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Issue 6
(Spring 2005)

contents

abstracts

contributors

abstracts

 

Maria Barbaki: “Music companies”, wind orchestras in late 19th century Athens

 

This article deals with music teaching at male orphanages and pauper institutions in Athens during the late nineteenth century. After a brief introduction to music education in these institutions in general, the article focuses on wind orchestras created in these institutions and the performances given by these ensembles. The synthesis of the audience and the repertory of these performances are examined. The relation of these institutions to the Athens Conservatory is also studied. The main findings from this analysis are the following: The public responded warmly to the orchestras performances. This fact may be related to the general encouragement of music education in lower social strata observed in Greece during this period. The repertory, consisting mostly of opera numbers’ arrangements, is typical in this period in Greece and in Italy. It should be reminded that similar orchestras composed by orphans were common in Italy since the late 16th century. The data for all information disclosed in this article are taken from literature, from the proceedings of the institutions involved (including the Athens Conservatory) and from the Athens daily Ephemeris of the years 1873-1900.

This article contributes to the understanding of the conceptions about music in Athens during the nineteenth century, a subject hardly studied so far.

 

 

Melita Milin: The Russian Musical Emigration in Yugoslavia after 1917

 

Around forty thousands Russian emigrants settled in Yugoslavia running away from the terror of the 1917 Revolution. A high percentage of them were writers, artists, musicians and ballet dancers. Their greatest contribution to Yugoslav musical culture consists in the important acceleration they brought to the development of the domestic scene. Especially valuable were the activities of opera singers and directors, ballet dancers and choreographers, scenery designers, conductors of church choirs and pedagogues.

 

 

Nikos Maliaras: J. S. Bach, The Art of the Fugue

 

Bach’s Art of the Fugue is a work which has caused metaphysical interpretation attempts by many musicologists. Recent research, however, tries to investigate the real nature of this work. Although it suffers from an ill tradition and was convicted to remain almost forgotten for nearly two centuries, the work was definitely composed for theoretical and didactical purposes, as is the case with many other works by Bach. It obeys a main concept, which, in this case, is to reveal all possibilities given by a single musical theme, to compose various forms of fugue. For this reason, the Art of the Fugue can possibly be considered as a very abstract form of Variations. Nevertheless, each part of this work was also intended to be performed in the same way as any other of Bach’s masterpieces. For the question of performance, the keyboard should be the instrument proper, although some musicians in past decades have made various instrumentation proposals.

 

 

Neoklis Neofytidis: Causes and motivations behind Arnold Schoenberg’s arrangements: musical and extramusical factors

 

This article examines all the reasons and motives that forced Schoenberg to spend much of his precious time arranging, transcribing or even recomposing pieces of German and Austrian composers. His choices justify his strong faith to the German musical tradition. He often used to call himself “a continuer” of this tradition. However, these transcriptions reveal his ambivalent relationship to the past. As can be seen, the type of interference changes in each case. Similarly, the motives behind the transcriptions were differentiated, although some of them have been coexisting behind the same work.

The arrangement of Johann Strauss’ waltz Rosen aus dem Süden was not only financially motivated – for the Verein’s fund – but it seems to be also an act of homage to a composer who could express naturally the feelings of “the average man in the street” in popular terms.

In Bach’s works (2 choral preludes: Komm, Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist, BWV 631, and Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654; Prelude and Fugue in E flat major for organ, BWV 552) “transcription was not a right, but a duty”, so the motives are really musical and artistic. Schoenberg, as a great admirer of the great composer, tried to “mark out” the great value of their contrapuntal text by using the orchestral colors. Because of his opinion that the organ couldn’t “interpret” this kind of Bach’s music, Schoenberg was more interested in clarifying vertically and horizontally all the motivic events and all the individual lines within the counterpoint.

Schoenberg’s orchestration of Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quartet in g minor, opus 25, was done after a proposal of Otto Klemperer and it has some common features with Bach-Schoenberg orchestrations. The composer provided three concise reasons for his undertaking: 1) he liked the piece, 2) it was seldom played, and 3) it was always very badly played, especially by the pianists who were used to play the piano-part very loudly. His need to hear everything in the piece clearly seems to be the same one for clarity in his personal compositions. This was probably the most powerful musical motive for this orchestration, except his great respect to “Brahms the Progressive”.

The Cello Concerto was a “freely adaptation” of Georg Matthias Monn’s 1746 Concerto for clavicembalo in D major. We can say that Pablo Casals’ request for a cello composition by Schoenberg was probably the most important motive for its creation. Musically, Schoenberg tried to “improve” its sound by taking away all the sequences and “deficiencies of the Handelian style”, and replacing them with real substance. The whole piece has a Brahmsian harmony and it goes further than Haydn’s style. Schoenberg achieved most of his modernizing re-compositional transformations through instrumentation and through the really demanding cello part.

The Concerto for string quartet and orchestra after the Concerto Grosso, opus 6 no. 7, by G. F. Handel is a “political” transcription by Arnold Schoenberg that has been created during his final year in Germany. It was rather a musical testimony in a really difficult period for the Jew composer, which reveals 1) his “conservative-revolutionary” relationship to the past, 2) the formation of his Jewish identity through the musical disputation of Handel, whose figure and music became a conservative and a nationalistic symbol by the National Socialists, and 3) his stance toward Stravinsky’s Neoclassicism and his effort to express the past and his rules in different way. The fact that Schoenberg devoted nearly six months of 1933 trying to alter – sometimes dramatically – the melodic and harmonic structure of the original, so that it wouldn’t sound like Handel, it’s a proof that was not just another Schoenbergian break in “tonality”.

 

 

Maria Sourtzi: Webern analyses Webern: the String Quartet op. 28

 

One of the most important texts-documents of Anton Webern is his famous analysis of his String Quartet op. 28. This analysis is included in a letter which Webern wrote to Erwin Stein between 8 and 31 May 1939: it is about the most extensive and detailed analysis which Webern had ever written about a work of his own. This analysis is extremely important, given that in it Webern’s perception of the form is made quite clear. In this text we try to interpret this specific analysis of Webern and to see in it Webern’s perception of the form.

 

 

Elina Skarpathioti: A Duke and an underdog beyond category: Ellington’s influence on Charles Mingus

 

Charles Mingus (1922-1979) was a big fan of Duke Ellington’s (1899-1974) and was deeply influenced by his music. He played and arranged much of Ellington’s music; he often included various Ellington tunes in his live performances and in many of his own recordings. He also arranged and composed music influenced by Ellington, and made various references to Duke in his music, even by including Ellington or other musicians of the Ellington orchestra in the title of some of his tunes, as a direct tribute to them.

This paper is structured around the few major – and incidental – personal encounters of Mingus with Ellington: the first one was in January 1953, when Mingus played briefly with the Ellington orchestra, while the second was almost a decade later, in 1962, when Mingus recorded the LP Money Jungle together with Duke Ellington on the piano and Max Roach on the drums. Last but not least, the paper talks about the various influences of Ellington on Mingus’ music, especially the music tributes that Mingus made to Duke and to some legendary players of the Ellington orchestra.

 

 

 
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