Ziegel, Aaron

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Now showing 1 - 11 of 11
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    Representing a Christian Nation: Sacred and Providential Discourses in Opera in the United States, 1911–1917
    (Michigan Publishing, 2019) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    As the genre of American opera was coming of age during the 1910s, composers and librettists began to incorporate the materials of sacred music into the operatic context with surprising frequency. This often took the form of prayer arias, sacred choruses, hymnody, or choral apotheoses, examples of which appear in Frederick Converse’s The Sacrifice (1911), Victor Herbert’s Natoma (1911), Mary Carr Moore’s Narcissa (1912), and Henry Hadley’s Azora (1917). These composers modeled their efforts after familiar European precedents, including Wagner’s Lohengrin, Gounod’s Faust, and Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, among other works. Close examination of the music, however, reveals a distinctively American approach in which sacred materials function to reinforce statements of patriotic nationalism. By situating these long-overlooked American operas alongside contemporaneous commentary on the United States’ sense of its sacred purpose, this article illustrates how the composers and librettists sought to participate in the discourses of providentialism, the “Christian nation” concept, manifest destiny, and “True Americanism” in order to craft a characteristically national style. The inclusion of sacred musical ingredients thus helped redefine the genre for US listeners, as the operas’ characters give voice to their Americanness through the sacred music they sing.
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    An historical flop flips back into existence: Vernon Duke's Sweet bye and bye
    (Brooklyn College. H. Wiley Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music, 2011) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    An examination of Vernon Duke's musical flop, Sweet Bye and Bye and a modern recording of the show's material.
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    Review of George Whitefield Chadwick: the life and music of the pride of New England
    (Taylor & Francis, 2014-01-13) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    Book review of George Whitefield Chadwick: The Life and Music of the Pride of New England by Bill F. Faucett. Publication information: Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2012.
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    One person, One music: reconsidering the Duke-Dukelsky musical style
    (University of Illinois Press, 2010) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    "[E]xamining Duke’s work, one finds patterns of stylistic consistency that unite his two compositional personalities. Those patterns undercut Duke’s professed dual identity as a composer. His self-construction as a composer with competing or alternating musical personas appears to be an artifice of creative protection, one might say, born out of the struggle to win success in both the popular and classical arenas."
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    National service and operatic ambitions: Arthur Nevin's musical activities during World War I
    (University of Illinois Press, 2016) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    This case study of how one composer charted a career during World War I offers a compelling frame through which to examine key facets of the American experience. Nevin’s story weaves together several crucial issues that characterize musical life at the time, including the cultural hierarchy of competing genres, the professional obstacles confronting composers, and the search for creative outlets that might offer lasting societal and artistic impact. In sum, his diverse activities form a portrait of a musician pursuing a career of recognizably contemporary outlines. During this period, Nevin engaged across a spectrum of style idioms, from Tin Pan Alley popular song and community music to opera. He filled a diverse array of music- related roles, including songwriter, conductor, teacher, essayist and correspondent, concert organizer, logistics manager, and army officer, all while struggling to find success in the medium at the center of his compositional career: American opera. The challenges were not one but many, demanding a multiplicity of aptitudes and an endless supply of novel solutions.
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    Enacting the nation on stage: styles, subjects, and themes in American opera librettos of the 1910s
    (National Opera Association, 2009-06) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    The article focuses on six staged operas of 1910s with national style. Topics discussed include operas with a theme of racial encounter such as "Natoma" by Victor Herbert, opera "Azora" by Henry Hadley showing the fall of Aztec empire of emperor Montezuma, picturization of Indians in American culture in all the operas, use of dramaturgy adopted from the Europeans for the characters of the opera and the libretto problem faced by the operas.
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    Recording reviews of Frederick Converse, American Sketches, Song of the Sea, and Festival of Pan. BBC Concert Orchestra, Keith Lockhart, conductorDutton Epoch CDLX 7278, 2011./George W. Chadwick, Adonais, Cleopatra, A Pastoral Prelude, and Sinfonietta in D Major. BBC Concert Orchestra, Keith Lockhart, conductor. Dutton Epoch CDLX 7293, 2012
    (Cambridge University Press, 2015-02-04) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    [From review]: On this enterprising pair of compact discs, U.S. conductor Keith Lockhart leads the BBC Concert Orchestra in world-premiere recordings of six symphonic works by George Whitefield Chadwick (1854–1931) and Frederick Shepherd Converse (1871–1940). The chance to finally hear these century-old scores should be of immense interest to scholars of American Romanticism. Why it has taken so long for some of these works to receive a first recording is not readily apparent. (Only Chadwick’s Sinfonietta has previously been recorded.) Particularly when performed at as high a level of technical and interpretive accomplishment as Lockhart and his BBC musicians achieve, the quality of the music itself is clearly not the issue. Indeed, the selected repertory fills significant gaps in each composer’s extant discography, offering compositions that marked key turning points in the careers of both men.
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    Active Listening, Aural Imagination, and 19th-Century Program Music: An In-Class "Experiment"
    (RILM, 2014) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    [From essay]: When teaching 19th-century Western art music to both music majors and general-education students alike, the debate between advocates for program music versus proponents of absolute music is a fundamental component in a student’s understanding of the Romantic era. The period’s composers and music critics, as we well know, had plenty to say about the topic, and this primary source commentary provides one pillar of that understanding. Analysis of music examples makes for a second pillar. But experiencing precisely how music, through aural means alone, can convey to its auditors an image, feeling, or idea of something remains a much more elusive notion. This essay will share one possible in-class approach to exploring that topic—an approach that aims to foster a link between a conceptual understanding drawn from various primary-source quotations and an engaged listening activity that encourages students to “see with the mind’s ear” (if you will pardon the mixed metaphor). An experience such as this allows students to approach music listening not as a challenge to their patience and attention spans, but rather it suggests, as Charles D. Morrison has argued, “that engaged music listening is itself a form of ‘creative activity’”
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    The Commutation Test and Chris Bacon’s Score for Source Code as a Framework for Film Music Pedagogy
    (2018-05-10) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    This article lays out a theoretical foundation for the use of the commutation test as a film music-based pedagogical tool. The main titles sequence of Source Code (2011, directed by Duncan Jones) provides an effective example for classroom use, in which alternative musical accompaniments serve to reshape the viewing experience. An analysis of Chris Bacon’s original score for the sequence, supported by primary-source evidence, strengthens the instructional potential of this activity. Additionally, this essay provides a brief technical primer on how to prepare video clips for use in classroom teaching.
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    Multimedia Review of The National Jukebox: Historical Recordings from the Library of Congress
    (Cambridge University Press, 2012-05) Ziegel, Aaron; Towson University. Department of Music
    [From review]: The National Jukebox is the Library of Congress’s latest addition to its growing list of online digital collections. Even in its initial release (the site went “live” at the start of May 2011), the wealth of material made freely accessible here for the first time is nothing short of amazing. The collection already offers over ten thousand sides of 78-rpm records in new digital transfers that are streamable (but not downloadable) via a flash player application from within a user’s Web browser. What once required a trip to Washington, D.C., or to another equally specialized sound archive, is now accessible anywhere the internet is within reach. The project began when Sony Music Entertainment granted the Library of Congress a gratis license to digitize and stream any acoustical-era recordings originally made by what are now Sony-owned labels. The “Jukebox” currently includes a majority of the Victor Talking Machine Company’s U.S. catalogue issued from 1901 through 1925, but an expansion is forthcoming. According to the latest announcement on the National Jukebox’s home page (as of December 2011), the site will soon bring online “recordings from additional record labels, including Columbia and Okeh, along with selected master recordings from the Library of Congress Universal Music Group Collection.” Although the collection is at present restricted to a single label, Victor recorded widely—covering the gamut from classical orchestral and opera excerpts to popular song, theater music, and spoken word—and thus the Jukebox does indeed encompass the richness and variety of the nation’s musical life in the first quarter of the twentieth century.
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    A Forgotten Heritage: Arias and Scenes from Earlier American Operas
    (2015-02-28) Ziegel, Aaron; Music for the Stage
    This selection of recordings presents six arias and scenes excerpted from Romantic-era American operas performed by Towson University’s “Music for the Stage” ensemble as part of a scholarly symposium entitled “Composing American Opera” held in February 2015. Each number is a representative highlight drawn from little-known and undeservedly forgotten contributions to the early operatic heritage of the United States. Arias from Arthur Clifton’s The Enterprise and George F. Bristow’s Rip Van Winkle illustrate 19th-century trends, especially the ways in which composers grappled with the imported influences of Italian bel canto and German Romantic opera. Selections from Frederick S. Converse’s The Sacrifice, Mary Carr Moore’s Narcissa, Henry Hadley’s Azora, and Charles Wakefield Cadman’s Shanewis illustrate the development of a distinctively American operatic idiom during the 1910s. During this decade, for the first time in the nation’s history, numerous new scores were regularly and consistently being composed, published, produced, critiqued by the press, staged in multiple cities, and sometimes even heard in excerpts on recordings. The U.S. was at last engaged in the making of operatic history, rather than simply receiving it second-hand from Europe. The rarity of this repertory is highlighted by the fact that none of the selections presented here are currently available in commercially released recordings. -Dr. Aaron Ziegel, Assistant Professor of Music History and Culture