Sunday midday, November 15, 1–1:50 CST

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Clara and Robert Schumann

Stephen Rodgers (University of Oregon), Chair

Entextualization in Clara Schumann’s Nineteenth-Century Pianism

Andrew Malilay White (University of Chicago)

Andrew Malilay White is from Guam, where his family still resides. He first began studying music theory and piano performance at the University of Guam. He received degrees from the University of Notre Dame, New York University, and the University of Chicago.

Andrew researches how nineteenth-century pianists practiced in order to improvise. These improvisatory practice methods were linked to thoroughbass and related eighteenth-century practices like the partimento tradition, but in many cases were chordal and "harmonic" in conception. This research is based on the pedagogical materials of Carl Czerny, Simon Sechter, and Friedrich Wieck, as well as sketches and works by Clara Schumann and Franz Liszt and accounts of their playing and improvisation. His secondary interests include topic theory, live coding music, and the anthropology of skill. His hobbies include playing tabletop RPGs, homebrewing beer, and growing agave plants.

In 2018 Andrew's research was supported by a Eugene K. Wolf Grant for European Research from the American Musicological Society. In 2019, he received the Indiana University Press award from AMS Midwest for his paper entitled "Teaching by Example: 'Practical' Pedagogies of the Postclassical Thoroughbass." He was a 2019–2020 Stuart Tave Teaching Fellow of the University of Chicago's Humanities Division, where he taught a seminar-workshop for undergraduates titled "Improvisation: Critical Studies in Music." Andrew is now a 2020–2021 Graduate Fellow of the interdisciplinary Franke Institute for the Humanities.

Abstract

How did pianists of the nineteenth century practice for improvisation, and how can their ways of practicing affect our view of musical texts and works? This paper develops an entextualization framework to describe how Clara Schumann assembled her musical materials in the mid-nineteenth century. Entextualization, a concept from the work of Michael Silverstein and Gregory Urban in linguistic anthropology, is used to describe how portions of discourse are adapted and treated as objects in new contexts—how utterances “become text” within a broad view of what Kristeva and Barthes called “cultural text.” This paper establishes a theoretical framework centered not around works or their composition, but rather built upon the specific “passage”-based practice method used by Friedrich Wieck and Carl Czerny. The framework is then used it to model Clara Schumann’s improvisatory and compositional process, showing how she alters not only her musical materials (as practiced “passages”) but also her fashioning of her own image as a performer. Schumann’s Caprices en forme de valse, op. 2 (1832) is analyzed, as well as a sketch of one of her improvised preludes notated late in her career.

Midcentury piano repertoires, I ultimately argue, are well served by a decentered theory of musical creation based on entextualization and bodily skill. Such a theory would illuminate aspects of music-making that are missed by theories that prioritize musical works and hermeneutic interpretations. This makes vivid Barthes’s claim that “text is experienced only in an activity of production” (1988).

Beyond Vierhebigkeit: Phrase Structure and Poetic Meaning in Three Lieder by Clara Schumann

Julie Pedneault-Deslauriers (University of Ottawa)

Julie Pedneault-Deslauriers is Associate Professor of music theory at the University of Ottawa. Her research focuses on issues of musical form, the music of Clara Schumann, and the music of the Second Viennese School composers. It often combines music analysis and aspects of identity and culture, and investigates relationships between poetry, literature, and music.

Pedneault-Deslauriers is currently serving as Associate Editor for Music Theory Spectrum. Her work has appeared in numerous music theory and musicology journals, including Music Theory Spectrum, the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music Theory Online, and the Journal of Musicology. She has also co-edited the volume Formal Functions in Perspective: Essays on Musical Form from Haydn to Adorno (with Steven Vande Moortele and Nathan John Martin). 

Her work on Clara Schumann is supported by an ‘Insight' grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; she currently working on a monograph on Schumann’s compositional techniques.

Pedneault-Deslauriers is keen to engage in public outreach activities. She has given numerous pre-concert talks for the Ottawa Chamberfest, the National Arts Center Orchestra, and the Ottawa Symphony. She is currently working as an artistic advisor with the National Arts Centre Orchestra on a 4-cd project on the music of Brahms and the Schumanns.

Abstract

This paper illuminates various creative formal and phrase-rhythmic strategies devised by Clara Schumann that demonstrate her refined approach to phrase construction and text-setting. Though some scholars have noted a certain “squareness” that pervades Schumann’s music, I argue that this regularity often conceals deeper levels of complexity. In three analytical vignettes, and building on recent studies applying Caplinian form-functions to vocal music (e.g. Krebs 2015; Rodgers 2017; Schmalfeldt 2011), I demonstrate how Schumann overlays formal deviations, intricate textural patterns, and colorful harmonic twists in order to complicate the apparently uniform surfaces. “Der Mond kommt still gegangen” and “Die gute Nacht,” for instance, illustrate how Schumann blurs phrase and hypermetrical boundaries and problematizes form-functional determinations; while in “Beim Abschied,” the composer cleverly hides voice-leading symmetries and shifts harmonic focal points away from their expected placements. Finally, I discuss how these phrase-functional techniques compound the explicit meanings of the song-texts. Schumann’s apparently “square” structures, in sum, often act as revolving doors into original and powerfully expressive formal designs.

Parenthetical Insertions and Ellipses in Robert Schumann’s Eichendorff Liederkreis

Alexander Martin (Stetson University)

Abstract

Many theorists have investigated how composers express tonal archetypes using expansions (e.g., internal repetition or interpolation) and contractions (e.g., omission or elision). However, the matter is seldom approached from the perspective of text-setting. How do composers use these techniques to highlight ideas, imagery, or atmosphere in texted music?

I explore this question by investigating text-music correspondences in Schumann’s op. 39 Liederkreis. A novel feature of my approach is that I argue for the existence of stock musico-poetic pairings, which I call correspondence complexes. By considering individual correspondences as inter-related under the aegis of various text-musical topoi, my approach addresses Agawu’s long-standing criticism that musico-poetic analyses are “one-off” and “ad hoc” (1999).

I show how musico-poetic meaning may arise in Schumann’s songs when textual elements are coordinated with one of two categories of musical elements. In the first case, the correspondence involves extraneous material that is added in some way to the underlying tonal framework (i.e., something that shouldn’t to be there—but is); in the second, the correspondence involves tonal material that is implied or conceptually present, albeit unrealized or else literally absent in the score, (i.e., something that should to be there—but isn’t).