Paper Session
Nov 12, 2021 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM(America/Chicago)
20211112T1100 20211112T1150 America/Chicago On the Radio AMS 2021
“War of the Waves: Radio Free Europe’s Crusade for Freedom in Early Socialist Romania”
Individual Paper 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 17:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 17:50:00 UTC

During 1951, Radio Free Europe (RFE), covertly funded and initially managed by the CIA, broadcast music programs to the Socialist Republic of Romania (SRR) from a newly-built facility in Munich. RFE appointed Romanian emigres and exiles as broadcasters who facilitated communication with Romanians behind closed borders while fostering a sense of individual and national freedom. Broadcasts aired for Romanian audiences were deemed illegal by state authorities, rendering listening into a punishable act of rebellion. RFE's 1951 music programs curated by Mihail Fărcășanu, director of RFE's Romanian service, aired concurrently with domestic transmissions sanctioned by communist official Matei Socor. In his capacity as president of the Union of Composers and Musicologists and director of Romania's national radio service, Socor promoted music adhering to the aesthetic of "socialist realism" as purported by Zhdanov Doctrine. 

My essay examines RFE's politically subversive programming strategies by addressing how music broadcasting selections articulated pre-communist Romanian national and musical identity in addition to how they confronted their communist counterparts. The prevailing narrative of illicit radio in satellite states suggests that Rock and Roll transmissions beyond the Iron Curtain fostered rebellion in listeners, eventually precipitating into the revolutions of 1989. This history, skewed towards the end of the Eastern Bloc, remains incomplete and obscures the changing use of music in the service of ideological warfare between Soviet-aligned and Western powers. 

I will discuss music aired by RFE in terms of five thematic categories: Romanian art music, art music from other countries, Romanian religious music, American art song, and Romanian royalist national anthem. I argue that RFE's 1951 music broadcasts subverted Romania's communist regime by reasserting Romania's interwar identity as a monarchy emphasizing the folk, church, and state. In articulating elements of Romania's imperial identity through music, RFE created continuity between interwar and contemporary Romanian history and values, thus bypassing the communist national and subsequent musical rupture. Ultimately, I intend to elucidate radio music's role in creating ideological communities, fostering channels of communication, and enabling Romanians to listen, bear witness, and participate in events beyond the Iron Curtain.

Grace Pechianu
Indiana University
Reimagining Music for Radio Drama: Norman Corwin's Dramatic Writing for the Columbia Workshop
Individual Paper 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 17:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 17:50:00 UTC

In 1936, the Columbia Broadcasting System undertook a project aimed at raising the artistic merit of the radio drama. The Columbia Workshop, as the program was called, encouraged experimentations in form, content, and sound design and regularly aired dramas that capitalized on this free creative license. While the literary innovations of the Columbia Workshop have gained scholarly attention in recent decades, the equally important advances in musical scoring for such productions have gone largely unnoticed.

In this paper, I demonstrate how the Columbia Workshop elevated the dramatic potential of music in the radio drama. Relying on scripts, instruction manuals, and recordings, I analyze the role music played in the works of American radio playwright Norman Corwin. Unlike early radio dramas, which often limited the use of music to opening themes and transition cues, Corwin's dramas called for extensive background music that was often satirical or self-referential. In Corwin's writing for the Columbia Workshop, narrators and characters summon music into the scene, comment on its artifice, and even call attention to its very function in the broadcast. 

Surveying the corpus of Corwin's writings for the Columbia Workshop, I illuminate how he broke with established precedent by demanding we listen to both word and score. Because all narrative information in radio dramas is communicated through sonic means, early practitioners held to the centuries-old dramatic convention of keeping music subservient to the voice. However, working within the experimental atmosphere of the Columbia Workshop, Corwin ignored these conventions and in so doing fundamentally transformed the listening experience and forever changed the rules of the broadcast medium.

Peter Graff
Denison University
The "Sonic Cosmonauts" of _Hearts of Space_ Radio
Individual Paper 11:00 AM - 11:50 AM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 17:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 17:50:00 UTC

In 1983 Hearts of Space, a radio program founded by Stephen Hill in Berkeley, CA in 1973, "transmitted" its first, nationally syndicated broadcast, "First Flight: A journey across musical time and space" to nearly 300 NPR affiliate stations. A year later, he and Anna Turner launched the Hearts of Space record label, which released 150 albums and had three top Billboard hits in the 1990s. Hearts of Space – as a radio program and label – is devoted to "spacemusic" (New Age, ambient, electronic music that acts as a "sonic alchemy designed to transport the listener to 'strange new worlds,'" [Hill 2019]), the genre's predecessors, and fellow travelers: from Josquin to Stockhausen, Ravi Shankar, Sun Ra, singing bowls, and harp seals. In broadcasts and on his online news column, Hill locates these diverse influences within an alternative music history and speculative theory. Drawing from currents prevalent within Bay Area countercultural thought of the 1960s, he describes spacemusic's ability to provoke virtual travel into outer-space (other dimensions and astral planes) and inner-space (the depths of the psyche and spiritual center "of the heart"); to presence eternity and sempiternity; and, ultimately, to transform society through the expansion of individual consciousness.

Due to its expansive reach, dedicated listenership, unique programming, and trans-genre social-aesthetic agenda, Hearts of Space merits scholarly attention. In this paper, I contextualize the radio program within its broader historical, aesthetic, and philosophical contexts: developments in transpersonal psychology; the west coast human potential movement; humanistic astrological thought (as filtered through Leyla Rael, Dane Rudhyar's business manager (until 1985) and GM of Hearts of Space Records (from 1986)); and New Age. Lastly, I consider the Hearts of Space national radio debut (one year before 1984) and Hill's musical discourse through the lens of utopian studies. Hill's spacemusic aesthetics partook in broader twentieth-century social and reform-oriented philosophizing. His technological, timbral, temporally static, and universally-minded utopianism is best understood in dialog with Marcuse's (1955) materialist and functionalist philosophy of art; while the import of spacemusic's alien liminality is illuminated by theorizations of sci-fi's utopian estrangement.  

Alison Maggart
University Of Texas At Austin
University of Texas at Austin
Indiana University
Denison University
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