Unit 3

Who was John Cage?
– 1912-1992
– A composer, a radical, and a philosopher
– 1940s: Experimentation (electronics, toy piano, etc…)
– 1950s: Chance music (“aleatoric” or “aleatory” music)
– Williams Mix: 192 page score of random sounds
– 4’33”: silence

Who was Milton Babbitt?
– 1916-2011
– Philomel (1964): one of the first compositions with a synthesizer and has Bethany Beardsley singing soprano. Based on the Greek myth of Philomela, who has no voice and becomes a nightingale

Who was Elliot Carter?
– 1908-2012
– String Quartet No. 1 1950-1951
– Composed while spending a year in the Arizona desert

What was “Oklahoma!”?
– Rodgers & Hammerstein’s first collaboration, it opened in 1943.
– Based on the 1931 play Green Grow the Lilacs.
– It builds on Show Boat as a “book musical,” which weaves the songs smoothly into the plot. It also uses dramatic and musical motives throughout—very effective.
– It evokes a range of emotions from the audience, not simply laughter.
– There is a “dream ballet” by Agnes de Mille
late in Act I.
– It ran for over 2,000 performances.

What was “Kiss Me Kate?”
– A response to Rodgers & Hammerstein’s hit musical Oklahoma! (the first modern Broadway musical that integrated plot and music).
– Cole Porter, composer / lyricist; this was a comeback for him; he had written hit musicals in the ’30s.
– He was best known for his clever lyrics and “sassy” music.
– Based on Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew
– A play within a play
– Ran for 1,000+ performances: Porter’s biggest hit!

Who was Leonard Bernstein?
– 1918-1990
– a “crossover” composer and a conductor
– “America”
– “Somewhere” ballet

Who was George Crumb?
– b. 1929
– A Neo-Romanticist
– Ancient Voices of Children “The Child Is Finding His Voice”

Who was Philip Glass?
– b. 1937
– minimalism (along with other Americans Steve Reich and Terry Riley)
– Einstein on the Beach

Who was Richard Serra?
– Fulcrum 2
– minimalism

What was “Einstein on the Beach?”
– Glass’s first and longest opera score
– c 5 hours long, with no intermission
– Robert Wilson wanted the audience to be free to enter and leave as they wished.
– A plotless libretto
– Consists of solfege syllables, numbers, and short segments of poetry or text developing on the themes of general relativity, nuclear weapons, science and AM radio
– 9 connected 20-min. scenes separated by what Wilson
calls knee plays
– The knees created the time needed to change the scenery of Wilson’s seven sets, which were carefully designed to interplay with the music.
– An “orchestra” of soprano saxophone, electronic organ,
flute, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, and one or two
additional keyboards. On stage appear various soloists,
two choruses (fourteen people and six people), dancers
and four actors.

Who was Tania León?
– b. 1943
– a very promising composer of opera
– Cuban-American
– Heads the composition program at Brooklyn College
– “Oh Yemanja” (Mother’s Prayer)
– Yemanje: On Jan. 1, Brazilians celebrate the feast of this ocean goddess from Africa. In Rio, over a million people dress in white and wade in the ocean at dusk to pay homage to her.

What is bebop Jazz?
(e.g., pianist Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker)—fast tempos, complex harmonies, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that laid down a steady beat only on the bass and the drummer’s side cymbal, usually played by small combos. Bebop tunes were often labyrinthine, full of surprising twists and turns. Popular in the 40s.

What is cool jazz?
(e.g., trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Dave Brubeck)—a lighter, more romantic style that combined the melodic and swinging aspects of the earlier swing era with the harmonic and rhythmic developments of bebop. Associated with the West Coast. Popular in the 50s.

What was jazz like in the 1960s?
Free jazz (comparable to abstract art), modal jazz, and Afroamerican civil rights became intertwined and pushed aside Bebop. Soul jazz began. Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane. A split between audience preferences and the styles current. Poll results (Encyclopedia of Jazz) listed Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Count Basie as top jazz figures, in that order.

What technology became commonplace in 1988?
CDs

Who was Wynton Marsalis?
– b. New Orleans 1961, where he learned to play jazz, funk, classical music; then to Juilliard.
– Played with Art Blakey, who taught him that “jazz is democracy”
– Built his own band and toured (120 gigs/yr. for 10 yrs)
– Also composed; some of his works are huge in size—e.g., All Rise, with the New York Philharmonic (conducted by Kurt Masur), the Morgan State University Choir, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra
– Also cofounded “Jazz at Lincoln Center” (1987)
– Became the first jazz musician ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his epic oratorio Blood on the Fields (1997)

What is bluegrass music?
– Acoustic, not electric, instruments
– Typical instruments: banjo (5-string), guitar (the rhythm instrument), fiddle, mandolin, dobro , and bass.
– Additional instruments: spoons, bones, washboards, harmonica, even accordion
– Fast tempo and high-pitched singing
– If the song permits, everyone with an instrument capable of soloing takes a turn.
– Named for Bill Monroe’s “Bluegrass Boys,” it thrived after WWII

Who was the country’s first popular female country singer?
Kitty Wells

When was the “British Invasion?”
1964 when the Beatles came to america

Who covered Tito Puente’s “Oye como va?”
Santana
– A “driving, cranked-up version” in a new style of Latin rock (associated with musicians like Santana),
– Adds electric guitar, Hammond organ, and a rock drum kit to the instrumentation and drops the original brass section.
– The guitar solos and an organ solo are rooted in rock and the blues but also contain licks similar to those of the original arrangement.
– Santana’s rendition appears in the Coen Brothers movie The Big Lebowski.

Who is known as the father of gospel music?
Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993)

What song is the first rap piece to use an electronically generated beat as its only background?
“It’s Like That” by Run-D.M.C.

Parker’s Mood
– “improvised” by Charlie Parker, John Lewis, Max Roach, and Curly Russell (c. 1950)
– Bebop

Welcome
– John Coltrane (1965), performed by him and his quartet
– virtuosic jazz

Where Is the Life That Late I Led
– in “Kiss me, Kate” by Cole Porter (1948)
– song in a 1940s broadway musical

America
– in “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Leventz, Stephen Sondheim (1957)
– song in a 1950s broadway musical

Agony
– in “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine (1986)
– Song in a 1980s broadway musical

4’33”
– John Cage
– chance music

Philomel excerpt
– Milton Babbitt
– mixed electronic and live music

Ancient Voices of Children, “The Child is Looking for His Voice”
– by George Crumb to Federico Garcia Lorca texts
– song cycle for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble

It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels
– by J.D. Miller, sung by Kitty Wells
– country music by a woman

It’s Mighty Dark to Travel
– by Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys
– Bluegrass music

Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag
– by James Brown
– Funk

Einstein on the Beach
– by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson
– minimalist “portrait opera”

Oh, Yemanje
– aria in Scourge of Hyacinths by Tania León and Wole Soyinka
– opera based on an African-Brazilian myth

On the Transmigration of Souls
– by John Adams for the first anniversary of September 11th
– work for choirs, orchestra, and live and recorded street sounds

Oye como va
– by Tito Puente (1962), covered by Santana (1970)
– Latin Rock

It’s Like That
– by Run DMC
– Rap featuring the first synthesized “instrumental” background; also considered the first political rap recording

Talk about Jesus
– by Thomas A. Dorsey, sung by Marion Williams
– Chicago gospel music

In This House, on This Morning excerpt
– by Wynton Marsalis for a 7 piece jazz ensemble
– concert work that depicts a Southern Black church worship service

Tweezer
– in “Picture of Nectar” by Phish
– Virtuosic jazz/rock

Poker Face
– Lady Gaga at the Grammy’s
– Original song from a current rockstar

Navajo: Weaving the Yei
– from WEAVING(S) by Ruth Lomon (2009) for clarinet, cello, piano, vibraphone/tom-toms
– Chamber work referring to the Navajo rugs that have the figures of the Yei, Navajo deities, woven in. References some Navajo melodies

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