Paper Session
Nov 21, 2021 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211121T1400 20211121T1450 America/Chicago Tours and Travel AMS 2021
“The Lion of the Musical Hour.” Richard Strauss and the Americans, 1904
Individual Paper 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 20:50:00 UTC

"The lion of the musical hour." "The man on whom Wagner's mantle seems to have fallen as prophet of the music of the future." "Audacious […] overbearing […] a musical Colossus." By the time Richard Strauss disembarked from the SS Moltke in late February 1904, the American musical press had worked itself into a fever pitch. There were still a few dissenters, bemoaning modern musical "cacophony," but the zealots were routing them. The Cleveland Plain Dealer summed up the prevailing sentiment: Strauss was "the greatest musical figure of the time in the entire world."

Strauss's 1904 American concert tour is typically a footnote in his biographies, and only a few well-worn anecdotes persist. But the story extends well beyond the Symphonia Domestica and a controversial department store debut. Strauss's tour provides an extraordinary view into a complex, gendered and racialized discourse in American music criticism during the Fin de siècle. Part musical "Übermensch," part self-promoting huckster, Strauss became a darling of the New York critical establishment, particularly Richard Aldrich, William Henderson, and James Huneker. In dozens of articles, concert reviews, and analytic essays––many syndicated nationally––these critics used Strauss as a conduit to affirm the virtues of European art, while deliberately positioning American music as its eventual heir. 

In this paper, I investigate Strauss's concert tour through a variety of critical lenses, placing it within the end of Gilded-Age aestheticism and a deliberate 're-masculinization' of the artistic sphere. To contextualize Strauss's unprecedented financial and critical success, I juxtapose this 1904 journey with the 1906–07 tours of Camille Saint-Saëns and Alexander Scriabin. Drawing on the feminist criticism of Mary W. Blanchard, the American ethnographic histories of Matthew Frye Jacobson and the Americanist musicology of R. Allen Lott (From Paris to Peoria, 2003) and Joseph Horowitz (Moral Fire, 2012), I approach the tour as a window into American musical self-perception at the Fin de siècle

Matthew Reese
Peabody Institute Of The Johns Hopkins University
Disciples of the Great Dr. Mus.: The Musical Grand Tour after Charler Burney
Individual Paper 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 20:50:00 UTC

Charles Burney was one of the most famous musical travelers of the Age of Enlightenment, but he was by no means the only British tourist to wander across Europe in quest of musical experience. According to eminent historian Jeremy Black, music was a major attraction for British subjects on the Grand Tour, who "expected to attend musical performances while abroad, and to enjoy the music that they heard." Burney's accounts of continental musical life, then, were only the most prominent traces of a vast archive documented in tourist letters. A host of scholars have drawn on Burney's writings as primary source material in eighteenth-century studies, and others have considered his published tours as musical analogues to other travel literature of the period. Yet few have explored how Burney affected later tourist culture, even though archival sources make it clear that Burney's books were familiar to musically literate tourists.

In this presentation, I examine Burney's influence and reception in late eighteenth-century musical tourism, drawing on new archival research in unpublished tourist correspondence. Burney's musical travelogues were not just accounts for armchair reflection and imaginary travel: the following generation of tourists appropriated Burney's itineraries and opinions for their own journeys, organizing their activities around Burney's accounts and comparing their experiences with his. Burney's social ambitions and didactic persona were enormously influential as a point of departure for later travelers, even as they satirized the works and narrative voice of the "Great Dr. Mus." By investigating musical tourism, we also gain a new and necessary perspective on the patterns of circulation, reception, and collection in late eighteenth-century musical culture. Tourism was not only a major force in the mobility of musical audiences, but also in the consequent evolution and diffusion of musical tastes across Europe.

Stephen Armstrong
Eastman School Of Music, University Of Rochester
Stockhausen at the Shiraz Arts Festival: Cultural Imperialism and the Avant-Garde in Iran, 1972
Individual Paper 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/21 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/21 20:50:00 UTC

In 1972, German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen travelled to Iran to participate in a "Stockhausen Panorama." Twenty-one of his compositions were performed in the course of a week around the city of Shiraz as part of the Shiraz Arts Festival (1967-1977), an annual government-sponsored event that presented traditional, classical, and contemporary performances of music, dance, and theater from all over the world. Stockhausen's appearance stirred such controversy that the following year the festival began programming fewer concerts of contemporary music. Despite Stockhausen's claim that his work was "democratic," many Iranians felt that his avant-garde sounds were an assault on the senses and an echo of an alienating pro-Western monarchy, while several pieces drew on Eastern mysticism in an arguably dissonant and superficial way. This paper critically examines the implications of Stockhausen's presence at the festival in subverting Iran's cultural vitality and identity. In the decade leading up to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and regime change, the Shiraz Arts Festival was often targeted for supporting Western imitation at the expense of Iranian identity. At the same time, many praised the festival for its multicultural inclusivity, and even two specific Stockhausen pieces received some critical and public acclaim for connecting with Iranian traditions, while also appealing to the growing youth population. Ultimately, this paper argues that the festival's inclusion of Stockhausen and the Western avant-garde had little lasting impact on Iranian artists, and instead intensified revolutionary ideology by providing evidence of a hegemonic effort from Iran's own government. 

Joshua Charney
Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University
Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
No attendee has checked-in to this session!
Upcoming Sessions (Local time)