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Paper Session
Nov 21, 2021 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM(America/Chicago)
20211121T1000 20211121T1050 America/Chicago Consider the Source AMS 2021 ams@amsmusicology.org
From Chicago to Broadway : The Origins of _Grease_
Individual Paper 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 16:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 16:50:00 UTC

When _Grease_ opened on Broadway in 1972, one critic wondered if a "1950s rock parody musical from Chicago" would survive for more than a few weeks. Eight years later _Grease_ closed as the longest-running show in Broadway history. When _Grease_ returned to Broadway in 1994, critics complained that it had been "diluted" with new songs from two film versions, which gave the score a pop/disco flavor that aimed at contemporary teenagers rather than anyone interested in an authentic evocation of the 1950s.


That abandonment of _Grease_'s original aesthetic has occasioned interest in reviving its pre-Broadway version mounted at Chicago's Kingston Mines Theater in 1971. As a practical matter, no script or authoritative score survives from that production, but the real reason for not re-staging the 1971 version is evident in the previously unexamined sketch materials for _Grease_ (Chicago Public Library: Warren Casey Papers).


Those documents reveal the 1971 production to be quite unlike the versions that later played to large audiences on stage and screen. In fact, the Kingston Mines production was just a loose series of sketches and songs, with crude language and direct references to Northside Chicago landmarks where co-author Jim Jacobs had grown up. The original 1971 production thus aimed narrowly at a local audience that had grown up in late-1950s Chicago.


Draft materials for the original _Grease_-much of which was deleted before the 1971 premiere-show little concern for creating a narrative. Instead, they focus on isolated events from the lives of 1950s teenagers in an almost fetishized fashion-often purely in dialogue. Nevertheless, the co-authors took care to situate the show in 1957-59 via musical references in the drafts. The Casey Papers also include a manuscript conductor's score, which enables a reconstruction of the 1971 show's running order. The Kingston Mines production included a transgressive title song "Grease" by Jacobs and Casey (not Barry Gibbs' later title track for the 1978 motion picture), and the show ended with "Kiss It," a song that presents a tough and self-assured Sandy-not the docile and acquiescent teenager in _Grease_'s later versions.

Presenters
SW
Scott Warfield
University Of Central Florida
The Untold Story of _Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel_
Individual Paper 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 16:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 16:50:00 UTC

            2021 marks the centenary of _Les mariès de la tour Eiffel_, a seminal work of Parisian modernism that was a collaboration among the Ballets Suédois, Jean Cocteau, and five members of Les Six. Although the story of the work has been told and taught frequently, the evidence for that story depends on first-hand accounts that come from all of the collaborators, except one. Until very recently, the lack of significant scholarship on Georges Auric meant that his version of the ballet's story was unknown. However, it is Auric's version that is the crucial one for understanding both how this work came to be and how it came to occupy such a significant place in the history of avant-garde dance and music.


            Drawing on primary source documents from various archives in the US, France, and Sweden, this talk reconstructs the history of _Les mariés_ from Auric's perspective. It discusses both Swedish Ballet impresario Rolf de Maré's decision to commission a ballet from Auric and Auric's failure to meet the deadline for that commission--a failure that resulted in the work becoming the second and final collaborative work by Les Six. It also discusses Auric's intertwining roles as a member of Les Six and as a co-founder of Paris Dada. The animosity between Cocteau and Paris Dada, between these two groups of Auric's closest friends, reached a climax at the premiere of _Les mariès_, leading the ballet to become a _succès de scandale_ and driving the dissolution of Les Six.

Presenters
CR
Colin Roust
University Of Kansas
Chopin as Philosopher
Individual Paper 10:00 AM - 10:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 16:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 16:50:00 UTC

Unlike his composer contemporaries, Chopin did not publish essays and criticism that attest to his philosophical positions, and his letters report rather than philosophize. In her _Impressions et souvenirs_, George Sand speaks to this reticence by recollecting a conversation between Delacroix and Chopin about art in which Chopin shuns verbal philosophizing. Instead, Chopin responds to Delacroix by improvising at the piano. For Chopin, praxis was philosophy. We, therefore, gain more insight into Chopin as a philosopher from reports of the way he played and taught playing the piano, and from his compositions, rather than any written statement by the composer.


Having observed Chopin, Moscheles wrote that the effect of Chopin's "ethereal" touch was such that "you will have no wish for those orchestral effects required by the German school." The Liszt-driven "German school" treated the piano like an orchestra in miniature, and sought to strengthen fingers and build stamina. As such, it embodied post-Kantian idealism, which views the body as imperfect, a problem that needs to be solved so that one can align one's body to a universal ideal. By contrast, Chopin's sketches for a piano method (c.1837-1846) emphasize relaxation, the inequality and independence of the fingers, and, above all, a legato touch. The net effect was his "ethereal" touch, which drew comparisons to the point dancing of Marie Taglioni, whose dancing Chopin cited as a source of inspiration.


This paper will situate Chopin's piano technique and compositions within both contemporary ballet and the critique of post-Kantian idealism. In addition to showing how Chopin's Parisian waltzes draw on Meyerbeer's ballet music written for Taglioni, I argue that Chopin's pianism contributes to the critique mounted by writers like Heinrich von Kleist, in his 1810 short story "On the Marionette Theater," and Søren Kierkegaard, in his 1843 tract _Fear and Trembling_. In these writings, Kleist and Kierkegaard use dance as a metaphor for spontaneity and, with it, the sought-after harmony of mind and body. This paper will demonstrate that Chopin, in taking his infirm body as it was, solved a problem that was at once personal and philosophical.


Presenters
DK
David Kasunic
Occidental College
University Of Kansas
Occidental College
University of Central Florida
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