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Subject: Music Studies

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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