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Paper Session
Nov 11, 2021 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211111T1400 20211111T1450 America/Chicago Modern Opera and Contemporary Life AMS 2021 ams@amsmusicology.org
Acoustic Spaces in Schoenberg's Gardens
Individual Paper 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/11 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 20:50:00 UTC

Gardens were beloved places in early modernist Vienna: they were art objects, entertainment venues, and considered extensions of the home. Elevated in contemporary urban planning and architectural design, connected to nascent women's professionalization efforts, and replete with gendered and psychosexual symbolism, private domestic gardens were intertwined with many dimensions of modern urban life (Berger 2008; Krippner & Meder 2011, 2016; Niefanger 1993; Rotenberg 1995). Recognition of this context invites a new hearing of the walled garden in Schoenberg's _Erwartung_ (1909/1924), a site of faded domestic bliss to which the Woman mentally withdraws while wandering the forest. My presentation demonstrates that the dramaturgical function, musical construction, and symbolic subtext of _Erwartung_'s garden resonate with discourses around enclosed gardens in early 20C Vienna. 


Garden settings have a long history in opera, often present as exoticized, magical, and/or feminized retreats with special timbral profiles that convey their otherness (Brown 1984, Hunter 1993, Spencer 2014). Building upon recent efforts to examine opera and early 20C musical modernism from cultural geographic perspectives (Aspden ed. 2019, Grimley 2018), I suggest that gardens are a compelling site with which to consider opera's multiple points of intersection with the built environment. I interpret the garden in _Erwartung_ as a locus essential to the fluctuations between interior and exterior that Holly Watkins (2008) identifies in the monodrama's spatially collapsed atonal idiom and psychological dimension. The Woman's shifts between interiority and external awareness are made audible in her withdrawal inwards to the garden, an acoustic space that is rendered distant from her present experience through timbral and gestural difference. My rehearing of _Erwartung_'s garden also aligns with the spatial dynamics of the enclosed, claustrophobic garden and greenhouse in Schoenberg's _Das Buch der hängenden Gärten_ (1907-09) and _Herzgewächse_ (1911). _Erwartung_'s brief interiorized garden episodes and their reflections of aspects of the Woman's psyche take on new significance in light of contemporary gendered and psychological discourses surrounding gardening's curative capacity. Simultaneously, they suggest that the enclosed domestic garden has the potential to both shelter the female subject from threatening external stimuli and entrap her within a spatially-defined domestic economy. 

Presenters
SM
Sadie Menicanin
University Of Toronto
Sounding Spanish: Manuel de Falla's _La vida breve_ and the Failure of Representation
Individual Paper 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/11 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 20:50:00 UTC

Manuel de Falla's first opera _La vida breve_ (1904-1913) is generally noted for its stylistic hybridity, borrowing elements from zarzuela, Wagnerian opera, and French modernism (Christoforidis 2018; Llano 2012; Hess 2001/2004). By assessing the critical reception of the opera's various generic elements, scholars have been able to situate the work within the ever-evolving conception of Spanish identity and Spanish music in the early twentieth century. What has been overlooked, however, are the ways in which _La vida breve's_ eclectic music may in fact productively resist stylistic cohesion. Inspired by the ideas of Judith Butler (1990/1993) and Fred Moten (2003), I explore how that aesthetic fragmentation could confront and help shape international perceptions of Spain by musically articulating the often-ambivalent intersection of gender, race, and nation.  


In this paper I demonstrate how Falla's oscillation between Spanish folk-influenced styles and unmarked musical gestures refuses to paint a picturesque vision of Spain and instead betrays a more complex struggle of self and other, or universal and exotic, that results in the necessary failure of representation. The stylistic disjunction is most relevant in the central character, Salud, whose music repeatedly suggests and defers dance-like characteristics that would have signaled "Spanish" to contemporary European audiences familiar with Spanish Gypsy tropes in Bizet's Carmen, flamenco dance, and zarzuela. It is through Salud's embodied dissonance with the archetypal Spanish Gypsy woman that _La vida breve_ can subtly challenge an existing image of Spain and foreshadow one yet to come. In this sense, I further suggest that Salud's character holds a metonymic relationship with the opera as a whole and, beyond that, the contemporary Spanish sociopolitical milieu as it levels an inherent critique of Orientalist representational practices. Ultimately, I seek to reconsider the historic and aesthetic significance of _La vida breve_ beyond Spanish nationalism and toward larger issues of exoticism, representation, and the role of music in performing more complex and heterogeneous collectivities. 

Presenters
AL
Anthony LaLena
Eastman School Of Music (University Of Rochester)
Dream and Science: Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe, _Icare_ (1911), and Aeronautical Music in France before the First World War
Individual Paper 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/11 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/11 20:50:00 UTC

Despite what Futurist leader Marinetti claimed, Francesco Balilla Pratella's L'aviatore Dro (1914-15) was not the first opera with an aeronautical subject. In 1911, the Paris Opéra hosted a gala in honor of French aviators featuring Icare, a "lyrical epic" composed by Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe. This now forgotten opera gives an aeronautical dimension to the myth of Icarus, with an epilogue in which the Genius of Science presents Icarus as the tutelary figure of future aviators who, thanks to technology and fuel oil, will be able to fulfill the human dream of flight.


At the beginning of the twentieth century, many considered oil as a gift from earth to humanity to overcome its natural limitations. The music patron and composer Deutsch de la Meurthe (1846-1919) was one of the leading figures in the development of motorized engines in France: he was an oil magnate, a sports amateur, and an important patron of flying engines. By reflecting upon Icare and other aeronautical compositions by Deutsch, this paper reveals his central and overlooked role in linking industrial technology, sports circles, and the French music scene.


Deutsch's works will be discussed with reference to the cultural and musical history of the birth of French aviation. An ephemeral but rich repertoire of songs and sheet music leads to a double typology: on the one hand, of the attitude of Belle Époque France towards aviation and aviators (admiration, mockery, nationalist fervor); on the other hand, of the ways to represent human flight in music, evolving from aerostatic to motorized. Although Deutsch was a fervent supporter of the development of the modern airplane, his compositions only set to music the aerostat or other non-flying machines, never the airplane. Icare is an opera about aviation and aviators where motorized flight is absent. The difficulty of combining the liberating side of flight (the dream) with its technological aspects (science) is a dead end for Deutsch. The challenge of reconciling dream and science probably explains why other composers who declared their interest in writing aviation music, like Ravel, did not finally follow suit.

Presenters
FL
Federico Lazzaro
Université De Montréal
ML
Marie-Pier Leduc
Université De Montréal
Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester)
Université de Montréal
Université de Montréal
University of Toronto
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