Paper Session
Nov 21, 2021 12:00 Noon - 12:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211121T1200 20211121T1250 America/Chicago Memory and Memorialization AMS 2021
Archival Impressions: Cretan Songs of Crisis, Memory, and its Loss
Individual Paper 12:00 Noon - 12:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 18:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 18:50:00 UTC

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In 1952 and 1953, classicist James A. Notopoulos traveled throughout Greece recording the songs and instrumental music of a disappearing class of rural musicians and oral poets. Notopoulos's goal was to document contemporary Greek manifestations of the Homeric technique of composition-in-performance that his mentors, Milman Parry and Alfred Lord, had identified in Serbian epics a generation earlier. The most fruitful period of his fieldwork, April and May of 1953, was spent in western Crete, where he encountered dozens of virtuosic oral poets who had responded to the subsequent crises of the Nazi occupation (1941-1945) and Greek Civil War (1946-1949) with an explosion of creative compositions that made ingenious use of their artistic heritage to chronicle both the horrors and the triumphs of this dark period of history. In this presentation I examine the historical, philological, musicological, and memorial import of these materials, which explore the devastating physical and psychological toll of war via an extraordinary complex of musical and poetic devices with roots in Byzantine, Ottoman, and Venetian traditions. Framing my discussion with theoretical perspectives on mimetic performance practice and culturally-specific understandings of the archive as a living agent affecting human experience, I stress the diachronic significance of the music captured by Notopoulos's tape recorder, as the songs make use of poetic and melodic materials that predate the events that they narrate by centuries, and are still in circulation today. I conclude with reflections on my recent fieldwork in the communities visited by Notopoulos, where I repatriated his recordings and discussed their contemporary emotional and political import with the descendants of the performers – and, in two cases, with the now-elderly performers themselves – in the context of the various crises, collective and personal, that complicate accustomed modes of being and remembering in contemporary Greece.

Panayotis League
Florida State University
Reactions to the Death of Che Guevara by the South American Compositional Avant-Garde
Individual Paper 12:00 Noon - 12:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 18:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 18:50:00 UTC

On October 9, 1967, the Argentinean-born Marxist revolutionary and guerrilla leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara was killed. Nineteen months later, at that year's most prestigious competition for new Chilean classical music, mimeograph papers were thrown about and yelling ensued as the audience erupted in near riot. What had just sounded was _Responso para el guerrillero (Requiem for the Warrior) (Ernesto Che Guevara)_ (1968) for orchestra, jazz ensemble, and magnetic tape, by the Chilean composer Eduardo Maturana (1920-2003). For before and while the Italian avant-garde composer Luigi Nono worked on his tribute to Guevara, _Y entonces comprendió_ (1969-70), Maturana and other South American composers also produced a number of works in direct reaction to the guerrilla leader's death. Despite the activeness of this musical scene, existing studies of Cold War-era political music-making in this region (McSherry 2015, Mularski 2014, Morris 2014, Guerrero 2013, González 1989, among others) concentrate almost exclusively on folkloric-influenced popular music movements such as _la Nueva Canción_. My paper, by contrast, examines avant-garde musical expression, including Maturana's _Responso_, together with reactions to Guevara's death from two other South American composers: _I-10-AIFG/Rbt1_ (1968) and _Ñancahuasú_ (1970) by the Peruvian composer César Bolaños (1931-2012), and  _Memento, mortus est!_ (1967),  _Che Guevara en América_ (1967), and _¡Volveremos a las montañas!_ (1968) by the Chilean composer Gabriel Brnčić (b. 1942). 

Drawing on archival documents in Santiago and Buenos Aires, and on oral history interviews, I show that, in some cases, these composers took creative approaches to creating politically-engaged music as the result of their attempts to also avoid censorship. I argue that although these works contributed to the construction of what historian Jeremy Prestholdt (2019) calls a "transnational imagination," which articulated a global sense of leftist solidarity, they also bear the audible marks of their local contexts. Furthermore, this paper contributes to an emerging body of scholarship (Fugellie 2020, Gavagnin 2020, Richter-Ibáñez 2020) that considers the international political left as a network that enabled transnational and transatlantic musical exchange between Latin America and Europe during the Cold War.

Alyssa Cottle
Harvard University
Trauma and the Memory of Communism in East-Central European Music Research
Individual Paper 12:00 Noon - 12:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 18:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 18:50:00 UTC

In 1990, the Czech Academy of Sciences' Ethnological Institute organized a task force to assess the validity of scholarship produced under the Communist administration-scholarship that included both historical and ethnomusicological studies of folksong. The committee ultimately determined that "too little data" was available for "responsible" analysis, suggesting instead that individual researchers "reach [their] own conclusions about the ethics of [their] work." (Skalník, _People's Democracies_, 77-8) In stark contrast, David Scheffel and Josef Kandert argued in 1994 that not only was past scholarship invalid, but also, because the entire field of ethnography had always been such a "willing servant of ideology", even its persistence as an academic discipline might be unethical.  

More than the uncertainty of the past, the disparity between these evaluations points to an unfolding set of memory politics specific to post-socialist, East-Central Europe. As historian James Mark explains in his _Unfinished Revolution_ (2010), responses to Communism's end in countries including today's Czech Republic were unique; unlike the politics of forgetting that followed World War II, for example, the end of Communism in East-Central Europe was met with a politics of remembering. More specifically, the absence of "Communist Nuremberg Trials" moved the act of criminalizing the past from judiciary circles to the public sphere, making the act of remembering its own "public good" and resulting in the formation of "cultural courtrooms" whose work persists still today. 

This paper positions post-1989 assessments of folksong research under Communism as their own "cultural courtrooms" to reveal new understandings of the ways even modern musicology continues to negotiate the traumatic experiences of the twentieth century. Scholars like Julie Brown, Pamela Potter, Philip Bohlman, and several others have already shown how the politics of forgetting following World War II resulted in important and dangerous erasures in music research, particularly concerning its underlying racial assumptions. The politics embedded in assessments of Czech folksong research under Communism, however, reveal the adoption of a new set of assumptions, this time concerning newly-unfolding understandings of human rights, democracy, and "European" identities. 

Kelly St. Pierre
Wichita State University; Center For Theoretical Studies, Prague
Harvard University
Wichita State University; Center for Theoretical Studies, Prague
Florida State University
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