Vol. 34, No. 1
Publication Date: 2015-05-26
Number of articles: 17
By / par Susan Neimoyer
Current scholarship recognizes several of Joni Mitchell’s albums as being cyclic, or based on a unifying concept. Court and Spark (1974), however, is not numbered among them, despite Mitchell’s having described it as “a discourse on romantic love.” Following the inference that this album may have been conceived as an extended, multi-movement work, this article examines both its textual and musical aspects, seeking unifying characteristics. The cyclic nature of the album is uncovered, showing it to be more unified from a musical perspective than a textual one. This approach is the opposite of Mitchell’s perceived norm, suggesting her compositional process may have been more sophisticated than is currently thought.
By / par Lynn Cavanagh
Examination of organist Marcel Dupré’s collected concert programs reveals that, of 137 he performed during the German occupation, 14 bear signs of funding by the German Embassy or the military government’s Propaganda Department. Dupré, though, would have participated in good conscience out of personal pride in France’s musical past. Post-Liberation punishments of French musicians who “collaborated with the enemy” were applied so inconsistently as to explain why he thereafter suppressed the extent and nature of his Occupation-period concertizing. This fuller picture of his activities potentially sheds light on his Second World War–period compositions, particularly Évocation, op. 37.
By / par Dillon Parmer
This essay focuses on the uneasy relationship between scholarship and performance. I argue that this uneasiness stems from a still pervasive hierarchy, one that gives scholarship the power to regulate, even repress, what musicians themselves know and understand of music through the act of performing. This relation has far-reaching consequences that not only underscore basic epistemological formulations concerning the nature of both music and performance, but also govern what constitutes authoritative knowledge about the art. Indeed, in the modern research university, this relationship effectively accords epistemological legitimacy to every institutional identity that has something to say about music except that of the musician herself. If the musician and her activity figure in, they do so in subordinate positions, as objects to be studied, interviewed, prodded, or measured, or as vehicles for the application of disciplinary or research-based understanding. Such a situation enacts a power dynamic disturbingly similar to those operative in political structures founded on class difference, social inequality, and slavery. Indeed, I trace this dynamic back to Aristotle’s Politics, where his defence of slavery effectively separates the work of thought from that of the body so as to keep thought elevated and pure. The relevance of this separation to musical matters becomes explicit in Boethian music theory, where those who merely think about music become musical authorities, while those who make music (whether as composers or performers) remain largely ignorant of what they are doing. Excerpts from musicological literature past and present show that this division, what might be called “intellectual despotism,” continues to underwrite institutional music discourse in at least four salient ways: (1) by distorting music from a practice into an object to be observed; (2) by privileging listener-spectatorship and the experience of music had therein; (3) by promoting to sole epistemological authority those who speak to music through the mouthpieces of other disciplinary voices; and finally (4) by constructing musicians as benighted subjects who need to be “educated,” “informed,” or “civilized” by scholarship. The article concludes by outlining a program for undermining this politics, one that places musicians, as well as the knowledge embodied in music-making, at the foundation of musical understanding.
By / par Christine Esclapez
In his publication entitled L’enjeu de la philologie, Denis Thouard examines our relationship to the written text embodied in what he calls the post-written culture, characterised by our increasing familiarity with hypertext. It is the starting point of our study of the actual conditions of diffusion, especially in terms of podcasting and of the economical and aesthetic issues in music reception it raises. Far from portraying only negative aspects of these new listening conditions, which make musical quality (choice of performance, for instance) subordinate to the uploaded music available, this article wishes to discuss the topic with an open and positive approach. It is hypothesised that at the aesthetic level, these conditions are very much interesting in that they seem to limit unnoticeably the influence of the political and economical spheres. Following this desire for portable, immediate, relative, disorganized, and plural musics, one can observe an inversion of our values: the quantity of music listened to is no longer a sign of impoverishment, ignorance or of subordination to the market’s economical laws, but can also be an expression of a desire for discovery and to strain an ear. A desire in which the stylistic and chronologic disorder can help found anew a historical and even anthropological continuity which seemed to have disappeared in the second half of the 20th century.
By / par Nicolas Darbon
The mytheme of Chaos is studied through the vocal works of Xenakis. It is representative of the history, the concerns, and the sensibility of the “contemporary” (of the end of the twentieth century): although inspired by Greek antiquity, the treatment of the text oscillates between the poles of pure abstraction and significant expression. Furious, stormy, the Xenakian Chaos can result from trauma, madness, and war, to indicate the state of what has no shape, the abyss, the deluge, the genesis, the perdition, to be a transition, process, to represent the origin or the end of the world. So the composer wanted “to handle abysses” by the soloist or the choir vocality, to find “all the cosmic wealth, but chaotically.” This article opens a diptych; the second section is entitled “The Big Neolithic Mother in Serment-Orkos” (published by the Iannis Xenakis Center, University of Rouen). The postulate is that chaos theory and complexity theory belong themselves to an anthropology of the imagination. This article joins research on the transdiction (notion explained on the site of the CEREdI, University of Rouen): sound and body in the musico-literary transfers.
Quand le metal flirte avec ABBA : Analyse des transformations formelles et thématiques de « Summer Night City »
By / par Méi-Ra St-Laurent
One of the main characteristics of popular music is still the reusing of musical material borrowed from a multitude of styles and trends (remix, adaptation, sampling, etc.). This practice is called transphonography, and stems from intertextuality, a concept developed by Gérard Genette, a literary scholar, and adapted to music by musicologist Serge Lacasse. In this article, the author references transphonography to study the various musical and thematic transformations in the gothic metal symphonic group Therion’s reworking of ABBA’s song “Summer Night City”. Along the transformations of musical elements in order to adapt ABBA’s music to Therion’s aesthetics, some transformations induce a shift in the very significance of the song.
By / par Brice Tissier
Removed after its creation in 1969, Pierre Boulez’s work Pour le Dr. Kalmus, reappeared surprisingly in 2005. The reasons why Pierre Boulez revised this work are still ignored, as is also almost everything about it. However, it is possible today to learn more from the few remaining manuscript sources and the revised score. Their study allows some historical, philological and analytical observations on this work, secondary in Boulez’s work, but not uninteresting, since it was composed at a pivotal moment in Boulez’s musical work and aesthetic evolution.
Jean-Nicolas De Surmont. 2010. Vers une théorie des objets-chansons. Lyon : ENS Éditions. 155 p. Coll. « Signes ». ISBN : 978-2-84788-217-9
By / par Etienne Galarneau
Emmanuel Reibel. 2013. Comment la musique est devenue « romantique » : De Rousseau à Berlioz. Paris : Fayard, coll. « Les chemins de la musique ». 463 p. ISBN 978–2-213–67849–8
By / par Bruno Coulombe
Élizabeth Gallat-Morin. 2012. L’orgue de 1753 renaît de ses cendres. Québec : Musée de la civilisation, 96 p. ISBN 978-2-551-25342-5 (couverture souple)
By / par Jean-Philippe Després
Emmanuelle Honorin. 2011. Astor Piazzolla. Le tango de la démesure. Paris : Éditions Demi-Lune, SACEM, et « Fundacion Astor Piazzolla », collection « Voix du Monde », 204 p. 15 Euros. ISBN : 978-2-917112-12–0
By / par Yves Laberge
Jean-Jacques Nattiez. 2013. Analyses et interprétations de la musique : La mélodie du berger dans le Tristan et Isolde de Richard Wagner. Paris : Vrin, coll. « MusicologieS ». 400 p. ISBN 978-2-7116-2512-3
By / par Jocelyne Kiss
Tanya Buchdahl Tintner. 2013. Out of Time: The Vexed Life of Georg Tintner. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, x, 420 pp. ISBN 978-1-55458-938-8
By / par Colleen Renihan
David Schroeder. 2013. Experiencing Mozart: A Listener's Companion. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow. 236 pp. ISBN 9780810884281
By / par Roseen Giles
John Beckwith and Robin Elliott, eds. Mapping Canada's Music: Selected Writings of Helmut Kallmann. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013. 281 pp. ISBN 978-1-55458-891-6
By / par Gordon Smith
William Todd Schultz. 2013. Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith. New York: Bloomsbury. 368 pp. ISBN 978-1-60819-973-0
By / par Matthew Smith
Michael Goddard, Benjamin Halligan, and Nicola Spelman. Resonances: Noise and Contemporary Music. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013. 375 pp. ISBN 978-1-4411-5937-3
By / par Mitch Renaud