• History
      November 2014

      Flogging Others

      Corporal Punishment and Cultural Identity from Antiquity to the Present

      by G.Geltner

      Corporal punishment is often seen as a litmus test for a society's degree of civilization. Its licit use purports to separate modernity from premodernity, enlightened from barbaric cultures. As Geltner argues, however, neither did the infliction of bodily pain typify earlier societies nor did it vanish from penal theory, policy, or practice. Far from displaying a steady decline that accelerated with the Enlightenment, physical punishment was contested throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages, its application expanding and contracting under diverse pressures. Moreover, despite the integration of penal incarceration into criminal justice systems since the nineteenth century, modern nation states and colonial regimes increased rather than limited the use of corporal punishment. Flogging Others thus challenges a common understanding of modernization and Western identity and underscores earlier civilizations' nuanced approaches to punishment, deviance, and the human body. Today as in the past, corporal punishment thrives due to its capacity to define otherness efficiently and unambiguously, either as a measure acting upon a deviant's body or as a practice that epitomizes - in the eyes of external observers - a culture's backwardness.

    • Fiction
      October 2011

      Song at Dawn

      1150 in Provence

      by Jean Gill

      Winner of the Global Ebooks Award for Best Historical Fiction - a medieval thriller/romanceBook 1 in the Troubadours Series 1150 in Provence, where love and marriage are as divided as Christian and Muslim. A historical thriller set in Narbonne just after the Second Crusade. On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her petticoats. Her talent finds a patron in Alienor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the Queen's finest troubadour and Commander of the Guard, Dragonetz los Pros. Weary of war, Dragonetz uses Jewish money and Moorish expertise to build that most modern of inventions, a papermill, arousing the wrath of the Church. Their enemies gather, ready to light the political and religious powder-keg of medieval Narbonne. Watch the trailer youtube.com/watch?v=XZvFmOkD6Pc

    • Biography: general

      Simply Wagner

      by Thomas S. Grey

      More than 130 years after his death, the operas and philosophy of Richard Wagner (1813–1883) continue to provoke controversy. A man of unquestioned artistic brilliance, he was also a fierce nationalist and outspoken anti-Semite, who was posthumously embraced by the Nazis and became a cultural hero of the Third Reich. Though he changed the course of classical music, in his personal life Wagner was an overbearing and ruthless megalomaniac, who stopped at nothing to achieve his ambitions. In Simply Wagner, musicologist and author Thomas Grey navigates the turbulent course of Wagner’s life, as he sought to create a total “musical-dramatic art work of the future.” From his early “romantic operas” through the harmonic cataclysm of Tristan und Isolde, to the epic 16-hour cycle The Ring of the Nibelung, Grey traces Wagner’s musical development, clearly explaining the nature of his achievement. Grey also shares key events in Wagner’s personal life, including the composer’s relationship with his patron, “mad” King Ludwig of Bavaria, and his extended affair with Cosima von Bülow—eventually his second wife—who bore him three children while still married to someone else. Written for a general readership, Simply Wagner offers a complete portrait of Wagner the man, the thinker, and the artist, and explores the circumstances that made him the most discussed artistic figure of his time, and one of the most controversial ever since.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      January 2006

      Robert le Diable

      The Facsimile

      by Author(s): Giacomo Meyerbeer Editor(s): Robert Letellier

      Writing to Meyerbeer in 1837 in the eleventh of her famous Lettres d’un voyageur, George Sand observed of the opera Robert le Diable:“. . .Though you are a musician, you are more a poet than any of us!... It was not long ago that you were on your knees in the sensuous darkness of Saint Mark’s constructing your Sicilian cathedral on a scale even more vast, smothering yourself in Catholic incense at that dark hours when the candles are lit, making the gold and marble walls sparkle until you were overcome and bowed down by the tender and terrible ecstasies of that holy place....You have pieced the impenetrable silence of the tombs and...heard the bitter lamentation of the damned and the threats of the angels of darkness. You have grasped the hidden significance and sublime sorrow of all those strange and sombre allegories. Between the angel and the devil, between the fantastic heaven and hell of the Middle Ages, you have seen man divided against himself, torn between the flesh and the spirit...You have depicted these struggles, these fears and torments, these promises and raptures in solemn, touching strokes, while leaving them cloaked in their poetic symbols...”These vivid words, written six years after the triumphant production of Robert le Diable, admirably sum up the power and impact of this important work, the principal operatic expression of French Romanticism. Its première on 21 November 1831 was one of the most sensational in the annals of opera, and its success throughout the nineteenth century universal and enduring. Not only did the composer sum up the various impulses of the splendid French lyrico-dramatic tradition of grand opéra, and introduce widely influential, structural, melodic and orchestral ideas into general operatic currency, but he seemed to address the very soul and aspiration of the people of his age. The opera based on a legend, became a legend in its own right.The facsimile edition of the manuscript of this famous work, for so long kept private and then thought lost after the Second World War, enables lovers of opera to examine for themselves the compositional procedure of its great and often misunderstood creator. The admired pieces like Bertram’s Évocation, Isabelle’s cavatina of grace, the sensational Ballet of the Nuns in the ruins of a moonlit cloister, the decisive trio of redemption in the last act, can all be seen at their very inception. Meyerbeer produced a work “that changed the face of opera” (William J. Collins). The full significance of this score in the history of opera must still be properly assessed.

    • Biography: arts & entertainment
      November 2003

      Life and Work of Pauline Viardot Garcia, vol. I

      The Years of Fame 1836-1863

      by Author(s): Barbara Kendall-Davies

      The name of Pauline Viardot Garcia was well known during her lifetime, but after her death in 1910, she passed into obscurity. She was born in Paris in 1821, the youngest child of the Spanish tenor, Manuel Garcia; her sister was Maria Malibran, and her brother, Manuel Patrizio, was an eminent teacher of singing. The first volume of her biography ranges from 1836 until 1863 and covers the most important years of her operatic career. Several composers wrote for her, including Meyerbeer, for whom she created Fidès in ‘Le Prophète’; Saint Saëns modelled the role of Delilah on her and Brahms composed the Alto Rhapsody, which she premiered in 1870. She encouraged Gounod to write his first opera, ‘Sapho’, and sang the title role in the premiere at the Paris Opéra and at Covent Garden. Schumann dedicated his Liederkreis Op.24 to Viardot, and Fauré dedicated several of his songs to her. She launched the career of Jules Massenet, and gave valuable assistance to Sullivan, Bizet, Stanford, Arthur Goring Thomas and several other musicians at the beginning of their careers. Although she was not good looking, she had a fascinating personality and great charm and several men fell in love with her, including Alfred de Musset, Gounod, Maurice Sand, Ary Scheffer, Berlioz, and Ivan Turgenev, who loved her devotedly for forty years, although she was married to Louis Viardot for the whole of that time. She was a linguist, artist, composer and talented pianist who studied with Franz Liszt, as well as being a superb singer and actress. Liszt admired her songs and said that she was the first woman composer of genius. Her talent for friendship was great, and she counted Chopin and George Sand as two of her most intimate friends. From 1863 until 1870, she lived in Baden-Baden where she became a celebrated musical hostess, as well as a fine teacher and composer.This book traces the life and work of one of the most important sopranos of the nineteenth century, Pauline Viardot Garcia. Her influence on figures like Meyerbeer, Turgenev and Liszt alone makes this volume, the first comprehensive biography ever published in English, indispensable to the musicologist with an interest in the nineteenth century.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      July 2011

      Daniel François-Esprit Auber

      L’Ambassadrice

      by Editor(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier

      Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782–1871), the most amiable French composer of the 19th century, came to his abilities late in life. After a stalled commercial career, he studied with Cherubini. His first works were not a success, but La Bergère Châteleine (1820), written at the age of 38, established him as an operatic composer. He then met the librettist Eugène Scribe (1791–1861), with whom he developed a working partnership, one of the most successful in musical history, that lasted until Scribe’s death. After Le Maçon (1825) and La Muette de Portici (1828), Auber’s life was filled with success. In 1829 he was appointed a member of the Institut, in 1839 Director of Concerts at Court, in 1842 Director of the Conservatoire, in 1852 Musical Director of the Imperial Chapel, and in 1861 Grand Officer of the Légion d’Honneur.Auber’s famous historical grand opera La Muette de Portici (also known by its hero’s name as Masaniello) is a key work in operatic history, and helped to inspire the 1830 revolution in Brussels that led to the separation of Belgium from Holland. Auber himself experienced four French Revolutions (1789, 1830, 1848, 1870). The latter (the Commune) hastened the end of his life. He died on 12 May 1871, at the advanced old age of 89, and in the pitiful conditions of civil strife, after a long and painful illness which worsened during the Siege of Paris. He had refused to leave the city he had always loved despite the dangers and privation, even after his house had been set on fire by the petroleurs et petroleuses. By some irony a mark had been placed against the house of the composer of Masaniello, the very voice of Romantic liberty!Auber’s overtures were once known everywhere, a staple of the light Classical repertoire. The influence of his gracious melodies and dance rhythms on piano and instrumental music, and on the genre of Romantic comic opera, especially in Germany, was overwhelming. The operas themselves, apart from Fra Diavolo (1830), have virtually passed out of the repertoire, since Auber’s elegant and restrained art now has little appeal for the world of music, attuned as it is to the meatier substance of verismo, high Wagnerian transcendentalism, and 20th-century experimentalism.L’Ambassadrice, an opéra-comique in three acts with libretto by Eugène Scribe, had its first performance at the Opéra-Comique (Salle de la Place de la Bourse) on 21 December 1836.This tale of social intrigue and artistic integrity centres around the lives of two opera singers in Munich, Henriette and Charlotte. Henriette is wooed by the Prussian ambassador, Count Benedict de Valberg, and is persuaded by her aunt, Mme Barnek, a social climber, to accept him. In Berlin, where Henriette awaits the sovereign’s consent to the marriage, she and her aunt pass themselves off as Bavarian aristocrats, but when the Munich opera company arrives in Berlin, Charlotte, recognizing her old rival, betrays her. Henriette then finds a compromising note in Charlotte’s handwriting addressed to the Count, and vows revenge on both of them. Henriette takes Charlotte’s place on the stage, and after the performance, she tears up the marriage contract, vowing to devote her life to the stage rather than to continue aristocratic pretence with an unfaithful husband.This work is one of the composer’s best. The libretto is ingenious and charming. The score was written especially for Laure Cinti-Damoreau, and is rich in vocal display, fitting for a prima donna. The original success of this opera was later augmented in 1850 by topical developments, when the famous singer Henriette Sontag left the stage to marry the Sardinian diplomat the Comte de Rossi. The whole scenario is buoyed by the perennial and resonant folk motif of personal victory over challenge, optimally realized in professional success combined with social advancement. The scale and structure of the opera reflects a more intimate dramaturgy. Auber’s music is by turns lively, touching, playful and tender. There are some fascinating touches, especially in the variety and subtly demanding nature of the heroine’s vocal line.The opera was created by Laure Cinti-Damoreau (Henriette), Jenny Colon (Charlotte), Théodore-Étienne Moreau-Sainti (Valberg), Marie-Julienne Boulanger (Madame Barnek), Roy (Fortunatus), Mlle Mousel (Countess Augusta de Fierschemberg), and Joseph-Antoine-Charles Couderc (Bénédict).L’Ambassadrice was in the repertoire from 1836–73. There were 417 performances altogether, and the work was translated into German, Danish, English, Swedish and Spanish.

    • Theory of music & musicology
      October 2018

      Collaborative and Distributed Processes in Contemporary Music-Making

      by Editor(s): Lauren Redhead, Richard Glover

      This volume represents the second proceedings of the Royal Musical Association’s (RMA) Music and/as Process Study Group. It is not surprising that a large number of the contributors to the Music and/as Process Study Group are active practitioners in the performance and composition of contemporary music. The collaborations documented here represent the bringing together of disciplines, joint work between practitioners who contribute their own specific areas of expertise to a composite creative activity, and work that crosses disciplines in order to make a critical comment in each of them. In this collection, these three types of collaborative work describe an increasing amount of contemporary music practice. In addition to the increasing involvement of practice in research, the understanding and prevalence of practice methodologies in the form of practice research has also increased in musicology. This volume reflects these concerns through contributions from authors who are all active practitioners in their respective fields of music performance, composition, improvisation, and conducting. The diversity of these contributions shows the variety of processes and practices that are currently being undertaken by proponents of the field of contemporary music. These essays provide a snapshot of the current collaborative and distributed processes that are employed by today’s contemporary music practitioners. The chapters contained in this volume reveal the varied nature of the approaches to creativity in music making, and the ways that these are distributed across its practitioners during each stage of the development of musical works.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      July 2009

      The Meyerbeer Libretti

      German Operas 2 (Ein Feldlager in Schlesien, Vielka)

      by Editor(s): Richard Arsenty and Robert Letellier

      Giacomo Meyerbeer, one of the most important and influential opera composers of the nineteenth century, enjoyed a fame during his lifetime hardly rivalled by any of his contemporaries. This ten volume set provides in one collection all the operatic texts set by Meyerbeer in his career. The texts offer the most complete versions available. Each libretto is translated into modern English by Richard Arsenty; and each work is introduced by Robert Letellier. In this comprehensive edition of Meyerbeer's libretti, the original text and its translation are placed on facing pages for ease of use. The eleventh volume presents the fourth of Meyerbeer’s grands opéras, and his final work. By 1860 long-imposed labor had started to tell upon the composer’s health: he knew that he must concentrate on the “navigator project” which he had started twenty years earlier if he intended to finish it. Meyerbeer died on 2 May 1864, the day after the completion of the copying of the full score of this his last opera, Vasco da Gama. Minna Meyerbeer and César-Victor Perrin, the director of the Opéra, entrusted the editing of a performing edition to the famous Belgian musicologist François-Joseph Fétis, while the libretto was revised by Mélesville. The original title of L’Africaine was restored out of deference to public expectation. Much of the music and action was suppressed, in spite of the strain this inflicted on the internal logic of the story.While L'Africaine is not lacking in the grandeur of statement and stirring climaxes for which the composer was so famous, there is a new intimacy, a new intensity of melancholic lyricism. Like its famous predecessors, it is basically an historical work, derived from the period of sixteenth-century Renaissance. The account of Vasco da Gama's voyage of discovery around the Cape of Good Hope and conquest of Calicut (1497-98) is subjected to a fictional treatment that raises many interesting issues. The framework is historical, but most of the characters and course of action are not; in fact the end of the opera, in the suicide of the heroine, suddenly leaves the terra firma of reality, and transports us into the mystical realms of the spirit. It is this mixture of modes that is central to the dramaturgy of L'Africaine, a confusion of history and fairytale, ancient certainties and challenging discoveries, in the creation of a new mythology. There is also originality in formal developments, with the great tenor scene in act 4 providing a new malleability in handling the constraints of shape and genre: recitative, arioso and cabaletta have a fluent integration in trying to explore the text more pointedly. L’Africaine was produced on 28 April 1865, a great posthumous tribute to its famous creators. The Ship Scene, the exotic Indian act, and the Scene of the Manchineel Tree exerted a fascination on audiences, and elicited new praise. The work full of melodic beauty and rapturous lyricism, began a triumphal progress through the world, beginning with the big stages of London and Berlin.

    • Individual composers & musicians, specific bands & groups
      April 2006

      Le Prophète

      The Manuscript Facsimiles

      by Author(s): Giacomo Meyerbeer Editor(s): Robert Letellier

      Le Prophète is the second panel of Meyerbeer’s Reformation diptych, his darkest and most mysterious opera. It explores issues of power and religion, fanaticism and faith, betrayal and trust, the demonic forces of history and the witness of little people caught up in them—the ultimate and enduring sacrificial power of love. In some ways it is almost like a political pamphlet or religious tract, and its oppressive but fascinating world can cast a compulsive spell.The plot is based on the revolt of the Westphalian Anabaptists under the leadership of the Leyden tailor Johann Bockholdt in 1537-38. Meyerbeer, as usual, studied the historical period carefully, and the opera is especially remarkable for its vivid human portraiture, its psychological realism mixed with religious mysticism, prophecy, dreams, unconscious promptings, telepathy, aspiration, conversion, rich in mythical resonance. The composer created a sustained atmosphere of menace and gloom by his dark orchestral colouring. This is contrasted with the pastoral escapism and orchestral brilliance of the famous Skaters’ Ballet, a contersign to the actions of cruelty and betrayal that characterize the action.The draft of a letter by Scribe of 23 April 1836 gives the first clue to a the new opera and its theme: the original title of Les Anabaptistes. However, it was held back in favour of another new project, L’Africaine (1865), for which a contract was signed, but dissatisfaction with the libretto, as well as the vocal difficulties of Marie-Cornélie Falcon meant that in the summer of 1838 Meyerbeer decided to give Le Prophète immediate attention. Performances planned for the winter season of 1841-42 came to nothing because Meyerbeer could only prepare a provisional score by the stipulated contractual delivery date (27 March 1841). All further efforts by the director of the Opéra, Léon Pillet, to conclude a contract came to nothing because in June 1842 Meyerbeer was appointed Prussian Generalmusikdirektor and was consequently tied to his duties in Berlin most of the time.In December 1843 Meyerbeer further had the opportunity to convince himself that Guilbert Duprez was no longer suitable for the role of Jean. Only on 1 July 1847, with the departure of Pillet, and under the joint new directorship of Nestor Roqueplan and Edmond Duponchel, was contact with the Opéra resumed. Eventually Pauline Viardot-Garcia and Gustave-Hippolyte Roger were chosen for the principal roles. Meyerbeer began a revision of the libretto with Scribe in early 1848 (focusing especially on the psychological nuances in the tripartite relationship between Jean, Fidès and Berthe, while hardly touching the depiction of the Anabaptists and the masses). and in early 1848, Emile Deschamps, who was sworn to secrecy, began putting Meyerbeer’s special requirements into verse. Meyerbeer himself composed new pieces for the opera (while revolution raged on the streets of Paris), and then began a thorough overhaul of the score. In actual history, the "Prophet" was a complete wretch whose profligacy cast a stigma on his sect that deprived it of further political status, Yet his rise from a tailor's bench to the throne of "Zion" and his subsequent execution in the Münster market place are the stuff of drama. Scribe's character is, in his own right, an extremely interesting figure, spiritually speaking: he is a genuine man of faith, but also an imposter who is ruthless but not entirely despicable. The depth of his human dilemma is successfully realized. George Bernard Shaw described him as alive and romantic, and there can be no doubt that the composer succeeded in heightening the effect of the drama by his deepening of the hero's psychology. The heart of the action lies in the mysterious, indeed ambiguous nature of the Prophet, and his relationship with his peasant mother, Fidès. Meyerbeer forged a magnificent maternal role, a deeply interesting fictional character, a pious woman, tenderhearted and yet energetic, seeking to save a son she believes she has lost, drawn through torment and abjection, betrayal and scandal, to the exercise of supreme forgiveness and ecstatic self-sacrifice. The composer achieved his master portrait here, and Fides was the progenitor of a line of operatic mothers who are among the noblest conceptions of the lyric stage. Le Prophète is powerful in other ways. The psychology of mass indoctrination is explored. The three Anabaptists are interesting in that they do not seem to have individual personalities, they speak as one person, something psychologically very accurate; true religion enables individuals, even in a community, to develop to the fullest and best of their potentiality; sects seek to stamp out individuality and replace it with a controlling idea. This notion really comes over in the score.The opera was another worldwide success. The beauty of the Breughelesque recreation of sixteenth century Netherlandish scenery and costumes, as well as the glory of the Cathedral Scene, constituted nothing less than an apotheosis in the history of theatrical mise en scène. It was performed 573 times in Paris until 1912, and some individual numbers like the famous Coronation March, the Skaters’ Ballet and the two arias of Fides became extremely popular. The high seriousness of the subject, and the dark sublimity of the music, won for this opera a unique regard: “People of my father’s generation would rather have doubted the solar system than the supremacy of Le Prophète over all other operas” (Reynaldo Hahn).The manuscript once again shows how Meyerbeer the pragmatic dramatist had to make many musical _adaptations_ to fit in with the stringent temporal regulations of the Paris Opéra, and the exigencies of his soloists. Jean’s role in act 3 was considerably reduced to conserve the singers’ stamina, as was the full version of Berthe’s suicide in act 5, to save on performing time. Several scenes of real historical interest (like, the requisitioning of young girls for the polygamous Anabaptists in act 4), or dramaturgical importance (the longer form of the Bacchanale in act 5 which develops the Anabaptist treachery against their leader) had to be sacrificed. These scenes, and the dark-hued but brilliantly virtuosic overture, should be restored in future performances.

    • Theatre studies
      June 2014

      The Disappointed Bridge

      Ireland and the Post-Colonial World

      by Author(s): Richard Pine

      This original study is the first major critical appraisal of Ireland’s post-colonial experience in relation to that of other emergent nations. The parallels between Ireland, India, Latin America, Africa and Europe establish bridges in literary and musical contexts which offer a unique insight into independence and freedom, and the ways in which they are articulated by emergent nations. They explore the master-servant relationship, the functions of narrative, and the concepts of nationalism, map-making, exile, schizophrenia, hybridity, magical realism and disillusion. The author offers many incisive answers to the question: What happens to an emerging nation after it has emerged?

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      July 2009

      The Meyerbeer Libretti

      Opéra Comique 1 L'Étoile du Nord

      by Editor(s): Richard Arsenty and Robert Letellier

      Giacomo Meyerbeer, one of the most important and influential opera composers of the nineteenth century, enjoyed a fame during his lifetime hardly rivalled by any of his contemporaries. This ten volume set provides in one collection all the operatic texts set by Meyerbeer in his career. The texts offer the most complete versions available. Each libretto is translated into modern English by Richard Arsenty; and each work is introduced by Robert Letellier. In this comprehensive edition of Meyerbeer's libretti, the original text and its translation are placed on facing pages for ease of use. The eleventh volume presents the fourth of Meyerbeer’s grands opéras, and his final work. By 1860 long-imposed labor had started to tell upon the composer’s health: he knew that he must concentrate on the “navigator project” which he had started twenty years earlier if he intended to finish it. Meyerbeer died on 2 May 1864, the day after the completion of the copying of the full score of this his last opera, Vasco da Gama. Minna Meyerbeer and César-Victor Perrin, the director of the Opéra, entrusted the editing of a performing edition to the famous Belgian musicologist François-Joseph Fétis, while the libretto was revised by Mélesville. The original title of L’Africaine was restored out of deference to public expectation. Much of the music and action was suppressed, in spite of the strain this inflicted on the internal logic of the story.While L'Africaine is not lacking in the grandeur of statement and stirring climaxes for which the composer was so famous, there is a new intimacy, a new intensity of melancholic lyricism. Like its famous predecessors, it is basically an historical work, derived from the period of sixteenth-century Renaissance. The account of Vasco da Gama's voyage of discovery around the Cape of Good Hope and conquest of Calicut (1497-98) is subjected to a fictional treatment that raises many interesting issues. The framework is historical, but most of the characters and course of action are not; in fact the end of the opera, in the suicide of the heroine, suddenly leaves the terra firma of reality, and transports us into the mystical realms of the spirit. It is this mixture of modes that is central to the dramaturgy of L'Africaine, a confusion of history and fairytale, ancient certainties and challenging discoveries, in the creation of a new mythology. There is also originality in formal developments, with the great tenor scene in act 4 providing a new malleability in handling the constraints of shape and genre: recitative, arioso and cabaletta have a fluent integration in trying to explore the text more pointedly. L’Africaine was produced on 28 April 1865, a great posthumous tribute to its famous creators. The Ship Scene, the exotic Indian act, and the Scene of the Manchineel Tree exerted a fascination on audiences, and elicited new praise. The work full of melodic beauty and rapturous lyricism, began a triumphal progress through the world, beginning with the big stages of London and Berlin.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti
      January 2009

      The Meyerbeer Libretti

      German Operas 1 (Jephtas Gelübde, Wirt und Gast, Das Branderburger Tor)

      by Editor(s): Richard Arsenty and Robert Letellier

      Giacomo Meyerbeer, one of the most important and influential opera composers of the nineteenth century, enjoyed a fame during his lifetime hardly rivalled by any of his contemporaries. This ten volume set provides in one collection all the operatic texts set by Meyerbeer in his career. The texts offer the most complete versions available. Each libretto is translated into modern English by Richard Arsenty; and each work is introduced by Robert Letellier. In this comprehensive edition of Meyerbeer's libretti, the original text and its translation are placed on facing pages for ease of use. The eleventh volume presents the fourth of Meyerbeer’s grands opéras, and his final work. By 1860 long-imposed labor had started to tell upon the composer’s health: he knew that he must concentrate on the “navigator project” which he had started twenty years earlier if he intended to finish it. Meyerbeer died on 2 May 1864, the day after the completion of the copying of the full score of this his last opera, Vasco da Gama. Minna Meyerbeer and César-Victor Perrin, the director of the Opéra, entrusted the editing of a performing edition to the famous Belgian musicologist François-Joseph Fétis, while the libretto was revised by Mélesville. The original title of L’Africaine was restored out of deference to public expectation. Much of the music and action was suppressed, in spite of the strain this inflicted on the internal logic of the story.While L'Africaine is not lacking in the grandeur of statement and stirring climaxes for which the composer was so famous, there is a new intimacy, a new intensity of melancholic lyricism. Like its famous predecessors, it is basically an historical work, derived from the period of sixteenth-century Renaissance. The account of Vasco da Gama's voyage of discovery around the Cape of Good Hope and conquest of Calicut (1497-98) is subjected to a fictional treatment that raises many interesting issues. The framework is historical, but most of the characters and course of action are not; in fact the end of the opera, in the suicide of the heroine, suddenly leaves the terra firma of reality, and transports us into the mystical realms of the spirit. It is this mixture of modes that is central to the dramaturgy of L'Africaine, a confusion of history and fairytale, ancient certainties and challenging discoveries, in the creation of a new mythology. There is also originality in formal developments, with the great tenor scene in act 4 providing a new malleability in handling the constraints of shape and genre: recitative, arioso and cabaletta have a fluent integration in trying to explore the text more pointedly. L’Africaine was produced on 28 April 1865, a great posthumous tribute to its famous creators. The Ship Scene, the exotic Indian act, and the Scene of the Manchineel Tree exerted a fascination on audiences, and elicited new praise. The work full of melodic beauty and rapturous lyricism, began a triumphal progress through the world, beginning with the big stages of London and Berlin.

    • Individual composers & musicians, specific bands & groups
      April 2007

      Giacomo Meyerbeer

      A Guide to Research

      by Author(s): Robert Ignatius Letellier and Marco Clemente Pellegrini

      This Guide has resulted from years of research on the papers and music of Giacomo Meyerbeer, and aims to provide a bibliographical aid and point of reference for further research. The first part presents the private papers connected to the composer and his principal librettist, Eugène Scribe—both archival and printed, with working papers and correspondence, as found in Berlin, Paris and some of the famous libraries of the world. The body of Part 2 draws together all the known resources on Meyerbeer's life and historical reputation—from full scale biographies and entries in reference books, through critical discussions to website resources to records of symposia. The third part provides material about his background with its unique mixture of Jewish and Prussian elements, the powerful role of the city of Berlin in his life and work. The fourth part lists bibliographic material for Meyerbeer's music, looking at his operas, grouped as German, Italian and French, with each individual entry providing a record of the scores available, both modern and historical, the various arrangements made from the operas during the heyday of their popularity, reviews of modern performances, discography, and bibliography of studies and publications pertinent to the wider cultural and historical contexts of the works.The next two sections constitute an extended record of material pertinent to the contemporaries of Meyerbeer. In the fifth section are select bibliographies of composers, authors, artists, performers, politicians, those who played some part in the composer's life, or anyone of significance in his wider contemporary circumstances. This is continued in the sixth part where the cultural and aesthetic elements of the composer's milieu, or life in the theatre during seventy years of the nineteenth century, are listed. The seventh part adds a bibliography of social and historical background, where the incidental issues of Judaism in nineteenth-century Europe, and the wider political, historical and geographical circumstances of Meyerbeer's life, his relentless travelling, and closely recorded experiences in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, England, and Austria. The eighth section provides a thematic key to this extensive material.Part 9 provides an extended tripartite series of lists of the published scores, arrangements and some special studies of Meyerbeer over the period 1820 to 2005—in alphabetical, chronological and thematic ordering. The last two sections furnish the modern equivalent of this record of Meyerbeer and his compositions, showing in Part 11 the list of performances of his operas since the Second World War, and in Part 12, listing the recordings of the operas, both commercial and private, for the same period. The thirteenth and last section is iconographical, pictures that represent an interesting survey of the popular response to Meyerbeer in the 19th century.

    • Theory of music & musicology
      January 2010

      The Resonance of a Small Voice

      William Walton and the Violin Concerto in England between 1900 and 1940

      by Author(s): Paolo Petrocelli

      This book constitutes both a study and a historical musicological analysis of Sir William Walton's Violin Concerto, treating the form of the violin concerto in general in England, as it developed between 1900 and 1940, taking into consideration the works of Charles Villiers Stanford, Edward Elgar, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Frederick Delius, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arthur Somervell, Arnold Bax and Benjamin Britten. The study is divided into three parts:- The Violin Concerto in England between 1900-1920: Stanford, Elgar, Coleridge-Taylor, Delius.- The Violin Concerto in England between 1920 and 1940: Vaughan Williams, Somervell, Bax, Britten.- William Walton's Violin ConcertoThe book opens with a brief description of the form of the Violin Concerto between the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe. This description is intended to provide both a familiarity with the fundamental characteristics of this musical form during the period under examination, and the beginning of a comparison between different national compositional styles.Each section is introduced with a portrait of the historical musical character in England during the respective period, and presents, after a biographical introduction to the respective composers, a formal structural, harmonic and aesthetic analysis (this analysis being embedded within a general discussion of the concertos themselves). In addition, a study of the technical and interpretative aspects of the concerto and a reflection on the relationship between composer and performer form part of the analysis. At the close of each section a comparative overview is also given.The first and second parts are developed entirely in relation to the third, which treats, exclusively and in considerable depth, Sir William Walton's Violin Concerto, the work to which the greatest attention is devoted. The appendix provides various unpublished texts concerning some of the concertos treated (with particular reference to Walton's) that were gathered during research. It is hoped that these will prove useful in enriching and completing a reflection, begun in the book, on the decidedly performative and interpretative aspect of violin music produced by British composers in the first half of the 20th century. Currently there are no modern texts that approach the violin concertos of this period in an exhaustive way. This text proposes to fill the gap, drawing the attention of scholars, musicologists and musicians to the appeal of this repertoire, composed of works of great artistic value that have been, for too long, unjustly forgotten. The volume will be useful to university and conservatory students, musicologists, composers, violinists and musicians in general, in as much as it treats, in specialized yet accessible language, the aspects of the concerto that are of interest to the author.The study is enriched by the inclusion of unpublished documents (letters and essays written by both the composers themselves and by those to whom the concertos were dedicated), that will help to illuminate the myriad cultural and personal circumstances that fed and gave life to these great works.

    • Dance & other performing arts

      Ballad of Baby Doe

      "i Shall Walk Beside My Love"

      by Duane A Smith , John Moriarty

      First produced at the Central City Opera House in 1956, 'The Ballad of Baby Doe' is now widely considered a classic and is the second most produced American opera. In THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE, Smith tells the tale of the complicated birth of this most American of operas. Inspired in 1953 by composer Douglas Moore's interest in Horace Tabor's story and funded by the Central City Opera House Association, the opera came together through a unique combination of hard work and serendipity. Smith relates how key people -- including investors and historians in addition to creative talent -- turned Moore's idea into a reality and brought the story of the Tabors to millions of opera fans worldwide. In addition, Smith compares the opera's libretto with historical reality, and the book even includes a chapter on the production written by John Moriarty, who conducted the opera in 1981, 1988, and 1996.

    • Musical scores, lyrics & libretti

      Yn Dyrfa Weddus - Carolau Ar Gyfer Y Plygain

      by Rhiannon Ifans

    • Education

      Mozart for Accelerated Learning

      Unleash Your Potential Through the Genius of Mozart!

      by Roland Roberts

      Significant evidence has shown that certain types of music can help us attain a state of relaxed alertness, known as the ‘alpha state’. When classical music of around 60 beats per minute is arranged and performed on a synthesizer, the results are even more astounding. Roland Roberts has arranged two hours of particularly effective Baroque music and two hours of Mozart’s most ‘passive’ pieces specifically for the purpose of accelerating your learning.

    • Education

      Passive Music for Accelerated Learning

      Increase Your Brainpower Without Even Thinking!

      by Roland. Roberts

    • Biography: arts & entertainment

      Last Stop, Carnegie Hall

      New York Philharmonic Trumpeter William Vacchiano

      by Brian A. Shook

    • Fiction
      July 2013

      The Poisoned Banquet

      by ANTHONY JAMES

      A romantic thriller; A tales of an abused celebrity wife. A contemporary novel set in UK and USA. The novel is a study of morbid jealousy and follows the lives of the heroine Rachel a beorgening international pianist and her husbad the charming but morbidly jealous and corrupt banker Michael Johnson. The story opens with the death of Michael's baby sister - accident or infanticide? Michael determines to becaome the apple of his parents' eye and he grows up as an athletic, bright and charming but ruthlessyoung man. He falls for Rachel, wooes her but rather in the mold of Jeckyll and Hyde he becaomes morbidly jealous of rachel and her musical career. Rachel's unshakeable devotion tolerates the ever worsening excesses of Michael's obsessive jealousy into tawdry drug and sexual abuse. Rachel meets a geeky but brilliant young musician and is infatuated by his musical talent - her world is turned upside down. Is her love of music or her love of Michael the greater? What of both are taken away?

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