UC Press is thrilled to be publishing a number of new titles groundbreaking books in Musicology.
Beethoven, A Life
by Jan Caeyers
translated by Brent Annable
The authoritative Beethoven biography, endorsed by and produced in close collaboration with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, is timed for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.
With unprecedented access to the archives at the Beethoven House in Bonn, renowned Beethoven conductor and scholar Jan Caeyers expertly weaves together a deeply human and complex image of Beethoven—his troubled youth, his unpredictable mood swings, his desires, relationships, and conflicts with family and friends, the mysteries surrounding his affair with the “immortal beloved,” and the dramatic tale of his deafness. Caeyers also offers new insights into Beethoven’s music and its gradual transformation from the work of a skilled craftsman into that of a consummate artist.
Sex, Power, and Perversion on Stage
by Axel Englund
Opera, it would appear, has developed a taste for sadomasochism. For decades now, radical stage directors have repeatedly dressed canonical operas—from Handel and Mozart to Wagner and Puccini, and beyond—in whips, chains, leather, and other regalia of SM and fetishism. Deviant Opera seeks to understand this phenomenon, approaching the contemporary visual code of perversion as a lens through which opera focuses and scrutinizes its own configurations of sex, gender, power, and violence. The emerging image is that of an art form that habitually plays with an eroticization of cruelty and humiliation, inviting its devotees to take sensual pleasure in the suffering of others. Ultimately, Deviant Opera argues that this species of opera fantasizes about breaking the boundaries of its own role-playing, and pushing its erotic power exchanges from the enacted to the actual.
The Faure Song Cycles
Poetry and Music, 1861–1921
by Stephen Rumph
Gabriel Fauré’s mélodies offer an inexhaustible variety of style and expression that have made them the foundation of the French art song repertoire. During the second half of his long career, Fauré composed all but a handful of his songs within six carefully integrated cycles. Fauré moved systematically through his poetic contemporaries, exhausting Baudelaire’s Les fleurs du mal before immersing himself in the Parnassian poets. He would set nine poems by Armand Silvestre in swift succession (1878-84), seventeen by Paul Verlaine (1887-94), and eighteen by Charles Van Lerberghe (1906-14). As an artist deeply engaged with some of the most important cultural issues of the period, Fauré reimagined his musical idiom with each new poet and school, and his song cycles show the same sensitivity to the poetic material. Far more than Debussy, Ravel, or Poulenc, he crafted his song cycles as integrated works, reordering poems freely and using narratives, key schemes, and even leitmotifs to unify the individual songs. The Fauré Song Cycles explores the peculiar vision behind each synthesis of music and verse, revealing the astonishing imagination and insight of Fauré’s musical readings. This book offers not only close readings of Fauré’s musical works but an interdisciplinary study of how he responded to the changing schools and aesthetic currents of French poetry.
In Stravinsky’s Orbit
Responses to Modernism in Russian Paris
by Klara Moricz
A free open access ebook is available. Learn more at www.luminosoa.org.
The Bolsheviks’ 1917 political coup caused a seismic disruption in Russian culture. Carried by the first wave of emigrants, Russian culture migrated West, transforming itself as it interacted with the new cultural environment and clashed with exported Soviet trends. In this book, Klára Móricz explores the transnational emigrant space of Russian composers Igor Stravinsky, Vladimir Dukelsky, Sergey Prokofiev, Nicolas Nabokov, and Arthur Lourié in interwar Paris.
Their music reflected the conflict between a modernist narrative demanding innovation and a narrative of exile wedded to the preservation of prerevolutionary Russian culture. The emigrants’ and the Bolsheviks’ contrasting visions of Russia and its past collided frequently in the French capital, where the Soviets displayed their political and artistic products. Russian composers in Paris also had to reckon with Stravinsky’s disproportionate influence: if they succumbed to fashions dictated by their famous compatriot, they risked becoming epigones; if they kept to their old ways, they quickly became irrelevant. Although Stravinsky’s neoclassicism provided a seemingly neutral middle ground between innovation and nostalgia, it was also marked by the exilic experience. Móricz offers this unexplored context for Stravinsky’s neoclassicism, shedding new light on this infinitely elusive term.
Zoltan Kodaly’s World of Music
by Anna Dalos
Hungarian composer and musician Zoltán Kodály (1882–1967) is best known for his pedagogical system, the Kodály Method, which has been influential in the development of music education around the world. Author Anna Dalos considers, for the first time in publication, Kodály’s career beyond the classroom and provides a comprehensive assessment of his works as a composer. A noted collector of Hungarian folk music, Kodály adapted the traditional heritage musics in his own compositions, greatly influencing the work of his contemporary, Béla Bartók. Highlighting Kodály’s major music experiences, Dalos shows how his musical works were also inspired by Brahms, Wagner, Debussy, Palestrina, and Bach. Set against the backdrop of various oppressive regimes of twentieth-century Europe, this study of Kodály’s career also explores decisive, extramusical impulses, such as his bitter experiences of World War I, Kodály’s reception of classical antiquity, and his interpretation of the male and female roles in his music. Written by the leading Kodály expert, this impressive work of historical and musical insight provides a timely and much-needed English-language treatment of the twentieth-century composer.
Tradition and Modernity in Postwar Polish Music
by Lisa Cooper Vest
In Awangarda, Lisa Cooper Vest explores how the Polish postwar musical avant-garde framed itself in contrast to its Western European counterparts. Rather than a rejection of the past, the Polish avant-garde movement emerged as a manifestation of national cultural traditions stretching back into the interwar years and even earlier into the nineteenth century. Polish composers, scholars, and political leaders wielded the promise of national progress to broker consensus across generational and ideological divides. Together, they established an avant-garde musical tradition that pushed against the limitations of strict chronological time and instrumentalized discourses of backwardness and forwardness to articulate a Polish road to modernity. This is a history that resists Cold War periodization, opening up new ways of thinking about nations and nationalism in the second half of the twentieth century.
God Rock, Inc.
The Business of Niche Music
by Andrew Mall
Popular music in the twenty-first century is increasingly divided into niche markets. How do fans, musicians, and music industry executives define their markets’ boundaries? What happens when musicians cross those boundaries? What can Christian music teach us about commercial popular music? In God Rock, Inc., Andrew Mall considers the aesthetic, commercial, ethical, and social boundaries of Christian popular music, from the late 1960s, when it emerged, through the 2010s. Drawing on ethnographic research, historical archives, interviews with music industry executives, and critical analyses of recordings, concerts, and music festival performances, Mall explores the tensions that have shaped this evolving market and frames broader questions about commerce, ethics, resistance, and crossover in music that defines itself as outside the mainstream.
We Have Always Been Minimalist
The Construction and Triumph of a Musical Style
by Christophe Levaux
translated by Rose Vekony
Rising out of the American art music movement of the late 1950s and 1960s, minimalism shook the foundations of the traditional constructs of classical music, becoming one of the most important and influential trends of the twentieth century. The emergence of minimalism sparked an active writing culture around the controversies, philosophies, and forms represented in the music’s style and performance, and its defenders faced a relentless struggle within the music establishment and beyond. Focusing on how facts about music are constructed, negotiated, and continually remodeled, We Have Always Been Minimalist retraces the story of these battles that—from pure fiction to proven truth—led to the triumph of minimalism. Christophe Levaux’s critical analysis of literature surrounding the origins and transformations of the stylistic movement offers radical insights and a unique new history.