AMSGNY Meetings

Spring Meeting--April 30th at Columbia University

The Spring Meeting will take place on Saturday, April 30th at Columbia University. The theme is "The Long Nineteenth Century." It will be held in room 622 Dodge, which can be found by looking at this map:

You will need to enter from College Walk, up the steps, to the left, into the main door of Dodge, which is actually on the third floor above campus level.

The meeting will start at 10 AM with four papers (the first four on the list of abstracts below). Then, at 11:30, there will be a special presentation with a live musical performance. This will be followed at noon by lunch, which the chapter will provide, and our annual business meeting. The remaining four papers will be given at 1 PM and the meeting should be done by 3.

Papers to be given at this meeting:

Sylvia Kahan
Sewing Machines, Strads, and The Devil: The Curious Case of Victor Reubsaet, "Duc de Camposelice," 19th-Century Music Patron

This paper presents details about the life and career of Victor Reubsaet, a Dutch-born violinist and tenor, who married a wealthy heiress and used her money to further his own ambitions, musical and otherwise.

Jeff Dailey
Ivanhoe's Flute

The week before the premiere of his grand opera Ivanhoe, Sir Arthur Sullivan revised the orchestral part for the piccolo player. He rewrote the part for C piccolo for the G treble flute, an instrument more commonly found in Irish flute bands. My paper will examine why and how Sullivan changed the orchestration of his opera at the last moment and how the G treble flute used in Ivanhoe ended up in the Dayton Miller Collection of the Library of Congress.

Marcelo Campos Hazan
Nabucco's Band

On and offstage bands are routinely featured in the operas of Verdi. Scholars allege two particular motivations for Verdi’s adherence to the stage band tradition. The first is his bandmaster background, which supposedly carried over to his operatic career. The second is the militaristic character of his early operas, for which parading bands were particularly suited. To the extent that these early operas have been interpreted by musicologists as covertly patriotic, stage bands have been accordingly viewed as symptomatic of Verdi’s commitment to the Risorgimento. My paper revisits these claims by identifying and examining aspects of the stage band hired for Nabucco’s La Scala premiere. How is Nabucco’s band illuminating of the composer’s motivations and thesociopolitical milieu in which he flourished?

Mark Ferraguto
Beethoven, Napoleon, and the Viennese Amateur Concerts of 1807-1808

In response to decisive French victories in 1805 and 1806, Austria pursued a newly aggressive foreign policy aimed at creating a unified German state with Vienna -- not Berlin -- at its center. Foreign minister Phillip von Stadion worked to cultivate public opinion, shaping the Austrian national consciousness through patriotic newspapers like the Vaterländische Blätter für den Oesterreichischen Kaiserstaat. This nationalist project formed the backdrop for the creation of a new musical institution, the Amateur Concerts of 1807-1808. Sponsored by a group of distinguished aristocrats, the series of twenty concerts convened an orchestra of fifty-five amateurs and professionals each week. Private documents and contemporary reports reveal that this concert series had distinct pedagogical and nationalistic goals, including the refinement of the nation's taste, the protection of national genius, and the development of a new standard of collective, cross-social performance. The concert series also served as a vessel for idealized political claims about music's power to bind together the social classes -- claims which were only half-based in reality. With its emphasis on the symphony, the series marked a key moment in the development of the Viennese musical canon. Among thirty featured composers, only three had symphonies programmed: Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Beethoven's music- including the "Eroica" Symphony - was specially selected for an important concert honoring Archduke Rudolph, the Emperor's youngest brother. Though the institution foundered (the French occupied Vienna again in 1809), it had lasting effects on Beethoven's career and reputation.

Ryan Weber
'All and All Kinds:' Locating Identities in Edvard Grieg’s Late Songs

If the question be asked, “Was Grieg a great composer?” the answer must depend upon the various meanings of “great.” This poetic-souled son of the North certainly did not compose noisy music that is void of understanding; therefore some might put him out of the category of greatness, judged from that standpoint. [Obituary-The Musical Times 48/776 (October 1907), 641.] From the moment of his passing, the music of Edvard Grieg has evaded simple categorization. His closest colleagues have noted his resilience in adopting burgeoning modernist practices. With his strong avoidance of the influence of the Second Viennese School—perhaps the most pervasive movement in turn-of-the-century Europe—many have quickly classified his music as “nationalist,” “romantic,” or “simple” and “melodious.” Yet, such descriptions quickly unravel when applied to anything beyond a mere handful of his works. The problem each successive biographer has faced is the same: How is one to understand Grieg’s copious works that deny paradigmatic classification? This study will survey Grieg's late vocal works and examine the competing tensions that situated his style between the multiple planes of universal, national, and individual identity.

Marie-Hélène Benoit-Otis
Louis de Fourcaud and Richard Wagner: An Imaginary Interview?

In a much-quoted interview with Richard Wagner conducted by the French critic Louis de Fourcaud in 1879, and published for the first time in 1880, the composer allegedly advised the French to write operas drawing on their own legendary sources. Contemporary works such as d’Indy’s Fervaal, Chausson’s Le Roi Arthus, and Massenet’s Esclarmonde suggest that Fourcaud’ s interview did indeed have a profound impact on the Wagnerian movement in France. However, a close examination of the sources reveals that his text may owe less to Wagner than scholars have previously assumed. What did Wagner really tell Fourcaud in 1879? That is the question I will attempt to answer in this presentation.

Amanda Saunders Lalonde
Liszt as Prophet

The mythologizing of Liszt as a musical prophet pervades contemporary scholarship, yet the designation of prophet has followed Liszt throughout his compositional career, its meaning shifting alongside Liszt’s identity. What was the meaning of this label as applied toLiszt in the earlier part of his career, and how does it differ from the term's connotations in current scholarship? Mark Ferraguto Beethoven, Napoleon, and the Viennese Amateur Concerts of 1807-1808 The French occupation of Vienna in late 1805 wreaked economic and political havoc on the Austrian nation. In response, the Austrian government pursued a newly aggressive foreign policy and sought means to consolidate the national spirit. Obersthofmeister Prince von Trautmannsdorf led a group of distinguished aristocrats in sponsoring a new concert series devoted to the performance of "decidedly significant and excellent music." The series had all the makings of a great Viennese institution: lofty goals, financial stability, public support, and state sanction. Unfortunately, the venture collapsed after a single season-- the French again occupied Vienna in 1809. This paper asks two questions. First, in what sense were the Amateur Concerts conceived as a 'national' institution? Second, what role did Beethoven's music play in this series and in the larger project of national renewal, and how did this project impact his status as a composer?

Ed Green
Fugue and the French Revolution

The 1789 French Revolution saw itself as starting the world afresh. So it is no surprise that perhaps the most venerated of musical forms, the fugue, should come in around this time also for some radical reconsideration. In 1799 perhaps the most shocking “leap forward” in the entire history of the fugue was taken by Anton Reicha—with reverberations afterwards to be heard in the music of Beethoven, Berlioz, and Liszt.

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