Saturday, March 26, 2022

Spring 2022 Meeting--Online--May 7th

The spring meeting will take place online on Saturday, May 7th.  

All are invited to attend.

The Zoom code is

10 AM – 11 AM                 Session I—Outside Influences


Singing the metaphysics of musical transcendence

Christopher Parton (Princeton University)


The Social Network, Belle-Époque Style: How Salonnières Used the Society Pages in the Paris Dailies to Promote Music and Construct Their Personal Images

Sylvia Kahan (CUNY Graduate Center)

11 AM -11:30                      AMSGNY Business Meeting and Break 


11:30 AM – 1 pm              Session II—Opera and Song


Randy Newman’s Timbre of Loneliness in “I Think it’s Going to Rain Today”

Oliver Kwapis (University of Oregon)


It is Better to Believe: Nostalgia and Manufactured Realities at the Opéra-Comique c. 1900

Catherine Ludlow (University of Washington)


The Panizzas—Father and Son

Cristoforo Moretti (Milan, Italy)

1 PM-2 PM                          Lunch Break

2 PM-3PM                           Session  III—Adaptations and Arrangements

Expression and the Player Piano

Artis Wodehouse (New York, NY)

“Haydn’s Symphonies Scored by Clementi.” A New Source of the London Symphonies.

Luca Lévi Sala (Manhattan College)


Abstracts and bios:

Christopher Parton

Singing the metaphysics of musical transcendence

    E.T.A. Hoffmann’s metaphysics of musical transcendence has long been central to the study of absolute music and nineteenth-century European music. Articulated most directly in his Kreisleriana (1812), Hoffmann characterizes this quasi-religious transcendence as awakening ‘endless longing’ in the listener, carrying them to the ‘spirit kingdom of the infinite.’ Few have acknowledged how this language echoes contemporaneous male discourses on idealized femininity, epitomized by Goethe’s ‘eternal feminine’, which ‘draws us to the heavens’ at the end of Faust. This paper argues that the concept of the ‘eternal feminine’ was in fact central to the Romantics metaphysics of musical transcendence. The beloveds of German lieder, as an object of desire for the male poet, provided a model of the ‘endless longing’ that led beyond the earthly to the otherworldly.
            I navigate the overlapping discourses on femininity and musical transcendence through the discussion of three early-nineteenth-century lieder: Franz Schubert’s ‘Laura am Klavier’ (1816), Robert Schumann’s ‘Aus alten Märchen’ from Dichterliebe (1840), and Clara Schumann’s ‘Die stille Lotosblume’ (1844). Each song discloses part of the history of the shifting conceptualizations femininity and musical transcendence. I begin with the reception of Petrarch’s Laura as the archetypal feminine object of lyric poetry in Schubert, then discuss the conception of ‘Woman’ as ineffable source in Dichterliebe, and end with the subversion of these patriarchal poetics in the lieder of Clara Schumann. My study expands on the work of Marcia J. Citron and Matthew Head to show that the idea of musical transcendence was born not only out of a preoccupation with male genius, but also out of the fantasy of the ‘eternal feminine’. By discussing musical transcendence through song rather than ‘absolute’ music, I highlight its metaphysical origins in the feminine object of lyric poetry, while also showing how composers responded to and reencoded these male-driven myths.

Christopher Parton is a PhD candidate in musicology at Princeton. He previously studied in the UK at the universities of Bristol and Oxford. His dissertation, Transcendent Femininity and the Poetics of Early-Nineteenth-Century German Song, examines how German song composers of the first half of the nineteenth century represented idealized femininity in their settings of contemporaneous poetry. From 2020 to 2021 he was a visiting scholar at the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn supported by a DAAD grant. He has reviews and articles published or forthcoming in Music and Letters, Eighteenth-Century Music, Nineteenth-Century Music Review and Journal of the Royal Musical Association. 

Sylvia Kahan

The Social Network, Belle-Époque Style: How Salonnières Used the Society Pages in the Paris Dailies to Promote Music and Construct Their Personal Images

     A vital part of our understanding of musical activity in the Paris salons of aristocratic and upper-bourgeois women of the Belle Epoque and the early twentieth century comes from the reportage by the society press in the daily newspapers about salon activities. Beginning in the 1890s, papers such as Le Gaulois and Le Figaro provided their readership with the minute details of musical performances in the salons of the salonnières. These articles were key to the promotion of new music by both established and upcoming composers. Talented musical artists at the beginnings of their careers also benefitted from announcements of their performances in the salons.  And the association of the names of certain salonnières with the gifted musicians that they patronized served to add luster to the reputation of all involved. Thus, women of the period were able to use the dailies both to promote new music and construct their images as culturally fashion-forward individuals.

     My paper will give an overview of the newspaper coverage of salon activities from 1893 to 1918. I will demonstrate the way that the papers helped salonnières to achieve influence in the milieu of salon culture, especially in regard to public perception of the musical artists who were recipients of the patronage of these women. I will explore, as well, the ways that these women used their press relations to negotiate a middle path between private and public venues – for example, by creating publicity for benefit concerts for charities. Thus, the symbiosis among salonnières, artists/composers and society correspondence helped promote new music and burgeoning musical careers – and the social standing of the women who hosted the events.   


Sylvia Kahan is a professor at the CUNY Graduate School and the College of Staten Island.

Oliver Kwapis

Randy Newman’s Timbre of Loneliness in “I Think it’s Going to Rain Today”

In his 1971 review of Randy Newman’s live album, Randy Newman Live, for Rolling Stone, journalist Tim Crouse admiringly penned perhaps my favorite description of Newman’s performance style. “As usual,” Crouse writes, “[Newman] sounds as if he is so drugged on Placidils that he can’t even summon up the energy to come up with a decent line.” Crouse is, of course, writing with tongue in cheek, aspiring to Newman’s own famous (infamous!) cynical humor. Nonetheless, Crouse’s line holds the keys to understanding Newman’s artistry. It speaks to (1) the centrality of Newman’s vocal timbre in the creation of his musical protagonists, and, by extension, in the creation of his songs’ meanings, and (2) the type of meanings that his vocal sound most often, and most successfully, creates. More than his lyrics and harmonic language—each distinctive and brilliant in their own right—it is Newman’s vocal timbre that is at the expressive driver’s seat, often conveying some type of pain or loneliness. In this paper, I will identify and analyze what aspects of Newman’s vocal timbre communicate an intense sense of isolation in one of his earliest songs and his first “hit,” “I Think it’s Going to Rain Today.” In particular, I will focus on the expressive role of the vocal line’s proxemics, utilizing Allan F. Moore’s extensive study of proxemics as a framework for my own inquiry.


A passionate musical storyteller, composer-performer Oliver Kwapis has written orchestral, chamber, vocal and electronic pieces which have been performed and recorded by a diverse range of ensembles and artists, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic (through the LA Phil’s Composer Fellowship Program), National Children’s Chorus, Wet Ink Ensemble, Calder Quartet, Atlantic Brass Quintet, Jacobs School of Music Concert Orchestra, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, and pianist Eric Huebner. His work been featured at NSEME, Fresh Inc Festival, June in Buffalo, the Mostly Modern Festival Institute, and the soundSCAPE Composition and Performer Exchange. He holds a B.Mus. in Composition from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and an M.Mus. in Composition with a Minor in Electronic Music from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in the Performance of Data-driven Instruments at the University of Oregon’s School of Music and Dance under the tutelage of Jeffrey Stolet where he is also a Graduate Employee in the Department of Intermedia Music Technology.

Catherine Ludlow

It is Better to Believe: Nostalgia and Manufactured Realities at the Opéra-Comique c. 1900

The Opéra-Comique of Paris began a new era in 1898, as Albert Carré started his tenure leading the company.  While the theatre space itself was modernized significantly, following the disastrous 1887 fire, many of the new productions favored settings that were either historical or pastoral.  In addition, the theatre’s dedication to Realism in staging and design created a “comfortable” atmosphere, helping the audience to forge a personal, intimate connection with the stories portrayed onstage.

The visual aesthetic of many of these productions prompted visceral reactions from the audience, feelings of familiarity and authenticity and connection to these manufactured realities.  These stories were not from their own pasts, yet they yearned for them.  Today, we may view these reactions as a form of nostalgia.

This lecture will examine the reception of new productions at the Parisian Opéra-Comique c. 1900 through the lens of nostalgia, guided by the work of Alastair Bonnett (The Geography of Nostalgia), Emily Keightley and Michael Pickering (The Mnemonic Imagination), and David Lowenthal (The Past is a Foreign Country—Revisited).  We will examine the cultured, educated, Parisian experience that informed such a nostalgia; which productions triggered greater reactions; the role of Realism; whether such a reaction had any correlation to the success of the production; and compare with related productions at other venues.


Catherine Ludlow is a doctoral candidate in Music History at the University of Washington, hailing originally from Morris County, New Jersey.  Her recent work has focused on Realist stage design at the Parisian Opéra-comique and its impact on the reception of new productions c. 1900.  She currently works providing technical assistance to the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Cristoforo Moretti

In this paper there will be the lives of two musicians, father and son, who worked in Milan, Italy and Europe throughout the 19th century.
Giacomo Panizza (1803-1860) was 'maestro al cembalo' for nearly 30 years at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. An obscure, not famous musician, who was born in an old village in Piedmont and who, gone to Milan at the age of 20, studied with maestro Lavigna (who will later be the teacher also of Giuseppe Verdi), joined the family of two important orchestral players and became an indispensable gear of the great machine of one of the most famous theaters in the world, in a period full of great composers and great changes: the Risorgimento, the revolts against the government, the birth of the Reign of Italy. Giacomo Panizza went through this period in some way as a protagonist, coming into contact with all the main names in music, song and dance of the first half of the 19th century. A minor story, which, however, shines a light on an important period of Italian and European music life.
At the end of the paper on Giacomo Panizza there will also be a mention of his very popular, very interesting and very forgotten son, Achille (1842-1892), "scapigliato" conductor around Italy, who directed in a famous soirée the début of Giacomo Puccini and Pietro Mascagni.


Cristoforo Moretti is a civil engineer in Milan who works on old buildings, designs illustration exhibits and loves history and stories: better if old ones, even better if little known, super better if from Milan.  He is working on a research project on the Panizza family of musicians.

Artis Wodehouse

Expression and the Player Piano

        When the player piano first came to market around 1900, it was viewed with suspicion.  It was feared that the player piano’s mechanization of piano performance would remove the necessary component of a uniquely expressed human rendition.

         However, despite the fact that the majority of piano rolls were taken directly from printed sheet music and metronomically quantized as perforated into the paper roll,  player piano design allowed for molding a personalized and potentially expressive performance. Player pianos at all price points featured hand controls capable of temporal and dynamic variation that the "player pianist" or "pianolist" could manipulate according to personal taste as they foot-pumped in real time. The player piano/piano roll interface offered the appeal of instant technical mastery — no need to spend laborious hours practicing by hand in order to master notes and rhythms — thus accelerating the leap to the end goal of achieving a personalized, expressive rendition.

         To allay the unease the player piano initially aroused, a significant number of music writers, theorists, historians, composers and well-known pianists entered into the breach, defending the new instrument by touting its educational value and expressive potential. Articles were written, journals established and books were published on the subject of how to “play” the player piano, ranging from general hints to massive tomes containing detailed instructions for how to achieve an expressive rendition via a player piano. 

         The presentation will feature an overview of this body of print materials generated during the heyday of the player piano era (1900-1930), and summarize some commonly shared guidelines put forth for obtaining expressive performance. Three key musicians — Percy Scholes, Sydney Grew, and Ernst Newman —  wrote extensively on the subject. Their writings will form the core of the presentation.


Artis Wodehouse — harmoniumist, pianist, pianolist, MIDI editor, and author — is involved in a wide range of musical endeavors centering on the piano, harmonium, and pianola. She has produced several significant commercial CD recordings and published transcriptions of the piano roll music of George Gershwin, Jelly Roll Morton and Zez Confrey. See

Luca Lévi Sala

“Haydn’s Symphonies Scored by Clementi.” A New Source of the London Symphonies.

 Haydn’s twelve London Symphonies were composed between 1791 and 1795 and broadly and regularly performed during the Professional Concerts and the Salomon private series at Hanover Square in London. Arrangements of these symphonies were later published largely for different kinds of musical forces. Adaptations for keyboard, violin and violoncello of the first set of six of them were initially issued by Johan Peter Salomon—entered at Stationers’ Hall in 1796. The second set, entered at Stationers’ Hall registers was to come in 1797 and “printed for MSalomon the Proprietor.”

Only almost twenty years later, between around 1813 and 1816 Clementi & Co. (Clementi, Banger, Collard, Davis & Collard) published the first edition of Muzio Clementi’s adaptations of Haydn’s twelve London Symphonies. On 30 July 1813, the Morning Post advertised the first three arrangements of “Haydn’s Celebrated Symphonies Composed & Performed at M.r Salomon’s […] for pianoforte, flute, violin and cello: the first one, the so-called ‘London’ symphony no. 104, alongside the appearance of the nos. 94 and 100, that is “the Surprise Symphony […] and the Military Symphony […].”

New evidence about Clementi’s preparation of these works might be revealed by a recently located autograph source, bearing the transcription of the whole set of the full scores of Haydn’s London Symphonies: “Haydn’s | Symphonies | scored by | Clementi” (no RISM, I-BGi, Fondo Piatti-Lochis, PREIS.H1.8764). An extensive and detailed codicological analysis of the two volumes constituting the source reveals new interesting evidence about its genesis, alongside adding further information about Clementi’s autographs, of which very little is known to date.

This source proves also useful in enlightening additional details about Clementi’s interest in studying, performing and arranging Haydn’s works, adding more information to the extensive literature about the Austrian composer and the history of the performance practice at the early XIX-Century.


Luca Lévi Sala PhD is Adjunct Assistant Professor at Manhattan College (NYC) and Visiting Scholar at New York University. He was Visiting Teaching Professor at Jagiellonian University in Cracow (2021) and at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (2020-2021), former Professeur associé at Université de Montréal (2017-2020), Visiting Researcher at New York University (2017) and Visiting Research Fellow at Yale University (2015-2016). He has published a range of articles and chapters, reviews and reports (serving as peer-reviewer as well) in various international books and refereed journals, including Early MusicJournal of Musicological Research, NotesRevue de musicologieStudi musicaliJournal of Jewish IdentitiesRivista Italiana di MusicologiaAd Parnassum JournalStudia ChopinowskieMusica JagellonicaEighteenth-Century MusicAnalecta MusicologicaOxford Bibliographies OnlineMGGGrove Music Online. His book Music and Politics in the Italian Fascist State in the 1930s: The View from the Press is committed to be published with Boydell & Brewer (Suffolk, UK).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.