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Danish Yearbook of Musicology, volume 43 · 2019

Section 1 · Articles (volume 43:1)

Bjarke Moe,
Tracing Compositional and Writing Processes in Sources to the Choral Works of Niels W. Gade, pp. 3–36

The article investigates how Niels W. Gade composed his choral works and how he used written media during the process of composing. A point of departure for the interpretation of the surviving sources is that the preparation of musical manuscripts happened within a socio-musical context, governed by norms dependent on the writer and on the receiver of the text.

The article demonstrates that Gade did not follow a single writing procedure when composing his choral works. Gade started out sketching new works at various stages during the creative process of composing. His methods of writing down the musical contents varied too, from scattered notation making only sense to himself to elaborate scores with a high level of details. Even if he might have had a fixed structure of a work in his mind, he often reworked a composition several times before reaching a satisfying version. During the process of writing down his ideas, he made changes to the structure of the music and, while adding details related to the performance of a work, he would revise the composition further.

Gade used the written media as a tool during composing, and thus the article argues that writing down a composition was not the goal in itself. The process of notating musical ideas served the purpose of seizing certain elements of a work in order to develop the composition further or to distribute information to others. The contents relied on the purpose of the written medium, and so Gade seems to have been conscious of what to write and how to write it. The multifunctional fair copies that he prepared for others to use show that Gade adapted to the situation and changed his ways of working out a composition in order to comply with the demands of others.

Siegfried Oechsle,
Niels W. Gade: ‘Gegenwartsmusiker’. On Progressive Epigonality in Nineteenth-Century Music History, pp. 37–68

Taking stock on Niels W. Gade’s 200th birthday in 2017, various achievements can be pointed out: the catalogue and the critical edition of his works, likewise of his correspondence, a recent biography, numerous recordings etc. However, the Dane is usually reduced to one topos of reception, the ‘Nordic tone’, and categorized into the repository of the ‘Leipzig School’, which, according to respective aesthetic parties, encompasses the time of epigones between Beethoven and Wagner or Beethoven and Brahms. The article takes its starting point from these concepts. The ‘Nordic tone’s north’ is historicoculturally differentiated and distinguished from the context of nationality. Instead of tying it to musical essences of nationality, it is demonstrated that the ‘Nordic tone’ consists of a multitude of characteristic types of orchestral composition. Subsequently, the term ‘Leipzig School’ is examined with regard to categories like canon and epigonality. Primarily, rather than implicit value judgements, their temporal logic is focused on. Led by Schumann’s neologism ‘Gegenwartsmusiker’ (‘musician of the present’), a concept of progress is reconstructed, the subjective autonomy of which might be characterized by the paradox label of ‘progressive epigonality’. Especially for the ‘post-classicist’ years from c. 1830 onwards, it might stimulate an intensified search for structures and perspectives of a European history of music.

 

Section 2 · Special section: Papers from the conference Neue Sachlichkeit,
Political Music, or Vernacular Avant-Garde? Hanns Eisler and his Contemporaries
(volume 43:2)

Michael Fjeldsøe and Peter Schweinhardt,
Introduction, pp. 3–4

Stephen Hinton,
The Idea of Gebrauchsmusik – Revisited, pp. 5–19

The author revisits the history of Gebrauchsmusik, a musicological term that was coined in the early 1920s in musicological circles and which soon became a slogan with international currency. In documenting shifts in the term’s meaning and cultural significance and scrutinizing the role it has played in musicological discourse, the author reviews his own scholarly biography, from 1970s England, via Berlin during the 1980s, to his current home in the US. Apart from Paul Hindemith, who is widely but wrongly credited with having invented the word, composers discussed here who were similarly working in a culture that promoted the idea of Gebrauchsmusik include Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill.

Andrew Wilson,
Neue Sachlichkeit and Schulhoff’s Improvisations, pp. 20–33

Sami Dva (1933), a rare testimony of Erwin Schulhoff’s jazz orientated piano duos, and Optimistische Komposition (1936), a transcription of one of his solo extemporizations, are evidence of the Czech musician’s skills in improvised music. These two examples also offer a unique opportunity to discuss how certain forms of improvised music might relate to a broad definition of musical Neue Sachlichkeit.

Tobias Faßhauer,
Eisler and the ‘Coon Song’, pp. 34–46

Americanism is generally regarded as an essential feature of New Objectivity, and, in the realm of music, it is usually equated with the reception of jazz. However, a closer look at the music of Krenek, Weill, and Eisler reveals that its ‘Americanist’ substance is more shaped by turn-of-the-century genres, such as the cakewalk and two-step, than by any type of American popular music of the 1920s. Thus, musical Americanism constitutes a moment of continuity that links New Objectivity to pre-war popular culture.

Eisler’s Ballade vom Nigger Jim (1930) and his Niggerlied from the film Niemandsland (1931) refer in both content and music to the tradition of the minstrel song, and particularly the ‘coon song’. The coon song, a vocal genre close to ragtime and essentially based on racist stereotypes, found reverberations in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, e.g. in Walter Kollo’s Das kleine Niggergirl (1908), and had an even longer life there than in the United States.

A comparative analysis demonstrates how Eisler’s ‘coon songs’, and especially Nigger Jim, turn the genre and its racist implications against themselves. Through textual elements and compositional procedures, the coon song is ‘refunctioned’ (umfunktioniert), as Eisler would have put it. In the case of his coon songs, then, the idiomatic backwardness in relation to contemporaneous American music proves to be an instance ofartistic calculus.

Caleb T. Boyd,
Gebrauchsmusik as Wartime Exile Response: Hanns Eisler’s Woodbury Liederbüchlein,
pp. 47–64

Hanns Eisler spent summer 1941 in Woodbury, Connecticut at the home of philosopher Joachim Schumacher, a lecturer at the nearby Westover School, an academic institution for young girls. That summer, Eisler wrote his Woodbury Liederbüchlein, a collection of twenty short a cappella songs for the Westover glee club. He used familiar children’s rhymes to teach young singers various choral styles associated with American amateur glee performance, while also introducing young voices to contemporary musical language. However, news of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union that summer darkened Eisler’s spirit, prompting him to include four austere German-language reactions. Therefore, the Woodbury Liederbüchlein serves a dual purpose as Gebrauchsmusik for maturing singers and as an exile’s artistic reaction to the existential horrors of war. Eisler scholars such as Jürgen Schebera and Albrecht Dümling have addressed the collection’s contradictory character, with particular interest directed toward the German songs. Eisler’s original intention for these songs as instructional pieces for amateur female choir has been overlooked. This article draws upon research at the Hanns Eisler Papers at the University of Southern California, the Joachim Schumacher Papers at the University of Connecticut, and the archives at the Westover School in Middlebury, Connecticut.

 

Section 3 · Reviews (volume 43:3)

Henrik Palsmar,
The Dialectic of the Clavichord (Andrew Talle, Beyond Bach. Music and Everyday Life in the Eighteenth Century). Review essay, pp. 3–14

 

Section 4 · Bibliography (volume 43:4)

Anne Ørbæk Jensen,
Bibliography of Danish musicology 2018, pp. 3–37

 

Section 5 · Reports and Editorial (volume 43:5)

Conference

Thomas Jul Kirkegaard-Larsen,
Southampton Music Analysis Conference (SotonMAC), Southampton, 29–31 July 2019,
pp. 3–5

Editorial by Michael Fjeldsøe & Peter Hauge, p. 6

Publications received, p. 7

Danish Musicological Society, p. 8

 

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