The Musical Thought and Spiritual Lives of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg by Matthew Arndt, Associate Professor of Music Theory at the University of Iowa School of Music, has just been published by Routledge, the world’s leading academic publisher in the humanities and social sciences. The book is one of the first volumes of the series Ashgate Studies in Music After 1900. Daniel K. L. Chua, Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Music at The University of Hong Kong and President of the International Musicological Society, writes of the book: “Schenker and Schoenberg – often regarded as polar opposites who embody a fissure in the history of Western music and the collapse of a common language – are brilliantly reevaluated in Matthew Arndt’s scholarly debut. Through a meticulous analysis of notated and written sources and a virtuosic interplay of disciplines and methods, Arndt delves beneath the surface of the usual narrative to sound out the musical thought and spiritual beliefs that shape the theory and music of both thinkers. As a result, what modern scholarship has divided is reintegrated, not only by melding the technical and metaphysical elements to illumine each other, but by drawing Schoenberg and Schenker so tightly together that, like repellent magnets held in tension, their proximity reveals the secret of the other’s meaning. This is a bold, brave, brilliant book.” To order a copy, click here.
In the spring, Jessica Kizzire and Greg Newbold successfully defended their graduate documents. Greg’s master’s thesis explores serial procedures in Benjamin Frankel’s music for the Hammer cult film, Curse of the Werewolf (1961). In her doctoral dissertation, Jessica Kizzire contemplates musical adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice novels, with special emphasis placed on film and ballet. Congratulations to both on these major accomplishments!
Marian Wilson Kimber visited the FDR Presidential Library and Museum to examine the music sent by American citizens to First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt during the Great Depression. In June she appeared with pianist Natalie Landowski, performing spoken-word compositions by Phyllis Fergus at the 120th anniversary celebration of the founding of the National League of American Pen Women in Washington, D.C. Wilson Kimber’s article about Fergus, who became the first musician president of the Pen Women in 1936, was published in their magazine.
With assistance from the University of Iowa School of Music and International Programs, Matthew Arndt presented a paper on modernism and organicism in Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata, op. 1, at the Music Theory Midwest Twenty-Eighth Annual Conference in Iowa City and at the Ninth European Music Analysis Conference in Strasbourg, France. He also corrected proofs for his book, The Musical Thought and Spiritual Lives of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg, coming out next month.
Village of Obernai, France
Two members of the music theory faculty, Matthew Arndt and Jennifer Iverson have recently been honored as Fellow-in-Residence at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. This award gives them a space to work on their research and writing at the Obermann Center, the chance to share and discuss work with other Fellows, $1000 for research, and the opportunity to apply for funding for interdisciplinary projects. Dr. Iverson is working in the same space that Dr. Arndt worked in in the fall (see photo), because it has the best mojo. During his Fellowship, Dr. Arndt completed the manuscript for his book project, “With God!”: The Musical Thought of Heinrich Schenker and Arnold Schoenberg. Dr. Iverson is working on three article projects, discussing the dawn of electronic music at the WDR studio in Cologne, John Cage‘s 1954 visit to West Germany, and the disabled body in electronic music.
With help from the School of Music and International Programs, Matthew Arndt presented a paper on Arnold Schoenberg at the European Music Analysis Conference (EuroMAC), held in Leuven, Belgium, September 17–20. Richard Taruskin, purported to be “the present day’s most notorious theorist-basher” (Arnold Whittall), gave the final keynote. Photo: St. Peter’s Church in Leuven.
Matthew Arndt has been named the 2010–2011 recipient of the David Kraehenbuehl Prize, which is a $2,000 award for the best article in the Journal of Music Theory over a two-year period by an untenured author. The Prize is awarded by a committee of three external reviewers who are senior music theorists. The committee reports: “Focusing on Schenker’s and Schoenberg’s Harmonielehren, Arndt argues that conflicts in their theories of composition result from a mere difference in emphasis within their shared conception of the tone. The argument arises from a magisterial command of two recent interpretive approaches: integration theory and metaphor theory. The result is a hermeneutical tour de force with its own unique methodological blend.”
With support from the UI School of Music and International Programs, Matthew Arndt attended the Seventh International Conference on Music Theory January 8–11 in Tallinn and Pärnu, Estonia. The conference was on the topic of musical form and featured keynotes by William E. Caplin and James Hepokoski. Arndt gave a paper on a problem of unrest in Arnold Schoenberg’s Little Piano Piece, op. 19, no. 2. The paper was well received, and he received some transformative feedback. The conference was held in conjunction with Pärnu Contemporary Music Days, and Arndt attended some interesting new music concerts. Photo: Tallinn.
Matthew Arndt recently attended a retreat for the Saint John of Damascus Society’s Psalm 103 Project and took part in a public presentation entitled “Networks of Echoes: Collaboration, Community, and Creativity in the Musics of the Eastern Orthodox Churches.” The Society has commissioned six composers, including Doctor Arndt, to collaboratively set Psalm 103 (Septuagint numbering) for mixed chorus. The composers met October 11–12, 2013, in Bloomington, Indiana, and came up with ways to integrate their music. At the public presentation on October 12, they spoke about their work on the project and had Ensemble Bdeniye, conducted by Christopher Grundy, present pieces representing their different musical traditions. You can see videos of the event here.
Photo, from left to right: Richard Toensing (composer), Matthew Arndt (composer), Kurt Sander (composer), Richard Barrett (Artistic Director), Franklin L. Hess (Executive Board Member), Harold Sabbagh (President), Vicki Pappas (Vice President), Laura Willms (Secretary and Education Director), Alexander Khalil (composer), Tikey Zes (composer), Brian Rogers (Treasurer), and John Michael Boyer (composer).