the third mvt of Chichester Psalms.

8. Funny day, looking for laughter and finding it there

Again, this one went to Mark: Joni Mitchell's "I Don't Where I Stand" from the Clouds album.

9. Give me one reason to stay here and I'll turn right back around.

My friend "the Unhipster" identified Tracy Chapman's "Gimme one Reason"
10. I have spent nights with matches and knives

This one went to Svenn: Indigo Girls, "Blood and Fire"

11. Can you hear the drums... HINT: the title of the song is the next word.

I thought this one would be one of the first to go, but no dice. Dan B. finally got it: ABBA, "Fernando."

12. An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day HINT: country classic!

Another surprise, although I suppose an old cowboy riding on a dark and windy day isn't exactly the most unique musical experience. Johnny Cash, "Ghost Riders in the Sky"

13. Half the people are stoned
Phil, my brother in Bernstein, got this one...the famous lines written by Paul Simon and given to Lenny which he used in Mass.
14. Empty spaces, what are we living for HINT: classic rock

Queen, "The Show Must Go On"

15. No more carefree laughter HINT: same performer(s) as another already guessed item on this list

ABBA, "Knowing Me, Knowing You"

16. I cannot ask you when exactly you plan to leave (you won't know the performer, but if you get the composer, extra bonus points!!)

Really tough one but not as obscure as No. 1. Stephen Paulus, Songs of Love and Longing "From This World"

17. Hello, darkness, my old friend

Unhipster knew this one: Simon and Garfunkel, "The Sound of Silence"

18. The sky may be starless... HINT: jazz standard, popular artist

Diana Krall, "Love Letters"

19. Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together

Again, the Unhipster: Simon and Garfunkel, "America"

20. Won't you please let me go HINT: assoc. with Little Miss Sunshine

New Order, "Age of Consent." I must apologize. I think the song was used with the movie Marie Antoinette, NOT Little Miss Sunshine.

21. I've an unrest inside me HINT: showtune

Dan B. should get the top prize for correctly guessing Blitzstein's "I Wish it So," sung by Dawn Upshaw on the album of the same name.

22. Oh, play me some... HINT: classic 80s country

Alright. So I'm the only one who listens to Alabama? ("Mountain Music")

23. Goodnight my angel HINT: leave these questions for another day...

Billy Joel, "Lullaby" aka "Goodnight My Angel"

24. Barbare! Non, sans toi je ne puis vivre HINT: opera "reformer"

This one went to Deetie: Gluck's Alceste. If my students read this blog, which they do not (at least to my knowledge), they would have guessed that one...I hope.

25. Where have all the good men gone (it is for the gym, OK?)

Svenn came through with Bonnie Tyler's "I Need a Hero"


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Walk for Music!

Today I will be participating in Boston's Fifth Annual Walk for Music

This is a community-oriented event (brief 2 mile walk around the Fen) to emphasize the importance of music in education and cultural development. I'm hoping to meet a lot of fellow choristers and hear a lot of great music!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Boston Area Musicological/Music Events

I will be posting various events/concerts happening in the Boston area from time to time. This weekend:

1. Harvard-Lyrica Dialogues #4
The Lyrica Society for Word-Music Relations -- -- is
pleased to announce the fourth and final of its annual Harvard-Lyrica
Dialogues, scheduled from 4-6 PM, 9 May 2008 at Lehman Hall, Dudley House, 2nd
Floor, in Harvard Yard.

This season's Dialogues are themed "Music and Memory -- Music as Memory", and
the final Dialogue, "Revolution and its Discontents", will be an historical and
sociological round-table discussion of Francis Poulenc's opera "The Dialogues of
the Carmelites", set to the play by Georges Bernanos, in turn based upon based
on the novella "The Last on the Scaffold", by Gertrud von le Fort. Von le
Fort's story, a study in crises of conscience, recounts the massacre of the
nuns of the Carmelite convent in Compiègne during the French Revolution, and
the panel will deliberate Beranos's and Poulenc's masterful incarnations.

The event may be found online at:

Panelists will include Jeffrey Mehlman of Boston University, Mark DeVoto,
Emeritus, Tufts University, Jann Pasler, University of California, San Diego,
and Paul-André Bempéchat, Harvard University.

Admission is free, and all are welcome.

2. Ruddigore at MIT

Tonight, Tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon:

3. Spectrum Singers: Shakespeare in Song: Saturday, May 17th 8pm
Emmanuel Church (15 Newbury St., Back Bay)
I've got discounted tickets! Leave a comment with contact info (blog with email enabled or e-mail address if you are comfortable with that).

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Two Memes in Less than 24 Hours...

means, what? Hey, I'm done grading my papers!

This one comes from Phil Jr., but then I was further inspired by Scott.

Step 1: I Put my MP3 player or whatever on random.
Step 2: I Post the first line from the first 25 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: YOU Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: I Strike through when someone gets them right.

And because most of my readership is academic, I'm including foreign language numbers (especially if they are well-known works). I skipped the numerous selections that began "Kyrie eleison..." or "Sanctus, Sanctus"

I'll post the answers after a week or so.

1. O Lord, My God, I take refuge in you
2. Mit Staunen sieht das Wunderwerk HINT: 18th-c
3. De profundis clamavi ad te...(hint: it is from the 20th-c, and relevant to my dissertation work)
4. Da die Hirten ihre Herde
5. We met in the quiet of the meadow
6. My life goes on in endless song HINT: new age/Celtic
7. Adonai, Adonai... Lo gavah libi
8. Funny day, looking for laughter and finding it there
9. Give me one reason to stay here and I'll turn right back around.
10. I have spent nights with matches and knives
11. Can you hear the drums... HINT: the title of the song is the next word.
12. An old cowboy went riding out one dark and windy day HINT: country classic!
13. Half the people are stoned
14. Empty spaces, what are we living for HINT: classic rock
15. No more carefree laughter HINT: same performer(s) as another already guessed item on this list
16. I cannot ask you when exactly you plan to leave (you won't know the performer, but if you get the composer, extra bonus points!!)
17. Hello, darkness, my old friend
18. The sky may be starless... HINT: jazz standard, popular artist
19. Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together
20. Won't you please let me go HINT: assoc. with Little Miss Sunshine
21. I've an unrest inside me HINT: showtune
22. Oh, play me some... HINT: classic 80s country
23. Goodnight my angel HINT: leave these questions for another day...
24. Barbare! Non, sans toi je ne puis vivre HINT: opera "reformer"
25. Where have all the good men gone (it is for the gym, OK?)

GOOD LUCK! Fabulous prizes for all, of course...

UPDATED 5/5 with HINTS!! I felt sure no. 2, 12 and 23 would be guessed long before no. 4!
UPDATED 5/7: updated hint to No. 15

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Repressing the Resurrection of the Sphinx: A Meme

Well, the lofty musicological musings are going to have to wait. I have been tagged by Phil Ford.

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

I couldn't subject you to what is on p. 123 of The Resume Handbook, so here are the offerings from the next closest book: Sabine Prokhoris' The Witch's Kitchen: Freud, Faust, and the Transference.

"This now permits me to take the further step of identifying metapsychology as the precise articulation of thought with the transference. It follows that thinking in metapsychological terms means, within the reality of a practice, using analytic theory in such a way as to thwart the effects of the repression that necessarily presides over theory's elaboration. I have called this "resurrecting the Sphinx."

Hmm. I'm thinking extending my reach to grab Isak Dinesen's Babette's Feast might have been a more generous offering. I'm sure, however, that the excerpt from p. 123 of Prohkoris' book will make more sense when I've read the entire work.

Since Phil F. already tagged my usual suspects, I'm sending this on to other reputable blogging colleagues who have been neglected (by me) as of late (at least in terms of commenting!). So, I hereby tag:



Looking for some Norwegian memeage from

And as a nudge...;-)

And please, if you read this blog, consider yourself tagged.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A new lease on blogging

It has been a month since I've last written on this blog. I'm feeling sensitive about this given Phil Ford's recent post over at Dial M. I've given a little bit of thought to WHY I haven't been blogging and I've come up with several reasons:
  • a recent stream of professional disappointments
  • it is the end of the semester with finals to make, papers to grade, and complaints to be heard
  • a general sense of WHY???
Well, once again, serendipity offered two wonderful answers to the final question (via the blogosphere).

The first, was a comment that appeared in response to my last post. What was a fun and silly little meme has now been set to music by composing colleague Chris. I take great joy in this "collaboration" (which was also a lovely surprise when I checked my e-mail at 6:30am yesterday). I've never met Chris in person (we've come close!) but here we are with a song: his music, my memeage. :-)

The second, was an analogy offered by Jonathan Bellman at the ever-wonderful Dial M. Blogging for him, he offers, is like "good, solid piano practice." This made me realize something important. Blogging offers an excellent forum to keep my musicological muscles in shape. It will only help as I endeavor to get more papers and articles accepted. Just as my voice has now improved as I am singing again, so shall my musicology. And yes, I care if you listen (read). I need and want the feedback...and blogging allows me to offer my thoughts for your feedback without any review process, political system, or sheer luck of the draw blocking the way. And that is fantastic.

So, in the coming weeks, I hope to be more substantive in my posting and look forward to jumping back into the musicological blogosphere with renewed enthusiasm.

Thank you Phil, Jonathan and Chris!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ode to Benjaminas Zelkevičius

Alright, as I crawl out from under papers to be graded and articles to be drafted, I offer you...
yes, a meme. I know there will be more substantive offerings soon...just not now. But, as memes go, this one is fairly substantive, especially when subjected to the analysis of Phil Ford over at Dial M.

Phil got it from Brent over at Musikwissenbloggenschaft
which I added to the MMM blogroll yesterday.

1. your song is going to have a title, a chorus, and two verses . . . is that too conformist for you? too bad. deal.

2. song title is the first random wikipedia article you pull up.

3. the first verse is the mash up of the first four words of the first four quotes and the last four words of the last four quotes from here. pair the first quotes first words with the last quotes last words, and so on.

4. the second verse is a mash up like the first, but refresh for a new page o' quotes.

5. the chorus you ask? the title of your song, four times, of course!

6. if you are feeling grammariffic, add prepositions and make verbs make sense (if possible). or don't let the grammar-man tell you what to do and skip it.

7. post the lyrics or--if you are feeling rather adventurous--record the thing.

I wound up with a folk song about a Lithuanian football coach. I took one word out to make the butter line work (yes, I'm feeling grammariffic, even if it is eh, regional grammar). The first verse has a lot of topical resonance, I think. A little touch of Eleanor Rigby plus one part Arlo Guthrie? I don't know, you tell me:

Benjaminas Zelkevičius

There's no secret about backing a winning candidate
In mathematics you don't have absence of fear
All truths are easy and in the recent past
I think people have to face rejection.

Benjaminas Zelkevičius (x4)

When the character of talking is waiting
Without the aid can never be complete
I don't even butter them things
Stubborness is also determination. [It's] kind of lousy.

Benjaminas Zelkevičius (x4)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Swimming with Mozart and Haydn

I suppose it isn't a bad thing to feel torn between two different areas of academic interest. I missed my American music friends in San Antonio, but did meet a whole new network of 18th-c music friends in California. An excellent paper on the 18th-century American Symphony and its influence on national identity managed to pull together both interests.

What struck me most, however, is the sense of camaraderie and collegiality that permeates SECM* (and the Society for American Music, I might add). Academically speaking I was a fish out of water at this particular conference, given that I specialize in twentieth-century American music. However, it didn't seem to matter. These scholars of Haydn, Stamitz, Mozart, etc., seemed ready to discourse about the 20th-century concert Mass no matter their own areas of research. There was a general sense that the common link was music, and that was most important.

Oddly, I felt that the blurring of "specialist" distinctions was far more obvious at this "specialized" conference than at AMS** conferences, where one is supposed to find a peaceful co-existence of varied academic interests all under the same roof. It didn't matter if I had demonstrated 18th-c music as a legitimate secondary research interest. All that really mattered was that I was there, engaged and ready to learn and share. In the breaks between papers, we talked about music, teaching, power point, structuring articles...every single area of common ground. It didn't feel contrived, either. There were no wandering glances over to the other side of the room in search of "true" colleagues. There were no "so what exactly are you doing here?" questions (a question I have received more than once upon entering an AMS session outside my field of specialty). The overall sense of inclusivity was striking and encouraging.

I hope that this is what we (as a discipline) are moving toward. That is not to say I want to see job descriptions that seek scholars who specialize in Prussian music and have "secondary research areas" that include jazz, Turkish pop, and medieval chant (and must be able to teach bassoon!). Specialization is fine, and indeed, it is necessary. I just think we need to encourage a sense that specialization does not preclude mingling and mixing with the crowd at large.

*Society for Eighteenth-Century Music
**American Musicological Society

Friday, February 08, 2008

Metropolitan Opera Meme

I figure it has been awhile, so I'm entitled to some memeage. This one comes from Matthew over at Soho the Dog, via Wellsung, Parterre Box, and Steve Smith:

What did the Met perform on the day you were born? Or if you are a summer baby, the day you were conceived (if you prefer, as was Matthew's choice).

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {363}
Metropolitan Opera House
Debut: Eva Marton

If we treat this like astrology, I suppose there should be some sort of significance. I'd love to write something witty about being the Abgesang to my parents Stollen, but that doesn't really make very much sense (and not just because I'm adopted). I did write my first "serious" college music paper on the medieval Meistersinger tradition as represented in Wagner's opera.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night...

They walked together, arms linked, under one umbrella, not in any kind of rush. One of them carried the umbrella, and the other leaned heavily on a cane. It was pouring, but there was a job to be done and by golly, these octogenarian ladies weren't going to let a little rain stop them.

They hobbled up the steps of the high school, through the double glass doors, and...


If they can vote, so can you.

If you are in a Super Tuesday state, and haven't voted yet, stop reading this and go...NOW!! :-)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Musical Memorials

I apologize in advance for the somber nature of this post. My absence from the blogging world has been largely due to a very ill young cat named Henry who was suffering from FIP. We had to "put him down" last Thursday and the hole we feel is bigger than we imagined.

But, I'm also thinking about the loved ones, friends and colleagues of two musical lives, each leaving important musical legacies. For those of you who are in the New York area, please note:

A Celebration of the Life of

H.Wiley Hitchcock

Founding Director of the Institute for Studies in American Music and
Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus, Brooklyn College
and The Graduate Center of The City University of NewYork

Saturday, March 8, 2008
Five o’clock
Saint Peter’s Church, Lexington Avenue at East 54th Street, New York

H. Wiley Hitchcock was an icon in musicology, especially for us Americanists. His Music in the United States was the first book I read that sealed my desire to be an Americanist. I remember meeting him at a conference of the Society for American Music and sensing a joy-filled spirit (sometimes difficult to find at academic conferences). May he rest in peace.

and for those of you in Boston, very short notice I'm afraid:

The Memorial for Craig Smith

The Memorial for Craig Smith, Founder and Artistic Director of Emmanuel Music, will be held on January 31 at 7:30 PM in the sanctuary of Emmanuel Church.

The program will include works by Bach, Schütz, Mozart, Schubert and Brahms. The performers will include current and alumni members of the Orchestra and Chorus of Emmanuel Music.

The public is cordially invited to attend.

Emmanuel Music
15 Newbury Street, Boston

An upper-respiratory bug sadly keeps me from this celebration of life tonight. I had the good fortune of seeing Craig Smith conduct at Emmanuel in one of his last performances. I did not know the man, but I know many who hold him in the highest regard. This is a great loss for the music community at large.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Carla Bruni had not registered on my radar screen before I read Matthew Guerrieri's post yesterday over at Soho the Dog. Today, I walk in to my favorite java haunt only to hear...yep, Carla Bruni's album. I realized that I heard this same album two days ago (same java haunt) and took note of nothing except that it was in French. Now I'm actually listening to it and I'm thinking it is the new "cafe" music, a spot held by Norah Jones "Come Away With Me" for a long time. That's not a criticism, but perhaps a valid subgenre?

The cashier told me: "I had never heard of Carla Bruni. But she's engaged to the French president and used to be a model." I should have asked her if she reads Soho the Dog!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Norwegian Blogging Colleague

Unfortunately, Jeg/eg snakker/snakkar ikke/ikkje norsk (completely unconjugated and gender neutral, courtesy of WikiTravel), but in the spirit of reciprocation, I'm adding Erik Steinskog's blog to the Music and More Blogroll. His blogroll is quite the reference! And his work looks intriguing. I look forward to reading some of it! Thanks for the listing, Erik!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Candidate Playlists

Ok, ok...I know it is lame to start the year off with a post that merely links to someone else's post, but I'm in the frantic process of finishing a syllabus (makes me rethink my admonishment to students regarding procrastination).

At any rate, Phil Ford offers the campaign trail playlists of the various candidates and some good food for thought (as usual). A couple of years back, James Deaville gave a paper at SAM (Society for American Music) about the impact of music used by CNN, Fox, etc to sell the news (specifically, the war). Music in the Media, is, in my opinion, one of the most relevant musicological endeavors.

Who knows, maybe the use of "Sweet Caroline" will win the hearts of all those Red Sox fans.

This campaign season, keep your eyes AND ears open.


Mostly Musicology, Teaching, and a bit of Miscellanea