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3 1906–1909: Music School

Galina Kopytova Indiana University Press ePub

UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE Russian Music Society (RMO), music schools opened throughout major cities in Russia during the second half of the nineteenth century, providing the primary source of professional musical training. The RMO was founded in 1859 following the efforts of the pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein; patronage from the Tsar’s family in 1869 led to its elevation as the Imperial Russian Music Society (IRMO). Both St. Petersburg and Moscow IRMO schools quickly gained conservatory status and became the chief centers of higher musical education. By the start of the twentieth century, music classes and schools under the IRMO across Russia had advanced significantly, and they became the main suppliers of teaching staff for the conservatories in larger cities and in the provinces.

The Vilnius division of the society opened in December 1873, but closed just a few years later. It reopened in 1898, albeit on a small scale, and by the 1906–1907 season it counted only four actual members.1 Short resources placed concerts and educational work on hold until the 1906 arrival of two respected women—Baroness Alisa von Wolf, the wife of the trustee of the Scholarly Circle of Vilnius, and Lyudmila Lyubimova, the wife of the governor of Vilnius and a trustee of orphanages. Following the efforts of these two women, the number of society members grew initially to thirty-six, then to 130 by the next season, enabling the Vilnius division to stage an entire series of public concerts.

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3 Music for Horn and Ensemble: Orchestra, String Orchestra, Band, Wind Ensemble, or Other Instrumental Group

Richard Seraphinoff Indiana University Press ePub

In instrumental music, the term concerto has come to mean a work with two or more contrasting performing forces. As the horn became recognized as a solo instrument during the baroque period, the earliest solo concertos were written for horn and strings with the horn playing in the clarino style, with florid and virtuosic writing using the upper partials of the horn. During the classical period, performers such as Giovanni Punto and Ignaz Leutgeb exploited the full range of technical possibilities of hand horn technique, inspiring composers such as Mozart and Rosetti to write the excellent works that solidified the horn’s place as a solo instrument. With the development of the valve horn, composers became interested in exploring and furthering the musical and technical possibilities of the horn concerto even further. This has come to include solo works for horn and the contrasting forces of orchestra, string orchestra, band, wind ensemble, and brass band, and in contemporary music, the wide variety of instrument combinations that make up the modern ensemble.

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20. Pitch and Transposition

Jeffery Kite-Powell Indiana University Press ePub

20

Pitch and Transposition

HERBERT MYERS

Interest in performing at historical pitches is a comparatively recent phenomenon. The acceptance of a' = 415 as a standard for Baroque ensembles is not yet forty years old,1 and of a' = 430 for Classical players, even younger. So well have these standards become established, however, we easily forget the resistance they once met; the notion that we should forgo the convenience of our hard-won modern standard was at first regarded as ridiculous by many leading specialists in early performance (as it still is by many traditionally trained musicians). But ultimately the profound effect of pitch on timbre was recognized, and adherence to low pitch has become something of a badge of honor among “serious” period-instrument ensembles for eighteenth-and late seventeenth-century music.

Why, then, have performers of early seventeenth-century music generally failed to demonstrate a similar interest in the historical pitches (particularly those higher than modern) of that era? There are various reasons, mostly practical. With one foot in the Renaissance, as it were, the early seventeenth century still depends somewhat on a Renaissance instrumentarium: families of instruments (particularly winds) whose pitch has to match and that collectively represent a large investment. Baroque and Classical music, by contrast, employ specialists on a small number of individual instruments, so that the economic commitment to a single pitch is not as great. Performances of early seventeenth-century concerted works often involve church organs; they also often involve choirs, which are usually more willing to lower the pitch from accustomed levels than to raise it. (This observation is not meant as a denouncement of modern singers; as we shall see, aversion to singing too high was typical of many early singers as well.) But probably the chief impediment to the adoption of a special pitch standard for the early seventeenth century is the sheer complexity of the matter, making it difficult to come up with simple, practical, and universal solutions like those we have found for music of later eras. It has not helped that scholars have continued to wrangle over certain details, causing performers to give up and fall back on established modern conventions.

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3 From the Inexorable to the Ineffable · John Zorn’s Kristallnacht and the Masada Project

Tamar Barzel Indiana University Press ePub

John Zorn’s Kristallnacht and
the Masada Project

THROUGH HIS PROLIX CREATIVITY, HIS LEADERSHIP AND management skills, and a seemingly tireless dedication to his cause, saxophonist John Zorn played as decisive a role in shaping the RJC moment as he has on the downtown scene as a whole. In addition to commissioning a great deal of new work on the Tzadik label, Zorn, with his particular gift for composing music that challenged notions of tradition and genre, pushed RJC into compelling creative territory. From his work in Kristallnacht (1992), which engaged viscerally with themes of destruction and survival in Jewish history, through the Masada project (1993–present), which has framed Jewish music as a site for spiritual healing, Zorn created new landscapes for imagining and engaging Jewish heritage through music. His vision for RJC looms large, a result of his high profile on the downtown scene, his role as a producer at Tzadik, his own prolific musical output, and his attention to iconography and packaging. Although he was less involved than some of his colleagues in the writing and talk that developed around the RJC idea, Zorn’s interpretation of “radical Jewish culture” is as particular as that of any of his peers.

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12 - Bambara Women's Songs in Southern Mali

Thomas A Hale Indiana University Press ePub

Bah Diakité

In many cultures, songs are seen primarily as entertainment. The form appears more important than the message. But on closer examination, it is clear that one can learn as much about a people from songs as one can from any other source. But the question is, what kind of information is embedded in such ephemeral verbal forms? What, for example, can one learn about women who sing songs as they go about their daily tasks?

In Mali, the songs from Bambara women in the south enable one to learn about their hopes, their wounds, their anger, their fear, and their needs—not only in the present but also in the context of the past—in other words, their lived experiences in the larger context of their society. The purpose here is to discover the range of those feelings and how they are expressed in song.

The region that is the focus of this study is the frontier zone in southern Mali near the border with Côte d’Ivoire, and in particular the prefecture of Kolondiéba. It is a fairly large region, covering about 9,000 square kilometers, divided into 12 rural communes that include 203 villages and hamlets. In Kolondiéba live groups of Bambara who are, to some extent, so bound to their own traditions that local economic development has suffered. It is a situation marked by cultural and linguistic withdrawal from the larger Malian society, which is evolving rapidly as the result of Western influence. Such intrusions from the outside world as do occur come largely from Côte d’Ivoire to the south.

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