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Subject: Music Studies

Forms of Performance: From J.S. Bach to M. Alunno (1972-)

Edited by Michael Maul, Bach Archive Leipzig, Germany and Alberto Nones, Conservatory of Music of Gallarate; Associazione Europea di Musica e Comunicazione (AEMC), Italy

October 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-824-3
Availability: In stock
85pp. ¦ $36 £27 €31

Today, Bach is one of the most revered and studied figures of classical music, despite there being a time in which he was almost forgotten. Divided into two sections, this volume explores research on J.S. Bach and more broadly examines the topics of music and performance studies; with the latter focusing on composers active today, such as Marco Alunno, or those from the recent past who are lesser-known and performed, such as Pietro Cimara and Leo Ornstein. Following from Nones’s (ed.) previous publication Music as Communication: Perspectives on Music, Image and Performance (ABE, 2018), this work provides a rather unique contribution as a choral attempt at exploring performance today. The intention of this book and the downloadable audio content, with live recordings of the music explored at the conference from which the volume originated, is to inspire fresh approaches to the study of a monument like Bach, while also encouraging original research of modern composition and performance. Recordings of the performances given over the two days of the conference serve either to clarify arguments made in the papers or to attest to the music explored more generally. This volume is founded on the belief that the history of music is comprised of many figures, some of whom are undeservedly forgotten, and that our understanding of and approach to music is simultaneously shaped by the past and directed by the continual evolution of sounds and attitudes of the present. Examining music styles from baroque (Bach) to contemporary (Alunno), Forms of Performance will be of particular interest to Bach and performance studies scholars, as well as advanced researchers and PhD students in this field.

Critique of Authenticity

Edited by Thomas Claviez, University of Bern, Switzerland et al.

September 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-754-3
Availability: In stock
329pp. ¦ $67 £50 €57

The volume provides a critical assessment of the concept of authenticity and gauges its role, significance and shortcomings in a variety of disciplinary contexts. Many of the contributions communicate with each other and thus acknowledge the enormous significance of this politically, morally, philosophically and economically-charged concept that at the same time harbors dangerous implications and has been critically deconstructed. The volume shows that the alleged need or desire for authenticity is alive and kicking but oftentimes comes at a high price, connected to a culture of experts, authority and exclusionary strategies.

Exploring Xenakis: Performance, Practice, Philosophy

Edited by Alfia Nakipbekova, University of Leeds, UK

March 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-323-1
Availability: In stock
146pp. ¦ $41 £31 €35

Considered to be one of the most revolutionary composers of the twentieth century, Iannis Xenakis pushed the boundaries of classical music. As a largely self-taught composer, Xenakis drew from his technical training in engineering and architecture to produce music that had the ability to both unnerve and enrapture his audiences. Motivated by his intense study of many scientific disciplines, he employed the mathematical rules of the natural world to test the traditional rules of counterpoint and harmony, and to explore the spatial texture of sound, colour and architecture. The Romanian-born Greek-French composer transformed twentieth century classical music for decades to come, leaving behind an undeniable legacy that continues to inspire and even shock listeners to this day. By approaching Xenakis’s creative output from a variety of perspectives, the contributors to this edited volume seek not only to situate Xenakis’s music within a larger cultural, social and political context but also to shed light on contemporary issues surrounding his work. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of Xenakis’s music (in the context of particular works) and musical philosophy: mathematical, structural, performative, as well as the genesis of his compositional style and distinctive sound. Xenakis’s artistic presence on the contemporary music scene, his political influence during the tumultuous protests in Paris ’68, and his first piano composition, Herma, are also explored in-depth providing new insights into the life and work of this avant-garde figure. This book will appeal to contemporary music researchers, students and scholars and may also be of interest to artists, performers and composers, alike.

Enjoying the Operatic Voice: A Neuropsychoanalytic Exploration of the Operatic Reception Experience

Carlo Zuccarini

June 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-415-3
Availability: In stock
308pp. ¦ $64 £46 €52

There has been a long-standing and mutually-informing association between psychoanalysis, literature and the arts. Surprisingly, given the oral/aural basis of the ‘talking cure’, music has largely been overlooked by psychoanalysis. Notably, neuroscientific research investigating music reception and production has been steadily increasing in range and scope over the years. However, in order to avoid confounding factors, empirical studies have focused primarily on non-vocal music. Remarkably, operatic vocal music has not featured prominently in either field. Yet the multi-dimensional, multi-layered nature of opera, which fuses together a number of different arts, would appear to provide fertile soil for both disciplines. This book aims to fill that gap, providing a stepping stone for further research. It leverages the individual strengths of psychoanalysis and neuroscience both separately and jointly as the inter-discipline of neuropsychoanalysis. By combining various theories of mind with knowledge about music processing in the brain, this book comprehensively examines the operatic reception experience, providing an account in subjective as well as objective terms. It explores the bittersweet enjoyment of operatic vocal music, which can literally move an operaphile to tears. The explanation for this may be found in a number of subjective dynamics that are unique to the reception of opera, rather than in any distinct objective neural processes, which are common to the reception of all music. These subjective dynamics, which are recruited during neural processing, are triggered by the equally unique features of the operatic voice, in combination with a number of auxiliary elements that are specific to opera. This book will be of interest to academics in a broad range of science and arts disciplines related to music perception and performance, such as music psychology and operatic performance. It may also appeal to passionate operaphiles who wish to understand what drives their addiction!

Paris, a Concise Musical History

Guy Hartopp

May 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-255-5
Availability: In stock
384pp. ¦ $59 £48 €55

Paris, the City of Light, is one of the most romantic cities in the world. The millions of visitors which flock to the French capital every year follow in the footsteps of countless artists, writers and composers who for centuries have been drawn to this magnificent city. Some composers, Chopin and Rossini among them, found success and contentment, and remained in Paris for the rest of their lives. But for others, Paris brought nothing but disappointment and disillusionment. Mozart, who came to Paris as a 22-year-old seeking a permanent position, was so bitter about the cavalier manner in which he was treated that he professed an aversion to all things French until the end of his days. Wagner was so upset by his treatment here that he once described Paris as "a pit into which the spirit of the nation has subsided." And yet he was drawn back to the city time and again. This book charts the musical history of Paris. It discusses the composer and musicians, both French and foreign, who were drawn here and the impact they made on the world of music, on this great city, and vice versa. It includes a wealth of biographical details, including where the artists lived and, where relevant, where they died and are buried. It also draws from and points to suitable scholarly literature, making it an accessible introduction to students of the musical history of Paris. The book also describes another feature which, if it did not enrich, most certainly enlivened Parisian musical life: The full-scale musical riot. The most notorious of these took place at the Theatre des Champs Elysées in 1913 at the premiere of Stravinsky’s ballet Le sacre du printemps. Less physical, but no less vociferous, was the reception accorded to Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the Opéra in 1860. Other composers who incurred the displeasure of Parisian audiences included Satie, Varese and Xenakis. These riots were not half-hearted affairs; police involvement was required and hospital casualty departments were kept busy. There are also chapters which discuss the musical history of the many theatres of Paris and the churches which played such an important part in the city’s musical past. The text is clear and accessible in order to appeal to both students and the general reader.

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