Norma is by common consent the finest of the ten operas composed during Vincenzo Bellini's short career. Professor Kimbell provides the biographical and cultural context of the opera, examines its artistic qualities and suggests something of the impression Norma has made on our imaginations and sensibilities in the 165 years since it was first produced in Milan. He considers the great interpretations of the eponymous leading role, while also embracing Bellini's work more generally by presenting some of the critical reactions to his music.
A study of the reflexive relationship between music and language in the nineteenth century, this book maintains a discrete historical focus while drawing upon an aesthetic going back to problems of epic delivery in ancient Greece. Reading Romantic reactions to music together with linguistic and economic conflicts brought about by the rise of journalism, the book pursues the tension around performativity that both connects and separates music and writing. Franz Liszt is the organizing figure in this detailed study of music in Heine and Baudelaire. The acclaimed virtuoso functions both as a metaphor for a musical mode of enunciation and as a historical referent. This dual status dramatizes the struggle at the heart of nineteenth-century aesthetics between poetic self-reference and realism's efforts to report the world accurately. Debates surrounding Liszt pinpoint the conflict between the view that locates sense in the process of its production and the contrary judgment privileging a stable meaning over the exteriority of its execution. This dualism also articulates the problematic relationship of the individual to general social and linguistic structures. The book's analyses of nineteenth-century theories of correspondence, along with the thematization of the other arts, point to the limitations of analogy, the impossibility of a general theory of art, and a crisis of identity--that is, a shared non-identity--that can be the only common property among different discourses, genres, and media. Virtuosity of the Nineteenth Century offers a fresh reading of relatively marginal texts by canonical figures, addressing questions about the relation between the arts, the possibility of critical description, and the function of performativity.
In this unique and readable study, Jon Finson views the mores and values of nineteenth-century Americans as they appear in their popular songs. The author sets forth lyricists' and composers' notions of courtship, technology, death, African Americans, Native Americans, and European ethnicity
by grouping songs topically. He goes on to explore the interaction between musical style and lyrics within each topic. The lyrics and changing musical styles present a vivid portrait of nineteenth-century America. The composers discussed in the book range from Henry Russell (Woodman, Spare That
Tree), Stephen Foster (Oh! Susanna), and Dan Emmett (I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land), to George M. Cohan and Maude Nugent (Sweet Rosie O'Grady), and Gussie Lord Davis (In the Baggage Coach Ahead). Readers will recognize songs like Pop Goes the Weasel, The Yellow Rose of Texas, The
Fountain in the Park, After the Ball, A Bicycle Built for Two, and many others which gain significance by being placed in the larger context of American history.
While no one would dispute Wagner's ranking among the most significant composers in the history of Western music, his works have been more fiercely attacked than those of any other composer. Alleged to be an unscrupulous womanizer and megalomaniac, undeniably a racist, Wagner's personal qualities and attitudes have often provoked, and continue to provoke, intense hostility that has translated into a mistrust and abhorrence of his music.In this emphatic, lucid book, Michael Tanner discusses why people feel so passionately about Wagner, for or against, in a way that they do not about other artists who had personal traits no less lamentable than those he is thought to have possessed. Tanner lays out the various arguments made by Wagner's detractors and admirers, and challenges most of them. The author's fascination for the relationships among music, text, and plot generates an illuminating discussion of the operas, in which he persuades us to see many of Wagner's best-known works anew--The Ring Cycle, Tristan und Isolde, Parsifal. He refrains from lengthy and detailed musical examination, giving instead passionate and unconventional analyses that are accessible to all lovers of music, be they listeners or performers. In this fiery reassessment of one of the greatest composers in the history of opera, Tanner presents one of the most intelligent and controversial portraits of Wagner to emerge for many years.
Though his image is tarnished today by unrepentant anti-Semitism, Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was better known in the nineteenth century for his provocative musical eroticism. In this illuminating study of the composer and his works, Laurence Dreyfus
Richard Wagner's opera Das Rheingold is a milestone in the composer's output and in the history of music in general. It marked Wagner's return to operatic composition after a hiatus of five years, and signified his definitive break with earlier operatic conventions. It also represents a
reconsideration of the whole question of dramatic-musical form, and the role of tonality in articulating this form. Warren Darcy traces here the genesis of Das Rheingold through the various textual and musical sketches and drafts to the full score, and also develops a theoretical framework within
which the opera may be meaningfully analyzed. Using Wagner's manuscripts as a point of departure, Darcy discusses the formal, harmonic, and linear structure of the work. In so doing, he challenges a number of contemporary views about the opera, esppecially those of Carl Dahlhaus.
This book is a study of the prose writings of Richard Wagner and their relevance to an understanding of his music and drama, as well as their relation to music criticism and aesthetics in the nineteenth century in general. It looks at central themes in his writings, such as philosophies of musical form and meaning, Wagner's metaphors and terminology, and connects them with analysis of music from his own operas and works by other composers such as Beethoven and Berlioz about whom Wagner wrote.
This book explores the mythology, story, music, characters, and language of Wagner's monumental work. At its heart is a concordance of the keywords in the four librettos, a powerful reference tool. The volume also includes a brief synopsis of each of the four operas, a presentation of the 145 principal musical motives in order of appearance, and a discussion of the characters and their relationships, listing their appearances and the musical motives associated with them.Published at $34.95 Our last copies available at $17.49
This comprehensive study treats the wind works of Anton Bruckner as a complete genre and uses them to illustrate how the composer evolved in style throughout his career. A major nineteenth-century composer, organist, and church musician, Bruckner's compositional style changed dramatically in the early 1860s, dividing his career into two distinct parts. During his early career he immersed himself in the study of traditional musical principles including form, harmony, counterpoint, and orchestration. The second phase of his career, in which he composed the symphonies upon which much of his current reputation rests, was marked by his experimental approaches to harmony and tonality. Many of his early compositions exhibit landmarks of his later style. The wind instrument pieces incorporate the best aspects of both of Bruckner's styles and reflect the progress of his professional life.
Organized chronologically, the music is studied and classified within set time periods. Each wind work of a particular period is reviewed according to the historical circumstances contributing to its creation, its specific musical content, and its success as a musical work in relation to wind music and specifically to Bruckner's development. The analyses of Bruckner's compositions are enhanced by musical examples throughout the text.