April 18

Composers on the Covers of Musica
RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”

The French journal Musica (1902-1914) was published in Paris by the influential journalist and publisher Pierre Lafitte. Perhaps better known for his illustrated sports magazine La Vie au grand air (1898-1914; 1916-22), Lafitte’s affinity for illustrations is also evident in Musica, which regularly incorporated images of well-known composers and performers with accompanying articles. The journal’s editor, Xavier Leroux, was a composer and longtime teacher of harmony at the Paris Conservatoire.

Today, we present just a sampling of the many attractive illustrated covers of Musica.

 
Johannes Brahms and Felix Mendelssohn
Vol. 8 No. 84 (September 1909); Vol. 13 No. 143 (August 1914).

 
Richard Strauss and Gabriel Fauré
Vol. 9 No. 97 (October 1910); Vol. 4 No. 34 (July 1905).

 
Bedřich Smetana and Edvard Grieg
Vol. 12 No. 127 (April 1913); Vol. 6 No. 62 (November 1907).

 
Jules Massenet and Charles Gounod
Vol. 5 No 50 (November 1906); Vol. 5 No. 46 (July 1906).

 
Richard Wagner and a singer wearing the iconic helmet of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen
Vol. 2 No. 13 (October 1903); Vol. 3 No. 23 (August 1904).

 

RIPM search tipMusica (Paris, 1902-1914) is available in full-text in RIPM’s Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals. Select the journal in Browse Mode to view its contents according to a specific year of publication, volume number, and issue number.  Select the journal in Advance Search Mode to search any keyword within its entire run of publication.

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RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

WWW.RIPM.ORG

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RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”
April 11

Remembering Stravinsky
Forty-Seven Years After His Death

April 6th was the 47th anniversary of the death of the composer Igor Stravinsky, who first achieved international recognition for his three ballets commissioned by impresario Serge Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913).

The illustration below appeared in the Harvard Musical Review less than one year after the first performance of The Rite of Spring.

Harvard Musical Review, Vol. 2 No. 7 (April 1914): 2.

The French journal Musica published these comments after the premiere of The Firebird.

The new work was, ultimately, the Firebird; which was the most important artistic event of this Ballet Russe season. It is an admirable spectacle … this tale danced in one act has  exceptional musical value. For that very reason, and especially for that reason, it deserves special mention.

A true dance music that remains nevertheless real music! … that is well worth being especially praised.

It reveals a young Russian composer of the greatest talent: Mr. Igor Stravinsky.

Musica, Vol. 9 No. 95 (1 August 1910): 119.

 

Nearly three years later, news of the raucous premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was reported widely in the musical press. Many reports remarked on the composer’s dissonant score, including the following comments, published in Musical America.

Musical America, Vol. 18 No. 12 (26 July 1913): 10.

 

 This photo of an intense young Stravinsky in his studio in Petrograd, appeared three years later.

Musical America, Vol. 23 No. 9 (1 January 1916): 17.

In the same year, 1916, the following two short reviews of Stravinsky’s Petrushka demonstrate the reception of this work in the United States.

Musical America, Vol. 23 No. 13 (29 January 1916): 4.

 

By 1918, Stravinsky had already composed a seminal work in what is referred to as his “Neoclassical Period,” utilizing a small chamber ensemble.  Entitled The Soldier’s Tale (1918), it was described in the following report as being unlike anything Stravinsky had previously composed.

Musical America, Vol. 29 No. 5 (30 November 1918): 27.

 

One of the artists with whom Stravinsky maintained a long term relationship was Pablo Picasso, who on several occasions, produced sketches of the composer.

Stravinsky, sketched by Pablo Picasso
Pro-Musica Quarterly, Vol.3 No. 1 (March 1924): 4.

Russian avant-garde painter Michel Larionov also sketched Stravinsky along with a few of his Ballets Russes colleagues, including the impresario Serge Diaghilev, French writer, playwright, artist and film maker Jean Cocteau, and French composer Erik Satie.

Modern Music, Vol. 3 No. 1 (November-December 1925): [2].

Nine years after Larionov’s sketch was published in Modern Music, the journal published yet another sketch of the composer by Picasso, in 1934.

Modern Music, Vol. 12 No. 1 (November-December 1934): [2].

 

RIPM search tip: For more on Stravinsky, use RIPM’s Combined Interface and search “Stravinsky” as a keyword.

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***

RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

WWW.RIPM.ORG

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Forty-Seven Years After His Death
April 4

Conducting with One’s Back to the Orchestra
RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”

Today, opera conductors are positioned between the audience and the orchestra, so as to visually lead both those singing on stage and the instrumentalists accompanying them. In the 19th century, however, engravings frequently depict conductors in what would be viewed today as a most unusual position—right in front of the stage, with their backs to the orchestra! See if you can spot the conductor in the following series of images.

A production of Fromental Halévy’s Charles VI at the Théâtre de l’Opéra.
L’Illustration, Vol. I (18 March 1843): 41.

 

A scene from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at the Théâtre-Italien
L’Illustration, Vol. I (1 April 1843): 72.

 

An engraving from an 1848 production at the Théâtre de Trianon
L’Illustration, Vol. XI (22 April 1848): 128.

 

Another image of a Fromental Halévy opera production, this time of La Juive
L’Illustration, Vol. X (18 September 1847): 37.

 

A view from the stage at the Théâtre royal de Berlin
L’Illustration, Vol. IX (21 August 1847): 388.

 

A similar view, this time from the Grand-Théâtre in St. Petersburg
Ibid.

 

A horse race scene from Monréal and Blondeau’s Paris port de mer at the Parisian Théâtre des Variétés
L’Illustration, Vol. XCVII (14 March 1891): 236.

This collection of iconography captures a particular performance practice at a specific time in musical history. And as in the case of the final image above, which was featured in a recent post about the use of machinery to create scenic illusions at the opera, these illustrations also demonstrate the many different research inquiries that can be formulated from a single piece of iconography.

 

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***

RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

WWW.RIPM.ORG

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RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”
March 28

Beethoven: Anecdotes and Illustrations

Proposed by Marten Noorduin

Here are a few amusing reflections from the musical press about Ludwig van Beethoven.

La Chronique musicale, vol. 10 no. 58 (15 November 1875): [1p] 166/67.

The American periodical Dwight’s Journal of Music featured an anecdote about Beethoven that was originally published in the 1860 autobiography of German composer, violinist, and conductor, Louis Spohr:

Dwight’s Journal of Music, vol. 18 no. 22 (2 March 1861): 392.

Many music journals published illustrations of the composer. The Baton, for example, depicted Beethoven and Schubert enjoying an imaginary musical evening together in the company of the Viennese artistic society.

The Baton, vol. VII no. 2 (April, 1928): 13.

However, not all illustrations related to Beethoven strike such a reverential tone. The Spanish language periodical, La Música Ilustrada Hispano-Americana, published five cartoons in which each movement title of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony No. 6 is treated to a visual narrative. In the table below, we cite the original German text and a translation in English of the movement titles, just in case … !

 

La Música Ilustrada Hispano-Americana, vol. II no. 10 (10 May 1899): 10.

 

Finally, on the left is a depiction of Beethoven that appeared in the French illustrated newsweekly L’Illustration in 1893, 66 years after his death; on the right is German caricaturist Franz Eder’s Beethoven depiction in 2009, imagining what the composer would have looked like had he been born two centuries later. The similarities—the brow, the penetrating gaze, the unkempt hair, the menacing frown—are striking!

L’Illustration, Vol. CI (27 May 1893): 431; Franz Eber, 2009. http://www.franz-eder.de/Portraets.shtml

 

RIPM search tip: Searching “Beethoven” as a keyword in both RIPM’s Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text and Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals reveals that his name appears at least once in an astounding 118,041 records!

Click here to subscribe to RIPM’s Curios, News, and Chronicles! 

When is our next posting? To find out, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

***

RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

WWW.RIPM.ORG

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March 21

Experiencing Music Beyond One’s Fingertips:
The Musical Touch of Helen Keller

In the journal Musical America during the 1910s there are reports on the musical listening experiences of American Helen Keller, a leading 20th-century author, political activist, lecturer, and champion of people with disabilities. Both deaf and blind as a result of a childhood illness, Keller became the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree and subsequently traveled to more than twenty countries advocating for the rights and equal treatment of those with disabilities. In the spring of 1916, tenor Enrico Caruso gave a private performance for Keller.

Musical America, Vol. XXIV No. 4 (27 May 1916): 28

The placement of Keller’s fingers on Caruso’s lips resulted in a mode of musical listening predominantly based on touch.  But rather than acknowledge Keller’s use of touch as a means of listening to music, an unsigned brief report in Musical America conveyed skepticism if not bias. By referring to Keller’s tactile encounter with Caruso’s voice as having “heard” and “listened” (with quotations), the report promoted the misconception that conventional hearing is the only authentic musical experience; consequently, casting doubt on whether Keller was engaged in a veritable musical encounter at all.  Unfortunately, this idea was popularly held in early 20th-century America.  But for Keller, touch was a powerful faculty that extended far beyond its perceived limits:

I think people do not usually realize what an extensive apparatus the sense of touch is. It is apt to be confined in our thoughts to the finger-tips.  In reality, the tactual sense reigns throughout the body, and the skin of every part, under the urge of necessity, becomes extraordinarily discriminating.  It is approximately true to say that every particle of the skin is a feeler which touches and is touched, and the contact enables the mind to draw conclusions regarding the qualities revealed by tactual sensation, such as heat cold, pain, friction, smoothness, and roughness, and the vibrations which play upon the surface of the body.

Helen Keller, Midstream: My Later Life (New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1929), 256. 

Below are more accounts, by Keller and by others that appeared in the same journal, reporting on her other tactile encounters with music.  A testament to Helen Keller’s remarkable life and work, these texts serve as an historical reminder of the progress made in understanding the diverse manner in which music can be experienced.


Musical America, Vol. XVIII No. 16 (23 August 1913): 10. 


Musical America, Vol. XIX No. 19 (14 March 1914): 41.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Musical America
, Vol. 21 No. 21 (27 March 1915): 35.

Jascha Heifetz playing for Helen Keller
The Musical Observer, vol. 28 no. 10 (December 1929): 13.

Musical America, vol. 25 no. 9 (30 December 1916): 6.

Fortunately, there is also video documentation of Helen Keller’s musical touch, this time listening to the opera singer Gladys Swarthout.

RIPM search tip: To view more on Helen Keller in Musical America, access RIPM’s Preservation Series: European and North American Music, and in “Advanced Search”, fill in the following fields: Periodical = Musical America (New York, 1898-1899, 1905-1922 [-1964]); Keyword =Helen Keller.

Click here to subscribe to RIPM’s Curios, News, and Chronicles! 

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***

RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

WWW.RIPM.ORG

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The Musical Touch of Helen Keller
March 14

Announcing the forthcoming publication of  
RIPM Jazz Periodicals
a collection of 100 searchable, full-text journals

Charlie Parker Remembered


Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook,
s. v. No. 1 (1955): 37. 

This year RIPM will be releasing the second title in its Preservation Series, Jazz Periodicals, in collaboration with the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University and RIPM’s Partner and Participating Libraries.  The first phase of this collection will consist of approximately 100 American (U.S.) full-text jazz journals published in the main from the 1920s to roughly the year 2000.  Jazz Periodicals will be available exclusively on RIPM’s own specially-designed interface, the RIPMPlus Platform. In anticipation of this exciting new project, we will occasionally be selecting content from our jazz archive to be featured in RIPM’s Curios, News, and Chronicles.  


 Bird’s Best Recordings

This week marks the 63rd anniversary of the untimely passing of the iconic jazz alto saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker (1920-1955). Perhaps the leading figure in the development of bebop, Parker’s approaches to melody, improvisation, harmonization, and rhythm continue to leave a lasting impression on contemporary jazz culture, raising the profile of jazz artists to creative intellectuals.  So significant were Parker’s contributions that when supposedly asked to comment on the history of jazz, trumpeter Miles Davis replied with just four words: Louis Armstrong; Charlie Parker. Also affectionately known as “Yardbird,” or “Bird,” Parker lives on today in his many classic live and studio recordings.

In celebration of the genius of Charlie Parker, we present the words of his fellow jazz artists commenting on their favorite Bird recording in Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook (1950-51, 1953-59).

 

Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook, s. v. No. 1 (1956): 81; Down Beat Music Yearbook, vol. 4 (1959): 11. 

Ko-Ko is widely considered one of the first compositions to usher in the bebop era.  The piece starts with Parker playing in unison with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (who also played piano for this recording), followed by the pair trading eight-measure melodic lines, then another brief unison passage, before Bird begins his solo.  Read more about the unusual history of this piece here.

 

 
The Record Changer, vol. 7 no. 9 (September 1948): 8; Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook, (1956): 80. 

Bird composed Relaxin’ at the Camarillo after a six-month stay at the Camarillo State Hospital in Ventura County, California, where he had been recuperating from alcohol and drug addiction.  In his book, West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz In California, 1945-1960, jazz historian Ted Gioia called the original recording of Relaxin’ “one of the most memorable from Bird’s California stay.”[1]

 

 
Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook, (1956): 82; Ibid., (1954): 19. 

Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?) is a 1941 popular song originally written for jazz singer Billie Holiday by Jimmy Davis, Roger Ramirez, and James Sherman.  Of the five versions of this standard recorded by Parker, the most famous Lover Man rendition is the 1946 recording for the Dial label in which Bird, strung out on drugs and booze, was apparently physically supported at the microphone by producer Ross Russell.

 

 
Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook, (1956): 82; Cadence, vol. 16 no. 5 (May 1990): 7.

Parker’s Mood was recorded on 18 September 1948 in New York City for Savoy Records.  Along with Bird on his alto saxophone, this recording features some of the great musicians of the early bebop era: Curley Russell on bass, John Lewis on piano, and Max Roach on drums.

 


Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook, s. v. No. 1 (1959): 14; Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook, (1956): 80.

We end today’s post at Bird’s musical beginnings.  Raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Parker joined the band of jazz pianist and fellow Kansas City native Jay McShann, in 1938.  Along with extensive touring experience, playing with McShann’s band gave Bird the opportunity to be featured on recordings for the first time.  Parker’s solo in the 1941 recording of Hootie Blues begins thirty-seven seconds into the clip below.

 

Three of the fathers of modern jazz: drummer Kenny Clarke, pianist Thelonious Monk, and Bird
Jazz: The Metronome Yearbook, s. v. No. 1 (1959): 56.

RIPM search tip: Be on the lookout for more updates and posts on the RIPM Preservation Series: Jazz Periodicals, coming soon!

Click here to subscribe to RIPM’s Curios, News, and Chronicles! 

When is our next posting? To find out, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

***

RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

WWW.RIPM.ORG

[1] Ted Gioia, West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz In California, 1945-1960. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 26.

Category: Curios and Chronicles | Comments Off on Announcing the forthcoming publication of  
RIPM Jazz Periodicals
a collection of 100 searchable, full-text journals

Charlie Parker Remembered
March 7

RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”
Happy Birthday, Maurice Ravel!


Musikalischer Kurier, vol. 2 no. 44 (29 October 1920): [405].

French composer, pianist, and conductor Maurice Ravel was born 143 years ago today, on 7 March 1875. The musical press published a number of interesting reviews throughout the early 20th century of his then recently premiered works. Today, we pay tribute to Ravel by sharing from our archives a few of these reviews.

The Baton, vol. 7 no. 6 (April 1928): 3.

Ravel completed his famous String Quartet in F Major at the age of 28. The New York premiere of this work was reviewed in the journal, The New Music Review and Church Music Review.

The New Music Review and Church Music Review, vol. 6 no. 63 (February 1907): 173.

 


A 1909 painting of Ravel by Achille Ouvré
Bulletin français de la Société Internationale de Musique (S.I.M), vol. 6 no. 8 (Aug.-Sept. 1910): xxvi.

 

In 1912, less than one year after the piece’s premiere, Ravel’s acerbic Huit valses nobles et sentimentales was reviewed evocatively in the Bulletin français de la Société Internationale de Musique.

Monsieur Ravel will forgive us if we confess to him that his Eight valses nobles et sentimentales make us irresistibly think of some exotic fruits: we grit our teeth when we bite into it for the first time: we return by curiosity, then by pleasure, and finally we end up loving them more than all the others: we are still in the period of mistrust.

Bulletin français de la Société Internationale de Musique (S.I.M), vol. 8 no. 2 (15 February 1912): 76.

Unsurprisingly, as with this 1910 review of his Rhapsodie Espagnole below, Ravel’s harmonic language and orchestration likened comparisons to the compositions of fellow Frenchman, Claude Debussy.

The New Music Review and Church Music Review, vol. 9 no. 98 (January 1910): 86-87.

 

Pro-Musica Quarterly, vol. 2 no. 1 (December 1923): 4. 

 

While some works by Ravel were received with mixed responses, others were hailed as immediate masterpieces. One such case was Boléro. Soon after its 1928 premiere, the piece was reviewed in the American journal Modern Music by Henry Prunières, a musicologist and founder of the French music journal, La Revue musicale. 

Modern Music, vol. 6 no. 2 (January-February 1929): 37. 

 


The Baton, vol. 7 no. 6 (April 1928): 1.  

Again, happy birthday, Maurice!

 

RIPM search tip: To access the over 8,000 records related to Maurice Ravel and his works, search “Ravel” as a keyword in both the RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text and Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals!

Click here to subscribe to RIPM’s Curios, News, and Chronicles! 

When is our next posting? To find out, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

***

RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).

WWW.RIPM.ORG

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Happy Birthday, Maurice Ravel!
February 28

RIPM’s “Illustrations of the Week”
Lesser-Known Composers in the
Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung

The influential German music journal, Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung [AMZ], appeared weekly from 1798 to 1848, and again, from 1863 to 1882. Along with reviews and analyses of printed music, reports on musical life, announcements, news, and miscellaneous sections, many volumes contain at least one portrait of a musician. A number of the composers depicted in this periodical are lesser-known today, yet distinguished enough to be featured at the time of publication.

This week, we bring attention to a few of these lesser-known composers by presenting their featured portraits in the AMZ. Are you familiar with their music? Should we be?

A. B. Marx
Vol. L, Supplementary pages ([5 January – 27 December 1848]): [1] 920/921.

Friedrich Heinrich Adolf Bernhard Marx (1795-1866) was a German composer whose works include oratorios, sonatas, and an opera, yet is perhaps best known today for his contributions as a music critic and theorist. In 1825, he became the editor of the Berliner allgemeine musikalische Zeitung and in 1830, upon the recommendation of longtime friend and colleague Felix Mendelssohn, was appointed professor of music at Berlin University. His publications include a seminal four-volume work, Die Lehre von der musikalischen Komposition, praktisch-theoretisch (The Theory and Practice of Musical Composition), and a biography of Beethoven.

G. W. Fink
Vol. XLVIII, Supplementary pages ([7 January – 30 December 1846]): [1] 944/1

German composer, music theorist, and poet Gottfried Wilhelm Fink (1783-1846) was a longtime contributor to the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitschrift, and in 1827, became the magazine’s editor-in-chief. His compositions consist mainly of songs, many of which appeared in collected editions.  He also edited the Musikalischer Hausschatz der Deutschen, a collection of around 1,000 German songs.

Niels W. Gade
Vol. XLVII, Supplementary pages ([1 January – 31 December 1845]): [1] 888/1

Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-1890) was a Danish composer, conductor, violinist, organist and teacher. Born in Copenhagen, Gade moved to Germany in 1843 to teach at the Leipzig Conservatory, and in 1845, conducted the premiere of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. In 1848, the First Schleswig War forced Gade to return to Denmark, where he soon after founded the Copenhagen Conservatory. His oeuvre includes symphonies, a violin concerto, chamber music, keyboard works, and cantatas. A number of Gade’s most popular works may be sampled in this lengthy recording.

Ferdinand Hiller
Vol. II, Supplementary pages ([1864]): 1 S.

German composer, conductor, writer, and music-director Ferdinand Hiller (1811-1885) was a leading figure in the musical life of 19th-century Germany, having worked professionally in Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Dresden, and as twelve-time festival director of Das Niederrheinische Musikfest (Lower Rhenish Music Festival). The dedicatee and conductor of the premiere of Robert Schumann’s only piano concerto, Hiller’s own compositional output spans practically all genres. Below is an excerpt of his Opus 69 Piano Concerto.

 

Henri Herz
Vol. XLII, Supplementary pages ([1 January – 23 December 1940]): [1] 1060/1

Henri Herz (1803-1888) was known as both a celebrated pianist and composer. Born in Vienna, Herz settled in Paris as a student at the Paris Conservatoire, where he became a longstanding professor.  In 1839, Herz, like Sax and Pleyel, created a factory in Paris for the construction of instruments.  Often, instrument manufacturers also built performance venues to promote their specific brands.  Herz and his brother Jacques Simon Herz followed this model and constructed the Salle des Concerts Herz on the rue de la Victoire.  Works of many well-known composers, including Berlioz and Offenbach were performed there.

Herz’s published compositions include over 200 works, mostly for the piano; a sampling may be heard in the following clip below.

 

RIPM search tip: To view more portraits in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, access the RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, and fill in the following fields: Keyword = Porträt; Periodical = Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung [1798-1848]; Type = Illustration.

For more information on the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, read RIPM‘s introduction to the journal in English, or, German!

Click here to subscribe to RIPM’s Curios, News, and Chronicles! 

When is our next posting? To find out, follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

***

RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).
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Lesser-Known Composers in the
Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung
February 21

Forty-Five Women Composers
in Early 20th-Century America

From June 1909 to April 1910, the journal Musical America published a series of forty-five illustrated articles entitled, “Women Composers of America”. This series, well in advance of its time, serves as an excellent resource for research on the presence, impact, and advocacy of American women in music during the early 20th century. Today, we spotlight five composers of particular interest, whose works range from parlor songs to large-form European concert music.

Vol. 10 No. 17 (4 September 1909): 15.

Listen to Helen Hopekirk’s Konzertstück in D minor by clicking here!

 

Vol. 10 No. 8 (3 July 1909): 15.

 

Vol. 10 No. 7 (26 June 1909): 15.

Interestingly, one of Anita Owen’s most popular songs, “Sweet Bunch of Daisies”, has over time become a standard of the bluegrass genre, so much so, that many enthusiasts are unaware of its parlor song origins.

 

Vol. 10 No. 21 (2 October 1909): 17.

 

Vol. 11 No. 6 (18 December 1909): 21.

Remember, these are just five of the forty-five women featured in this remarkable series!

RIPM search tip: To read all forty-five articles in the series, “Women Composers of America”, access RIPM’s Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals, and in “Advanced Search”, fill in the following fields: Periodical = Musical America (New York, 1898-1899, 1905-1922 [-1964]); Keyword = women composers of america; Year = 1909 to 1910.

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RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).
Category: Curios and Chronicles | Comments Off on Forty-Five Women Composers
in Early 20th-Century America
February 15

Alban Berg’s Reflections onWozzeck

Emil Stumpp, Porträt des Musikers Alban Berg, Deutsches Historisches Museum (1927), above left
B. F. Dolbin, Alban Berg (1935), Modern Music, Vol. 8 No. 3 (March-April 1936): [31], above right

 

This week, we celebrate the influential Austrian composer, Alban Berg, born 9 February 1885. A longtime student of Arnold Schoenberg, Berg’s compositional style blended modernist twelve-tone and serial techniques—hallmark characteristics of the so-called Second Viennese School—with late 19th-century Romanticism. His first major success was the 1925 opera, Wozzeck, derived from an unfinished play by German dramatist Georg Büchner, which told the story of an impoverished soldier’s descent into madness and murder. To commemorate Berg’s birth, we present several reflections on Wozzeck written by the composer himself—translated and published in an issue [Vol. 5 No. 1 (Nov. – Dec. 1927): 22-24.] of the journal Modern Music—accompanied by video excerpts of several memorable scenes from Act III of a 1987 production by the Vienna State Opera, the late Claudio Abbado conducting.

 

I wanted to compose good music; to develop musically the contents of Buechner’s immortal drama; to translate his poetic language into music; but other than that, when I decided to write an opera, my only intention, as related to the technique of composition, was to give the theatre what belongs to the theatre.

Berg’s commitment to writing music in service of the opera’s action is reflected in the so-called “drowning music” of Act III Scene IV.  Having returned to the pond where he killed his wife Marie, Wozzeck fears that his murder weapon will be discovered, and soon after, drowns.  Though Wozzeck is no longer visible to the audience, Berg’s use of overlapping ascending chromatic patterns of increasing duration signifies Wozzeck’s continued subjective experience of rising water and gradual loss of consciousness.

Act III Scene IV (Invention on a Six-Note Chord)

 

I obeyed the necessity of giving each scene and each accompanying piece of entr’acte music, whether prelude, postlude, connecting link or interlude, an unmistakable aspect, a rounded off and finished character.  It was therefore imperative to use everything warranted to create individualizing characteristics on the one hand, and coherence on the other; thus the much discussed utilization of old and new musical forms and their application in an absolute music.

Rather than adopting more traditional operatic forms in Wozzeck, Berg designed each scene and interlude using instrumental, or “absolute”, forms (fantasia and fugue, suite, passacaglia, invention, etc.).  While predominantly atonal, the interlude that follows Wozzeck’s drowning is closely tied to D minor, a Romantic afterword to the tragic character’s demise, and further evidence of Berg’s desire to “use everything warranted” to create his opera.

Interlude (Invention on a Key [D minor])

 

No matter how cognizant any particular individual may be of the musical forms contained in the framework of this opera, of the precision and logic with which everything is worked out and the skill manifested in every detail, from the moment the curtain parts until it closes for the last time, there is no one in the audience who pays any attention to the various fugues, inventions, suites, sonata movements, variations and passacaglias…
no one who heeds anything but the social problems of this opera which by far transcend the personal destiny of Wozzeck.  This I believe to be my achievement.

Berg’s unflinching depiction of poverty, militarism, and sadism in Wozzeck–no doubt inspired by the composer’s own military service during World War I–is of paramount importance.  Perhaps the most chilling scene is the opera’s last; a group of children are told Marie’s body has been discovered and hurry to the scene, while Marie and Wozzeck’s little boy continues to play, before joining the others.

Act III Scene V (Invention on an Eighth-Note Moto Perpetuo)

 

RIPM search tip: To read more about Wozzeck in the musical press, search “Wozzeck” as a keyword in RIPM’s Retrospective Index and Preservation Series: European and North American Music Periodicals.

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RIPM is an international non-profit organization preserving and providing access to music periodicals published in more than twenty countries between approximately 1760 and 1966, from Bach to Bernstein. Functioning under the auspices of the International Musicological Society, and the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres, RIPM produces four electronic publications: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text, European and North American Music Periodicals (Preservation Series), and RIPM Jazz Periodicals (Preservation Series, forthcoming).
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Category: Curios and Chronicles | Comments Off on Alban Berg’s Reflections onWozzeck