Nabucodonosor, one of the early Verdi operas, is the third work to be published in The Works of Giuseppe Verdi. Following the strict requirements of the series, the edition is based on Verdi's autograph and other authentic sources, and has been reviewed by a distinguished editorial board—Philip Gossett, Julian Budden, Martin Chusid, Francesco Degrada, Ursula Günther, Giorgio Pestelli, and Pierluigi Petrobelli. Nabucodonosor is available as a two-volume set: a full orchestral score and a critical commentary. The score, which has been beautifully bound and autographed, is printed on high-grade paper in an oversized, 10-1/2 x 14-1/2-inch format. The introduction to the score discusses the work's genesis, sources, and performance history as well as performance practices, instrumentation, and problems of notation. The critical commentary, printed in a smaller format, discusses editorial decisions and identifies the sources of alternate readings of the music and libretto.
A sound track of Germany in the early twentieth century might conjure military music and the voice of Adolf Hitler rising above a cheering crowd. In A National Acoustics, Brian Currid challenges this reductive characterization by investigating the transformations of music in mass culture from the Weimar Republic to the end of the Nazi regime.
Offering a nuanced analysis of how publicity was constructed through radio programming, print media, popular song, and film, Currid examines how German citizens developed an emotional investment in the nation and other forms of collectivity that were tied to the sonic experience. Reading in detail popular genres of music—the Schlager (or “hit”), so-called gypsy music, and jazz—he offers a complex view of how they played a part in the creation of German culture.
A National Acoustics contributes to a new understanding of what constitutes the public sphere. In doing so, it illustrates the contradictions between Germany’s social and cultural histories and how the technologies of recording not only were vital to the emergence of a national imaginary but also exposed the fault lines in the contested terrain of mass communication.
Brian Currid is an independent scholar who lives in Berlin.
Hailed as a national hero and musical revolutionary, Thomas Mapfumo, along with other Zimbabwean artists, burst onto the music scene in the 1980s with a unique style that combined electric guitar with indigenous Shona music and instruments. The development of this music from its roots in the early Rhodesian era to the present and the ways this and other styles articulated with Zimbabwean nationalism is the focus of Thomas Turino's new study. Turino examines the emergence of cosmopolitan culture among the black middle class and how this gave rise to a variety of urban-popular styles modeled on influences ranging from the Mills Brothers to Elvis. He also shows how cosmopolitanism gave rise to the nationalist movement itself, explaining the combination of "foreign" and indigenous elements that so often define nationalist art and cultural projects. The first book-length look at the role of music in African nationalism, Turino's work delves deeper than most books about popular music and challenges the reader to think about the lives and struggles of the people behind the surface appeal of world music.
Nationalizing Blackness uses the music of the 1920s and 1930s to examine Cuban society as it begins to embrace Afrocuban culture. Moore examines the public debate over “degenerate Africanisms” associated with comparas or carnival bands; similar controversies associated with son music; the history of blackface theater shows; the rise of afrocubanismo in the context of anti-imperialist nationalism and revolution against Gerardo Machado; the history of cabaret rumba; an overview of poetry, painting, and music inspired by Afrocuban street culture; and reactions of the black Cuban middle classes to afrocubanismo. He has collected numerous illustrations of early twentieth-century performers in Havana, many included in this book.
Nationalizing Blackness represents one of the first politicized studies of twentieth-century culture in Cuba. It demonstrates how music can function as the center of racial and cultural conflict during the formation of a national identity.
"'All I gotta do is act naturally,' Buck Owens sang, and Pamela Fox knows where the acting comes in. From early hillbilly acts to alt.country, Natural Acts lays bare, with wide-ranging scholarship and incisive analysis, the ideologies of authenticity on which country music rests. As engrossing and useful as any book I know on country music."
---Eric Lott, author of Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class
"The first completely mature book of country music historical criticism. It is a deep investigation of country music's power to articulate the displaced pleasures and anxieties of a society wracked by structural change. Historically rigorous, Fox uncovers documents that demonstrate the ongoing power of minstrelsy in barn dance programs across the country past World War II; musically and lyrically astute, she shows how the best honky-tonk music simultaneously critiques the dangers of that setting while seductively luring listeners to those sawdust and alcohol drenched environments; with her ear attuned to the formal complexities of autobiography, Fox directs our attention to the contradictory performance of identity that characterizes the life stories of Reba McEntire, Naomi Judd, Dolly Parton, and others. Natural Acts is provocative, stunning, and engagingly written. Country music studies has come of age."
---Barry Shank, The Ohio State University
Whether found in country barn dances, the plaintive twang of Hank Williams, the glitzy glamour of Dolly Parton, or the country-pop sound of Faith Hill, country music has always maintained an allegiance to its own authenticity. Its specific sounds and images have changed over the past century, but country music has consistently been associated with rusticity, a notion connected to the working class and rooted in ideals like unspoiled rural life and values and humble origins. The music suggests not only uncomplicated musical arrangements and old-time instruments such as the banjo and fiddle, but performers who identify with their everyday fans.
Natural Acts explores the ways that country musicians---particularly women artists---have established a "natural" country identity. Pamela Fox focuses on five revealing moments in country performance: blackface comedy during country music's "Golden Age" of pre-1945 radio and stage programming; the minstrel's "rube" or hillbilly equivalent in the same period; postwar honky-tonk music and culture; the country star memoir or autobiography of the '80s and '90s; and the recent roots phenomenon known as alt.country.
Pamela Fox is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Georgetown University. She is the author of Class Fictions: Shame and Resistance in the British Working-Class Novel, 1890-1945 and coeditor (with Barbara Ching) of Old Roots, New Routes: The Cultural Politics of Alt.Country Music.
Photo: Lulu Belle Wiseman and Red Foley, 1930s. Courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame ® and Museum.
The contributors to Negotiated Moments explore how subjectivity is formed and expressed through musical improvisation, tracing the ways the transmission and reception of sound occur within and between bodies in real and virtual time and across memory, history, and space. They place the gendered, sexed, raced, classed, disabled, and technologized body at the center of critical improvisation studies and move beyond the field's tendency toward celebrating improvisation's utopian and democratic ideals by highlighting the improvisation of marginalized subjects. Rejecting a singular theory of improvisational agency, the contributors show how improvisation helps people gain hard-won and highly contingent agency. Essays include analyses of the role of the body and technology in performance, improvisation's ability to disrupt power relations, Pauline Oliveros's ideas about listening, flautist Nicole Mitchell's compositions based on Octavia Butler's science fiction, and an interview with Judith Butler about the relationship between her work and improvisation. The contributors' close attention to improvisation provides a touchstone for examining subjectivities and offers ways to hear the full spectrum of ideas that sound out from and resonate within and across bodies.
Contributors. George Blake, David Borgo, Judith Butler, Rebecca Caines, Louise Campbell, Illa Carrillo Rodríguez, Berenice Corti, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Nina Eidsheim, Tomie Hahn, Jaclyn Heyen, Christine Sun Kim, Catherine Lee, Andra McCartney, Tracy McMullen, Kevin McNeilly, Leaf Miller, Jovana Milovic, François Mouillot, Pauline Oliveros, Jason Robinson, Neil Rolnick, Simon Rose, Gillian Siddall, Julie Dawn Smith, Jesse Stewart, Clara Tomaz, Sherrie Tucker, Lindsay Vogt, Zachary Wallmark, Ellen Waterman, David Whalen, Pete Williams, Deborah Wong, Mandy-Suzanne Wong
In Negro Soy Yo Marc D. Perry explores Cuba’s hip hop movement as a window into the racial complexities of the island’s ongoing transition from revolutionary socialism toward free-market capitalism. Centering on the music and lives of black-identified raperos (rappers), Perry examines the ways these young artists craft notions of black Cuban identity and racial citizenship, along with calls for racial justice, at the fraught confluence of growing Afro-Cuban marginalization and long held perceptions of Cuba as a non-racial nation. Situating hip hop within a long history of Cuban racial politics, Perry discusses the artistic and cultural exchanges between raperos and North American rappers and activists, and their relationships with older Afro-Cuban intellectuals and African American political exiles. He also examines critiques of Cuban patriarchy by female raperos, the competing rise of reggaetón, as well as state efforts to incorporate hip hop into its cultural institutions. At this pivotal moment of Cuban-U.S. relations, Perry's analysis illuminates the evolving dynamics of race, agency, and neoliberal transformation amid a Cuba in historic flux.
When Neil Young left Canada in 1966 to move to California, it was the beginning of an extraordinary musical journal that would leave song after song resonating across the landscapes of North America. From “Ohio” to “Albuquerque,” Young’s fascination with America’s many places profoundly influenced his eclectic style and helped shape the restless sensibility of his generation. In this book, Martin Halliwell shows how place has loomed large in Young’s prodigious catalog of songs, which are themselves a testament to his storied career as a musician playing with bands such as Buffalo Springfield, Crazy Horse, and, of course, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Moving from the Canadian prairies to Young’s adopted Pacific home, Halliwell explores how place and travel spurred one of the most prolific creative outputs in music history. Placing Young in the shifting musical milieus of the past decades—comprised of artists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, the Grateful Dead, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Devo, and Pearl Jam—he traces the ways Young’s personal journeys have intertwined with that of American music and how both capture the power of America’s great landscapes.
Spanning Young’s career as a singer-songwriter—from his many bands to his work on films—Neil Young will appeal not just to his many fans worldwide but to anyone interested in the extraordinary ways American music has engaged the places from which it comes.
Bruno Nettle University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress ML3799.N38 2010 | Dewey Decimal 780.89
From one of the most lauded scholars in ethnomusicology comes this enlightening and highly personal narrative on the evolution and current state of the field of ethnomusicology. Surveying the field he helped establish, Bruno Nettl investigates how concepts such as evolution, geography, and history serve as catalysts for advancing ethnomusicological methods and perspectives.
This entertaining collection covers Nettl's scholarly interests ranging from Native American to Mediterranean to Middle Eastern contexts while laying out the pivotal moments of the field and conversations with the giants of its past. Nettl moves from reflections on the history of ethnomusicology to evaluations of the principal organizations in the field, interspersing those broader discussions with shorter essays focusing on neglected literature and personal experiences.
Never Without a Song focuses on the centrality of folksong in the life of Jennie Devlin, a woman who worked for fourteen years as a "bound-out girl" along the New York-Pennsylvania border and later lived in Philadelphia and Gloucester, New Jersey. Katharine Newman met Devlin in 1936 and compiled information about the older woman's life and music. Half a century later, Newman returned to her collection in retirement-with her own perspective of age. The result is a unique biography of an American working-class woman, told with depth and candor. It includes "I Wish I'd Been Born a Boy," "James Bird," "Martha Decker," "My Grandmother's Old Armchair," and other pieces, both British and American, most with tunes.
A diverse repertoire of art songs forpiano and voice
The art song—a delicate and inspiring blend of music and poetry—has been performed by singers and pianists and appreciated by audiences around the world for more than two hundred years. While collections of art songs abound, this welcome volume and its accompanying compact discs make readily available the contributions of contemporary African American composers to the popular genre. Including thirty-nine pieces for voice and piano created since 1968 by eighteen artists, ANew Anthology of Art Songs by African American Composers navigates a varied musical terrain from classical European traditions to jazz and spirituals. With nearly half of the featured songs composed by women and with others by lesser-known and emerging composers, this important collection offers a diverse, representative sampling of African American art songs and works to secure the places of these songs and artists in the canon of contemporary American music.
Selected by Jeanine Wagner and Margaret R. Simmons, prolific and celebrated performers who have presented recitals throughout the world featuring the art songs of African American composers, this dazzling new repertoire of twentieth-century music is cogently framed by a thorough introduction and substantial biographies of each composer. The compact discs feature piano tracks of all thirty-nine compositions.
The featured composers are H. Leslie Adams, Mable Bailey, Charles S. Brown, Wallace McClain Cheatham, Adolphus Hailstork, Jacqueline B. Hairston, William H. Henderson, Jeraldine Saunders Herbison, Betty Jackson King, William Foster
McDaniel, Undine Smith Moore, Byron Motley, Barbara Sherrill, Robert Owens, Nadine Shanti, Frederick Tillis, Dolores White, and Julius P. Williams.
New Musical Figurations exemplifies a dramatically new way of configuring jazz music and history. By relating biography to the cultural and musical contours of contemporary American life, Ronald M. Radano observes jazz practice as part of the complex interweaving of postmodern culture—a culture that has eroded conventional categories defining jazz and the jazz musician. Radano accomplishes all this by analyzing the creative life of Anthony Braxton, one of the most emblematic figures of this cultural crisis.
Born in 1945, Braxton is not only a virtuoso jazz saxophonist but an innovative theoretician and composer of experimental art music. His refusal to conform to the conventions of official musical culture has helped unhinge the very ideologies on which definitions of "jazz," "black music," "popular music," and "art music" are founded.
New Musical Figurations gives the richest view available of this many-sided artist. Radano examines Braxton's early years on the South Side of Chicago, whose vibrant black musical legacy inspired him to explore new avenues of expression. Here is the first detailed history of Braxton's central role in the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the principal musician-run institution of free jazz in the United States. After leaving Chicago, Braxton was active in Paris and New York, collaborating with Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, and other composers affiliated with the experimental-music movement. From 1974 to 1981, he gained renown as a popular jazz performer and recording artist. Since then he has taught at Mills College and Wesleyan University, given lectures on his theoretical musical system, and written works for chamber groups as well as large, opera-scale pieces.
The neglect of radical, challenging figures like Braxton in standard histories of jazz, Radano argues, mutes the innovative voice of the African-American musical tradition. Refreshingly free of technical jargon, New Musical Figurations is more than just another variation on the same jazz theme. Rather, it is an exploratory work as rich in theoretical vision as it is in historical detail.
Following the conquest of Mexico by Cortés and much of Central America by Alvarado, cathedral churches were established throughout the region, all with European-style polyphonic choirs. Among the most important of these early centers of Spanish culture was the cathedral of Guatemala City, where polyphony was already in use in the 1540s.
Shortly after 1600, the organist and choir director of the cathedral collected, organized, and copied into choirbooks all of the then-extant music used by the choir. The manuscript presented here in modern edition, one of at least five choirbooks prepared at the time, contains a number of otherwise unknown works by such major Old World composers as Francisco Guerrero and Cristóbal de Morales. Significant works by Hernando Franco and Pedro Bermúdez, choirmasters of the Guatemala City Cathedral, are also included. The manuscript presents a unified repertory for Holy Week and for the Salve services in Lent, including four settings of the Passion, for which the Spanish were famous throughout Christendom. Some of the works predate the sixteenth-century reform of the Roman Breviary and Missal, among them the original versions of several Vespers hymns and Magnificat settings by Guerrero that are otherwise known only in later versions found in Spanish sources. An extensive historical introduction by Robert J. Snow discusses the formation of the cathedral's musical repertory and illuminates both Old and New World practices of sixteenth-century Spanish liturgical music.
Since his death in 1974 at the age of twenty-six, singer-songwriter Nick Drake has gained a huge international audience and come to be thought of as the epitome of English romanticism. But while his small body of work has evoked poetic comparisons with Blake and Keats, closer inspection of Drake’s music reveals many global and cosmopolitan influences that confound his status as an archetypal English troubadour. In this book, Nathan Wiseman-Trowse unravels the myths surrounding Drake and his work and explores how ideas of Englishness have come to be intimately associated with the cult musician.
Probing deeply into Drake’s music for clues, Wiseman-Trowse finds hints of the English landscape that Drake would have wandered through during his lifetime, but he also uncovers traces of blues, jazz, and eastern mysticism that hint at a broader conception of English national identity in the late 1960s, one far removed from parochial nostalgia. Wiseman-Trowse then looks at how Drake’s music has been framed since his death, showing how Drake has been situated as a particular kind of English artist that integrates American counterculture, the English class system, and a nostalgic reimagining of the hippie era. An appealing story of folk music and English national identity, this book is essential reading for any fan of Nick Drake.
Nietzsche and Music
Georges Liébert University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress ML423.N56L5413 2004 | Dewey Decimal 780.92
"Without music, life would be an error."—Friedrich Nietzsche
In his youth, Friedrich Nietzsche yearned to become a great composer and wrote many pieces of music. He later claimed to be "the most musical of all philosophers." Yet most books on Nietzsche fail to explore the importance of music for his thought.
Nietzsche and Music provides the first in-depth examination of the fundamental significance of music for Nietzsche's life and work. Nietzsche's views on music are essential for understanding his philosophy as a whole. Part biography and part critical examination, Georges Liébert brilliantly demonstrates that despite failed attempts at a professional career as composer, Nietzsche never fully removed himself from the world of music, but instead, became a composer of philosophy, utilizing the musical form as a template for his own writings and creative thought. Liébert's study surveys Nietzsche's opinions about particular composers and compositions, as well as his more theoretical writings on music and its relation to the other arts. He also explores Nietzsche's listening habits, his playing and style of composition, and his many contacts in the musical world, including his controversial and contentious relationship with Richard Wagner. For Nietzsche, music gave access to a realm of wisdom that transcended thought. Music was Nietzsche's great solace; in his last years, it was his refuge from madness.
A virtuoso exploration of this little-known but crucial aspect of Nietzsche's life and work, this volume will be of enormous value to scholars of philosophy, music, aesthetics, and literature.
A celebrated figure in myth, song, and story, the nightingale has captivated the imagination for millennia, its complex song evoking a prism of human emotions,—from melancholy to joy, from the fear of death to the immortality of art.
But have you ever listened closely to a nightingale’s song? It’s a strange and unsettling sort of composition—an eclectic assortment of chirps, whirs, trills, clicks, whistles, twitters, and gurgles. At times it is mellifluous, at others downright guttural. It is a rhythmic assault, always eluding capture. What happens if you decide to join in?
As philosopher and musician David Rothenberg shows in this searching and personal new book, the nightingale’s song is so peculiar in part because it reflects our own cacophony back at us. As vocal learners, nightingales acquire their music through the world around them, singing amidst the sounds of humanity in all its contradictions of noise and beauty, hard machinery and soft melody. Rather than try to capture a sound not made for us to understand, Rothenberg seeks these musical creatures out, clarinet in tow, and makes a new sound with them. He takes us to the urban landscape of Berlin—longtime home to nightingale colonies where the birds sing ever louder in order to be heard—and invites us to listen in on their remarkable collaboration as birds and instruments riff off of each other’s sounds. Through dialogue, travel records, sonograms, tours of Berlin’s city parks, and musings on the place animal music occupies in our collective imagination, Rothenberg takes us on a quest for a new sonic alchemy, a music impossible for any one species to make alone. In the tradition of The Hidden Life of Trees and The Invention of Nature, Rothenberg has written a provocative and accessible book to attune us ever closer to the natural environment around us.
First popularized by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Paul Simon, the a cappella music known as isicathamiya has become internationally celebrated as one of South Africa's most vibrant and distinct performance traditions. But Ladysmith Black Mambazo is only one of hundreds of choirs that perform "nightsongs" during weekly all-night competitions in South Africa's cities.
Veit Erlmann provides the first comprehensive interpretation of isicathamiya performance practice and its relation to the culture and consciousness of the Zulu migrant laborers who largely compose its choirs. In songs and dances, the performers oppose the class and racial oppression that reduces them to "labor units." At the same time, Erlmann argues, the performers rework dominant images to symbolically reconstruct their "home," an imagined world of Zulu rural tradition and identity.
By contrasting the live performance of isicathamiya to its reproduction in mass media, recordings, and international concerts, Erlmann addresses important issues in performance studies and anthropology, and looks to the future of isicathamiya live performance in the new South Africa. Featuring an Introduction by Joseph Shabalala, the lead singer and founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the study of music, performance, popular culture, or South Africa.
For much of his career, Johnny Cash opened his shows with the tagline, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash." This introduction seemed unnecessary, since everyone in the audience knew who he was -- the famous musical artist whose career spanned almost five decades, whose troubled life on and off the stage received wide publicity, and whose cragged face seemed to express a depth and intensity not found in any other artist, living or dead.
For Cash, as for many celebrities, renown was the product of both hard work and luck. Often a visionary and always a tireless performer, he was subject to a whirlwind of social, economic, and cultural countercurrents. Nine Choices explores the tension between Cash's desire for mainstream success, his personal struggles with alcohol and drugs, and an ever-changing cultural landscape that often circumscribed his options.
Drawing on interviews, archival research, and textual analysis, Jonathan Silverman focuses on Cash's personal and artistic choices as a way of understanding his life, his impact on American culture, and the ways in which that culture in turn shaped him. Cash made decisions about where he would live, what he would play, who would produce his albums, whether he would support the Vietnam War, and even if he would flip his famous "bird" -- the iconic image of Cash giving the finger which is now plastered on posters and T-shirts everywhere -- in the context of cultural forces both visible and opaque. He made other decisions in consultation with a variety of people, many of whom were chiefly concerned with the reaction of his audiences.
Less a conventional biography than a study of the making of an identity, Nine Choices explores how Johnny Cash sought to define who he was, how he was perceived, and what he signified through a series of self-conscious actions. The result, Silverman shows, was a life that was often tumultuous but never uninteresting.
“Noise is a model of cultural historiography. . . . In its general theoretical argument on the relations of culture to economy, but also in its specialized concentration, Noise has much that is of importance to critical theory today.” SubStance“For Attali, music is not simply a reflection of culture, but a harbinger of change, an anticipatory abstraction of the shape of things to come. The book’s title refers specifically to the reception of musics that sonically rival normative social orders. Noise is Attali’s metaphor for a broad, historical vanguardism, for the radical soundscapes of the western continuum that express structurally the course of social development.” EthnomusicologyJacques Attali is the author of numerous books, including Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World Order and Labyrinth in Culture and Society.
Norwegian Emigrant Songs and Ballads was first published in 1936. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.This book, presenting the English and Norwegian texts of more than fifty emigrant songs and ballads, forms a unique contribution to folk literature and social history. Here is collected for the first time a group of songs born of the European folk movement to America during the nineteenth century.Many of the ballads are human stories of gripping interest. They cover a wide range of emotions, from pathos and nostalgia to anger and satire. Some are gay and humorous skits. The most popular of the ballads is the rollicking “Oleana.” Some of the others are: “Farewell to the Spinning Wheel,” “Sigrid’s Song,” “Let Us Away and over the Sea,” “El Dorado,” “A Pestilence is Loose in the Mountains,” “Brothers, the Day of Norway’s Freedom,” and “A Song Concerning the Emigration to America.”A general historical sketch precedes the ballads, and each song in turn is placed in its special setting by a brief preface. Music, harmonized for the piano, is provided for a dozen of the ballads.
Opera often seems to arouse either irrational enthusiasm or visceral dislike. Such madness, as Goethe wrote, is indispensable in all theater, and yet in practice, sentiment and passion must be balanced by sense and reason. Exploring this tension between madness and reason, Not without Madness presents new analytical approaches to thinking about eighteenth- and nineteenth-century opera through the lenses of its historical and cultural contexts.
In these twelve essays, Fabrizio Della Seta explores the concept of opera as a dramatic event and an essential moment in the history of theater. Examining the meaning of opera and the devices that produce and transmit this meaning, he looks at the complex verbal, musical, and scenic mechanisms in parts of La sonnambula, Ernani, Aida, Le nozze di Figaro, Macbeth, and Il trovatore. He argues that approaches to the study of opera must address performance, interpretation, composition, reception, and cultural ramifications. Purely musical analysis does not make sense unless we take into account music’s dramatic function. Containing many essays available for the first time in English, Not without Madness bridges recent divisions in opera studies and will attract musicologists, musicians, and opera lovers alike.
In “When Malindy Sings” the great African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar writes about the power of African American music, the “notes to make the sound come right.” In this book T. J. Anderson III, son of the brilliant composer, Thomas Anderson Jr., asserts that jazz became in the twentieth century not only a way of revising old musical forms, such as the spiritual and work song, but also a way of examining the African American social and cultural experience. He traces the growing history of jazz poetry and examines the work of four innovative and critically acclaimed African American poets whose work is informed by a jazz aesthetic: Stephen Jonas (1925?–1970) and the unjustly overlooked Bob Kaufman (1925–1986), who have affinities with Beat poetry; Jayne Cortez (1936– ), whose work is rooted in surrealism; and the difficult and demanding Nathaniel Mackey (1947– ), who has links to the language writers. Each fashioned a significant and vibrant body of work that employs several of the key elements of jazz. Anderson shows that through their use of complex musical and narrative weaves these poets incorporate both the tonal and performative structures of jazz and create work that articulates the African journey. From improvisation to polyrhythm, they crafted a unique poetics that expresses a profound debt to African American culture, one that highlights the crucial connection between music and literary production and links them to such contemporary writers as Michael Harper, Amiri Baraka, and Yusef Komunyakaa, as well as young recording artists—United Future Organization, Us3, and Groove Collection—who have successfully merged hip-hop poetry and jazz.
Following his investigation into experimental music and sound recording in Records Ruin the Landscape, David Grubbs turns his attention to the live performance of improvised music with an altogether different form of writing. Now that the audience is assembled is a book-length prose poem that describes a fictional musical performance during which an unnamed musician improvises the construction of a series of invented instruments before an audience that is alternately contemplative, participatory, disputatious, and asleep. Over the course of this phantasmagorical all-night concert, repeated interruptions take the form of in-depth discussions and musical demonstrations. Both a work of literature and a study of music, Now that the audience is assembled explores the categories of improvised music, solo performance, text scores, instrument building, aesthetic deskilling and reskilling, and the odd fate of the composer in experimental music.
Witchcraft. Arson. Going AWOL. Some nuns in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy strayed far from the paradigms of monastic life. Cloistered in convents, subjected to stifling hierarchy, repressed, and occasionally persecuted by their male superiors, these women circumvented authority in sometimes extraordinary ways. But tales of their transgressions have long been buried in the Vatican Secret Archive. That is, until now.
In Nuns Behaving Badly, Craig A. Monson resurrects forgotten tales and restores to life the long-silent voices of these cloistered heroines. Here we meet nuns who dared speak out about physical assault and sexual impropriety (some real, some imagined). Others were only guilty of misjudgment or defacing valuable artwork that offended their sensibilities. But what unites the women and their stories is the challenges they faced: these were women trying to find their way within the Catholicism of their day and through the strict limits it imposed on them. Monson introduces us to women who were occasionally desperate to flee cloistered life, as when an entire community conspired to torch their convent and be set free. But more often, he shows us nuns just trying to live their lives. When they were crossed—by powerful priests who claimed to know what was best for them—bad behavior could escalate from mere troublemaking to open confrontation.
In resurrecting these long-forgotten tales and trials, Monson also draws attention to the predicament of modern religious women, whose “misbehavior”—seeking ordination as priests or refusing to give up their endowments to pay for priestly wrongdoing in their own archdioceses—continues even today. The nuns of early modern Italy, Monson shows, set the standard for religious transgression in their own age—and beyond.