Start the Music! Let the Party Begin!

Joyce Lindorff at the harpsichord

Dr. Joyce Lindorff, Professor of Keyboard

 

Couperin Birthday Celebration!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

12:00pm – 12:50pm

Paley Library Lecture Hall

Light refreshments served. Boyer recital credit given.

 

 

 

The opening concert of the 2018-19 Beyond the Notes concert series, features Dr. Joyce Lindorff, Boyer Professor of Keyboard, leading a birthday celebration for François Couperin, marking 350 years since his birth.  François Couperin, like Johann Sebastian Bach, was part of a large family of music-makers. For example, Couperin’s uncle was also a noted composer, and his cousin Armand-Louis was especially noted as an organist, but François was sometimes referred to as “Couperin Le Grand” to set him apart from the rest of his family. Recognized as a leading French composer of the 17th century, Couperin’s musical textures have continued to inspire musicians and composers in the centuries since his death. For example, Ravel’s Le Tambeau de Couperin, a solo piano with an orchestral version, is a concert staple, and is likely more familiar to the typical concertgoer than any piece of Couperin himself. Nevertheless, music like the Pièces de Clavecin features a palette that is distinctive, lush, sometimes witty, and sometimes harmonically adventurous.

Picture of harpsichord

1742 Louis Bellot harpsichord, Paris. Photo courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Couperin is especially known for his music for harpsichord. Unlike its most famous successor the piano, the harpsichord is a keyboard instrument in which the strings are plucked rather than hit. In addition to an altogether different sound quality, a major difference is that when a musician presses a key with more or less force, it will not change the dynamic [volume] of the note as it does on the piano. This means that the composer and performer must control the feel of each section of music without having a direct means to control how loud or soft each note is. Instead, our overall experience of the music will be shaped by other means, such as texture and tempo (speed). The density of writing will shape our experience of the intensity of the music rather than volume.

 

CD Cover ArtDr. Joyce Lindorff, professor of keyboard at Boyer, released a CD earlier this year of her performances of Couperin’s L’Art de Toucher le Clavecin. Lindorff’s CD-liner notes offer information about Couperin’s attitude toward pedagogy and performance:

“Couperin is a commanding presence, providing precise fingering for difficult passages in his first book of Pièces de clavecin, keyboard exercises, and a detailed table of ornaments, which he insisted be executed exactly as he wrote them. Rather than trusting players of his unmeasured preludes to interpret the customary minimalist French notation, Couperin instead provides richly detailed templates to be played with freedom. And in marked contrast to modern teaching methods, he advises that young students never practice in the teacher’s absence.”

At that time, music students would have been trained in improvisation far more than now. The level of detail that a composer would notate would be far less, and the musician would be expected to know how to embellish and interpret the music that was written. Rather than playing merely the notes on the page, musicians would add ornaments, or musical flourishes, such as rapid alterations between adjacent notes. In today’s world, with so many styles of classical music in circulation and a lack of a common set of conventions in the music being written by contemporary composers, leaving so much up to the interpretation of the performer may not be practical. However, it is unusual that in the 17th century Couperin would have written out the ornaments that he wanted the players to include.

The extent to which a composer ought to exert influence over performers has been a subject of much debate in recent decades. For example, Christopher Small (1998) sees a hierarchical system of power within orchestral music with the composer at the top. This privileging of the composer allows for a sometimes-oppressive musical canon to emerge, from which composers with less privileged identities, such as most female and non-white composers, would be excluded (Citron 1992). In December, Dr. Lindorff hosted a symposium at the library on such issues, which are becoming an increasingly large part of the historical study of music.

What would this mean in the 17th century? A prevailing view is that the modern idea of the “master composer” is a product of 19th century German Romanticism (Chua 1999). While this may be true, listening to the music of Couperin gives us a chance to see how such issues and differences of opinion would have played out even in earlier centuries. While his attitude suggests an unusual degree of control for his time, when listening to [the CD of] Lindorff’s performance, the listener is struck by the sense of freedom, and often leisure, that manages to prevail. Could the effects of each piece have been achieved with less specificity from the composer? Would that have been better or worse? For sure, the identity dynamics I mentioned above are also worth considering for Couperin’s time as they are in later centuries: could a female composer at the time provide a table of ornaments and insist her pieces be executed exactly as she notated them, as he did? There is never a simple answer to the question of who gets to control art, but listening to Couperin can invite us to keep asking the question in different ways.

To some who have learned a musical instrument, the idea that one must not practice without the teacher present may be hard to fathom. Whether evidence of his desire for control, or perhaps his enormous generosity of time and patience toward his students, it seems that Couperin hoped that his work be played as he intended. No matter the rigidity or flexibility of the composer, Couperin likely did not envision his music being performed in a twenty-first century library lecture hall with a birthday cake in his honor. This performance invites us to experience his music in new and different manners.  So start the music! Let the party begin!

 

References and Further Information:

Denis Arnold & Julie Anne Sadie, “Couperin,” Oxford Companion to Music, Allison Latham, ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Daniel K. L. Chua, Absolute Music and the Construction of Meaning (Cambridge University Press,
1999), 1-28.

David Chung, “French Harpsichord Vitality,” Early Music, 41, no. 3 (August 2013), 525–527.
Marcia J. Citron, “The Canon in Practice,” Gender and the Musical Canon (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 190-232.
François Couperin, Art de toucher le clavecin (L’) / Pieces de clavecin, Book 2 – 6th, 8th Ordres (La Raphaèle). Joyce Lindorff, harpsichord. Affetto Recordings, Naxos Music Library, 2018.

Harpsichord [Fr. clavecin; Ger. Cembalo, Kielflügel, Clavicimbel; It. clavicembalo; Sp. clavicémbalo, clavecín].” The Harvard Dictionary of Music, edited by Don Michael Randel, Harvard University Press, 4th edition, 2003. Credo Reference, Accessed 04 Sep. 2018.

Christopher Small, Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening, (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1998), 1-29.

Richard Taruskin, “The Pastness of the Present and the Presence of the Past,” Text & Act: Essays on Music and Performance (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 90-154.

Ben Safran is a Ph.D. candidate in music at Temple University, where his dissertation focuses on contemporary classical composers’ uses of social justice and political themes within concert music. His compositions have been performed by various ensembles and musicians across the United States.

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Sights and Sounds of America’s Tenth Man Contest

Christine Woyshner image

Christine Woyshner

 

The 1930s American South was a region of deep racial segregation as the social norms of white supremacy and the terrorism of lynching kept white and black Americans in separate and unequal spheres. The Commission on Interracial Cooperation was an Atlanta-based initiative of white liberals and black leaders to increase understanding and cooperation between the races. Of its many programs, an essay competition called the Tenth Man Contest encouraged white schools to teach black history and culture. At its height, the contest reached 90 school districts in 23 states. Students participating in this program studied numerous textual sources, engaged in a variety of artistic activities, and visited black schools and businesses.

One of the rich legacies of the Tenth Man Contest is an archive of the student papers submitted to the competition. In her article, “‘I feel I am really pleading the cause of my own people’: US southern white students’ study of African-American history and culture in the 1930s through art and the senses” (History of Education, 2018, URL), Professor of Education Christine Woyshner uses this archive to analyze the ways that white high school students understood and interpreted their encounter with the black history, society, and culture. These encounters were often sensuously rich as white students described their visual and aural impressions of African American art, literature, schools and neighborhoods.

I spoke with Christine Woyshner about her article on April 30, 2018.

—Fred Rowland

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Sights and Sounds of America’s Tenth Man Contest

Christine Woyshner image

Christine Woyshner

 

The 1930s American South was a region of deep racial segregation as the social norms of white supremacy and the terrorism of lynching kept white and black Americans in separate and unequal spheres. The Commission on Interracial Cooperation was an Atlanta-based initiative of white liberals and black leaders to increase understanding and cooperation between the races. Of its many programs, an essay competition called the Tenth Man Contest encouraged white schools to teach black history and culture. At its height, the contest reached 90 school districts in 23 states. Students participating in this program studied numerous textual sources, engaged in a variety of artistic activities, and visited black schools and businesses.

One of the rich legacies of the Tenth Man Contest is an archive of the student papers submitted to the competition. In her article, “‘I feel I am really pleading the cause of my own people’: US southern white students’ study of African-American history and culture in the 1930s through art and the senses” (History of Education, 2018, URL), Professor of Education Christine Woyshner uses this archive to analyze the ways that white high school students understood and interpreted their encounter with the black history, society, and culture. These encounters were often sensuously rich as white students described their visual and aural impressions of African American art, literature, schools and neighborhoods.

I spoke with Christine Woyshner about her article on April 30, 2018.

—Fred Rowland

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Access and Opportunity: Recommended Reading for the Libraries’ Fall Programs

This year, the Libraries’ Beyond the Page public programming series is curated around programs exploring access and opportunity. We will consider barriers—whether cultural, financial, physical, or otherwise—that limit opportunities and how we can move toward a more accessible world.

We’ve rounded up a list of reading suggestions to introduce you to our speakers and some of the topics they’ll cover. Check out our recommendations and we hope to see you this fall!

All these programs will be held in the Paley Library Lecture Hall. As always, our programs are free and open to all.

 

Investing in Accessibility

Read about why the U.S. needs more accessible playgrounds and this augmented reality project for which Temple’s Institute on Disabilities received funding from the Knight Foundations’ art and technology Prototype Fund to make live theater more accessible for hearing impaired and non-English speakers.

 

photo of Sara Goldrick-Rab

Sara Goldrick-Rab, photo courtesy Pat Robinson

Sara Goldrick-Rab on Access and Opportunity in Higher Education

Temple Professor and nationally-recognized scholar Sara Goldrick-Rab will speak at the Libraries on Tuesday, September 11 at 6:00 PM. Check out her interview with Trevor Noah and her New York Times op-ed on college students and food insecurity. This recent Philadelphia Inquirer story highlights both Sara’s work and Cherry Pantry, Temple’s campus food pantry.

Other reads to help you prepare for Sara’s talk and conversations about the cost of higher ed include this Fortune article about women’s disproportionate share of student loan debt and the even greater financial burden placed on black women.

 

The Public Arts in Philadelphia

photo of Conrad Benner

Conrad Benner, photo courtesy Peter Murray

Conrad Benner of StreetsDept.com and Cindy M. Ngo of Eat Up The Borders are leading a series of artist talks (Thursday, September 20), artist panels (Monday, September 24), and a wheatpaste workshop (Wednesday, October 3) as part of the Philly Public Arts Forum at the Libraries.

Read about how Conrad got started in Philadelphia Weekly’s profile and in his own words at Caldera Magazine.

Learn more, too, about the local artists visiting the Libraries as part of this series. Michelle Angela Ortiz honors the immigrant experience and uses her art as activism, while Marisa Velázquez-Rivas tells her own story as an artist shining a lights on immigrants, queer communities, and feminism. Other artists include Carol Zou, part of the Michelada Think Tank team, Russell Craig, recipient of a Right of Return fellowship for formerly incarcerated artists to address prison reform, and Keir Johnston, a member of Amber Art and Design, an art collective making public art to enact change. Johnston has also worked on the Mural Arts Philadelphia project honoring late civil rights leader Octavius V. Catto.

Wheatepaste public art by Marisa Velázquez-Rivas

Public art by Marisa Velázquez-Rivas, photo courtesy Conrad Benner

 

 

cover of The Cost of Being a GirlYasemin Besen-Cassino on the Gender Pay Gap

Author Yasemin Besen-Cassino will discuss her book The Cost of Being a Girl on Monday, October 15 at 2:00 PM. Read more about how the gender pay gap affects teens and check out Dr. Besen-Cassino’s op-eds on equal pay in The Guardian and in Ms. Magazine.  

 

 

 

 

Building the 21st Century Library

The Libraries’ symposium series about our new Charles Library continues and will focus this semester on the new library’s potential to transform Temple University’s main campus. Join us Wednesday, October 10th, as we also discuss what steps have been—or could be—taken to make the building more accessible (physically and intellectually) to the campus and surrounding communities.

A rendering of Charles Library

A rendering of Charles Library, courtesy Snøhetta

Read about how Snøhetta, the internationally acclaimed architecture firm who designed the Charles, is changing the way we absorb architecture.  

 

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Beyond the Notes Announces 2018-2019 Season!

Temple University Library’s award-winning noontime concert series, Beyond the Notes, proudly announces its fifth season!
All concerts are held in Paley Library Lecture Hall.
Light refreshments served. Boyer recital credit given.
Mark your calendars!


Joyce Lindorff at the harpsichord

Joyce Lindorff, Professor of Keyboard

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Couperin Birthday Celebration!
12:00pm – 12:50pm

Usher in the new school year with a celebration!  What kind of celebration?  A 350th birthday celebration for François Couperin!  Early keyboard professor, scholar, and harpsichord artist Joyce Lindorff will lead us in a birthday celebration with beautiful music by this eminent composer.  Birthday cake will be provided.


Zach Brock, violinist

Zach Brock, Artist in Residence, Jazz Violinist

Zach Brock, Boyer Artist in Residence Jazz Violin
Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018
12:00pm – 12:50pm

Grammy award winner, Boyer Artist in Residence, Zach Brock, “the pre-eminent improvising violinist of his generation”, evokes the spirit of John Coltrane, Bela Bartok, and Jimi Hendrix. Experience the creativity of this amazing musician!


Shannon Merlino, viola

Shannon Merlino, Boyer doctoral candidate

Early Music led by Shannon Merlino
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
12:00pm – 12:50pm

Be transported to another place and time while doctoral student Shannon Merlino leads a group of fellow musicians and colleagues
in presenting early music at the library.


Philip O'Banion

Philip O’Banion, Director, Temple University Percussion Ensemble

Temple University Percussion Ensemble, Philip O’Banion, director
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
12:00pm – 12:50pm

Need to chill for an hour during finals? The Temple Percussion Ensemble will rock the library, guaranteed!


Charles Abramovic at the piano

Charles Abramovic, Chair of Keyboard Studies

Piano Studio of Charles Abramovic
Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
12:00pm – 12:50pm

Always a favorite, as Charles Abramovic joins his students in performing for the library audiences. Come to see and hear these amazing students perform!


Allen Krantz, guitar

Allen Krantz, guitar

Guitar Studio of Allen Krantz
Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
12:00pm – 12:50pm

What can be more beautiful than the music of a guitar?  How about two or three guitars playing together! Join us as the talented guitar students of Allen Krantz share their beautiful music!


Beyond the Notes thanks Temple University Libraries and the Boyer College of Music and Dance for their support of this series.

Relax. Refresh. Renew. Enjoy!

The post Beyond the Notes Announces 2018-2019 Season! appeared first on Performing Arts News.

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Library Search: Enhanced version now live

Based on feedback received from the university community, Temple University Libraries released an enhanced version of the Library Search on August 13th, 2018. During the 2018-2019 academic year, the Libraries will continue to make further updates to the search.

Please refer to our Library Search Road Map and Frequently Asked Questions page for more information and check the library website throughout the year for further updates. If you have any additional questions, please contact asktulibrary@temple.edu.

CONTENTdm Responsive Site Goes Live

Temple University Libraries’ Digital Collections site has a new look! We are excited to roll out a responsive version of our existing Digital Collections website. The new software has better mobile and tablet compatibility, an improved image viewer, and is compliant with WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines.

You’ll find all of our collections on the website homepage, along with an easily navigable single search bar and advanced search option. You’ll also see a link to “Explore Our Collections,” where you’ll find several options for browsing our collections by repository, by subject, by format, or through our digital exhibitions.

Users can access our Digital Collections through the Temple University Libraries homepage, through the Special Collections Research Center homepage, or by visiting http://digital.library.temple.edu/digital/

There will be continuous upgrades and improvements to the software over time, so be sure to look out for new features in the site. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to suggest new digitization projects, please contact us at diglib@temple.edu.

–Stephanie Ramsay
Digital Projects LIbrarian

Library Search: Updated Beta Release

Based on feedback received from the university community, an enhanced version of the Library Search is currently under development at Temple University Libraries. A beta version was released in February 2018, and was updated with new features on June 25, 2018. Try it out at librarybeta.temple.edu/bento.

On August 6, 2018, this updated version of the Library Search is scheduled to replace the existing interface. During the 2018-2019 academic year, the Libraries will continue to make further enhancements to the search.

Please refer to our Library Search Road Map for more information and check the library website over the summer for further updates. If you have any additional questions, please contact asktulibrary@temple.edu.

Hey Temple Grads: Visit Us During Alumni Weekend!

Congrats to all the new Temple graduates! Did you know you still have lifelong access to the Libraries as a Temple alum? Services include borrowing privileges, entry to programs and events, Ask A Librarian reference services, use of electronic resources while on campus, and more.

Photo courtesy Ryan Brandenberg for Temple

Boathouse Row, from the Special Collections Research Center

We also want to invite all alumni back to the Libraries during Alumni Weekend (May 18–20, 2018). We are offering self-guided tours of our current exhibits, which include the Special Collections Research Center’s “Inspired by the Archives: An Exhibition of Student Work,” “Celebrating the 175th Anniversary of Russell Conwell’s Birth,” “Boathouse Row,” and “History of a City: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Urban Archives,” all in Paley Library.

from the Charles L. Blockson Collection

You can also visit the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection to view “The Music of Black Africans in Philadelphia”.

Please note that Paley Library is open all weekend long, while the Blockson Collection is only open during the week.

We can’t wait to see you!

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So you’re writing a dissertation, Part 3

 

On Feb 24 2011 I spoke to the Religion Graduate Student (RGS) for the third time. She has now been working on her dissertation for approximately one year. She explained that it was going well but in “fits and starts,” more than she had anticipated. Though it was a little unconventional, she began writing the introduction first because, as she explained, she was having trouble with the overall argument. When she received feedback from her women’s studies group, it was clear that her introduction was not a genuine introduction but different pieces of the chapters she intended to write.

When I asked her to define her topic, it was interesting to hear her say that this used to cause her anxiety. Now she is comfortable in explaining that she is working with an archive, focusing on Nationwide Women’s Program (at the American Friends Service Committee) during 1970 and 1980s. These primary sources will tell us things about blending of the religious and secular in the women’s and the anti-globalization movements.

We talked about the major challenges she was facing, which can be summed up as “time and money.” Struggling to support herself, find time (and mental focus) for her research, while at the same time squeezing some enjoyment out of life takes great effort. We also talked about her various support networks and the roles they play in facilitating her research process and keeping her sane.

This was a fun interview. We laughed a lot. Unfortunately I had to cut some of the laughter due to static…I laugh loudly.

—Fred Rowland

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