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O rder N um ber 9211087

American operas on American themes by American composers: A survey of characteristics and influences. (Volumes I and II) Speedie, Penelope Ann, D.M.A.
The Ohio State University, 1991

Copyright 1991 by Speedie, Penelope Ann. All rights reserved.

300 N. Zeeb Rd. Ann Arbor, MI 48106

UMI

AMERICAN OPERAS ON AMERICAN THEMES BY AMERICAN COMPOSERS: A Survey of Characteristics and Influences VOLUME 1

DISSERTATION

Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in the Graduate School of The Ohio State University

Penelope Ann Speedie, B.M., M.M.


* * * *

The Ohio State University


1991

Dissertation Committee: Helen Swank Roger Stephens Russell T. Hastings

Approved by:

Adviser
Department of Music

Copyright by Penelope Ann Speedie


1991

To my parents, Thomas and Ann Speedie and my dearest friend, Robert H. Johnson, Jr., whose caring and understanding are inestimable.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I express my sincere gratitude to Helen Swank for her moral support and encouragement. Thanks go to the other members of my advisory committee; Roger Stephens and Russell T. Hastings for their time and helpful suggestions. The technical assistance of Doctor Thomas Wells, Alice Cimino and Robert Walker is gratefully acknowledged for their assistance in computer generating the musical examples, as well as that of Catha Johnson Smith and Holly Innis for their willingness to type at all hours. A special thanks goes to Henrietta and Robert Johnson for their support, time and effort in compiling the document. Most heartfelt thanks and acknowledgement must go to Robert H. Johnson, Jr. for all the hours spent correcting, editing, supporting and encouraging, and without whose understanding, this thesis could never have been completed.

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VITA

March 3,1953

Bom - Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

1974.....................................................................................B.M., Diploma in Opera, University of Toronto, Canada 1981........................................................................................................ M.M., Voice, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 1980-1985; 1987 ..........................................................................Teaching Assistant, School of Music, Ohio State University 1986-1987 .......................................................................Free-Lance Singer/Director 1987 to Present............................................................................Assistant Professor, Director of Opera, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas Fields of Study Major Field of Study: Music Applied Voice - Professor Helen Swank Opera - Professor Roger Stephens Opera Literature - Professor Mario Alch Art Song Repetoire - Professor Eileen Davis Stage Direction - Professors Donald Glancy, Byron Ringland, Roger Stephens Stage Design - Professor Russell Hastings Acting - Professors Byron Ringland, Donald Glancy, Ioma Zelenka

TABLE OF CONTENTS VOLUME 1

DEDICATION.................................................................................................... ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .............................................................................. iii VITA..................................................................................................................iv TABLE OF CONTENTS: VOLUME 1 .................................................................v LIST OF FIGURES: VOLUME 1 ......................................................................... v PREFACE............................................................................................................1 INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................. 5

CHAPTER I.

PAGE

THE BEGINNINGS: BALLAD OPERAS.......................................... 12 Barton......................................................................................13 Reinagle...................................................................................21 Taylor...................................................................................... 22 Hewitt..................................................................................... 30 Pelissier, D unlop..................................................................... 33 M arkoe....................................................................................37 Brown..................................................................................... 40 Leacock, Tyler, Hawkins..........................................................46

II.

NEW INFLUENCES: GRAND AND COMIC................................. 50 Bristow..................................................................................51 Damrosch.............................................................................. 58 Vinatieri, Buck........................................................................72 Gerrish - Jones, Appleton....................................................... 73 Davies, Baker, Hewitt, Maretzek.............................................74 Spenser, Kelly, Kerker, Sousa.................................................. 77

III.

THE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCES............................................... 83 Converse............................................................................... 83 Bucharoff............................................................................... 90 Hanson..................................................................................90 Giannini................................................................................. 92 Carter, Bennett...................................................................... 100 Menotti................................................................................ 101 W ard....................................................................................151 Beeson.................................................................................. 162 Hoiby................................................................................... 183

IV.

INDIAN ELEMENTS IN AMERICAN OPERA ..............................194 Bray......................................................................................194 Owens, Walcot, Sobolewski.................................................. 196 Nevin................................................................................... 198 Herbert................................................................................ 206 M oore..................................................................................217 Hanson................................................................................ 227 Allen, Eppert, Tonning, Noyes............................................. 229 Cadman............................................................................... 230 Famer, Schoenfeld, Skilton, Knowlton, Blakeslee.................. 243 de Leone, Bimboni................................................................251 Freer.....................................................................................259 Smith....................................................................................262 Albright............................................................................... 264 Hunkins............................................................................... 268 Deavel..................................................................................276 Peterson............................................................................... 277

vi

V.

URBAN/SOCIALIST OPERAS: THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIALISM............................................................................... 282 Chadwick............................................................................... 283 Antheil....................................................................................291 Blitzstein................................................................................. 303 Meyerowitz.............................................................................340 Weill........................................................................................341 Robinson and S alt...................................................................354 Phillips.................................................................................... 362 Berstein................................................................................... 364 Bucci.......................................................................................374 Barber..................................................................................... 382 McKee..................................................................................... 386 C larke..................................................................................... 392 A dler.......................................................................................394 Dello Joio, Imbrie....................................................................399

vii

LIST OF FIGURES VOLUME 1

FIGURES l-l. 1-2. 1-3. 1-4. 1-5. 1-6.


1-7.

PAGE

Ihe,Disappointment, vol. 2, p .3 ............................................................ 18


The Disappointment, vol. 2, p .5 ............................................................ 19 Buxom loan, p. 3 9 ..................................................................................23 Buxom loan, p. 33..................................................................................24 Buxom loan, p. 39..................................................................................24 Buxom loan, p. 32..................................................................................25
Puxom Joan, p. 5 2 ........................................................................................ 25

1-8. 1-9. 1-10. 1-11. 1-12. 1-13. 1-14.

Buxom loan, p. 4 1..................................................................................26 Buxom loan, p. 2 8.......................... 26

Buxom Toan, p. 19..................................................................................27 Buxom loan, p. 5 0 ................................................................................. 28 Buxom loan, p. 2 3..................................................................................29


Tammany, quoted in Music In America, p. 2 1 3 ..................................... 31

Sterne's Maria, quoted in Yankee-Poodle-Doo, p. 60........................... 34

viii

1-15. 1-16. 1-17. 1-18. 1-19. 2-1. 2-2. 2-3. 2-4. 2-5. 2-6. 2-7. 2-8. 2-9. 2-10. 2-11. 2-12. 2-13. 2-14. 2-15. 2-16.

The Glory of Columbia, quoted in Yankee-Doodle-Doo, p. 7 3.............35 Darby's Return, quoted in Yankee-Doodle-Doo. p. 48 ......................... 36 The Reconciliation. Number 8 ............................................................... 38 The Better Sort. Number 5 .....................................................................44 The Better Sort, Number 8 .....................................................................45 Rip Van Winkle, Act III, pp. 295-96 ....................................................... 54 Rip Van Winkle. Act I, pp. 28-29 ............................................................55 Rip Van Winkle. Act III, p. 260 ............................................................. 56 Rip Van Winkle. Act III, pp. 261-2 .........................................................57 The Scarlet Letter. Act I, pp. 10-11 .........................................................62 The Scarlet Letter. Act I, p. 5 .................................................................. 63 The Scarlet Letter. Act I, p. 32................................................................ 63 The Scarlet Letter. Act I, p. 59................................................................ 64 The Scarlet Letter, Act II, p. I l l ..............................................................64 The Scarlet Letter. Act I, p. 4 1 ................................................................ 65 The Scarlet Letter. Act I, p. 6 0 ................................................................ 65 The Scarlet Letter. Act I, pp. 2-3.............................................................66 The Man Without A Country. Act I, Scene 2, p. 6 2 ..............................69 The Man Without A Country. Act I, Scene 1, p. 2 2 ..............................69 The Man WithoutA Country. Act II, Scene 1, p. 7 8 ............................. 70 The ManWithout A Countiy. Act II, Scene 2, p. 112.............................70 ix

2-17. 2-18. 2-19. 3-1. 3-2. 3-3. 3-4. 3-5. 3-6. 3-7. 3-8. 3-9. 3-10. 3-11. 3-12. 3-13. 3-14. 3-15. 3-16. 3-17. 3-18.

The Forest Rose, quoted in Yankee-Doodle-Doo, p. 112..................... 75 A Glance At New York, quoted in Yankee-Doodle-Doo. p.132........... 75 The Bell of New York. Act I, p. 10....................................................... 79 The Sacrifice. Act I, Scene 8, p. 5 9 ...................................................... 85 The Sacrifice. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 ........................................................ 85 The Sacrifice, Act II, Scene 8, p. 183.................................................... 86 The Sacrifice. Act I, Scene 10, p. 9 0 .....................................................87 The Sacrifice. Act I, Scene 10, p. 8 4 .....................................................88 Merry Mount. Act I, p. 27 .................................................................. 93 Merry Mount. Act I, p. 93 .................................................................. 95 Merry Mount. Act I, p. 82 .................................................................. 96
t

Merry Mount. Act I, p. 59 .................................................................. 97 Merry Mount, Act I, p. 1 ....................................................................98 Merry Mount, Act I. p. 41 .................................................................. 98 Merrv Mount, Act I, pp. 41-42............................................................ 99 Merry Mount. Act II, Scene 3, p. 220 .................................................. 99 The Old Maid and the Thief, Overture, pp. 1-2.................................106 The Old Maid and the Thief, Overture, p. 5 ......................................107 The Old Maid and the Thief, Scene 1, p. 13.......................................107 The Old Maid and the Thief, Scene 1, p. 2 7 .......................................107 The Old Maid and the Thief, Scene 1, p. 2 7 .......................................108 x

3-19. 3-20. 3-21. 3-22. 3-23. 3-24. 3-25. 3-26. 3-27. 3-28. 3-29. 3-30. 3-31. 3-32. 3-33. 3-34. 3-35. 3-36. 3-37. 3-38. 3-39.

The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 6, p. 9 4 ...................................... 108 The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 1, p. 3 4 ...................................... 109 The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 8, p. 103.....................................109 The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 4, p. 6 3 .......................................109 The Old Maid and the Thief, Scene 10, p. 126.................................... 110 The Old Maid and the Thief, Scene 3, p. 5 1 ........................................110 The Old Maid and the Thief, Scene 1, pp. 18-19................................ I ll The Old Mmd and the Thief, Scene l, p. 2 3 .......................................112 The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 6, p. 9 6 .......................................112 The Medium. Act I, p. 1 4 .................................................................... 114 The Medium, Act 1 1 , p. 1 0 8 .................................................................114 The Medium. Act I, p. 1 ...................................................................... 115 The Medium. Act I, pp. 51-52.............................................................116 The Medium. Act I, p. 4 6 .................................................................... 117 The Medium. Act II. p. 91 .................................................................. 117 The Medium. Act I, pp. 19-20.............................................................118 The Medium. Act II, p. 105 ................................................................ 119 The Medium. Act II, p. 1 13 ................................................................ 120 The .Telephone/ p. 3 0 ....... 120

The Telephone, p. 1 ............................................................................ 121 The Telephone, p. 1 9 .......................................................................... 121 xi

3-40. 3-41. 3-42. 3-43. 3-44. 3-45. 3-46. 3-47. 3-48. 3-49. 3-50. 3-51. 3-52. 3-53. 3-54.

The Telephone, p. 1 7 ...........................................................................121 The Telephone, p. 7 ............................................................................122 The Telephone, p. 1 4 ........................................................................... 122 The Telephone, p. 21 ...........................................................................123 The Telephone, p. 3 1 ...........................................................................124 The Telephone, p. 3 7 ........................................................................... 124 The Telephone, p. 2 4 ........................................................................... 125 The Telephone, p. 2 5 ........................................................................... 125 The Telephone, p. 2 0 ...........................................................................125 The Telephone, p. 10 ...........................................................................126 The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I. Scene 1. p. 1 .................................128 The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 .................................129 The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I, Scene 1, p. 5 9 ...............................129 The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I. Scene 2. p. 131 .............................129 The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act II, p. 163..........................................130

3-55.The Saint of Bleeker Street. Act I, Scene 1, pp. 46-47 .............................. 131 3-56. 3-57. 3-58. 3-59. 3-60. The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act II, p. 206 ..........................................132 The Saint of Bleecker Street, Act II, pp. 176-77 ............................. 132

The Saint of Bleecker Street, Act I, Scene 1, pp.111-12....................... 133 The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I, Scene 1, p. 113..............................133 The Saint of Bleecker Street, Act I, Scene 1, p. 3 6 ...............................134 xii

3-61. 3-62. 3-63. 3-64. 3-65. 3-66. 3-67. 3-68. 3-69. 3-70. 3-71. 3-72. 3-73. 3-74. 3-75. 3-76. 3-77. 3-78. 3-79. 3-80. 3-81.

The Last Savage. Act I, Scene 1, p. 8 2 .................................................. 136 The Last Savage. Act I, Scene 1, pp. 20-21 ...........................................136 The Last Savage. Act I, Scene 1, p. 101................................................ 137 The Last Savage. Act II, Scene 3, p. 228............................................... 137 The Last Savage, Act I, Scene 1, p. 7 3 .................................................. 138 The Last Savage, Act II, Scene 1, p. 196............................................... 138 The Last Savage, Act III, p. 421 ........................................................... 139 Help, Help. The Globolinks. Scene 1, p. 8 .......................................... 141 Help. Help. The Globolinks. Introduction p. 1 ...................................142 Help, Help, The Globolinks, Scene 1, p. 1 0 ........................................ 142 Help, Help. The Globolinks, Scene 2, p. 7 7 ........................................ 143 Help, Help, The Globolinks, Scene 2, p. 69 ........................................ 143 Help. Help, The Globolinks. Scene 4, p. 1 0 7 ...................................... 144 Tamu-- Tamu, Act I, p. 1 0 ....................................................................146 Tamu - Tamu, Act I, p. 1 ......................................................................146 Tamu - Tamu, Act I, pp. 45-46 ............................................................ 147 Tamu --Tamu, Act I, p. 3 .......................................................................148 Tamu -Tamu, Act I, p. 140...................................................................148 The Hero. Act I, Scene 1, p. 3 ............................................................... 149 The Crucible. Act I, p. 3 0 ..................................................................... 154 The Crucible, Act I, p. 3 0 ......................................................................154 xiii

3-82. 3-83. 3-84. 3-85. 3-86. 3-87. 3-88. 3-89. 3-90. 3-91. 3-92. 3-93. 3-94. 3-95. 3-96. 3-97. 3-98. 3-99. 3-100. 3-101. 3-102.

The Crucible. Act I, pp. 99-100 ..............................................

155

Tk-Crucible, Act I, p. 9 2 ..................................................................156 The Crucible. Act I, p. 9 0 ..................................................................156 The Crucible. Act I, p. 2 5 ..................................................................157 The Crucible. Act III, p. 208 ............................................................. 157 The Crucible. Act I, p. 9 3 ..................................................................158 The Crucible. Act I, p. 7 9..................................................................159 The Crucible. Act I, p. 8 9 ..................................................................160 Hello Out There, p. 1 ....................................................................... 163 Hello Out There, p. 1 6 ..................................................................... 164 Hello Out There, p. 2 6 ..................................................................... 164 Hello Out There, p. 3 7 ..................................................................... 165 Hello Out There, p. 9 ....................................................................... 165 Hello Out There, p. 5 5 ..................................................................... 166 Hello Out There, p. 4 6 ..................................................................... 166 The Sweet Bye and Bye. Act I, Scene 1, p.3 0 ....................................168 The Sweet Bye and Bye. Act I, Scene 1, p.2 5 ....................................168 The Sweet Bye and Bye. Act I, Scene 1, p. 7 .....................................169 The Sweet Bye and Bve. Act I, Scene 2, p.6 5 ................................... 170 The Sweet Bye and Bve, Act I, Scene 2, p.8 9 ................................... 170 The Sweet Bye and Bve. Act I, Scene 1, p.1 8 ....................................171 xiv

3-103. 3-104. 3-105. 3-106. 3-107. 3-108. 3-109. 3-no. 3-111. 3-112. 3-113. 3-114. 3-115. 3-116. 3-117. 3-118. 3-119. 3-120. 3-121. 3-122. 3-123.

Lizzie Borden, Act I, p. 3 9 ..................................................................172 Lizzie PpKfcn, Act II, p. 9 8 ................................................................. 173 Lizzie Borden, Act I, p. 7 1 ..................................................................173 Lizzie Borden, Act III, p. 109............................................................. 173 Lizzie Borden. Act I, p. 4 ....................................................................174 Lizzie Borden, Act I, p. 164................................................................174 Lizzie Borden. Act I, p. 122................................................................ 175 My.Hearts In the Highland?/ p. 2 1 5 .................................................. 176 My Hearts In the Highlands, p. 7 6 .................................................... 177 My .Hearts In the Highlands; p. 8 4 .................................................... 178 Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. 34................................ 178 Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. l ..................................179 Captain Tinks of the Horse Marines. Act II, p. 116.............................179 Captain links,,Q.f the. Horse Marines, Act III, pp. 316-17.................... 180 Captain Tinks of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. 70................................ 180 Captain links of the Horse Marines, Act II, p. 157.............................181 Captain links of the Horse Marines, Act II, p. 118.............................181 Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. 91................................ 182 Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act III, p. 269............................182 Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. 64................................ 183 The Scarf, p. 1 .....................................................................................184 xv

3-124. 3-125. 3-126. 3-127. 3-128. 3-129. 3-130. 3-131. 3-132. 3-133. 4-1. 4-2. 4-3. 4-4. 4-5. 4-6. 4-7. 4-8. 4-9. 4-10. 4-11.

The Scarf, p. 6 8 .....................................................................................185 The Scarf, p. 2 6 ..................................................................................... 185 The Scarf, p. 1 9 ..................................................................................... 186 I h S a i p .l6 ..................................................................................... 186 Summer and Smoke. Act I, Scene 4, p. 113......................................... 187 Summer and Smoke. Act I, Scene 6, p. 170......................................... 188 Summer and Smoke. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 4 ........................................... 188 Summer and Smoke. Prologue, p. 5 ................................................... 189 Summer and Smoke. Prologue, p. 2 ................................................... 190 Summer and Smoke. Act I, Scene 5, p. 135......................................... 190 The Indian Princess, p. 33-4.................................................................195 The Indian Princess, p. 1 4 ................................................................... 196 Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish, quoted in Yankee-Doodle-Doo. p. 1 2 7 197

Pocahontas, quoted in Yankee-Dookle-Doo. p. 1 2 8 .......................... 197 Poia. Act I, p. 34 ................................................................................... 200 Poia. Act I, p. 48 .................................................................................. 201 Poia. Act II, p. 58 ................................................................................. 202 Poia. Act II, p. 65 ....................................................... 202

Poia. Act I, pp. 100-1 ............................................................................203 Poia. Act II, pp. 110-11.........................................................................204 Poia. Act I, p. 6 .................................. xvi 205

4-12. 4-13. 4-14. 4-15. 4-16. 4-17. 4-18. 4-19. 4-20. 4-21. 4-22. 4-23. 4-24. 4-25. 4-26. 4-27. 4-28. 4-29. 4-30. 4-31. 4-32.

Natoma. Act II, Scene 1,p. 108 ............................................................. 208 Natoma. Act II, p. 241 .......................................................................... 209 Natoma. Act I, Scene 4, p. 8 3 .............................................................. 210 Natoma. Act II, p. 261.......................................................................... 211 Natoma. Act III, p. 271......................................................................... 212 Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 1 5 ............................................................... 213 Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 2 0 ............................................................... 213 Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 2 6 ............................................................... 214 Natoma. Act I, Scene 3, p. 7 0 ............................................................... 215 Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 1 6 ............................................................... 215 Natoma. Act 1, Scene 2, p. 5 8 ............................................................... 216 Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 4 3 ............. 216

Narcissa, Act II, Scene 1, p. 85 ............................................................220 Narcissa. Act II, Scene 2,p. 101...........................................................220 Narcissa. Act I, Scene 2, p. 113............................................................. 221 Narcissa. Act I, Scene 1, p. 87 .............................................................. 221 Narcissa. Act II, Scene 2,p. 138 ...........................................................222 Narcissa. Act IV, p. 260 ...................................................................... 223 Narcissa. Act IV, p. 210.......................................................................224 Narcissa. Act I, p. 12............................................................................. 225 Narcissa. Act III, p. 171......................................................................... 226 xvii

4-33. 4-34. 4-35. 4-36. 4-37. 4-38. 4-39. 4-40. 4-41. 4-42. 4-43. 4-44. 4-45. 4-46. 4-47. 4-48. 4-49. 4-50. 4-51. 4-52. 4-53.

Shanewis. Scene 1, p. 27 .................................................................. 234 Shanewis. Scene 1, p. 34 ...................................................................235 Shanewis. Intermezzo, p. 69 ............................................................ 235 Shanewis. Scene 2, p. 99 ................................................................... 236 Shanewis. Scene 2, p. 101-2.............................................................. 236 Shanewis. Scene 1, pp. 101-2............................................................237 Shanewis. Scene 2, p. 118 ................................................................. 237 The Sunset Trail. Scene 2 .................................................................. 239 The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 54......................................................... 240 The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 39......................................................... 241 The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 37......................................................... 241 The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 48 ........................................................ 242 The Legend of Wewahste, Act II, Scene 3, p. 12................................ 247 The Legend of Wewahste. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 4 ................................. 247 The Legend of Wewahste. Act I, Scene 1, p. 20 ................................ 248 TheLegend of Wewahste. Act II, Scene 2, p. 11................................ 249 The Legend of Wewahste. Act II, Scene 3, p. 38................................ 249 The Legend of Wewahste. Act II, Scene 1, p. 40................................ 249 The Legend of Wewahste. Act II, Scene 1, p. 42 ............................... 250 Alglak/ Act I, p. 33...........................................................................253 Alglala, Prologue, p. 11 ................................................................... 253 xviii

4*54. 4-55. 4-56. 4-57. 4-58. 4-59. 4-60. 4-61. 4-62. 4-63. 4-64. 4-65. 4-66. 4-67. 4-68. 4-69. 4-70. 4-71. 4-72. 4-73. 4-74.

Aiglala. Prologue, p. 3 ..................................................................... 254 Aiglala. Prologue, p. 4 ..................................................................... 254 Aiglala. Act I, p. 52 ......................................................................... 255 Aiglala. Act I, p. 37.......................................................................... 255 Aiglala. Act I, p. 78 .......................................................................... 256 Aiglala. Act I, p. 37 ......................................................................... 256 Aiglala. Act I, p. 25...........................................................................256 Aiglala. Act II, p. 120 ....................................................................... 257 Aiglala. Act II, p. 107 ....................................................................... 257 The Chilkoot Maiden, p. 43 ............................................................. 260 The Chilkoot Maiden, pp. 4-5...........................................................260 The Chilkoot Maiden, p. 3 ...............................................................261 Cynthia Parker. Act I I ...................................................................... 263 Hopitu, Act I, Scene 1 ...................................................................... 266 Hopitu. Act I, Scene 2 ...................................................................... 267 Hopiteu. Act I, Scene 1 ....................................................................267 Hopitu. Act III .................................................................................268 Spirit Owl, p. 7 .................................................................................270 Spirit Owl, p. 45 ...............................................................................271 Spirit Owl, p. 33 .............................................................................. 271 Spirit OwL p. 58 .............................................................................. 272 xix

4-75. 4-76. 5-1. 5-2. 5-3. 5-4. 5-5. 5-6. 5-7. 5-8. 5-9. 5-10. 5-11. 5-12. 5-13. 5-14. 5-15. 5-16. 5-17. 5-18. 5-19.

Spirit Owl, p. 3 1 ...................................................................................273 Spirit Owl; p- 25 ................................................................................. 274 Everywoman. Canticle IV ................................................................... 285 Everywoman. Canticle III ................................................................... 286 Everywoman. Canticle I ......................................................................287 The Padrone. Act I, p. 6 ...................................................................... 288 The Padrone. Act I, p. 23 .....................................................................289 The Padrone. Act I, p. 5 .......................................................................289 The Padrone. Act I, p. 9 ...................................................................... 289 The Padrone. Act I, p. 40 .....................................................................290 The Padrone. Act I, p. 40 .....................................................................290 Transatlantic. Act III, Scene 28, p. 309 ............................................... 293 Transatlantic. Act II, Scene 2, p. 128 ................................................... 294 Transatlantic. Act I, Scene 3, p. 5 5 .......................................................295 Transatlantic. Act I, Scene 1, p. 8 .........................................................296 Transatlantic. Act II. Scene 6. p. 208 ...................................................297 The Brothers, Scene 1 .......................................................................... 299 Venus in Africa. Scene 1 ......................................................................300

Venus in Africa, Scene 1 ..................................................................... 300


I k M p l .....................................................................................302

The Wish, p. 29 .................................................................................. 302 xx

5-20. 5-21. 5-22. 5-23. 5-24. 5-25. 5-26. 5-27. 5-28. 5-29. 5-30. 5-31. 5-32. 5-33. 5-34. 5-35. 5-36. 5-37. 5-38. 5-39. 5-40.

Triple Sec, p. 20 .................................................................................. 307 Triple Sec, p. 2 1 ................................................................................... 307 Triple Sec, p. 30 ...................................................................................308 Triple Sec, p. 1 0 ................................................................................... 308 Triple Sec, p. 1 .....................................................................................309 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 7 ............................................................ 313 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 1 ............................................................ 313 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 5 ............................................................ 314 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 2 ............................................................ 314 The Cradle .Will Rock. Scene 6 ............................................................ 315 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 1 ............................................................ 316 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 3 ............................................................ 317 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 3 ............................................................ 317 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 3 ............................................................ 318 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 4 ............................................................ 319 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 4 ............................................................ 319 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 5 ............................................................ 320 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 5 ............................................................. 320 The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 7 .............................................................321 No For An Answer. Act II, Scene 1 ..................................................... 325 No For An Answer. Act II, Scene 6 ..................................................... 326 xxi

5-415-42. 5-43. 5-44. 5-45. 5-46. 5-47. 5-48. 5-49. 5-50. 5-51. 5-52. 5-53. 5-54. 5-55. 5-56. 5-57. 5-58. 5-59. 5-60. 5-61.

No For An Answer, Act I, Scene 1 ...................................................... 327 No For An Answer. Act I, Scene 1 ...................................................... 328 No For An Answer. Act II, Scene 2 ..................................................... 328 No For An Answer. Act II, Scene 5 ..................................................... 329 No For An Answer. Act I, Scene 8 ...................................................... 330 Regina. Act III, p. 173........................................................................... 332 Regina. Act III, p. 186........................................................................... 332 Regina. Act III, p. 202........................................................................... 333 Regina. Act I, p. 73 .............................................................................. 334 Regina. Act II, p. 150 .......................................................................... 334 Regina. Act I, p. 148 .............................................................................335 Regina. Act I, p. 65 ...............................................................................336 Regina. Act III, p. 228...........................................................................336 Regina. Act II, p. 83 ................ 337

Regina. Act III, p. 228...........................................................................338 Street Scene. Act I, p. 34 ..................................................................... 344 Street Scene. Act I, p. 88 ..................................................................... 345 Street Scene. Act II, pp. 202-3 .............................................................. 346 Street Scene. Act I, p. 34 ...................................................................... 347 Street Scene. Act I, p. 27 ..................................................................... 347 Down In the Valiev, p. 70 .................................................................... 349 xxii

5-62. 5-63. 5-64. 5-65. 5-66. 5-67. 5-68. 5-69. 5-70. 5-71. 5-72. 5-73. 5-74. 5-75. 5-76. 5-77. 5-78. 5-79. 5-80. 5-81. 5-82.

Down In the Valley, p. 33 .................................................................350 Down In the Valley, p. 46 .................................................................351 Down In the Valley, p. 46 .................................................................351 Down In the Valley, p. 55 .................................................................352 Down In the Valley, p-1 1 ................................................................ 353 Sandhog, Act III, p. 183 ................................................................... 354 Sandhog. Act III, p. 193 ................................................................... 355 Sandhog. Act III, p. 164 .................................................................. 355 Sandhog. Act I, p. 56 ........................................................................ 357 Sandhog. Act III, p. 193 ................................................................... 358 Sandhog. Act II, pp. 139-40 .............................................................. 359 Sandhog, Act III, p. 173 ....................................................................361 Don't We All, p. 1 ............................................................................ 363 Don't We AU. p. 54 .......................................................................... 363 Don't We All, p. 1 6 ...........................................................................363 A Quiet Place, p. 116........................................................................ 365 A Quiet Place, p. 92 ..........................................................................366 A-QnielElace, p. 157....... 367

A Quiet Place, p. 134 ........................................................................ 368 A Quiet Place, p. 293........................................................................ 369 A Quiet Place, p. 116........................................................................ 370 xxiii

5-83. 5-84. 5-85. 5-86. 5-87. 5-88. 5-89. 5-90. 5-91. 5-92. 5-93. 5-94. 5-95. 5-96. 5-97. 5-98. 5-99. 5-100. 5-101. 5-102. 5-103.

A Quiet Place, p. 101.........................................................................371 A Quiet Place, p. 245 ........................................................................ 372 A Quiet Place, p. 182 .........................................................................373 The Dress, p. 1 0 ............................................................................... 375 The Dress, p. 4 ................................................................................. 376 The Dress, p. 4 ................................................................................. 376 The Dress, p. 26 ................................................................................376 The Dress, p. 1 6 ................................................................................377 Tale for a Deaf Ear, p. 8 ....................................................................378 Tale for a Deaf Ear, p. 26 .................................................................. 379 Tale for a Deaf Ear, p. 38 .................................................................. 380 Tale for a Deaf Ear, p. 48 .................................................................. 380 Tale for a Deaf Ear, p. 55 .................................................................. 380 Sweet Betsy From Pike, p. 6 ..............................................................381 Sweet Betsy From Pike, p. 15............................................................382 A Hand of Bridge, p. 4 ......................................................................383 A Hand of Bridge, p. 7 ......................................................................384 A Hand of Bridge, p. 12.................................................................... 384 A Hand of Bridge, p. 18.................................................................... 385 A Hand of Bridge, p. 1 ......................................................................385 The Depot. Section 1, p. 2A .............................................................. 387 xxiv

5-104.
5-105. 5*106.

The Depot. Section 1, p. 23 .............................................................. 387


The Fire Warden, p. l ..............................................................................388 The Fire Warden, p -1 1 ............................................................................389

5-107.
5-108.

The Fire Warden, p. 2 6 ......................................................................389


Reunion, p. l ............................................................................................ 390

5-109.
5-110.

Reunion, p. 6 ..................................................................................... 390


Collector's Piece, p -1 ..............................................................................391

5-111. 5-112. 5-113.


5-114.

Collector's Piece, p. 31 ......................................................................391 The Loafer and the Loaf. Finale........................................................ 393 The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 1, p. 10......................................... 396
The Outcasts of Poker Ftet, Scene 1, p. 3 ...............................................397 The Outcasts of Poker Flat, Scene 1, p. 4 ........................................... 397

5-115. 5-116. 5-117. 5-118. 5-119.

The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 2, p. 116........................................397 The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 1, p. 3 ........................................... 398 The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 2, p. 70 ........................................ 399 Blood Moon. Act I, Scene 1 ...............................................................401

XXV

pr e f a c e

Opera in America originally consisted of English imports (i.e. Ballad Operas) which were then copied and imitated. Eventually Italian, French and German operatic traditions were added, brought to America with the influx of European musicians and touring companies after the revolutionary war. The history of indigenous American opera during this period was one of "borrowing" traits. During the nineteenth century, progress was made towards a distinctive American style. Increasingly, composers wanted to be inspired by their own history and surroundings and became aware of native elements that could be developed. In the twentieth century American opera has progressed to a full-grown genre, infused with many of these elements hymn, folk, song, Afro-American, ragtime, jazz, Indian, and pop -- and worthy of world-class recognition. As yet, however, very few American operas have entered the permanent repertoire and they generally play second fiddle to foreign operas. In spite of this, many American composers have written operas that have considerable theatrical power, both dramatically and musically, and they deserve more exposure.

The following survey is a basic study of the growth and the trends of American opera, and of the leading proponents of the various elements and styles which have contributed to its growth and development. Information about and scores for the operas chosen came from a variety of sources libraries, publishers, interlibrary loans and from the composers themselves. Some are published and some are not. Hipsher's definition of American opera will serve as the basis for what constitutes an American opera: It shall be measured by the rather flexible rule that it may be any opera written in America, by one who is either a native or who has been long enough resident to have absorbed something of American life.* Although American composers have treated any number of subjects, this study has been limited to those on American subjects because they seem to be, in the main, the most successful (though not exclusively so) at creating a work that is recognized as intrinsically American. The study has divided the operas by the major elements and has tried to give a brief analysis of stylistic traits. There have been several studies which have included American operas. Some of these, such as Gilbert Chase's America's Music From the Pilgrims To the Present and John Tasker Howards Our American Music have surveyed American music in general and have touched on a number of American operas. Others, such as Patricia Virga's The American Opera to 1790 and Deane L. Root's American Popular Stage Music 1860 -1880 have

dealt with specific periods, concentrating on a few chosen works. Other studies have covered a particular aspect, such as Hansonia Caldwell's "Black Idioms In Opera As Reflected In the Works of Six Afro - American Composers," but again have concentrated on a small number of operas. Certain studies of individual composers, such as Corrie Shirley Polk's "Gian Carlo Menotti: A Study of the Man and His Operas include discussions of their operas. In addition, there are books of synopses, such as Quaintence Eatons Opera Production, some of which include the publisher, the ranges and the orchestration. Occasionally these various studies include brief examples from a few of the works covered. Two works solely on American opera are H. Earle Johnson's Operas on American Subjects, which briefly lists operas on American subjects by composers of all nationalities, not just Americans; and Edward Ellsworth Hipsher's American Opera and Its Composers, which is a generalized survey of American opera before the 1920s. This study has tried to be more comprehensive, covering American opera (American themes by American composers) from its inception to the present day and including illustrative examples from the operas, especially those that are difficult to obtain. In so doing it may enable the reader to get a better sense of the operas and to determine which might be of interest for further study. As it turns out, American opera is as much of a melting pot as is American society and culture, drawing from many divergent cultural, ethnic

and period idioms, but ultimately evolving into a style distinctive from any of them. From the initial stages of being imitative, American opera has become something unique that stands on its own.

INTRQPVCTIQN

American opera has had a fairly consistent presence from the earliest times in American history. In the beginning British traditions dominated both the secular and sacred music. In terms of opera, these imports were the Ballad Operas. Ballad Operas were comedies of spoken dialogue interspersed with a succession of familiar airs and duets, as exemplified by John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. This new form was a huge success in Britain for several reasons: the liberal use of familiar and popular tunes which labelled it as "native" as opposed to "foreign" opera; the realism of plot and character; the satire they incorporated; and their variety, both of tunes and topics. Rooted in the vernacular (based on folk or popular music) rather than the classical (art music, usually interpreted by classically trained musicians) they appealed to the general masses. Many of the original Ballad operas came to the Colonies initially via travelling troupes and later via the wealthier "colonials" who performed themselves. The American Ballad operas developed as an off-shoot of the British. Their music was modelled after contemporary English composers (i.e. Arne, Shield, etc.), but the stories and the humor were

American. Some of the American Ballad Operas were so popular that they were successfully exported to Europe. After the American Revolution, the content of the operas began to reflect the American experience. Contemporary events were dramatized with American characters and situations. A new, characteristically American music began to emerge, one which incorporated irregular phrase lengths, folk song elements, a more vigorous rhythm and more harmonic drive. However it was not strong enough to resist the influx of well-trained European musicians. With the expansion of the American economy and the development of a wealthy upper class in the 1800s, the "cultivated" people identified trained European music with " the finer things in life". These musicians excluded the use of "everyday" music (i.e. folk songs, popular music, hymns, etc.) in serious "art" music, and native American composers were, for the most part, too impressed with European styles to escape being dominated. Numerous European singers, conductors and orchestras toured America and frequently many individuals stayed permanently. European operas were performed in New York only two years after their premieres in Europe. Many American musicians studied in Europe in order to gain the desired musical credentials. However, even during this time there "began to be a faint hint of a mood that could be sensed as something American, an intangible spirit,"2 which would gradually become more and more obvious. By the mid 1800s American composers were interested in the possibility of

creating a distinctive American musical character, for as American composer /critic William Henry Fry said in 1852: It is time we had a Declaration of Independence in Art, and laid a foundation for an American school of Painting, Sculpture, and Music. Until this Declaration of Independence in art be made -until American composers shall discard their foreign liveries and found an American School - and until the American public shall learn to support American artists, Art shall not become indigenous to this country.3 Unfortunately at this time American composers had no basis for an indigenous American music as many intellectuals overlooked their vernacular music and believed that there was no distinct American culture. There were a few exceptions, such as George Bristow, whose "compositional Americanism" was "on a path away from European models."4 The Civil War disrupted the search for a national style. It was hoped that it would stimulate a profound national music but it did not. It took the arrival of a visiting foreigner, Antonin Dvfirfik, who lived in New York from 1892 to 1895, to point the way by stressing the importance of the American vernacular music: Stop trying to compose like Europeans. Learn to stand on your own feet. You have beautiful folk songs that express the spirit of your country. Use those as a basis for your music. Only in that way will you become American composers."5 The turn of the century saw a great breakthrough for American opera. The Metropolitan Opera, under the aegis of Giulio Gatti-Cassagga began to produce American operas, starting with Frederick Converse's The Pipe of Desire in 1910. Chicago was also beginning to emphasize American operas.

Some American composers of the early 1900s were fundamentally conservative, their German romanticism tempered with French restraint and Italianate melodies, and had no desire to depart from traditional standards. Opera at the turn of the century also began the first exploration in the use of American Indian music in serious operas. The need for some form of nationalism in American music was considered vital by many composers in the early twentieth century, as typified by Edward MacDowell, who said: What we must arrive at is the youthful optimistic vitality and the undaunted tenacity of spirit that characterizes the American man. That is what I hope to see echoed in American music.6 Indian music was one approach to an authentic American style, and several American composers were of the opinion that the only true American music was Indian, as exemplified by Arthur Farwell and Charles Wakefield Cadman. The 1920s saw the influence of ragtime and jazz on opera both European and American. The majority of American composers interested in jazz idioms approached them from the art music forms. As Copland has stated: I was anxious to write a work that would immediately be recognized as American in character. This desire to be "American" was symptomatic of the period. I had experimented a little with the rhythms of popular music in several earlier compositions, but now I wanted frankly to adopt the jazz idiom and see what I could do with it in a symphonic way.? Jazz found adherents in almost every succeeding generation of American composers and though its influence lessened after the 1920s, it has

9 had a lasting impact on American opera, most specifically on its rhythm. The Stock Market crash of 1929 brought about a corresponding change in music and hence in American opera. The depression led to a desire for social change and an idealization of what seemed simpler. In music this led to a simplified musical language. The focus shifted from the intellectual movements in Paris, back to America. Socially conscious composers, such as George Antheil and Marc Blitzstein argued that "music must have a social as well as an artistic base; it should broaden its scope and reach not only the select few but the masses."8 The threat of World War II at the end of the 1930s induced composers to back away from the more advanced modernism, and this period saw the emergence of folk elements in art music, as they tried to communicate with the mass audience. Many American composers felt as Siegmeister did, that: This folk music, I believe, is the living link between creative art and the people. I should like to see more and more Americans turning to it - - 1 do not suggest that an interest in our folk music should replace the classics - far from it. The two types can develop together; indeed they should if America is to attain the full musical development of which she is capable.? After World War II, the presence of foreign intellectuals, such as Weill, Hindemith, Krenek, Bartok, Schfinberg, Milhaud and Stravinsky, who had fled to America to escape Fascism, stimulated an interest in advanced compositional techniques in the new generation of American composers. This was a period of international innovation, and experimentation, with American composers in the forefront. Eventually this has led to a period of

10 internationalism, in which every opera -- traditionalist, primitive, intellectual, abstract- is uniquely personalized. All these influences - Ballad Opera, grand opera, traditional opera, American Indian music, ragtime and jazz, socialism, folk music and abstraction have played their part to create "American" music.

NOTES: PREFACE AND INTRODUCTION 1. Edward Ellsworth Hipsher, American Opera and Its Composers (Philadelphia, PA: Theodore Presser, Co., 1927), 16. 2. Ibid. 3. William Henry Fry, quoted in, Barbara Zuck, A History of Musical Americanism (Ann Arbor, Michigan: U.M.I. Research Press, 1980), 18. 4. Henry Bristow, quoted in, Barbara Zuck, Musical Americanism. 37. 5. Antonin Dv6r6k, quoted in, Joseph Machlis, American Composers of Our Time (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1963), xi. 6. Edward MacDowell, quoted in, John Tasker Howard, Our American Music (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1966), 327. 7. Aaron Copland, quoted in, Zuck, Musical Americanism. 84. 8. Ronald L. Davis. A History of Music In American Life, vol. 3 (Florida: Krieger Publishing Co., 1981), 178. 9. Elie Siegmeister, quoted in Davis, Music in American life, vol. 3,178

CHAPTER I THE BEGINNINGS: BALLAD OPERAS

Music has always played a significant role in American life. In fact, the second book ever published in this country was the Bay Psalm Book in 1640. From as early as 1730, there were public concerts, potpourris of both light and serious music, supported by the "planter aristocracy", the literate, educated people who were trying to emulate British culture and who eventually became authors of "home grown works". The English considered "opera" any stage work with a substantial amount of singing. Since the English were more comfortable with less ostentatious works, their Ballad Opera grew out of pastorals and pantomimes. These new works were originally satirical comic opera, made up of spoken dialogue interspersed with spicy topical lyrics. Most often they depicted people and situations from the lower and middle classes, thereby making them more relevant for the typical audience. Unlike Italian opera, these new works incorporated simple strophic melodies and folk-tunes, with little elaborate vocal, harmonic or orchestral ornamentation. The accompaniment usually consisted of small string ensembles and continuo, with the occasional wind obbligato. With the overwhelming success of The Beggars Opera in 12

13 1728 the Ballad Opera emerged as the most popular form of entertainment in England. In America, the first theatres were built in Williamsburg and New York in 1732 and others swiftly followed. Since Ballad Opera was at its peak in Britain at this time, it is no surprise that it quickly came to America. The first recorded performance of Ballad Opera in America was Flora; or Hob In the Well, performed in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1735. From then on Ballad Opera reigned supreme. American operas in the eighteenth century were styled directly after their English counterparts although American composers quickly adapted this genre with their own tunes and brands of humor. Due to their imitation of European trends, none of these works had any impact outside of America; nonetheless, many of the operas are expressive and skillful and their composers played a vital role in the establishment of "American" music. Barton The first extant opera of American authorship and also the only pre revolutionary opera on a native subject is The Disappointment: or The Force of Credulity, published in 1767 in Philadelphia and written by "Andrew Barton", a pseudonym for James Ralph, who was a friend of Benjamin Franklin. Scheduled for April 18, 1767, and billed as "the new American comic opera"1, it was withdrawn at the last minute because "it contained personal reflections that rendered it unfit for the stage. "2 It was feared that its

14 political satire of a British official and its ridicule of several readily identifiable prominent Philadelphians would cause further trouble for the theatre troupe already under attack for the "immorality and depravity of theatre life."3 As Barton states in the preface, it was originally written solely for the enjoyment of the author and his friends and "to vindicate my conduct...the story is founded on matter of fact, transacted near this city, not long since and recent in the memory of thousands."* The libretto, in two acts with a prologue and epilogue, though a little risque and coarse in parts, is nevertheless full of real wit and social satire. Although the plot is superficially simple, it is developed with an instinctive theatrical effectiveness. Patricia Virga calls it "an outstanding example of fertile American creativity at the time of its early gestation."5 The basic plot revolves around greed: four humorists Hum, Parchment, Quadrant and Rattletrap-gather in a tavern and conspire to embarrass four dupes--the "old debaucher" Raccoon, the "avaricious" Washball, Trushoop and McSnip-by devising a story about Blackbeard's buried treasure and fabricating a map to show where it is hidden. The dupes, after paying a hefty sum for the map, signing a secrecy pact and even invoking Blackbeard's ghost, eventually dig up a chest only to find it filled with stones. There are two sub plots: the first involves Lucy, Washball's niece, and Meanwell, an impoverished gentleman who is forbidden by Washball to

15 marry Lucy. Their romance progresses despite Washball's ban and they elope, but are forgiven when Meanwell inherits his rich uncle's fortune. The second sub plot concerns Raccoon's mistress, Moll Plackett and her lover Toppinlift, who plan to run away together as soon as Racoon makes her rich. This brings about one of the most risque scenes which arises from the trouble that ensues when Raccoon surprises Plackett while she is entertaining Toppinlift in her bedroom. Toppinlift jumps under her bed and is trapped there until Plackett fools Raccoon and engineers Toppinlift's escape The epilogue then consists of the whole company singing a moral, as appropriate today as then, showing: The folly of an over credulity and desire of money, and how apt men are (especially old ones) to be unwarily drawn into schemes where there is but the least shadow of gain; and concludes with these observations, that mankind ought to be contented with their respective stations, to follow their vocations with honesty and industry, the only sure way to gain riches.6 The writing is raised above the usual conventions by its deftness, both comical and serious. As was common in ballad opera tradition the character names are metaphors for their professions. Thus Quadrant, also the name of an instrument, is an instrument maker; Parchment is a scrivener; McSnip a tailor; Trushoop a barrel maker; Washball a barber; Toppinlift (a piece of sailing tackle) a sailor; and, the most colorful of all, Plackett-common slang for vagina a whore. Not only does Barton poke fun at the middle-aged, prominent men as dupes, he also pokes fun at their nationalities and accents. McSnip is

16 obviously Scottish, "awa - begone ye scoondrels ~ oot o1my hoose thas menute."? Trushoop has an Irish brogue, "myself will build a Chappel, and help the poor preasts, who haven't a tootful to put in their mouts."* Washball is English, "I shall be called Sir John Washball Esquire, Knight of the most nobel order of the Golden Fleece."^ Raccoon is probably Dutch or German, "Do1I'm an old man, dad I've strengt in de back, and marrow in de bone, dat Mrs. Plackett can testify. "10 He also satirizes people's religion and superstitions, especially free masonry (all the original models were masons) as in the Blackbeard's ghost scenes and magic as in Plackett's bedroom where she pretends to practice magic supposedly to help Raccoon but in reality to allow Toppinlift to escape as a "spirit" with her petticoats over his head. Musically, the opera consists of 18 songs and one country dance. Because the tunes were already extant only the texts were included with the tune indication: Act I Title Air 1. In All The Town Air 2. Behold You Sung by: Quadrant Rattletrap To the music of: "I am a Brisk and Lively Lass" "The Bloom of May"

Air 3. Now Let Us Join Hands Parchment "How Blest Has My Time Been" Air 4. O How Joyful Raccoon "Yankee Doodle" "Shambuy" "The Bonny Broom"

Air 5. Tho I Hate the Old Wretch Plackett Air 6. I'se Cut Out McSnip

17 Air 7. My Dear Air 8. 'Tis Money Air 9. By Saint Patrick Air 10. The Merchant Roams Act II Air 11. No Girl With Plackett Toppinlift Air 12. Oh! When I get to Welt Raccoon "Nancy Dawson" "The Lass O' Patie'sWill" Mean. & Lucy "My Fond Shepherds, etc." McSnip Trushoop Rattletrap "Over The Hills & Far Away" "Chiling OGuirey" "The Jolly Toper"

Air 13. Sure Gold is the Jewel Mrs. Plackett "Black Joke and Band So W hite" Air 14. Tho' My Art Air 15. My Throbbing Heart Air 16. What A Fool I Was Air 17. Ah, Who is me Air 18. Banish Sorrow Epilogue: Excuse me Rattletrap "Granby"

Lucy & Mean."Kitty, the Nonpareille" Trushoop Washball "The Milking Pail" "Ah! Who Is Me, Poor Walley"

Mean. & Lucy "Jolly Bacchanalian" "Country Dance" h

Because the author tried to find songs appropriate to each character and situation there is great variety. For example, McSnip expresses his political ambition to a swaggering Scots song "The Bonny Broom," and Trushoop rejoices in their fortune in three long verses to the Irish tune "Chiling O Guirey." Racoon (the name for a militia man) gives us the first operatic version of "Yankee Doodle" (Figure 1-1), one of America's earliest tunes associated with the military and later associated with the revolution.

18

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Figure 1-1: The Disappointment, vol. 2, p. 3 Toppinlift sings about Plackett to the hornpipe "Nancy Dawson/' a song about a dancer, the last line of which he borrows: "there's none like Nancy Dawson" becomes "there's none like Moll Plackett." The most ambitious and musically interesting numbers belong to Lucy and Meanwell, two of their duets being set to art songs by Thomas Arne. In Air Number 7, set to the tune "My Fond Shepherds/' not only is the music the most sophisticated, the lyrics are as well (Figure 1 - 2).

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20

Their second duet, "My Throbbing Heart," is also more fluid than most of the numbers both in the music and the lyrics. The Disappointment was revised in the 1780s. It was expanded to three acts, with extra characters and an added sub-plot. However, since all references to the British government and most of the political speeches were deleted because of the American Revolution, it became less satirical and therefore significantly less interesting. The literary style of the revised version is noticeably different from that of the original. It is much more genteel and sophisticated, and the coarse language of the original has been cleaned up, thus causing it to lose its original vibrancy and its genuinely American energy. It is interesting to note that it was later successfully revived in its original form in 1937, by the Brooklyn Suitcase Theater, a production sponsored by the Federal Theater Project. Ben Pussak, upon reviewing it indicated: The story does not lag despite numerous scenes. In general the subject matter is indigenously early American and is well handled, giving to the play more than just historical interest.12 The same forces that led to the withdrawal of The Disappointment eventually brought about the anti-theatre act in 1774. Beginning in 1764, moral prejudice discouraged the growth of theatrical centers. From 1768 to 1774, all theatrical activity declined. During the American Revolution (1775 1781), the theater was identified with Britain and was considered contrary to

21

the political sentiment of the day. Theaters became inactive and companies were disbanded or exiled. Of these companies, "The American Company", established in 1752, was the most important. Its members chose to go into exile, first to Jamaica, then to London, until the overthrow of the British and peace in the 1780s led to the repeal of the anti-theatre act. "The American Company" then returned to the United States as the "Old American Company" and set up a circuit, presenting shows in New York, Baltimore and Boston. Although rival groups sprang up, each with their own composers, the "Old American Company" seemed to engage the most noteworthy and creative talents of this genre, who came to live in America. Alexander Reinagle, Raynor Taylor, James Hewitt, Victor Pelissier, and Benjamin Carr to name a few, were all transplanted composers who chose their librettists from the more educated classes of Americans the doctors, lawyers, painters, grocers, etc. Reinagle Bom to Austrian parents in England in 1756, the same year as Mozart, Alexander Reinagle was, like Mozart, a "jack-of-all instruments," playing harpsichord, piano, violin, flute, trumpet and cello. Coming to New York in 1786, he joined the "Old American Company" for which he wrote several operas, most notably Columbus, or a World Discovered, written in 1797, the score of which is lost, and The Volunteers (1795), a comic two-act with a text by Mrs. Rowson. Most of his operas were existing plays to which he added

22

original music. The reach of his career is not yet fully known, but he was noted for his high standards and his rich melodious style and seems to have been a positive influence on the American musical scene. Taylor Raynor Taylor {ca. 1747 in England), an organist, director of SadlersWells Opera Company and one-time teacher of Reinagle, followed his pupil both to America in 1792, and to the Old American Company. Despite all his activities as a composer, organist and teacher and being called the finest organist in America and one of the most accomplished musicians in this or any country,"i3 he died in poverty in Philadelphia in 1825. Unfortunately, most of Taylor's works have been lost. There are only fragments left from The American Tale: or the Press Gang Repeated (1812), notably the song "Independent and Free" which remained popular throughout the nineteenth century and The Grev Mare's Best Horse, which dealt with marital relations and included the numbers "A Breakfast Scene a Month After Marriage" and "Chin Chet Quaw", a comic trio about Chinese manners. His only complete opera to survive is Buxom loan, originally begun in 1778, and then rewritten in 1792, along American patriotic lines. It tells the story of Joan, who refuses the tinker, the tailor and the soldier, and chooses to wait for the return of her sailor, much against her mother's advice. In order to get rid of them, Joan causes her suitors to fight each other. The fight is

23 stopped by the sailor's entrance. However all four decide to go and defend their country, and the opera ends with a rousing patriotic chorus. Quite charming musically, Buxom loan is filled with comic touches. The libretto, by Thomas Willet, (his only known work) uses amusing slang, such as "wishy-washy" (Figure 1 - 3) and many unusual descriptive terms, such as "to cabbage" a term tailors used for the act of stealing extra material from their clients.

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24

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my

ir r 1j J i --J i-H -:

Figure 1-4: Buxom loan, p. 33 The dialogue flows easily and the situations introducing each character are theatrically effective. The score defines the characters well musically. For example, the tailor's music is full of clipped notes, just like the snipping of his scissors (Figure 1 - 5).

1 K tokrcr r
die. poor

+ i

. i

! Snip.poor Snip m ust KV K., K

J dlel -I I if \ J k
1 1

L w

- * * t * } ___ r J

V f t -gi-S* P

f L J ..... o ---------4 :> n.

J-fr=

-J1 J 1 J 1

Figure 1-5: Buxom loan, p. 39 When the tinker sings, you hear an appogiatura figure which represents the clanging pots (Figure 1 - 6).

25

TINKER

CsJ~~f vL^ 1+.P1 J > . U - l - M f t ] . -i^ = F i - J - J - a ------ 9* J j J j 'h "t i d p i 9 0 1 0 1 i- --i I ^ J 3 r j j r L * tf'C f / I . . . . \=f,-----------------------J"* ] to J jw to L to- a t - 9 budr get i rI'drtoll. I'd J = fe*nk and _itng ilng w tth_ a.... i9 - j i Ji 4 n J0 " J ' 1 -t j*= ph \-------I
II m y ouid butunUa #h_rny |oan w ... I j

r ......
Figure 1-6: Buxom loan, p. 32 The sailor, on the other hand, is more rhythmically strong (Figure 1 -7).

SAILOR

'Tli lor land m en to prate, tough hon- tM tar,

tuch Juit

ht_fltng lhate, lan-

to

Figure 1-7: Buxom loan, p. 52 The soldier naturally sings to a march style (Figure 1 - 8).

26

|./ < r t = r

r r - J r r --------------M 0

Figure 1-8: Buxom loan. p. 41 Contrasted with these characters' music is Joan's, which is more graceful, especially the second aria, a sort of condensed sonata form, reminiscent of Mozart (Figure 1 - 9).

i ik-y - f l r h - D It A iJ
........ Wh>l in

1't =
my

I- 1 fflU-J-H
tu n lot, ..........

lift's

fu-

w
J

1 f4 ? = = i r t -------1 Si H
P

I S
J
3

-i -:i 1 1
1

* 1

_m----T=f=^=

, J - *

p ^ = 1 = 3 r ^|L -r ^ o m e o r j sttlt ly d I^ J) J) | J-j J J-----'H I* J i 1 i1 1 13 ---- j-------11 1 $ - 1 g ^ i i


humb it 1

-*

.1

1 *

'^ - 3

Figure 1-9: Buxom loan, p. 28 Other influences include Handel, as in the mother's aria (Figure 1-10), and J,C. Bach, as in the trio (Figure 1-11), whose simple counterpoint, with the

strong entry of each line achieves an effect of brawling.


h n 11 ------- v L y ------------J could t ra- call_ lha put Ima, and Ilka you wara_ fust__ In my M i.h 1 J j pi * J ... C

if

\y *

rt

i Oh,

' # F F = t

r-r
^

r r

p
1

..

-#----------.r...... _ I Er .,.f LT t T

==*

^ ------- ---- ------prim*_ _ lha

1 man

U lhal

-* L#f-------------- - -=* lovad_ at mv laat, my 1

fy

.. i

F * = f 3 = T = F T = ---------- 1 -------------- $ J N> * = ... - f e L = j = = t i = t o = t = ^ t =

!----------* ----------

..* + y -

-t = 3 - . j = ; U tup- pi- nasi


j

r f e U = * would_ _

r
to com-

1a j | jilt*

---------b my

J i t

S - U

--------------- ~------------- t - i _ - r = :L j

^
n i i || ----------j -

iii u - ^

----------- -

-=-* r
i

*
H

> ihapfI f L pi-

t T J - 1 ^ com] >latal ~ rF

nat*____
p

would____ to

p i , .

- f = f ----------- tjf-------------- r J ------- ^ ---- : -----

F ~

-M*

* )!t

f ---- 0 m " . p-------L - J -------V

-j f -

j j

'i

Figure 1-10: Buxom loan, p. 19

T A IL O R

T IN K E R

Dninkansotl

Show yourjcard

Bul-ly bluff, fhow

i f JL f-r
SOLDIER

Snuak-lng assl

Pol-

troonLSnMkHng MriConw

Bra- t i fecal G* bag* haadl

won_ dar you dara

lo_

hop*

10

i
your scard

* u

f
bohind

show

Show your scant

laid

coma, both coma;

Pairoon Snaak-lng assl Coma coma

both

coma,

I'll

hopa

fonuc-cass

Bracan

fecal Cat* bag* haadl I

won-

dar you

Figure 1-11: Buxom loan, p. 50 The recitatives are welj paced and flow easily (Figure 1 -12).

JOAN

To Mama sat-Ilad

ts a mothai'scara;

taa

mlna tochooaa; to (or* myw*l tor-

Q-J-J] |J]. JJ. Jj. jniCrtflp trp


ir. I can Ilka nahar sol-dlar tln-kar Ul lor If aa rl I m arry'Iw llltaU an, lha

I
i
M O TH ER
I-lor

Sailors youknow ara

van much lo

roam;

V f f rl
avar ha comas homa aIf ha ahould, par- hapa ha'll prova (alaa-

j j

i'

I j

j
p

Figure 1-12: Buxom loan. p. 23 Typical of its time, Taylor's score alternates between set pieces with orchestral accompaniment and secco recitatives. The overture has two

30 movements in keeping with many overtures of the Eighteenth Century which were most often conceived as independent compositions. All in all the easy flow and coherent style, along with the many contrasts, make this a fine stage-work which has been revived successfully in the 1970s and 80s. Hewitt James Hewitt (1768-1827) was another Englishman recruited by the "Old American Company" the same year as Taylor, 1792. He worked as a violinist, composer, arranger, teacher, organist, conductor, music publisher and over all director of the military bands. All of his six children and three of his grandchildren also went into music, thereby making the Hewitts quite an influence on American culture. Among his extant works are 12 ballad operas. His most important work is Tammany: or The Indian Chief, written in 1794 on a libretto by Anne Kemble Hatton. Sometimes called the first "truly American opera" because its story is the first on the North American Indian, Tammany: or The Indian Chief was produced in New York on April 11,1794. Though the story has certain dramatic possibilities and the music contains some authentic Indian themes, it was actually conceived as anti-federalist propaganda. The story line is: Tammany, a noble chieftain, loves Manana. Ferdinand, a member of Columbus's band attempts to steal her, but is prevented by Tammany. In revenge Ferdinand arranges for Tammany and Manana to be buried alive in their wigwam by the Spaniards while the helpless Indians intone a dirge for their honored leader and his squaw.14

Most of the music has been lost. However, the few numbers remaining show music typical of the time-simple strophic songs with classical gracefulness. One piece, "The Sun Sets in the Night" (Figure 1-13), is an adaptation of "Alknomook", the death song of the Cherokee Indians. Gleason calls it "a short, strophic air, completely devoid of Indian flavor, which Hewitt borrowed for inclusion in the work."15

Sun Sots at night

and tn

*m

shun tlwday;

but

P
doly remain* whan the light fade*

j - m
wmf.
Bi

i i

gin

ytlor man-ton your

-F F -T T

t
* "09
threat* a rt In vain, tor the

^ P P
Son

at ALK NO NOOK tha I ntv- tr cam-plain

w m

i
Figure 1-13: Tammany, in Music In America, p. 213

32 This song survived because it was one of the more popular songs known in almost every American drawing room in the early nineteenth century. The libretto itself is impossibly flowery, especially for Tammany and Manana, which makes it too fanciful by today's standards. Tammany Fury swells my aching soul, Boils and maddens in my veins; Fierce contending passions roll Where Manana's image reigns. Hark! her shrill cries through the dark woods resound) She struggles in lust's cruel arm sMy bleeding bosom, my ears how they wound, And fill ev'ry pulse with alarms. Come, revenge! my spirit inspire, Breathe on my soul thy frantic fire, O'er each nerve they impulse roll, Breathe they spirit on my soul. Manana At early dawn to rouse the chase, Or active join the flying race; To climb the mountain's awful brow, Or swim the rapid stream below, Beneath the wave to dive for shell, To deck my mossy couch or cell; All these are sweet, but not to me So sweet as is my Tammany. At eve to lure the finny prey, As thro' their coral groves they stray, Or, on the ousy banks supine, They in the radiant sun beams shine; Beneath the moon's pale light to rove, The aloed wood or palmy grove; These, these are sweet, but not to me So sweet as my T a m m a n y .1 6

33 Other American-subject operas by Hewitt include Columbus (1799) and The Tars from Tripoli (1806), notable for a drinking song which became "The Star Spangled Banner", the American national anthem. Pelissier, Dunlop The "Old American Company" also had some French transplants, most notably Victor Pelissier, the foremost of the French musicians to settle in America. By 1800, he had written 28 stage works, most of them extravaganzas. He used many American libretti by William Dunlop, a true American since he was bom in New Jersey in 1766. A professional painter by the age of 16, Dunlop had gone to study painting in London in 1784, but while there he became enamored of the theatre. He returned to America in 1786 and wrote at least one play a year until 1796, when he assumed part-ownership of the "Old American Company". He resumed painting when the Company went bankrupt in 1805, becoming a professor at the New York Academy. For Pelissier, Dunlop wrote: Sterne's Maria, inspired by Sterne's Sentimental Journey and produced Jan. 1, 1789; The Launch: or Huzza for the Constitution (1798), a patriotic opera written in honor of the frigate, "Constitution," in 1798 and containing a scene representing its launching, complete with views of Charleston, Massachusetts; and The Glorv of Columbia, one of the first native tragedies to be written, introducing Washington in music for the first time and incorporating another version of "Yankee Doodle".

34 A Yankee boy is trim and tall, And never over fat, Sir, At dance or frolic, hop and ball, He's nimble as a gnat, Sir. Yankee Doodle! fire away! What Yankee boy's afraid, Sir? Yankee Doodle was the tune At Lexington was played, Sir.i? Most of Pelissier's music has disappeared; the few pieces that remain exhibit a gracefulness, full of classical fluidity (Figure 1-14) and appogiaturas (Figure 115).

Take.

May

but.

dlt-

|J
V
------ -------f pair-

=gX ------ vtf r r \ f -----lho dls pair__

> f-T F 1
has

r i'f

-- f -- m f - prey i has seizd his

itio

dls-

pair

hasselz-chis

r ----------- t-------------------------------seiz'd his _ prey

seizc

= f

-4

his

--

prey

Figure 1-14: Sterne's Maria, in Yankee-Doodle-Doo. p. 60

35

Us

who

coun- try's

his coun-

a-proud- ly

M * * * #
tn

p m

coun- liy1 * hon-

i m

cr

proud-

glo- ri-ous (*r

must neer cortw a n tn near ar

ih* hawt

that

iA * t J T T te ^
5

Figure 1-15: The Glory of Columbia, in Yankee-Doodle-Doo. p. 73 All his works seem to have been very extravagant, the most ambitious being Fourth of lulv: Temple of American Independence, which Howard calls "a splendid allegorical musical
d ra m a ,

its finale includes a panoramic

view of the lower part of Broadway and the shipping in Battery Harbor. Dunlop, the librettist, was also a composer, best known for Darbys Return, a verse play which is basically a conversation describing Darby's

36 travels as a soldier, presented by the Old American Company in 1789. It is said that George Washington was "greatly pleased by the work though distinctly embarrassed by a portion of the play which eulogized him."*9 The music is very folk-like (Figure 1-16).

it
j-J
off

Wa

had

bat-

loon

I Kara,

at

-J - r 4 f - ^
a church, tlri, and whan II wa wara toft in tha lurch, tlrt, For whlla wa

want

i , .K M ..if ..g g ^

i
watchIng Ilka sportsm an lor plover. Tha

f - r - f - t
tin*n look Hr*, and cftd u* all o Vf,

Figure 1-16: Darbys Return, in Yankee-Doodle-Doo. p. 48

37 Some histories will consider this work as the first truly American opera, since both libretto and music are the first by a native-born American. Markoe Pelissier was not the only French-American composer. Peter Markoe (1752-1792), a member of a socially prominent French Huguenot family that settled in Philadelphia in 1771, is most noted for his comic opera The Reconciliation: of The Triumph of Nature, produced in Philadelphia in 1790, Markoe, described as a convivial, often intoxicated, weak and black sheep of a socially prominent family, sometimes in debt or faced with jail,20 used his writing to advocate his anti-federalist leanings. The Reconciliation. derived from Gessner's Erastus. an allegory on the moral virtues of charity, honesty and repentance, pointedly attacks the excesses of the rich and is filled with many sentimental ideas in long soliloquies. The lack of humor and unbelievable virtuousness of the characters clashes with the cheerful, simplistic music. Most of the tunes are borrowed, with the exception of the songs sung by Amelia and Wilson (Figure 1-17), which are much more interesting, having a wider range, more ornamentation and more dissonance.

k W n Hnar

U a :p

n ton A

Uuh<

. ^ = = 1 - f -----j -----j -----j -----f ~ ^

- F

l a r ffH ~
too. u ^ IT i > s y 'r ,n) \) proa- pads

r ~ r f t =F=E i r_ j I Grtal n < 5 m m our t= ... - j " U " = ) t - .... ["* i H

i 1

---- j -----*----- f ----- i ------- r 6 \H > boa i ^ , n - r loma rand- tng, f r

> 1

1 liijhl- ar

i d K |? J .j P f r = now wa viaw. 6

---- i i - A - f 6

l>-= , 1 = J P * -H t * = = i - * /7 6 6 4 ^ i -v z''--- \ A*** r\ ^ hf- i f * f - f ----- m-----A _E----- 1 ------k , J--------- k- i m j T - r = = U * = f =! Lat hlm,Haav-anl Ihy fav- on (hara M ali* him thy pacf-

Hff f f f f ! r r m"

------------

" > fc:-------- :

* r - ^ =

fA

H J
^

| f f = F = f = ^ = r
r - D -

.- = * = J

>=

Figure 1-17: The Reconciliation. Number 8

39 The importance of this work is twofold: 1) it was the first American opera to have its music appear in a magazine (several of the verses and tunes were published in Philadelphia's Universal Asvlum in 1790); and 2) it was the first American opera to be reviewed in a magazine (the same magazine but a later issue): The Reconciliation: or The Triumph of Nature: a comic opera, in two Acts, by Peter Markoe. Published in Philadelphia. This performance is founded on Erastus. a dramatic piece in one act, written by Gessner. The plan is said to be enlarged, so as to differ considerably from the German production. The plot is perfectly simple. Wilson by marrying Amelia has displeased his father. Neglected by him, and forsaken by his friends, he retired from the world, into an obscure retreat, with his wife and son, a man and maid-servant. Here they remained twelve years struggling with all the evils of poverty, but supporting themselves under their afflictions with the consciousness of innocence. Old Wilson, during a violent illness, became sensible of his unjust and cruel treatment of his children, and determined to find them out. While passing over the mountains, with this intent he is met by honest Simon, Wilson's servant, who, not knowing him, obliges him to deliver him half of his money, conceiving it more consistent with justice to rob a man of superfluous wealth, than to suffer a family to starve. The money he offers to Wilson, and tells him that he received it for him from an unknown friend. But the incoherence of his tale leads Wilson to suspect the truth of it and he at length makes a confession of the robbery. Wilson convinces him of the iniquity of his conduct, and obliges him to set out to find the man whom he has robbed, and to restore the money to him. As he is preparing to do this old Wilson enters to enquire the road, and upon seeing Simon is much alarmed. But his fears are soon removed by Wilson's assurances. By means of a letter the old man drops from his pocket, Simon discovers him to be his master's father; a reconciliation takes place, and all parties are happy. Such a story appears calculated for the pathetic, rather than the humorous. Accordingly, we find the former

40 abounding, and the latter very scantily dispersed. The sentiments are in general fine. The moral inculcated throughout the whole is, a confidence in the ways of Providence, and an adherence to probity and rectitude. The characters are uniformly supported. Wilson is an amiable virtuous man, who in the midst of his afflictions and concern for his wife and child, and all the distresses which have been heaped upon him, suffers not his integrity to be lessened. Amelia is an admirable pattern of conjugal affection, and firm reliance upon the justice of Heaven. This gives to her, in the greatest misfortunes, a tranquility of soul, with which she endeavors to inspire her husband; nor are her attempts fruitless. Their son William, unconnected with the world, talks with the most childish simplicity, at the same time manifesting a virtuous charitable disposition. Simon is a faithful, affectionate servant, who prefers the service of his old master, to a more profitably place, and retires with him into the mountains. He is made sometimes to utter sentiments which seem superior to the situation in which he is placed. Debby is an honest, plain woman. She and her Simon have some little quarrels, but all matters are at last composed between them-Old Wilson manifests sincere contrition for his harsh conduct towards his son. The songs are in general good. Some of them appear to us to possess real excellence; particularly the second, third, sixth, and seventh. What effect this piece would have upon the stage we cannot say. It appears to us, however, that the want of humor, of variety in the dialogue, and the length of some of the soliloquies, render it less fit for the stage than for the closet.21 Brown One of the most interesting and developed of the later Ballad Operas is The Better Sort: or The Girl of Spirit, produced in Boston, dealing largely lightheartedly with political and social satire. It is attributed to William Hill Brown (1767 - 1793), a Boston writer of considerable merit. Bom in Boston in 1767, there is no record of his formal education. In 1789, he was a contributor

to the Massachusetts Magazine and then later to the Columbian Central, the New England Palladium and, in 1792, the North Carolina Journal. At the time of his early death he was studying law in North Carolina. He is most noted as the writer of the first novel by an American, The Power of Sympathy, a portrayal of an illicit relationship between a sister and her brother-in-law. Based on a true scandal, it was suppressed for many years. Set in the home of a middle-class merchant, the story deals with Peter Lovemuch who contracts his daughter, Mira, in marriage to the old and rich Alonzo, to increase his wealth. However, Alonzo is secretly bankrupt and is marrying Mira to recoup his own finances. Mira wishes to marry the penniless Harry. Jenny, Mira's confidant, finally exposes Alonzo's poverty, arranges for Harry to win the lottery and all ends happily with the lovers united. As in The Disappointment, the characters' names reflect their attributes, as in Harry Truelove, Captain Flash and Peter Lovemuch. MEN HARRY TRUELOVE-Entertains a passion for Mira. MR. SENTENTIOUS-A man of good sense, but rather too sentimental. PETER LOVEMUCH-An old man, in love with Alonzo's money. ALONZO HAZARD-In love with Mira's fortune. CAPTAIN FLASH-A British subject-one who loves to belittle America, and to talk about English politics. YORICK-A good natured Yankee, but no taste for dueling-in other respects the fool of the play. WOMEN JENNY-Friend of Mira. Mrs. SENTENTIOUS-Thinks if one has a fortune, one ought to enjoy it-and as she has money, the best way is to set up for one of the better sort.

42 MIRA--Daughter of Lovemuch, she has some esteem for Harry, and is a "Girl of Spirit" SERVANT Again, as in The Disappointment the author pokes fun at various types of Bostonians in the prologue debate about building a playhouse and its moral benefits-the female flirt, the matron, the mechanic, the buck, etc. Later he also makes social comments on the various nationalities-as in Scene 6 where Peter (an American), Captain Flash (a Brit) and Yorick (a Yankee) debate the relative merits of their respective nationalities. He also satirizes social climbers, through the character of Mrs. Sententious, who, in her scenes with Captain Flash, is obsessed with "fine" British manners and proceeds to point up her own lack of refinement by attempting to emulate the "better sort". Of the eighteen musical numbers, seven are written for existing tunes, five of these are from other operas and two (8 and 10) are from popular tunes. Most of these are related by their character (hunting song, drinking song, etc.) or else are parodies (as in 8 and 18), retaining form, rhyme and key words. The other eleven numbers are original. No. 1 2 3 4 5 Verses 1 1 2 3 2 Character Tune Indication First lin e

Mr. Sententious Mrs. Sententious Mr. and Mrs. Sententious Jenny Mira

If you have a smart wife If husbands we have Pardon, O pardon, gentle wife Dear girl, when the mind's of health Had I a heart for How hard the fate of her falsehood fram'd who loves

43 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 4 5 5 6 6 2 2 1 6 2 4 4 1 Dear daughter since wedlock's the balsam of life Maid of the Mill Ye damsels near who've Mira coax'd to be wives Yorick What pleasure can What pleasure can compare A song, a song is the cry Mira of mankind Are you sure the And are you sure the Flash news is true, etc. news is true Mrs. Sententious In the state of marriage Mr. Sententious ~ Betimes instruct the forward youth I have heard that some Alonzo love of wisdom of old All ye who would know Flash how to shuffle thro' life The happy lad who gaily Harry views Here's to the maiden The man who would court Alonzo of bashful fifteen with an impudent face 0 the days when I 0 the day that I was bom Mira was young Harry & Mira We'll nothing now A bumper of good but pleasure liqueur 22 Peter & Mira

All the tunes show a marked homogeneity of style. They are bright and unpretentious, usually in major keys and with symmetrical phrasing. Many employ some use of melodic figures. The general form is an instrumental introduction, followed by a sung repeat of this material, then a contrasting middle section, followed by a recapitulation of the first part. Numbers 5 and 8 are assumably the most important numbers as they were published in 1789. Number 5, "How Hard the Fate" (Figure 1-18), is based upon the tune "Had a Heart" and consists of an introduction (8 bars), a vocal repeat (8 bars) and a codetta (2 bars). Number 8 (Figure 1-19), a parody

on the popular hunting song, "What Pleasure Can", suits the country bumpkin Yankee (at this time meaning a provincial, uneducated farmer) with its energetic and strong rhythm.

f - f

N t 4

= H J "i

..........4 # I1 d

= 8 = fE f c f r f e h

la u

-1 ' - = 4

-*

m - I p - f r f r ^ H bf k l fc jH

n i. T f-J L I---- 1 ---- 4 ---------------- L

r ft ' a f f f r j - t
3
Haw hard

ft

n -fr- = = ft= = it= fc = 4 t= the late bf her who loves, yet ,_r . . . .1 r_ ^ .-t- J ^ .

-A+h----- J --------------------- -f9----------- ,----------- r * y -3

ie-" m -ft ^ H - j must Iter flame con-aial ... How

1r

I iLi g J ' _ * - [f f p l j j j rL^ _friend re- prove* the r ~ i --r ^ L J .- - I

hard when any

^ | ----

si

F kT ^ - i ----------------IP t

K g

p heart they U r

* p -| = # = ought to heal. Thus

fi 6 ...ft-------------"" jrH W T P r : . q e I p H on the Ian- dar bud- ding rose 1f : :: - . P f die

Iv i

:- E = g

/r\
I 1 ,
worm

S 'P~Tlr
cor- roding

lies.

And

Figure 1-18: The Better Sort. Number 5

45

VlVM C*
/ H fia ( <fc I J p "ft------# - p ~ ft "ft t t 4 > - -ft------ft I y r^ " f 1 * L j - * i -----S/m H v |g =

f -tt!.*. a ------------ = -------------- 1 ------

-= -

4 =

^ =

ft f - f = S -^ 7 7 T T

ft 1

' r , : '

/I J If j [ y f r ^ E f r g i= s S

d Tt f t- f t-----F ^ 4 f r h = == i - ~ l < >

t ft rt p p S= V : f r 1 r ; g*a-*ur* tan cam* t~

' =f

T"

IM -

| J

/I

f t*

. e n t f t " = pin to sleigh- Ing m

= with thi

i.~ -H - - i J = ^ = - ^ - g - " * = (air. In the ev-'n-lng (In) the L Jzz ft~ ~ 1 :: 5> = P = --^ ft 11= 1.1----------- 1 5 - T IF1prpr _ d b' " ' h When c _ r g ji, r - H

vi^-t

r - i 1

'------- 1 -------g 7 Synt

/ ijM * m y ^ ^ ev'n- Ing

^ J ----* * -= P - W weal- her Intht cold andlroi- V

= # = f= r ^ r V 1 V -4 1 ---------- 9-------- -* V J= -i

{ ~ r ^ i R 5 * ft 5~ ft = = 5 * --y : P jJ np* Id- ly wi = ^go. =

ffi.

r-rr .

i -------- * = H = fi= l y - r i r - p - ^ m F C tJ ~ glng-le oer the artow, A* wi and Tan... ft f ' "Lw P~ u ft f i f ------:w 6 5 P-------- m-----------

/ r ------------ ft X l'S g^T - : f - ------------ P _ _ : 1 6 n J f c m j J Ur1...

= f t 1 t f . U Hu*z*.

._ .

1
r and y ......- I H tantan

-\------------ J H - n - =- a Hu*II

i v

^ -------------------f - p -------------t- ------------ - - f ---------------------- f t i F " n --------------- 4 - :-------- M f H

Figure 1-19: The Better Sort. Number 8

46 All in all, this opera shows how the Ballad Opera had grown in sophistication and towards a distinctive unity. Leacock, Tyler, Hawkins There are several Ballad Operas that should also be mentioned in passing. The Fall of the British Tyranny (1776) is notable as the first American "chronicle" although nothing definite is known about its author, John Leacock. May Day In Town; or New York in Uproar (1789) and The Contrast. are both written by librettist Royal Tyler, who was bom in Boston in 1757, and was considered one of the most gifted writers of Ballad Operas. He is most famous for the version of "Yankee Doodle" from The Contrast which we know today: Father and I went down to camp Along with Captain Goodwin And there we saw the men and boys As thick as tasty pudding. Yankee doodle, doodle-doo Yankee doodle dandy Mind the music and the step And with the girls be handy .23 Unfortunately, most of these libretti are lost. The Saw Mill: or A Yankee Trick, written by Micah Hawkins (both libretto and music), has also been called the first true American opera because not only was Hawkins bom (1777) and entirely self educated in Stoneybrook, L.I., (he composed while working in his grocery shop), but the libretto itself is

47 based on an incident which took place near Genesee Falls, New York. Unfortunately, none of the music seems to have survived. As the musical artistry and sophistication developed, the Ballad Operas started to lose their charm. Although they continued to be written into the early Nineteenth century, by 1817 they had reached their peak. New influences were taking hold and the next generation of American composers wished to explore new horizons.

48 NOTES; CHAPTEE.I

1. Pennsylvania Chronicle: (April 18,1767) quoted in Andrew Barton, The Disappointment. 3 Volumes, (New York: Federal Theater Project, 1935), 3: 4. 2. John Tasker Howard, Our American Music (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1966), 24. 3. Ibid. 4. Andrew Barton, The Disappointment, vii. 5. Patricia Virga, The American Opera to 1790 (Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1982), 53. 6. Barton, The Disappointment, vii. 7. Barton, The Disappointment. 1: 26. 8. Ibid., 31. 9. Ibid., 29. 10. Ibid., 21. 11. Ibid., 3:6,7. 12. Ibid., 10. 13. John R. Parker, A Musical Biography (Boston, 1824). 14. Edward Ellsworth Hipsher, American Opera and Its Composers. (Philadelphia: Theodore Presser, Co., 1927), 24, 5. 15. W. Thomas Marrocco and Harold Gleason, Music In America. (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1964), 179. 16. Grenville Vernon, (Compiler), Yankee - Doodle - Doo (New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1972), 30, 31. 17. Ibid., 77,8.

18. John Tasker Howard, Our American Music (New York; Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1966), 95-6. 19. Vernon, Yankee-Doodle-Doo, 45. 20. Virga, The American Opera. 205. 21. Ibid., 218,19. 22. Ibid., 334. 23. Vernon, Yankee-Doodle-Doo, 23.

CHAPTER II NEW INFLUENCES: GRAND AND COMIC

The turn of the century brought different European influences and the serious American musical began to look in new directions. From 1791 onwards, French opera entered American cultural life via companies touring from New Orleans. With the arrival of Manuel Garcia-tenor, composer, teacher and opera impresario-and Lorenzo da Ponte-librettist and impresario-the craze for Italian operas (Bellini, Rossini and particularly Donizetti) began. The next step was the creation of true "opera houses" (distinct from theatres which had housed operas as well as a multitude of other events until then). The first, called the Italian Opera House, was built in New York in 1833; others swiftly followed, culminating in the Metropolitan Opera House (1883). The period also witnessed the beginnings of a new "High Society" originating with the Revolutionary War and the attendant self-confidence and independence it fostered. Combined with a generally heightened cultural awareness, opera became a social, as well as musical, event. This led to the presentation of awards to encourage native Americans to write grand opera, such as the one offered in 1850 by the violinist Ole Bull because:
50

The national history of America is rich in themes both for the poet and the musician, and it is to be hoped that this offer will bring to light the musical talent latent in this country, which only needs a favorable opportunity for its development.! Opera companies which offered awards for American operas included the American Opera Company, the Emma Juch Opera Company and, later, the Oscar Hammerstein Company. These awards were important for giving an impetus to the musical and operatic growth of American composers. However, because most were educated in Europe at this time, they tried to compose like Europeans, preferring "grand" (i.e., foreign) subjects and the musical characteristics of the prevailing European trends, and thus sounded rather imitative. As Gilbert Chase summarized it: American composers, since the nineteenth century, had tried to present American subjects in operatic form, but perhaps they had tried too hard to emulate the style of "grand opera" with results that were imitative, stilted, artificial and pretentious.2 Bristow The first American grand opera, Leonora, written by Fry in 1845, was not on an American subject. However, it was soon followed by Rip Van Winkle, written and produced in 1855, by Fry's friend, George Bristow. Bristow was born in 1825, in Brooklyn, the son of an organist. By the age of ten he was a violinist in the Olympic Theatre Orchestra. After studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, he returned home to become the concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. Before his death in 1898, he wrote symphonies, overtures, cantatas and opera-all of which were

52 successfully performed. He was a great champion of American music, and is important, not because he wrote great music, but because of his consciousness of nationality. Rip Van Winkle, a three-act comedy, was produced at Niblo's Garden in New York in September, 1855, where it ran extremely successfully for four weeks; "its box office receipts outdrew those for Italian Opera."3 It was also successfully revived as late as 1870. As Willis exclaimed in the Musical World: Sebastopol has fallen and a new American opera has succeeded in New York. The clash of Russian steel with the bristling bayonets of the Allies has not been more fierce and uncompromising than the strife in lyric art between the stronghold of foreign prejudice and the steady and combined attacks of native musicians.4 The libretto, based on the story by Washington Irving, was written by Jonathan Wainwright, who, being a military man, added military spectacle to the plot by having the War of Independence happening during Rip's sleep, thus giving opportunity for patriot songs, soldiers choruses, etc. He also added a romance between Rip's daughter, Alice, and a British officer, thereby giving scope for some lyrical love duets. These additions of extra "color" slowed down the action, making the opera almost four hours longl The story takes place in the Catskill Mountains and the Saratoga Plains, during the years 1763 (Act I), 1777 (Act II) and 1785 (Act III). Rip goes up into the mountains, meets Heinrich Hudson and goes into a deep sleep. While he's asleep, the War of Independence takes place and his daughter Alice falls

53 in love. Rip awakens and returns from the mountains to find everything changed-his wife is dead, there is a new government, and his daughter is getting married. He is reunited with his family and all ends happily. Though it is called "grand", Rip seems stylistically closer to Donizetti's Daughter of the Regiment. Both are light and musically unsophisticated, with spoken dialogue, as well as recitative. As a critic remarked: The composer evidently aimed at producing a popular and not a classical work. The melodies are light, resembling Auber. Simple and graceful themes, set in stirring, strongly marked rhythms keep the public feet in motion and the public heart pounding with delight.5 There are a few arias, such as Alice's final aria (Figure 2-1), which are in bel-canto style with coloratura decoration, but for the most part the vocal lines are essentially simple and almost folk-like (Figure 2-2). They are similar to the numbers in Ballad Opera and are very evocative of mid - century America.

54

All

our griefs andwoe* amend-

fng, A n and hop*

wlttyey

ara

bland-

Ing

Smiles,

and bias- sings

us

at- tan- ding Loya's

^ a- a- a- a

found;

t*

E
L found. | f a = ---------------1

B
U

i a
foundl p fe ,

............................. ........ /C \

J .|

r l
i

Figure 2-1: Rip Van Winkle, Act HI, pp. 295-6

55
' Tha gant-rymay / if ty l" * v t J 1 f f t P W C s trin g V 1 talk " T of ------- K- l ----------- 1 : * K 1 1 1* -tp = thalr * * " p 1 J

s a c -

call a r t

w lna

-P 1---------------- v ; U J^ 7 a* ^ 3 3 =

{ 9

\l-^

I 'M

----

iL _ L
. . ^

It:
" caU P

j J

h jH i

h l s n t - h . . --r~ k T jq i * ................ y II- quo* fi Dtui- ly and T hitr


l. u u

i _____ t - i s i They may 4 - u __ J

r ~ ^ i.T

1--------- 1

i 4 1 ^ #

hi J 3 3 iromba 0' t ------- c i r I


k

4* \=

r - =

PP .j d > t i = 4 = i J r J r ~ - .......... - +

p. / Ti "c; " j *

j "

- H ------------

r V > f r ' - r r tham dld h i m

- J ------f = i- t i i :--------- -JU ^ __ = m3___ F F ~ 1 Uul ii r /in t. wl 1 ^ r = i = F N = f = # r =


f

4 = i _JlM---------------- 1 ra jpin*,

M f- r - i r -

11 '

1 r

1 P P ~ P ~ \ - f - - f ft 1 ^ 1 | v \ T T P I K I hava but a full of * r > > f K 1 7

- ....... 1

| 7 7 T p -p _ |

f *

m u g
f

-p ^ -------------V T ^ * 1 B 1 1 Itava b tf a > j a ----f | r r~ v H

f H k f -

f - '- n F r f i ^ - r r r

iH il - R J J

Figure 2-2: Rip Van Winkle. Act I, pp. 28-9 His songs are made up of effortless, flowing melodies, as in Rip's aria from Act III (Figure 2-3).

56

cr am

not

Whal can (he mat- lar

ba?

1W

Figure 2-3: Rip Van Winkle. Act III# p. 260 However, Willis has criticized them for their lack of development: In none of the arias do we meet with large conception or rich development of ideas; none of them is shaped after a large pattern. The same remark will apply to the choruses.*

An example of almost exact repetition of a theme is shown in this aria. The reprise of the opening melody (at m. 40) shows virtually no change from the beginning. Sequences and repeated phrases are common. (Figure 2-4)

p a co anJmalo 0 tg fW a

^ ---- 'J = z Strang*

r fitan

r f ^ up- on

9 *)!

* turn f

i r ____ a a r -inp -J-W

=l==i n T P n r * 13 3 3 3 3 3

grow, a ea
j

Strang* ea - a la T T j a

(an

up- on

m*

pooo cnuomdtj -m 1

grow, , -A-jUL------- ------------ ------ s

... --f= t Strang* taan

^am Hr tt tn- i n r r t 4e=


'a a
-

- . = m*

up- cm

n 4

4 1 3
" P g -^

^J

ril

t f

Figure 2-4: Rip Van Winkle. Act HI, pp. 261-2

58 The orchestration shows the influence of the German instrumental music of Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann, but the chromatic harmonies don't always fit with the square-cut phrases. It has also been criticized as being "inexpert, with brass overpowering strings or sounding too thin or too loud."? The thing that makes this opera distinctive is its simple, and somewhat colloquial manner of setting the text, a trait that was to become one of the distinguishing features of American opera, and this characteristic, therefore, assures the opera's place in history and that of its composer. After the 1850s, there was very little grand opera composed because of two phenomena. First, the Civil War and its aftermath disrupted the country politically, socially and culturally. Second, and perhaps even more important, American composers turned, in the latter half of the century, to other forms of music, primarily symphonies, concerti and other instrumental explorations. Damrosch By the end of this dormant period, new influences were emerging, principally the German school and its foremost composer-Richard Wagner. Wagner was brought to America most influentially by Leopold Damrosch, who came to America in 1871 to direct the New York Symphony Orchestra, and who directed the first season of German opera at the Metropolitan Opera in 1884. He was very partial to Wagner, especially since his wife had created

59 Ortrud in Wagner's Lohengrin. His son, Walter Damrosch (1862-1950), later became one of the greatest champions of American opera. As a conductor, Walter Damrosch introduced many new choral works (while conducting the Newark Harmonic Society in 1882) and symphonic works (while conducting the New York Symphony in 1883). After the death of his father, Walter took over the German season at the Met, where he later introduced many new French and Italian operas as well. He subsequently started the Damrosch Touring Company to present a wide variety of operas. He composed several American operas, his first one being the most consequential opera of its time and sometimes considered the first truly serious attempt to present a grand opera on an American theme. The Scarlet Letter was produced in 1896. Its main flaw seems to be that "it committed the fault of treating a plot thoroughly American in a manner decidedly German."8 Damrosch was a great Wagner fan and his style shows this influence, with its continuous music, leitmotifs, dramatic recitatives, heavy orchestration and extensive use of chromaticism. In fact, it has been called "the Nibelungen of New England"9 with its "nixies of the Rhine which peeped out of the sun-flecked coverts in the forest around Hester's feet."io It has also been compared to Tristan, because in both operas the lovers have an adulterous affair and in the end die together. However, despite its imitation of Wagner, there are still some highly effective moments in the Damrosch work.

60 The plot is basically the same as the novel by Hawthorne, with the exceptions that Pearl is already dead at the beginning and that the lovers die together at the end. The well-known tale of the Puritan lovers Hester and Arthur, their sin, suffering and expiation is presented in three acts. Led from Boston prison with the Scarlet Letter affixed to her breast, Hester, pilloried amid the jeers of the righteous, refuses to speak the name of the man who misled her, while the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, her unsuspected betrayer, is forced to plead with her to reveal it. When he has gone she faints in the arms of Chillingworth, her husband, as the Doxology sounds from within the church. Chillingworth, meeting Arthur on his way to Hester's forest hut, tells him to talk to her and mutters, "Let her deal with the man as she will, the black flower blossom as it may!" Wretched Arthur tells Hester of the unseen Scarlet Letter blazoned on his own flesh, and shows it to her. When she reveals that Chillingworth is her husband, and agrees to flee with Arthur to a distant land, he tears the Scarlet Letter from her breast, the darkness of their despair lit for a moment by a star of golden hope. In Boston Harbor Hester finds Chillingworth has taken passage on the ship by which she meant to fly with Arthur, and waits for her with a devilish smile across the market place. But his plan of battening on the souls' anguish of the lovers is foiled. When Governor Bellingham enters, escorted by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, followed by the worthies of the colony, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale among them, the black-gowned sinner calls Hester to him. They mount the pillory hand in hand and there, defying Chillingworth, Arthur confesses his sin and tearing away his shirt, shows the blood-red mark on his skin. As the amazed crowd sings the justice of God and her dying lover tells her he is bound for that far golden land of which they had dreamed, Hester draws from her bosom a little vial of poison and drains it, so that Arthur need not make his voyage alone.ll

The libretto, by George Lathrop (Hawthorne's son-in-law), was, according to Aufdemberge, not theatrically effective. This may be because of the inherent drawbacks of the novel itself. It is really more psychological than dramatic and therefore remains rather somber throughout with no really exciting moments. Though undramatic, Lathrop's adaptation has been considered faithful to the original. Mr. Lathrop's share in the production of The Scarlet Letter deserves unqualified praise. The diction is natural and elegant, the development clear and logical. Such changes of the original as were revealed necessary by the scenic representation have invariably been made with artistic taste and discretion.12 Damrosch said he did not follow a set pattern but was "molded by the sentiment, passion and situation of each moment."i3 The opera is divided into three basic acts: 1) Hester's condemnation; 2) her winning back the people's acceptance; and 3) the crowd's admiration of her sacrifice. Each act is also divided into three sections. Act I is divided into: 1) the crowd reviling Hester and her sentence; 2) her confrontation with her husband, Chillingworth; and 3) the return of the chorus and Chillingworth's discovery "O Wonder of Darkness! I Have Found the Man." The second act deals with: 1) Hester and the pilgrims' curses; 2) Chillingworth's attempt to force Dimmesdale's confession; and 3) Dimmesdale and Hester's relationship and plans to flee. The third act is divided into: 1) Hester's discovery of Chillingworth's plans to go on the same boat; 2) Hester telling Dimmesdale about Chillingworth, while the jubilation

62 for the Governor goes on; and 3) Dimmesdale's confession and Hester's sacrifice of her own life. Musically, the opera is built around leitmotifs, although critics find their use rather rigid. Nearly all of [the leitmotifs] lack the expansiveness which Wagner knew so well how to impress upon his melodic elements. M The "Scarlet Letter" motif occurs throughout the opera in various forms whenever the letter is mentioned (Figure 2-5). For instance, it is first heard when the chorus sings of Hester's error in Act I. It then reoccurs throughout the opera, for instance: under Dimmesdale's pleas later in Act I; in Act in when he reveals his own scarlet letter and finally at the end of the opera.

.
-

'JL

________________

_
T f~

----------- | ^
3

- qW

Figure 2-5: The Scarlet Letter. Act II, pp. 10-11 There is also a redemption theme associated with Hester (Figure 2-6), which initially appears during the first chorus at the time when her hope begins to rise.

63

Figure 2-6: The Scarlet Letter. Act I. p. 5 Hester has several other motifs as well. She has her "silence" motif (Figure 27), with which she enters.

PP

Figure 2-7: The Scarlet Letter. Act I, p. 32 In addition she is associated with a "steadfast love" motif when she refuses to reveal her lovers name (Figure 2-8). It recurs throughout the opera, most notably at the end, combined with the "Scarlet Letter" motif.

64

From

me

the

w orld w ill nev- e r know m s nam e.

n r*i fi ni

Figure 2-8: The Scarlet Letter. Act I, p. 59 She also has her "nature" motif (Figure 2-9) which occurs in the second act, when she is at peace in her forest hut near a cleansing brook.

L.H .

*
PP PP

m
Ped.

Figure 2-9: The Scarlet Letter. Act II, p. I l l The theme most associated with Arthur is a somewhat dissonant and "anguished" motif (Figure 2-10) with much chromaticism.

65

Figure 2-10: The Scarlet Letter, Act I, p. 41 Chillingworth's motif (Figure 2-11) is appropriately sinister.

t m fP

cresc.

f
Figure 2-11: The Scarlet Letter. Act I, Pg. 60 As well as leitmotifs there are pieces that evoke the Puritan times, such as the hymn sung in Act I ("Old Hundredth") (Figure 2-12) and the Pilgrim's march in Act II.

66

CORO l

P*
* I. A N o
H ow

How

bold-

ly

ihim*

th >

How

*hlnw

-O
boldly shin**

How

*un

Soprano

ARo

Tanora

How

bokl-

tlm.

How

Figure 2-12: The Scarlet Letter. Act I, Pg. 2-3 Vocally, the score is very demanding, particularly when singing over the orchestration which is, at times, too heavy for the subject matter. As

67 mentioned before, although some moments (such as the Pilgrim's chorus or Hester's prayer at the beginning) are filled with splendid music, the opera as a whole does not stand up well because of its problem of insufficient dramatic thrust and impetus. Damrosch also wrote three other American operas: The Dove of Peace. The Man Without a Country and The Opera Cloak. The Dove of Peace. written in 1912, on a libretto by Wallace Irving, is a satire on the idea of universal peace. The basic plot revolves around the fact that the GovernorGeneral of Guam doesn't know that he's at war with the United States, so when an American ship fires, he replies that he is out of shot and can't return the salute until supplies arrive next month. The Man Without a Country, which was produced at the Metropolitan Opera in 1937, is a two-act tragedy on a libretto by Arthur Guiterman, which was adapted from the novel by Hale. Damrosch said that he "wanted to write a popular opera and a patriotic opera to assert the basic patriotic ideals then under attack."16 Again, this opera was criticized for its undramatic libretto, its text which was said to be "better in construction than in versification."16 The only portion that really succeeds is the trial scene, which is the part closest to Hale's original. Some of the most important dramatic moments don't even happen on stage. For instance, Philip's change of heart, when he realizes that he cares for his country and should offer his life to atone for his betrayal of that country, takes place off-stage during the intermission, so the audience

68

comes back to a new Philip with no explanation of what brought about his transformation. Guiterman also added a heroine--Mary--to leave room for lyrical love scenes, and changed the ending, so that Philip dies in battle rather than from old age, as in the book. Set in Ohio, Charleston, and on board the U.S.S. Gueriere, it begins during a party Blennerhasset gives on his Ohio River estate, at which Mary Rutlege and Philip Nolan (who are engaged) argue about Burr's conspiracy to build Southwest empire, Philip for and Mary against. Burr and his confederates leave as authorities are after them. Philip stays behind to see Mary again and is caught. At his court martial Philip damns United States and is condemned to lifelong exile on board an American ship. Mary works for his pardon and tells him she has high hopes, but he says he must win that himself by giving his life for his country. A sea battle occurs, during which his old classmate, Commodore Decatur, puts Philip in charge of the cannon, where he is fatally wounded. Musically, it is a singspiel opera with dialogue and set numbers. There is far less use of motifs than in The Scarlet Letter, although the orchestral writing is still in an exaggerated Wagnerian style. The opening prelude combines two of Philip's motifs: 1) his court outcry which is the culminating point in Scene 2 (Figure 2-13) and 2) his first scene serenade (Figure 2-14). The latter, the "love" motif, appears again in Act I in the love duet, in Act II when Philip is reflecting on his lost love, and

finally later in Act II in an agitated form when Mary and Philip meet again

Damn.

these

nit- ed States)

Figure 2-13: The Man Without A Country. Act I, Scene 2, p. 62

l i f e **

c
Ma

r n r - r >y. Maiy.

f *T

S i i* -r - J % T

:1

1 I t ------------

d y

w Y *

/ JD J i
allarg. P/tl vivo

a v a
\

* ..^ U
f

com e

Pr r 1 ? = - 1 u ------------1 --------H 1 f
dovvn to

tt -

=?q

mi fcJj.JL7 *

----------M m
& '---------------------- 1 1 ----------

"

M ------------- -- -------- 7

Figure 2-14: The Man Without A Country. Act I, Scene 1, p. 22

70 His third motif, is the very chromatic sea-voyaging one that opens Act II (Figure 2-15)

Figure 2-15: The Man Without A Country. Act II, Scene 1, p. 78 Again Damrosch uses period music, for example "Hull's Victory" from the War of 1812 (Figure 2-16).

La-

dla* daar

la-

4 ----- z K 1* Allegretto Vtvece


----------

"J-........ d lta y o u ; g 6Y Ka rr f ------- ~ m w 6 ~ m f't/f j=


all Ihli la for

X ...........

/kj7-y p ---f.... I -- A f --- tP

if it -U-t-..
____

Figure 2-16: The Man Without A Country. Act II, Scene 2, p. 112

71 He also uses bits of negro boat songs, sailors' chanteys and an old American hornpipe to give the opera local flavor. The most successful moment in the opera occurs in the second act, when the sailors ask Philip to read to them and he sings his aria, "Breathes not a man with soul so dead." It builds wonderfully to a great emotional climax, both musically and theatrically. However, in the following scene the opera again loses its intensity; thus Damrosch loses what he gained. The critics were very mixed on this work. Downes commented: Emotionally the music never goes deep. It is melodious but along too well-trodden paths. It readily becomes sentimental...no distinction in libretto or style; it waivers between comedy and melodrama. 17 Mr. Gilman said however: Mr. Damrosch's music moves fluently, with apt and appropriate relation to what's happening on the stage and in the hearts of his characters...it has astonishing freshness of feeling, an infectious gusto.is Even his last opera, The Opera Cloak, written in 1942, when he was 80 years old, looks backward towards Wagner, Strauss and Puccini, with still a few touches of local color. In fact, the ragtime at the end of the second act is the best piece of music in the opera. All in all, though Damrosch's operas have moments of exquisite beauty, they have major problems in holding together and developing a climax. Their importance lies rather in the influence they had on the advancement of American opera and their acceptance by the musical community.

72

Vinatieri, Buck
Another foreigner of great influence on American music at this time was Felix Vinatieri, an Italian by birth (1834), who came to America in 1859. He was a bandmaster during the Civil War and eventually settled in Yankton, South Dakota, the western railroad terminus. He has the distinction of writing the first opera composed west of the Mississippi: The American Volunteer, written in 1889. The basic story is about a soldier in Washington's army who sells his soul to the devil in order to avoid disgrace. He goes to Hell but awakens a century later only to stage a rebellion down there. The music is a mixture of Verdi, Bizet, Donizetti and Johann Strauss, but it is identifiable as something new, it has an invigorated tunefulness which was to become a prominent characteristic of American opera. In addition, Vinatieri also wrote several other American operas-One Summer in Texas. Heart and Love and The Barber of the Regiment-all of which have been mostly ignored. One other overlooked opera from this period is Deseret, written by Dudley Buck in 1880. He was one of America's more noted composers and organists. Bom in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1839, he studied in the United States with Baback, then in Leipzig (1858-59), Dresden (1859-60), and Paris (1861-62). He returned to become an organist in Hartford, then Chicago, Boston and New Jersey, where he died in 1909.

73 Deseret is a comic opera in three acts on a libretto by William A. Crofutt, dealing with the Mormons. Some of the music is beautiful. The melodies have a refined quality, are very appealing and are well-supported by flowing harmonies. However, the opera was never popular because of its "repulsive theme-offensive to the moral sense."!9 The idea of a man with more than a single lawful wife (in this case 20 wives) caused much disgust. The music was criticized as being too churchy. Gerrish-Jones, Appleton Women were also gaining recognition as composers during the latter part of the nineteenth century. Pricilla. written in 1885-87, is considered the first opera to be written by a woman. The composer, Abbie Gerrish-Jones (1863-1929) was of a musical California family and wrote her first work at age twelve. She had a gift for verse as well, writing her own libretti and working as a music critic. She wrote seven operas, but Pricilla is the only one on an American subject. Set in a New England village before the revolution, it deals with love, betrayal and witchcraft. Pricilla loves Robert who is shipwrecked. Guy loves Pricilla and seeks help from the witch to persuade Pricilla that Robert was unfaithful. However, when Pricilla loses her mind in grief, Guy is killed as he tries to stab the witch who then disappears. One year later, on Halloween, as Pricilla continues her search for Robert, she stumbles into his arms and regains her sanity. The music is rather agreeable, but again the drama causes the opera problems.

74 The Witches Well, written by Adeline Carola Appleton (bom in Iowa in 1886) on her own libretto, has the same problems, with its supernatural tale of Tara, a beautiful girl who is tested as a witch in Salem in 1692 because of her beauty. Her spirit later stops the villagers from killing any more innocent "witches". During this period light comic operas and operettas were also developing. Influenced by Offenbach in France and Gilbert and Sullivan in England, composers such as Willard Spenser, Max Maretzek, Gustave Kerker, Edgar Kelly and John Philip Sousa developed their own brand of humor. Davies, Baker, Hewitt, Maretzek In the beginning comic operas were very conservative, almost an outgrowth of the earlier ballad opera forms and techniques. "Loves Eyes" (Figure 2-17), from John Davies' The Forest Rose or The American Farmers. written in 1825 on a libretto by Samuel Woodworth (best known for "The Old Oaken Bucket"), is a good example of the prevailing melodic style, with its folk-like melody and rhythmic repetition.

75

L ow s

wym

in

an- chant- Ing,

Blight

*mll-

ing

J i
*o(l and grantIng, Pul** play

I?
av-

t
*ry

j j M
ray, And

al

'ry

glance are

panl-llng

Be

(ora

the baam-

ay*

of

m om

We

view

the frown*

of

night

re- oa-dlng

Figure 2-17: The Forest Rose, in Yankee - Poodle - Poo, p. 112 On rare occasions comic operas also used traditional tunes, as in Benjamin Baker's A Glance at New York (1848), (Figure 2-18).

The

folk*

are all

wait-

ing

to

**a

the

fait itaam- ar T hat1 *

0l *
com- Ing from Albe-

Vi
ny down to

this pier;

Figure 2-18: A Glance At New York, in Yankee - Doodle - Poo, p. 132

76 The majority of songs were often strophic, because this appealed to the broadest population, with sections that contrasted by changes in meter or key. John Hewitt (the son of James Hewitt, a composer for the Old American Company) followed this pattern with his Rip Van Winkle, written in 1853. Again, it is full of simple strophic songs, with short instrumental introductions and codas. Recitative is used sparingly, and the harmonies are simple with only the occasional chromatic. Sleepy Hollow, a three-act opera by Max Maretzek, was produced in New York in 1879. Maretzek (1821-1897) was a conductor and successful impresario, having his own opera touring company. Originally from Moravia, he came to the U.S. to conduct opera at the Astor Place Opera. The libretto for Sleepy Hollow, by Charles Taylor, is based upon the Washington Irving story. The musical style is influenced by Bellini and Donizetti. At its debut, Dwight wrote: The music is light and pleasing, there is nothing vulgar in it and for this reason alone it deserves honorable mention. The melodies are well-conceived and the vocal part is sufficiently well-prepared. The instrumentation is interesting; even the xylophone is taken into consideration and is used on several occasions with great effect. The first act is best, for it contains the principal musical work and is suited best to the operatic stage. Among others we may mention an ensemble of great value; this piece is well-written and must everywhere make an effect.20 There is both spoken dialogue and recitative. The songs are rather straight forward; for example, the tenor "Ballad" in Act I is built on a heroic chordal melody with triplet figures to give it grace.

77 He incorporates some chromaticism, as in the Act III chorus "A Witch", but its use is limited. There are, however, recurring rhythmic motifs and phrases. In dramatic terms, the opera seems to be cohesive, with a good sense of action. Spenser, Kelly, Kerker, Sousa Willard Spenser, who was born in Philadelphia in 1852 and died there in 1933, was one of the most successful writers of comic opera. In fact his The Little Tycoon, produced in 1887, was an immediate success, eventually having more than 7,000 performances. The Princess Bonnie (1894) was equally successful. The two-act Tycoon is a satire on pretention and title-worship. General Knickerbocker wants to make a brilliant match for his daughter, Violet, and so, while on an ocean-liner, he throws her at a fellow passenger-Lord Dolphin. Meanwhile, Violet has fallen in love with a fellow American--Alvin Berry. Back in America, Alvin tries to enter the Knickerbocker's estate as Lord Dolphin, but is chased away. Then he returns, disguised as "the great Tycoon of Japan," whereupon he is welcomed and given Violet's hand in marriage, who in turn becomes "the little Tycoon.21 Princess Bonnie is about Bonnie, who was rescued in Maine from a shipwreck by Captain Tarpaulin, the lighthouse keeper, and reared by him. She falls in love with Roy Stirling, but a Spanish admiral claims her as his long-lost niece and a princess and whisks her off to Spain. Tarpaulin and Roy follow, rescue her from a loveless marriage and enable her to marry Roy. Both operas are noted for "their clean and ingratiating quality"22 as well as

78 being dramatically sound (Spenser wrote his own libretti and frequently this seems to help the drama). Another successful composer of this time was Edgar Sullivan Kelly, born in Sparta, Wisconsin in 1857 and who died in New York, in 1944. In between, he studied in Germany and lived for a time in San Francisco, where, as an organist, composer and writer, he was a great influence on the western musical scene. His most interesting contribution to American opera is Puritania. a comic two-act on a libretto by C.M.S. MacLellan, produced in 1892. It deals with the Puritans, but in a playful manner which is probably its downfall, since that background is not innately funny. The text is not cohesive and is overshadowed by the music. In fact, the music seems very graceful and full of little humorous touches, enough so that it prompted one critic to speculate on Offenbach's probable envy. A western influence was Gustave Kerker, who, though bom in Westphalia in 1857, moved to Louisville when he was 10. He earned a living as a conductor of various orchestras and wrote his first opera at 22, followed by 17 more in the next 12 years, including The Telephone Girl. In Gay New York (1896), An American Beauty (1897) and his most famous The Belle of New York (1897). By his death in 1923 he was one of the most popular American composers. The Belle of New York, on another thin libretto by C.M.S. MacLellan, is about Harry Bronson, the son of the president of the Young Man's Rescue

79 League (which fights vice). He gives his father plenty to combat, until he meets Violet Gray, a Salvation Army girl; Harry then sees the error of his ways. The music is basically "popular" and lighter (Figure 2-19), heading in the direction of a new form--"musical comedy".

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Figure 2-19: The Belle of New York. Act I, Pg. 10

80 In this vein, one other composer should be mentioned-John Philip Sousa, "the March King", who was born in Washington, D.C. in 1854. He wrote 11 operettas during his life (he died in 1932), including The American Main (1909) and Victory (1915). In all of them one can see the influence of Wagner, Offenbach and his contemporary, Victor Herbert. The operas have not endured well because Sousa seems to have been indifferent to the stage requirements: he used bad libretti which contained incidents, usually comic, that had little to do with the plot; had no feel for comedy; and did not write well for the voice. By the turn of the century, American opera had become better accepted. The Metropolitan Opera staged its first American opera in 1910. A consciousness of national pride was growing. Serious composers were becoming aware of the wealth of musical material available from their own native music -- Indian folklore, ragtime, jazz, folk tunes, Negro spirituals and hymns -- and now began to explore this material in terms of melody, rhythm and mood as a basis for opera that would be truly "American". Thus these developments in the nineteenth century laid the foundation for the trends that would emerge in the twentieth century.

81 NOTES: CHAPTER,II

1. John Tasker Howard, Our American Music (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1966), 200. 2. Gilbert Chase, America's Music, from the Pilgrims to the Present (New York: McGraw-Hill Co., Inc., 1955), 640. 3. Frank Merling, "Yankee Doodle Opera," Opera News, v. 40, no. 23, 6 June, 1976,15. 4. Howard, Our American Music. 250. 5. Barbara Zuck, A History of Musical Americanism (Ann Arbor, Michigan: U.M.I. Research Press, 1980), 31. 6. Richard R. Willis, quoted in, Howard, Our American Music. 251. 7. H. Earle Johnson, Operas On American Subjects (New York: Coleman-Ross Co., Inc., 1964), 36. 8. Louis C. Elson, The History of American Music (New York: Burt Franklyn, 1925), 234. 9. Chase, Americas Music. 634. 10. Joseph Krehbiel, Chapters of Opera (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1908), 11. 11. Ibid., 248. 12. Maurice Aufdemberge, "Analysis of the Dramatic Construction of American Operas, 1896-1958" (Ph. D. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1965), 45. 13. Walter Damrosch, The Scarlet Letter. (New York: Breitkopf and Hartel, 1896), Introduction. 14. Krehbiel, Chapters of Operas. 12. 15. Aufdemberge, "Dramatic Construction," 102.

82 16. Andrew H. Drummond, American Opera Librettos (Metuchen, New York; Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1973), 17. 17. Olin Downes, New York Times. 12 May, 1937. 18. Lawrence Gilman, New York Herald-Tribune. 12 May, 1937. 19. Johnson, American Subjects. 37. 20. John S. Dwight, quoted in, Johnson, American Subjects. 72. 21. Krehbiel, Chapters of Opera. 249. 22. MacSpadden, Operas and Musical Comedies (New York: Thomas J. Walker, Cromwell and Co., 1962), 526.

CHAPTER III THE TRADITIONAL INFLUENCES

European traditions continued to influence many American composers. Converse Frederick Shepherd Converse, the first American to have an opera produced at the Metropolitan Opera (The Pipe of Desire in 1910), was of the German school. Born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1871, he studied first with Paine and Chadwick at Harvard (1888-93) and then with Rheinberger in Munich. On his return he taught at the New England Conservatory (18991902) and Harvard (1902-07) until he resigned in order to compose full-time. By the time of his death, in 1940, he had composed four operas (two on American themes) and many sundry compositions reflecting his conservative tastes. His second opera, The Sacrifice (1910) premiered in Boston in 1911. Written on a libretto by G.E. Barton, based on Lieutenant Henry A. Wise's tale, Delores, the three-act opera is set in California in 1846. A Mexican officer, Bernal, sneaks into a village occupied by the Americans to visit his sweetheart, Chonita. He is enraged when he sees Chonita

83

84 encouraging the American Captain, Burton, not realizing that she does so out of necessity. When Bernal is wounded, Chonita hides him in the mission occupied by the Americans. In his delirium, Bernal comes out of hiding and attempts to assassinate Burton who is saved when Chonita hurls herself between her lover's blade and Burton. Captured and condemned to death as a spy, Bernal is only allowed to visit Chonita as a result of her pleas to Burton. Recognizing that his love is hopeless, the American captain, heedless of the danger during a Mexican attack, seeks and finds the release of death. Recognizing his sacrifice, the reunited lovers pray for his soul at his grave. Reactions were mixed, criticizing the music as being too Wagnerian without a corresponding depth of plot and the orchestra as being too heavy and static, but the chief complaint was with the text whose "action is pity and reveals no heroism on the part of any of the characters,"! The libretto is weak theatrically, the characters are ill-defined and the dramatic situations neither make sense nor develop. None of the characters evoke sympathy. For instance, Chonita realizes that Burton is honorable but feels no compunction in hurling scorn upon him, and Burton tries his best, but is universally hated by all the other characters. This lack of definition carries over into the music. No character has music which defines them in particular. Bernal and Burton's music could almost be interchangeable. Even Tomasa, an Indian, has the same arched lines. She has the most important phrase in the opera, (Figure 3-1), which

85 recurs three times: to warn Chonita that Burton loves her; as Bernal is arrested and Chonita wounded; and to end the opera.

Um

11 r

Figure 3-1: The Sacrifice. Act I, Scene 8, p. 59 When there is no action, the music can be very expressive, as at the opening when Chonita is yearning for Bernal (Figure 3-2), but it doesn't support the drama, as when Bernal attacks Burton (Figure 3-3).

itl

ite r MU*

tha lira* u * law - ly w al- l a ,

i t m aaa-ry

mt (lat-ty.

Figure 3-2: The Sacrifice. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 (cont. below)

Figure 3-2: The Sacrifice, Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 (conclusion)

Figure 3-3: The Sacrifice. Act II, Scene 8, p. 183

87 At times the melody is very lovely, as in Bernal and Chonita's love duet (Figure 3-4), but more often it seems unimaginative (Figure 3-5).

CgOM TA

III.

C k n llt

Figure 3-4: The Sacrifice. Act I, Scene 10, p. 90

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Figure 3-5: The Sacrifice. Act I, Scene 10, p. 84 The orchestra, similar to Wagner's, is overly heavy and changes little in its dramatic intensity. The chromaticism and free modulations are also suggestive of Wagner. In the end, The Sacrifice just doesn't succeed as theatre. Converse's other American opera, The Immigrants (1914), on a libretto by Percy MacKay, is most noteworthy as the first serious opera commissioned by an American company - the Boston Opera. Taking place in New York at the turn of the century it communicates the story of Scammon, a disreputable

89 American agent. He comes to a small Italian mountain town replete with a donkey-drawn Statue of Liberty float and a glorious description of America in an attempt to fill his steerage cabins at thirty dollars a head. Among the deceived are Maria and Giovanni, the latter recently released from jail for the non-payment of taxes. As the real Statue of Liberty welcomes the immigrants to New York, Scammon, who has his eye on Maria, makes certain that the authorities find out about Giovanni's criminal record and force him to return to Naples. Maria, not the easy prey Scammon imagined, repulses his advances. The heat of a midsummer's night and the sweatshop conditions of their employment make the villagers long for their hillside vineyards and village fountains. Though he has attempted to entice her with promises of an apartment with an elevator for herself and her sister, Lisetta, Maria continues to rebuff Scammon. In frustration he tells her that Giovanni is dead and, dollars in hand, renews his offer. Maria stabs Scammon only to see Giovanni moments later when he arrives through the assistance of Noel, an artist and their guardian angel. As Scammon struggles to his feet Maria relates his treachery and Giovanni kills him. With much clamor and ruckus the police drag Maria and Giovanni away as Noel cries, "O Liberty, when will you cease to destroy the souls that seek you?" Called "a most interesting work, deserving of further attention,"2 and consisting of recitative and set pieces, with an occasional use of jazz for "local" flavor, The Immigrants is more consistent and dramatic than The Sacrifice.

90 Bucharoff Russian-born Simon Bucharoff (1881-1955), who moved to America when he was eleven, was another German-influenced American composer, whose opera, The Lover's Knot (Chicago, 1916), has potential, but doesn't quite succeed. Hipsher calls it "a genuine American opera, which, with more of the lightness of opera comique, could have had a permanent place."3 The slight story, which takes place in Virginia, in 1870, tells of Walter, who courts Sylvia, who is also being courted by Edward, whose sister, Beatrice, loves Walter. Beatrice arranges for Walter to witness another man (really Sylvia in disguise) making love to her, after which he realizes that he really loves Beatrice, thereby allowing Sylvia and Edward to be together. It's a pity that the plot is so undramatic (everyone talks of doing things, but never actually does them) for the melodies are quite appealing. However, the orchestration is too heavy for the subject and all too often interrupts the dramatic flow, disappointing the audience. Hanson The most successful of these traditional-style operas is Merry Mount (1934) by Howard Hanson. Born in Waterloo, Nebraska to Norwegian parents, Hanson (1896 -1981) started music lessons at age seven. After graduating from Luther College in 1913, he went on to study at Northwestern University and the Institute of Musical Arts in New York. Winning the Prix de Rome in 1921, he spent two and one half years in Rome, adding the

influences of Franck, Brahms and Sibelius to that of the Lutheran Chorales. Upon his return to the United States he became the Director of the Eastman School of Music. Merrv Mount, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, on a libretto by Richard L. Stokes, which is based on Hawthorne's The Mavpole of Merrv Mount, concerns religious intolerance in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1630. The Puritan pastor, Wrestling Bradford, is tortured by dreams of the beautiful spirit "Astoreth", who tempts him to forget his religion. To free himself, Bradford agrees to marriage with Elder "Praise God" Tewke's daughter, Plentiful. Jack Prence, a Cavalier being whipped by the Puritans for playing games with the children on Sunday, is rescued by Lady Marigold. When Bradford recognizes her as the Astoreth of his dreams he stops the fighting between the Puritans and Cavaliers. Later, when he declares his love for Marigold, he finds that she is to marry Sir Gowen the following day. To prevent this, Bradford incites the Puritans to attack the Cavalier Maypole celebration, to drive away the peaceful Indians and to abduct Marigold and imprison Sir Gowen. As Bradford forces himself on the resisting Marigold, Sir Gowen frees himself and comes to her rescue, but is killed. Bradford then prays for repentance and sleeps, dreaming that Lucifer offers him Astoreth if he will curse New England and receive the devil's mark. On awakening, he finds that the Indians have set fire to the village (the curse in his dream), and as the Puritans watch horrified, Bradford renounces his religion, brands

92 Marigold as a witch and drags her with him to their death in the flames. The libretto is considered one of the finest that an American composer had to work with up to that time, and was referred to as "a libretto of strength and skill, often impassioned and glowing in its imagery and rich in its invitation to the composer."4 The language is distinctive, drawing on such diverse books as the Bible (for the Puritans) and Cotton Mather's The Wonders of the Invisible World (for the Satanic choruses). The phrases have their own built in rhythm, for example, "Thou hast since then most hotly gone awhoring."5 One criticism leveled at the libretto is the one-dimensional nature of the characters. This is appropriate for many of the characters who represent types, but not for Bradford, who should be multi-faceted. He is so one-sided, with no human kindness to relieve his intense carnal side, that the audience doesn't develop any sympathy for him. The other criticism of the libretto is the number of diversions which don't further the plot and actually slow down the drama. For example, the children's game, the Devils' and Angels', in Act I is a wonderful contrast to the previous dramatic one (where Bradford describes his dream) but it breaks the momentum. Musically Hanson stays within nineteenth century harmonies. The form is rather symphonic, a series of small scenes within one large scene. The somber mood, the modal harmonies and dramatic climaxes remind one of Sibelius, with whom Hanson has been compared, but the arching melodies

93 seem influenced by Puccini. As a whole, the score is "impressive in its security and ease of workmanship, its resourcefulness and maturity of technique. "6 The chorus, used as the protagonist, has the most successful music in the opera. Hanson described the chorus as "in a sense, the voice of fate, portraying large emotional and philosophic ideas involved in the tragedy. The chorus is therefore, to a degree quite impersonal, whether it is a chorus of Puritans singing praises to the Lord, or a chorus of devils shouting praise to their master."? The Puritan choruses, based on old hymn tunes, are frequently modal since the composer thought that "the characteristics of such melodic modes as the Aeolian, Dorian, Phrygian and Mixolidian, are very much in keeping with the Puritan character." An example is the hymn tune which opens Act I (Figure 3-6).

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tall

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Figure 3-6: Merrv Mount. Act I, p. 27 (cont. below)

94

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Figure 3-6: Merrv Mount. Act I, p. 27 (conclusion)

95 When attacking the Cavaliers, these hymns get very martial (Figure 3-7).

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Figure 3-7: Merrv Mount. Act I, p. 93 In contrast, the cavalier choruses are based on old English dances (Figure 3-8).

96

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Figure 3-8: Merrv Mount. Act I, p. 82 A real folk dance is used for the childrens play (Figure 3-9).

97

a r- lay - k ru k l

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Figure 3-9: Merry Mount. Act I, p. 59 There are several motifs that recur throughout the opera. One is the chorale like melody, (Figure 3-10), which is first heard in the opening prelude. It is used again in various forms, for example as the Puritans scorn the Cavaliers and seems to represent the essence of the Puritan spirit.

Figure 3-10: Merry Mount, Act I, p. 1 Astoreth is represented by two motifs. The first occurs in the orchestra as Bradford describes his dream (Figure 3-11) and then again when Lady Marigold appears.

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r t a l i l w l f - :

I T

ii if l F

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*

Figure 3-11: Merry Mount. Act I, pp. 41-2 The other motif associated with Astoreth which recurs throughout the opera is a dramatic phrase (Figure 3-12).

99

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Figure 3-12: Merrv Mount. Act I, pp. 41-2 These motifs all go through rhythmic and harmonic alterations to fit the drama. Other devices Hanson uses to a great extent include ostinato figures and phrase repetition with new tonal complexities added each time, as for instance, the dream ballet which is built around a series of chromatic scales (Figure 3-13).

Figure 3-13: Merrv Mount. Act II, Scene 3, p. 220 While the musical declamation is sensitive to the accents, the vocal lines are so vocally demanding that the text gets obscured. Also the Germanic sweep of the orchestra often covers the voices, especially in the intimate scenes. There are some exceptions of course; for example Bradford's prayer in Act III is very simple, yet one of the most moving moments in the opera.

100 Overall, however, even though the opera is musically and dramatically uneven, there are scenes which are extremely effective and make Merrv Mount worth studying Gianni ni Another composer who impressed people with his conservatism is Vittorio Giannini. Born in Philadelphia in 1903, of Italian extraction, he graduated from Julliard in 1931, and went on to win the Prix de Rome in 1934, enabling him to work in Rome for four years. In 1937, he returned to teach at Julliard and the Manhattan School of Music. His many operas include The Scarlet Letter (1938), Blennerhassett (1939), and The Rehearsal Call (1962). The Scarlet Letter, written to his own libretto and based on the Hawthorne novel, was premiered in Hamburg in 1938, and was an immediate success. It consists of two acts with two scenes each. Although not terribly original, it has a certain theatrical force in most of the scenes. Musically it is typically Italiante - very lyrical with the voice and the orchestra well-matched. The love scenes are reminiscent of Puccini, but not overtly so, and the orchestration is quite nicely colored. As with Hanson, Giannini's choral passages in the third scene contain his most effective writing. The opera's major drawback is the drama. The episodes seem unconnected and unmotivated. Also, the fourth scene suddenly changes into syncopated rhythms, which breaks the continuity and lowers the intensity of the whole work.

Blennerhassett, a one-act opera, on a libretto by Phillip Ansel Roll and Norman Corwen, was written for the CBC radio. The recitative and three set pieces deal with Aaron Burr's attempt to establish an empire in Louisiana. Again there is a good sense of theatre and a soaring lyrical sweep to the melodic lines, especially in the first duet, which is the best part of the opera. It is followed by an orchestral interlude which leads into the second duet. The whole work is quite economical, built around two motifs which are constantly developed. Despite the fact that the text seems rather stilted, its declamation is very well set against a very rich orchestral background. Again the orchestration seems well-suited to the voice. All in all for such a short (twenty-five minutes) work, this opera packs quite a dramatic punch. The Rehearsal Call is on a three-act libretto by Francis Swan and Robell Simon, based on Swan's play, Out of that Frying Pan, and deals with six aspiring actors in New York City. Generally, the music is quite derivative of Puccini. Though the farce has little depth to it, the melodic lines are graceful for the voice and it is well suited for college workshops. Carter, Bennett Lighter opera composers of this era include Ernest Carter, who was born in Orange, New York in 1866. Graduating from Princeton in 1888, and Columbia in 1889 (M.A.), he studied in Berlin (1894-98) and then returned to Princeton as a lecturer. After 1901, he moved to New York to devote himself to composing and directing. He died in 1981. He is best known for The

102

Blonde Donna (1912), a three-act comedy on his own libretto, and The White Bird (1916-17), the first American opera to be produced in Prussia. Set in California and including Americans, Spaniards, and Indians, The Blonde Donna is considered trite, with music that is neither original nor significant.? Originally produced in New York in 1922, the one-act The White Bird. on a libretto by Brian Hooker, takes place at the estate of Reginald Warren by the Adirondack Lake in the early nineteenth century. Reginald is deformed. His wife, Elinor, loves his forester, Basil, who returns her feelings. Reginald guesses their secret and taunts his wife. When Wardell, a steward whom Basil drove off at Elinor's request, tells Reginald that Elinor is guilty, Reginald, in revenge, tricks Basil into shooting Elinor, mistaking her scarf for "the white bird" that has been flying about the camp. When he discovers what Reginald has done, Basil strangles him. The opera has dramatic potential but, like Merrv Mount, has incidents, such as the Act I quartet, which slow up the action. The music is pleasant and melodic in the style of popular music, but it doesn't add any intensity to the work. While individual numbers, such as Elinor's aria and the hunting song, are effective, the opera as a whole isn't cohesive. Another lighter work is Maria Malibran by Robert Russell Bennett. Bennett, bom in Kansas City in 1894, came to New York as a copyist, arranger, and orchestrator of musical comedy scores. He studied in Paris (with Boulanger), Berlin, Vienna and London and from 1917-34, he worked as a

103 conductor and orchestrator dividing his time between Europe and New York. Thereafter he returned to America and worked in New York and Hollywood until his death in 1981. Maria Maiibran. written on a libretto by Robert Simon, premiered at Julliard in 1935. It was immediately questioned whether it was an opera or a musical comedy since the text was spoken and much of the music was incidental, accompanying rather than projecting the dialogue. However unlike musical comedy, it had no "hit tunes", except for two interpolations to give Maria a chance to sing "Home Sweet Home" from Claire, and "Una voce poco fa" from The Barber of Seville. Based on the historical Garcia family (although the story is fictitious), the plot deals with the marriage of Maria Garcia, daughter of the famous teacher, Manuel Garcia, to the wealthy Malibran in return for financial aid for her career, even though she loves Phillip Cartwright. After some time, her marriage is annulled. Phillip begs her to marry him, but she has become a famous singer and cannot give up her art, and so they part for good. The music adds to the wistfulness of the libretto, but no attempt was made to evoke the historical period, nor to characterize the people musically, which leaves Maria as a rather unexciting character. However the naturalness of the phrases is very American. He treats the text as freely rhythmic speech, underlined by orchestral commentary, until the increasing tension leads to song. Unfortunately the vocal lines are rather difficult to sing, which hampers the drama. Also the

104 orchestral underscoring is not always effective, and so forces the words to carry the intent. Though it was praised for its "degree of accomplishment,"10 Maria Malibran is not wholely satisfying. Menotti The most successful American "traditionalist" is Gian Carlo Menotti, who has sometimes been hailed as Puccini's successor. Bom in Italy in 1911, he came to America at age seventeen. After studying at Curtis, he started writing opera. His style has been called: a synthesis of nineteenth century lyricism and twentieth century realism....he also has dependable knowledge of the orchestra in relation to the voice which he treats in the late Verdian manner as a support for and occasionally a collaboration in the vocal development.1 1 Menotti is thoroughly traditional, for he says that: in destroying tonality, we have destroyed one of the most useful dramatic elements; tonality may not be necessary, but its dramatic role has not yet been replaced by an equivalent device.1* Other influences he acknowledges are Debussy, Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, and Schubert-("I adore his simplicity and the way he can communicate, can create something inevitable out of the most simple means."1*) In general his operas have certain common traits. They usually have smaller casts and most are dominated by strong-willed women. The men often have some type of problem. They are sick, tired, lame, blind, deaf, unbalanced. The vocal lines are conventionally simple, reminiscent of

105 Puccini, but they sing with utter naturalness. Recitatives go unnoticed into song, for as Menotti intended, "when prose cannot say a thing, you turn to poetry when poetry can't say it, you must sing out."M The texts themselves may not be great literary works, but they capture the drama and emotion well, making them easily accessible. His harmony is seemingly ordinary, with occasional effects (such as polytonality) only to serve the drama. He has a natural flair for creating the atmosphere. His American-subject operas include The Old Maid and the Thief. The Medium. The Telephone. Jh s. Saint of Bleecker Street. The Last Savage. Labyrinth. Help. Help the Globolinks, The Boy Who Grew Too Fast. The Bride From Pluto. Tamu Tamu, and The Hero. Written in 1939, for radio, The Old Maid and the Thief was revised in 1941 for the stage. It boasts a number of firsts: 1) the first opera commissioned by NBC, 2) the first opera for radio, and 3) Menotti's first English libretto, which he wrote because "I thought that because of its greater sharpness and greater variety of sound, English offered a musician much greater rhythmic possibilities than Italian."i5 Subtitled "a grotesque opera in fourteen scenes", The Old Maid is built around a chain of events, almost like cinematic scenes. Bob, a beggar comes to Miss Todd's home and is persuaded to stay for a few days. As both Miss Todd and Laetitia, her maid, become more enamored of Bob, Miss Todd "borrows" the money of the church (of which she is the treasurer) and eventually robs friends and neighbors, the club and the church

106 and finally the liquor store, to keep Bob content, even though they believe him a thief. When Miss Todd realizes that Bob is not "appreciative" of her, she runs to get the police. While she is gone, Laetitia persuades Bob to escape with her, taking all the valuables that they can carry as they go. Miss Todd returns to find herself abandoned and everything gone. The irony is that because they assume that he's a thief, he turns into one. The moral is "a man can't help becoming what people want him to be." The style is very much "opera buffa", reminiscent of Gianni Schicchi or even The Marriage of Figaro with its stereotype characters (Laetitia is similar to Despina, Miss Todd to Marcellina, etc.), mistaken identities, and different social classes. Even so, the characters really touch the audience. For instance, one is moved by Miss Todd's foolish delusion about Bob's love and her ultimate rejection. The score is highly contrapuntal and economical right from the start. The overture is rather loose sonata form, made up of two themes: the first in the cello (Figure 3-14); and the second (Figure 3-15), which are developed through imitation, leading to the capitulation and a three-part fugal coda.

Figure 3-14: The Old Maid and the Thief. Overture, p. 1-2

107

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Figure 3-15: The Old Maid and the Thief, Overture, p. 5 The orchestra illustrates the characters and action throughout. For instance Miss Pinkerton is associated with a "busy-body" figure (Figure 3-16)

Figure 3-16: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 1, p. 13 Laetitia is associated with running figures as she runs about the house, down when exiting (Figure 3-17) and up when entering (Figure 3-18).

Figure 3-17: The Old Maid and the Thief, Scene 1, p. 27

108

Figure 3-18: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 1, p. 27 She also has a longing motif (Figure 3-19), which recurs in scene thirteen when she is coaxing Bob to run away.

Figure 3-19: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 6, p. 94 Bob is associated with his "hunk" motif (Figure 3-20) and his liquid "wandering" motif (Figure 3-21).

109

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Figure 3-21: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 8, p. 103 The "thief" motif, with which Miss Pinkerton spreads the news, in scenes four and eleven, is a continuous eighth pattern (Figure 3-22), which gets more insistent as Miss Todd tells Laetitia.

Figure 3-22: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 4, p. 63

A scurrying figure (Figure 3-23) is used both for the liquor robbery and for the final theft.

Figure 3-23: The Old Maid and the Thief, Scene 10, p. 126 The horn motif in Scene three (Figure 3-24), a working theme, also begins scene twelve.

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Figure 3-24: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 3, p. 51 The text is very witty and singable (Figure 3-25), like conversations set to music.

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Figure 3-25: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 1, pp. 18-9 This is interspersed with set-pieces of lovely sustained melody (Figure 3-26).

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Figure 3-26: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 1, p. 23 The harmony is quite simple, especially in the lyric moments. Climaxes are often achieved through building repetitive phrases, as in Laetitia's aria (Figure 3-27).

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Figure 3-27: The Old Maid and the Thief. Scene 6, p. 96 Due to its theatrical effectiveness, The Old Maid never fails to please an audience.

The Medium (1946) commissioned by Columbia University, has often been considered Menotti's most successful opera, because of its "exceptional integration of plot, text, music and staging."!* Basically a psychological study it describes "the tragedy of a person caught between two worlds, the world of reality which she cannot wholly comprehend and the supernatural world in which she cannot believe,"!? The inspiration came from a couple whom Menotti met while on holiday with Samuel Barber. This couple had lost their fourteen year old daughter, Doodly. Consequently the wife had seances every night. The synopsis is as follows: Madam Flora (Baba) uses her daughter, Monica, and a mute, Toby, to help her as a fake medium. During a seance she feels a hand on her throat which frightens her. Dismissing her clients, she accuses Toby of trying to scare her. When the clients return a few days later, she confesses her fraud and throws them out when they disbelieve her. Terrified, she accuses Toby, whips him and throws him out, meanwhile locking Monica in her room. Later Toby returns and hides as Baba wakes up. She shoots at the "ghost", killing Toby. The opera ends as she asks him "was it you?" The libretto, which Aufdemberge calls one of the most successful librettos because of its elements of suspense, believable character study of Flora, and effective use of irony and reversal,is shows Menotti's dramatic flair. The plot line is compact, with no irrelevant scenes, building to a fine climax, while at the same time abounding in dramatic ironies (i.e. Baba becoming a victim of her own charlatanism), and contrasts (i.e. Monica's innocence versus Baba's brutality). The language is very colloquial (Figure 3-

Figure 3-28: The Medium. Act I, p. 14 An exception is Monica's "playing" rhymes and Baba's complicated images in her aria (Figure 3-29).

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115 According to Menotti, the characters have symbolic dimensions: Monica represents love; Baba, doubt; and Toby the unknown, "hiding within the silence the answer to Baba's unanswerable question. "19 The drama is enhanced by the music. The opera opens with a stark brass motif (Figure 3-30), which sets the tone for the whole opera, recurring to open Act II, to underline Baba's fear as she says "I'm afraid" and to end the opera, as Toby falls after being shot.

Figure 3-30: The Medium. Act I, p. 1 There is also an ambiguous major/minor motif that accompanies Baba's clients which sets the mood for the seances. The vocal form again takes the style of extended recitative passages, interspersed with arias and simple ensembles, reminiscent of Puccini in their propelling climaxes that build so skillfully. In order to do this Menotti uses irregular phrasing, as in

116 "Black Swan" (Figure 3-31) where the phrase lengths are two-bar, two-bar, three-bar, two-bar, one-bar, one-bar.

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117

Figure 3-32: The Medium, Act I, p. 46 One other phrasing techniques which Menotti incorporates is to use a declaration, followed by a pair of phrases (Figure 3-33).

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Figure 3-33: The Medium. Act II, p. 91 An additional Menotti trait is his rhythmic flexibility, using multiple rhythms for speech effects, as in Mrs. Gobineau's story (Figure 3-34).

118

Figure 3-34: The Medium. Act I, pp. 19-20 For moments of emotion, there are instances of sprechstimme (i.e. "Send my son to me"), and, for the most dramatic moments, unaccompanied speech as in the seance scene, where the orchestra comes to a crashing halt before Baba cries, "Who touched me". Another important dramatic innovation of Menotti is his use of silence to punctuate the drama (Figure 3-35), as after Baba's "Stop it!"

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Figure 3-35: The Medium. Act II, p. 105 As in Hie. Old Maid, the orchestra underlines the drama in a number of ways. Certain instruments are used for effects, such as the strings for unrest, or the oboe and viola for an eerie quality in Mrs. Gobineau's story. When Baba lies to Toby, saying she loves him, the orchestra plays dissonances; as she gets anxious the orchestra has insistent repeated notes. Suspenseful moments are underlined by parallel fourths and fifths, such as the ghostly phrase (Figure 3-35, above) or as Toby re-enters in Act II. Rising and falling chromatics depict Baba's fear (Figure 3-36). Six chords in the orchestra depict the whip falling on Toby.

120

Figure 3-36: The Medium, Act II, p. 113 Wonderfully theatrical, The Medium works in almost any setting and has been successful the world over. Written as a companion piece for The Medium, The Telephone (1947) pokes fun at a woman's excessive fondness for the telephone. Ben is trying to propose to Lucy before he must board a train; however he gets more and more frustrated as the telephone keeps interrupting him, until he finally resorts to proposing via a nearby telephone booth. Menotti's libretto is skillfully put together and is well integrated with the music. As in The Medium, the melodic line follows the speech, in patterns of multiple rhythms (Figure 3-37).

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121 As usual there are accompanying motifs, right from the opening "ringing" chords (Figure 3-38) and the "time" motif (Figure 3-39).

Figure 3-38: The Telephone, p. 1

Figure 3-39: The Telephone, p. 19 Ben has a romantic motif (Figure 3-40), and the telephone a ring motif (Figure 3-41).

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Figure 3-41: The Telephone, p. 7 Lucy gets to sing several types of arias as she talks on the phone, all to frivolous texts. The first is coloratura (Figure 3-42), with laughing orchestra scales representing the other people.

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123 Next she is dramatic, with melodramatic orchestral figures for George's anger (Figure 3-43).

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Figure 3-43: The Telephone, p. 21 The third is sentimental (Figure 3-44).

124

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Figure 3-44: The Telephone, p. 31 Ben and Lucy's duet (Figure 3-45), with its arpeggio accompaniment and triple meter seems like a caricature of Bellini.

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Figure 3-45: The Telephone, p. 37

125 Though harmonically tonal, there are dissonances; mainly seconds, sevenths and ninths, to punctuate the drama; as well as polyphony (Figure 4-46); and conflicting keys (Figure 3-48).

Figure 3-46; The Telephone, p. 24

Figure 3-47: The Telephone, p. 25

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Figure 3-48: The Telephone, p. 20 Menotti again employs repeated phrases (Figure 3-49).

Figure 3-49: The Telephone, p. 10 Since it has only two characters and one simple set, The Telephone is one of the easiest operas to produce. On top of that its genuine charm and typical "buffa" quality combine to make it one of the most frequently performed American operas. Commissioned by the New York City Center of Music and Drama, The Saint of Bleecker Street (1954), for which Menotti received his second Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics Award, deals with the problems of religious faith. His basis for the opera, for which he wrote the text and the music concurrently, was two paintings by George Tooker - "The Subway" and "Fiesta". The main plot concerns Annina, known as the Saint of Bleecker Street because of the stigmata on her hands. Ill, she wants to become a nun before she dies, and is opposed by her agnostic brother, Michele, who forbids her to take any part in the neighborhood religious rites. The neighborhood groups help her to participate anyway. At a wedding feast, Desideria, Michele's sweetheart, demands that he recognize her publicly. When he wont, she accuses him of incestuous feelings for Annina, whereupon

127 Michele kills Desideria and is forced to flee. Annina gets permission to take the veil immediately and though Michele pleads with and then curses her, she becomes Sister Angela just before she dies. The libretto may be, as Brooks Atkinson stated, "undistinguished from a literary point of view,"20 but it still works theatrically. However, it must be admitted that there are too many extraneous episodes which hinder the action, such as Maria Corona's monologue which seriously interrupts the dramatic flow in Act III. There is also a climactic problem. The end of Act II feels like the major climax, though in fact it should be secondary. Within the opera, however, are a variety of dramatic contrasts, such as Annina's child like love of Christ versus Michele's unacknowledged passionate love for her; and Anninas simple acceptance of her stigmata versus the crowd's religious hysteria. The language is colloquial with some Italian for local color and some Latin for the religious aura. However a few of the extended metaphors Menotti uses do not suit the simple characters, as for example, Desideria's analogies. Many of the characters are stereotypical, as for instance Maria Corona, the newlyweds and even Desideria, who is indicated as "dressed in red with a carnation in her hair." The chorus figures prominently in every scene except one quite unusual for Menotti. Musically The Saint of Bleecker Street in very much in the tradition of Puccini. In fact, the ascending chordal line associated with Annina is very reminiscent of that used by Puccini for Suor Angelica and the final procession

at the end of Act I can be compared theatrically to that in Tosca. There are two contrasting styles: 1) the religious influences as in the polyphonic hymn in Act I and the procession; and 2) the Italian folk influence, as in Assunta's lullaby, which is based on an actual piece from Frierli, and the traditional Stornelli in Act II. There are motifs which are associated with the characters. The opera after establishing a religious mood, starts with Annina's modal "faith motif (Figure 3-50), which recurs throughout the opera, for example: during her Act I aria and the revelation of her stigmata; during her Act III duet with Michele (her love of God versus her brother's love); and finally, later during her death scene.

Figure 3-50: The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1

This is followed by a "waiting motif (Figure 3-51), which later leads into the chorus.

Figure 3-51: The Saint of Bleecker Street Act I, Scene 1, p. 1

Michele has a descending motif (Figure 3-52), which is heard as he argues with Don Marco and later in his Act III duet with Annina.

Figure 3-52: The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I, Scene 1, p. 59

Desideria's motif, heard at her entrance (Figure 3-53), recurs as she asks for Michele in Act II and again as she is dying.

Figure 3-53: The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I, Scene 2, p. 131

130 Characteristically, Menotti incorporates frequent meter changes, but in The Saint, they are sometimes used to distinguish characters, as in Desideria and Michelle's duet (Figure 5-54).

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Figure 3-54: The Saint of Bleecker Street Act II, p. 163

There are frequent examples of polyrhythms, (Figure 3-55), as well.

131

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Figure 3-55: The Saint of Bleecker Street Act I, Scene 1, pp. 46-7

As in Menotti's other operas there are moments of silence, as after Michele shouts "Shut up" and stabs Desideria (Figure 3-56). This example also illustrates Menotti's use of spoken dialogue for the highest emotions.

132

Figure 3-56: The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act II, p. 206

The melodic phrases follow the speech patterns as one expects from Menotti. For instance, as the word intensity rises in Desideria's aria, so does the melody (Figure 3-57). As she collapses, the phrases get shorter and weaker, until she dies in the single word -- love.

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Figure 3-57: The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act II, pp. 176-7

133 In the most passionate duets, Menotti uses parallel phrases to show the characters' cross purposes and to build suspense. For instance, in Act 1 Michele's "Sister I shall hide you and show you the way," (Figure 3-58), is matched by Annina's "Brother, I shall lead you and show you the way" (Figure 3-59).

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Figure 3-58: The Saint of Bleecker Street. Act I, Scene 1, p. 111-2

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Figure 3-59: The Saint of Bleecker Street Act I, Scene 1, p. 113

134 In Act II, Desidena's accusations are followed by Michele's defense or denials, (Figure 3-54, above). Harmonically, the opera is tonal, although Menotti incorporates many modal sections, especially in the religious music and polysections as during Annina's vision in Act I (Figure 3-60), or in her Act III aria which seesaws between major and minor until she is at rest.
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Even though The Saint of Bleecker Street is Menotti's personal favorite, it has failed to catch the audience's interest as much as The Medium. The Last Savage, commissioned by the Paris L'Opera Comique, premiered in 1963. Modeled after The Marriage of Figaro, this opera buffo is similar to The Old Maid in that it is about love, in the form of a woman entrapping a man and subduing him. As is typical of opera buffo, the story is convoluted.

135 Mr. Scattergood and the Maharajah wish their children, Kitty and Kodanda, to wed; but first Kitty, who is an anthropologist, wants to catch a "wild" man. So Sardula, who is loved by Kodanda, persuades her sweetheart, Abdul, to imitate a wild man and be captured, whereupon Kitty takes him to New York. Six months later Abdul finds himself attracted to Kitty, until Kitty, who loves Abdul, gives a party for him and he flees. Kitty and her father follow. Sardula, meanwhile, no longer loves Abdul. Mr. Scattergood and the Maharanee then discover that Kodanda is really their son from a past indiscretion, which leaves Kodanda free to marry Sardula. Kitty, having declared she'd give up civilization, gets Abdul and moves into his cave but not without some modem appliances. The libretto was originally in Italian, so the English translation, by George Head, seems contrived. The characters are stock buffa figures; Sardula is reminiscent of Despina, the Maharajah of the Pasha, and Kate "is just another Norina."2i Musically it is a return to the Rossini tradition, both in form (traditional ensembles, secco recitatives and arias) and in orchestral texture, which Menotti described as "nothing but oom-pah-pah, tonic and dominant for three long acts."22 He went on to describe the opera's overall shape as a funnel with Act I as the large end, Act II smaller and Act III as the smallest end. The melodic lines are

136 characteristically disjunct as in traditional buffas and in many patter-type songs (Figure 3-61).

Figure 3-61: The Last Savage. Act I, Scene 1, p. 82

Several motifs are used. Each time Maharanee gives advice in Act I a quasi-oriental motif is heard (Figure 3-62).

Figure 3-62: The Last Savage. Act I, Scene 1, pp. 20-1 The "moral" motif in Act I, (Figure 3-63), recurs in Act III.

137

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In Act II, Scene 3, Kitty enters to a motif of "modem ways," (Figure 3-64), that later becomes the subject of the closing Act II fugue and then returns in Act III in the orchestra while the servants are bringing the appliances in to the cave.

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Figure 3-64: The Last Savage. Act II, Scene 3, p. 228

138 At the ends of Scenes 1 and 2, the Maharanee has a repeating phrase to Scattergood: "Your face is so familiar," (Figure 3-65), which is solved in Act m when she realizes why.

Figure 3-65: The Last Savage. Act I, Scene 1, p. 73

There are also some "joke" motifs. For instance, a kiss motif in Act II parodies the love motif in Tristan and Isolda. (Figure 3-66), and the lovers thirds and sixths in Act III are reminiscent of Per Rosenkavalier (Figure 3-67).

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Figure 3-66: The Last Savage. Act II, Scene 1, p. 196

139

Figure 3-67: The Last Savage. Act III, p. 421

Other amusing musical touches occur throughout the opera. A percussive melody over a passacaglia bass which accompanies the building of a wall between the Americans and the Indians "so that each can talk privately to their child" later appears in reverse as the wall is tom down. Abdul's interrogation occurs over pompous chords in the orchestra and later the seduction scene ends in cascading chromatics leading to a black out. The ensembles contain some of the best writing in the opera. For example, the ensemble in Act I, scene 1, dramatically is two independent conversations, but musically is one. At first it seesaws from group to group as Kitty and Kodanda resist. Finally when they agree, they sing in long extended lines over the staccato punctuations of the others. More than Menotti's other operas, The Last Savage has always received mixed reviews, and therefore, has not had as much exposure as his other operas.

Labyrinth (1963), commissioned by NBC television, is Menotti's only opera which has never played before a live audience. Designated as a one-act "operatic riddle", Menotti describes the opera as a morality play detailing man's journey through life, with a logical meaning for almost everything that happens.23 The surrealistic plot concerns a bride and groom on their honeymoon at a hotel; they can't find their key. During their search through the hotel (the world) they meet: an elusive bell boy (religion); a female spy (philosophy); an old man (the past); an executive woman (the present); a weightless astronaut (the future); and a train filled with bathers (hypocritical society). After a storm in which the bride drowns, the groom meets the hotel director (death) who gives him his key while nailing him into a coffin. In Labyrinth. Menotti leans more toward spoken-sung drama. He tried a variety of electronic effects split scenes, multiple exposures, out of focus shots, etc. ~ but was not terribly successful. Written as a companion piece to Amahl and the Night Visitors for the Hamburg Opera, Help. Help the Globolinks (1968) is a one-act children's opera in prologue and four scenes. Set in contemporary America, it is the story of a group of children who are trapped in a bus by the seemingly indestructible extra-terrestrial "globolinks". The children discover that the globolinks are repulsed by music, but only Emily has a violin, so she starts off to the school for help. At the school, Dr. Stone who doesn't believe in music, refuses to recognize the menace, until a globolink almost gets him and he is saved by

141 singing "la" after which he and the teachers than march off to save the children. The globolinks are closing in on the bus when the teachers get there in the nick of time. Everyone then goes in search of Emily, who has fallen asleep in the "forest of steel". Just as a globolink smashes her violin and starts for her, Dr. Stone, now part globolink, flies in to save her, moments before he turns completely into a globolink, "the fate of all those who don't love music". As the teachers and children arrive, the steel forest melts into sunlit woods and the moral is "unless we keep music in our soul, a hand of steel will clasp our hearts and we will live like clocks and dials instead of air and sun and sea. "24 The opera is a mixture of dialogue, live music and recorded electronic music (Figure 3-68). The electronic score, which plays at the same time as the live music, and which represents the globolinks, is mostly abstract, with patches of real pitches, rhythms and quasi-melodies.

Figure 3-68: Help. Help the Globolinks. Scene 1, p. 8

142 For instance the prologue is made up of a "motion1 1motif, (Figure 3-69), interspersed with the globolink sounds and the first interlude starts with a derivative of the "bus" horn motif, which is eventually covered by the globolink music. The "bus horn", a C major triad outline, (Figure 3-70), is the main motif. It recurs throughout the opera and ends it, electronically chirped by a baby globolink.

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Figure 3-69: Help. Help the Globolinks. Introduction, p. 1

(bui hors)

Figure 3-70: Help. Help the Globolinks. Scene 1, p. 10

Menotti borrows from traditional styles. When Emily asks, "How will I find the way?", it is to a folk-like tune. The power of music is represented by a cannon and the rescues are accomplished in rousing major key marches (Figure 3-71).

143

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For the unmusical Dr. Stone, 1/2 human and 1/2 Globolink, there are dissonances under his solitary note (Figure 3-72).

Figure 3-72: Help. Help the Globolinks, Scene 2, p. 69

144 Frequently Menotti utilizes: spoken dialogue; recitative and sprechstimme; changing meter and chromaticism; and polyrhythms (Figure 3-73).

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to - I - If,

Figure 3-73: Help. Help the Globolinks. Scene 4, p. 107

While Help, Help the Globolinks is fun, it is almost more in the musical comedy vein than the operatic, and is not easy to produce. Commissioned by the Ninth International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Tamu - Tamu. composed in 1973, deals with the confrontation of two cultures, inspired by the Vietnamese

145 conflict. It takes place in a typical American suburban home, where the Hudsons are having breakfast and looking at the paper which has a picture of an Indonesian family fleeing from a burning village (which should be visible to the audience on a back scrim). After Mr. Hudson has left for work, his wife answers the doorbell to find the Indonesian family on her doorstep. She immediately calls her husband and the doctor -- the Indonesian child is wounded - as the grandfather clock collapses and time is suspended. Mr. Hudson arrives, as does the doctor, who refuses to become involved, and leaves. The Asians mourn the grandfather, who has died in the interim, as old priests appear and carry him behind the scrim. The two families settle in with each other and Parda, the Asian wife, has her baby, but during the celebration for the birth, armed soldiers come to the door, force the Indonesians behind the scrim and massacre them. After a blackout, the lights come up on the original scene, and Mr. Hudson leaves for work as his wife starts to clean. Menotti has tried to capture some Indonesian flavor by incorporating gong sounds, percussion and gamelan-like bells, but Tamu - Tamu is no more Indonesian than Madame Butterfly is Japanese. There are long tranquil lines, as in Anento's narrative, wailing and chanting for the grandfather's death, and short jagged phrases, as Mrs. Hudson questions life. The vocal lines flow in Menotti's characteristic songspeech patterns (Figure 3-74).

146

Figure 3-74: Tamu - Tamu. Act I, p. 10

Also typical is Menotti's use of motifs. The most important represents the violence and occurs at the beginning of the prelude (Figure 3-75). It recurs as Mr. Hudson looks at the picture in the paper, as Act II opens, and as the Indonesians are led to their deaths.

Figure 3-75: Tamu - Tamu, Act I, p. 1

147 The beautiful lullaby sung by Parda (Figure 3-76), and later by Mrs. Hudson, in which the instruments play the melody in cannon, later forms the basis of the first interlude, where the lullaby motif becomes increasingly agitated.

Figure 3-76: Tamu - Tamu. Act I, pp. 45-6

The orchestra sets the atmosphere and underlines the drama. At the beginning there is a snow falling pattern (Figure 3-77), and to set the conflict, the orchestra plays three phrases of "Silent Night" during the opening. A sustained dissonant chord underlines the massacre (Figure 3-78).

148

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m am

tn m

li*

it

f d
m

i ^ jj I r L f c

Figure 3-77: Tamu - Tamu. Act I, p. 3

Figure 3-78: Tamu - Tamu. Act II, p. 140

All in all, this is a striking work, though as yet it is not very well known. Written in 1976, for the Comic Opera Company of Philadelphia, The Hero is "a humorous comment on contemporary society and on its selfsatisfaction and greed". The Modem Rip Van Winkle story tells of David, a Renville, Pennsylvania man who has achieved fame by sleeping for ten years. On the night before the unveiling of a statue (a marble bed) to commemorate his sleep, David wakes up. The mayor, the doctor, and David's wife, Mildred,

149 who want to capitalize on his renown, urge David to feign sleep until after the ceremony, but his cousin, Barbara, begs him not to. At the ceremony, David is discovered awake, lying in the marble bed at its unveiling and as the crowd chases the officials, the opera ends with the two couples - David and Barbara, who calls David "the true hero", and Mildred and Doctor Brainkoff. The music is very similar to that of The Last Savage, full of waltz tunes and clean ensembles, such as the waltz ensemble of the shopkeepers and the pianissimo "sleep" trio. The chief motif is "the sleeping" (Figure 3-79), which occurs throughout Act I and ends Act II.

Figure 3-79: The Hero. Scene 1, p. 3

There are many satirical references, both verbally, i.e. "to sleep or not to sleep, that is the question", or the hints of the Watergate scandal as Mildred and Brainkoff cut up the tape of David's waking; and musically, i.e. the eerie chords as David finds out about sleeping, or the quotes of "The Star Spangled Banner", "Mi Chiamano Mimi" and "By the Waters of Minnetonka," played in the orchestra during the sales pitch for the celebration.

Two children's operas, The Boy Who Grew Too Fast and The Pride from Pluto, composed in 1982, are his latest American-theme operas. Commissioned for Opera Delaware, in conjunction with the DuPont Company, the one-act The Boy Who Grew Too Fast centers on Poponel, a shy nine-year-old who is teased for his size. He asks his teacher, Miss Hope, for help and together they go to Doctor Shrink, who reduces Poponel but cautions him that if he doesn't conform to other's opinions he will grow again. The next day, Poponel is accepted by the other children, but when Mad Dog, the terrorist, takes the children hostage, Poponel is the only one to say "yes" when asked to be the single hostage, whereupon he starts to grow until he is as big as Mad Dog and knocks out the terrorist. Proudly he says that he'll stay as he is. The majority of the opera is composed of sparsely accompanied conversational lines, and occasional electronic sounds, such as those accompanying Poponel's reduction. The Bride from Pluto, commissioned by the Arts Education Program for the Kennedy Center, revolves around Billy, who constantly complains and wants more than his parents can afford and is therefore sent outside by his father. In his backyard he sees the spaceship of the Queen of Pluto, searching the galaxy for a husband. When she picks Billy, he is overjoyed, until he finds out that she will replace his heart and soul with an electronic heart. When she leaves to re-charge her batteries, Billy, with the help of his parents and Rosie, his sweetheart, substitutes a mannequin, which the Queen

151 takes with her. After this Billy asks for forgiveness and the opera ends with "nowhere in the whole world you'll find a house as dear as home". Again, the music is conversational, with the synthesizer employed for the Queen's music. The characters are black and white (i.e. spoiled Billy, the selfish Queen, the good Rosie). Overall Menotti has contributed immensely to American opera. Chase asserts: That he is the most successful living American composers of opera is an objective fact. He has proved to many Americans that opera can be good theatre and that it can deal effectively both with imaginative subjects and with the burning issues of our time.25 Even if, as his critics say, he is superficial and has broken no new ground, he is "one of the few serious opera composers on the American scene who thoroughly understand the requirements of the theatre and are making a consistent effort to reach the large opera-loving public."26 He "springs out of the tradition of Italian opera and handles its conventions, even its cliches with spontaneity and freshness."2? Ward Robert Ward, another believer in nineteenth century forms and harmony, was bom in Cleveland in 1917. After studying with Hanson, Rogers, and Copland, he became the managing director of Galaxy Music Corporation (1956). That same year his first opera, He Who Gets Slapped

152 (not on an American subject), a one-act on a libretto by Bernard Stambler, based on Andreyeu's play, was performed in New York. His next opera, The Crucible, written to another Stambler libretto, was produced by the New York City Opera in 1961, It won both the New York Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize that year. In four acts, it is based on the Arthur Miller play of the same name and takes place in Salem, Massachusetts during the 1692 witch trials. Several parishioners are gathered in the Reverend Parris' home, apprehensively discussing possible witchcraft. Parris' daughter, Betty, her cousin, Abigail Williams, and a slave, Tituba, have been caught dancing in the forest with some other girls. Abigail seems the center of the trouble. She has been discharged from service by Goody (good wife) Elizabeth Proctor, who suspects that Abigail has seduced her husband, John Proctor. To seek divine help, a psalm is sung, which drives Betty, hitherto in a stupor, into hysterics. Reverend Hale, skilled in dealing with witches, arrives, and forces Tituba into a confession of consorting with the Devil. Betty recovers, whereupon all but Abigail resume the psalm. Abigail sings of her pact with the Devil, and receives a sign that she must report all others in league with the power of darkness. John Proctor learns that if he exposes Abigail, she will reveal their adultery. Mary Warren, their current servant, returns from court and reports that many have been arrested, one woman to hang. A warrant is served

153 upon Elizabeth, who has been accused by Abigail of using a witch's puppet (doll) to kill her. Such a doll is discovered. John remembers that Mary has made it and stuck the needle in its heart, with Abigail's knowledge. Mary shall testify, even if Abigail reveals all. He meets Abigail that evening, but refuses her pleas to abandon Elizabeth. She threatens exposure. In the courtroom, Judge Danforth presides, ordering Giles Corey to jail and torture for refusing to name witnesses in his charge of witchcraft against Thomas Putnam. Proctor presents Mary's testimony that the girls' "CryingOut-Against-Witches" was a fraud, alleging that Abigail has used the emotional outbreak as an opportunity to destroy Elizabeth. He then confesses his adultery. Elizabeth denies it, thinking to help, but makes him out a perjurer. The girls, led by Abigail, fall into hysterical frenzy, causing Mary to repudiate her testimony. They accuse Proctor of being "The Devil's Man." Abigail steals money from her uncle and offers to help John escape prison. He refuses. Hale and Parris try to persuade Danforth to postpone hanging John and Rebecca Nurse; but Danforth will not do so. Elizabeth and John, left alone, rise above the wreckage of their lives. John first thinks he will confess, then decides against it when he learns that his confession must be written and will be displayed publicly. Rebecca, on her way to the gallows, inspires him by her steadfastness, and he joins her as Elizabeth blesses him. The panic and self-righteousness of the religious fanatics set the tone. The essential drama has been preserved and much of the play's original

154 language is used, although there are changes. For instance, John and Abigail's love scene which occurs in Act I of the play is moved to Act X U of the opera. Prose and poetry are mixed together. There are seventeenth century biblical speech patterns (Figure 3-80), as well as black dialect (Figure 3-81).

Figure 3-80: The Crucible. Act I, p. 30

fM lk -tri,

kltck <*|| tm t ftm >M

m;

Figure 3-81: The Crucible. Act I, p. 30

Musically as well, there are several textures. The Puritan ethics are represented by a recurring psalm-tune (Figure 3-82).

155

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Figure 3-82: The Crucible. Act I, pp. 99-100

Blues and jazz elements represent the black slave, "Tituba," (Figure 3-83), and folk-tunes are occasionally used.

156

h r -li

kl< m m t i _ mat

tkM

Figure 3-83: The Crucible, Act I, p. 92

Ward incorporates many neo-romantic techniques such as text painting, as in Tituba's song (Figure 3-84), sequential patterns in the orchestra (Figure 3-85), and choral effects such as chromatic patterns in the clarinet to underline the wind (Figure 3-86).

Figure 3-84: The Crucible. Act I, p. 90

157

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Figure 3-85: The Crucible. Act I, p. 25

rtM N
N il

Figure 3-86: The Crucible. Act ID, p. 208

158 The vocal lines are lyrical and Italianate, but with more conversational rhythms. Throughout the opera triplets are often used for the supernatural, or the devil (Figure 3-87).

ii|

l i , atiara

t a r a 't I n c

l a ', a k i n

k a r a 'i r ait - la* t i l l

4a a l|h t

Figure 3-87: The Crucible. Act I, p. 93

There are many fine ensembles in the Italian style, some with as many as five or six completely different thoughts and vocal lines sung at the same time (Figure 3-88).

159

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Figure 3-88: The Crucible, Act I, p. 79

The orchestra often doubles the vocal lines, and Ward utilizes many dissonances and much polytonality, especially for conjuring (Figure 3-89).

160

(r,f-

-n 1 f T f *

f i . *4-

Figure 3-89: The Crucible, Act I, p. 89

Though occasionally denounced as being overly theatrical, most critics agree with Baincolli's opinion that "a combination of good theatre good text and better music make The Crucible as fine an opera as has ever been written by an American."28 The music adds a dimension to the original play that heightens both the drama and the emotion. Wards Claudia Legare. also on a libretto by Bernard Stambler, is based on Ibsen's Hedda Cabler transposed to post-Civil War Charleston. Claudia's ineffectual husband, George Lowedes, hopes to interest her business group in his conventional plan for the rebuilding of the South. Her former lover, the alcoholic Orlando Beaumont, also presents a revolutionary plan at the same meeting and his is adopted, but he loses the only copy while drunk. George finds it and entrusts it to Claudia who burns it in a fit of passion. When Orlando arrives in despair later, Claudia gives him her gun, urging him to a "glorious" end. When word comes back that he accidentally shot himself in a brothel brawl, Claudia kills herself. As in The Crucible, the vocal lines are very effective and singable. The style is more expansive and romantic,

161 harkening even more to the nineteenth century. The orchestra is typically used to create mood and atmosphere; however, sometimes it seems a little lack-luster. Claudia Legare is not as successful as The Crucible. In 1963, Ward again collaborated with Stambler on The Lady from Colorado, a two-act opera which takes place in Elkhom, Colorado and tells the story of Katie Lauder, an Irish immigrant who marries Cecil Moon, who becomes Lord Moon on the death of his grandfather. They return to England and find that Katie cannot fit in with the aristocracy, so they return to Elkhom to take up ranching. Upon their return former outlaw Jack Spaniard runs for Colorado's first senator. Cecil is persuaded to oppose Spaniard and eventually wins the election. The Ladv From Colorado, while a colorful theatrical piece is closer to musical theatre than to traditional opera. In 1982, commissioned by the Greater Miami Opera, Ward collaborated with Daniel Lang in Minutes till Midnight, a three-act opera set in the future. Emile Roszak and his protege, Chris, are completing a formula which will harness cosmic energy, imagining a future of no disease and unlimited space exploration. He is invited by the President of the United States to a meeting of the National Security Council in Washington, and while there is asked to head a program to use his formula to develop a cosmic bomb. The patriotic Roszak returns to his laboratory to complete his formula for this purpose but becomes conscious-stricken after several shattering events: a heart attack, Chris's death in an anti-war demonstration, and his own nightmares of a

162 bomb holocaust. He eventually sends the formula to an international science journal. Musically it shows the same traditional style as The Crucible, with some pop tunes incorporated. Though its theatrical potential is great, it never really succeeds in getting off the ground. Beeson Born in 1921, in Muncie, Indiana, Jack Beeson studied at the Eastman School of Music and later in New York with Bartok. His awards include the Prix de Rome (1948-50) and Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships. He was chairman of the music department of Columbia University from 1969 to 1972 and is now MacDowell professor of music there. His American-subject operas are: Hello Out There. The Sweet Bye and Bve, Lizzie Borden. My Hearts in the Highlands, and Captfljn links of the M arin e Hello Out There (1953), based on the William Saroyan play, takes place in a Matador, Texas jail cell. A gambler, charged with rape, persuades a young lonely girl to look for a key and gun so that they can escape to San Francisco. While she is searching, the husband of the woman supposedly raped comes in and eventually shoots the gambler. The girl returns and is left at the end in the empty jail calling "Hello out there", just as the gambler had done at the beginning. The original play has been telescoped and scenes have been transposed for heightened dramatic contrast. The language is very colloquial. Musically the style is conversational, mostly accompanied recitative (occasionally interspersed with sprechstimme, spoken dialogue and

163 melodrama), which breaks into song - 2 arias and one duet. The opera is built musically in sections, held together by recurring motifs, used in the Italian (Rossini) sense. The most important is the opening motif (Figure 390), which is associated with the gambler. It recurs as the gambler's first notes, as the basis of his aria and at the end of the opera.

IM

Figure 3-90: Hello Out There, p. 1

The gambler is also delineated by the style of his music which is jazz-like (Figure 3-91), in contrast to the young girl's which is lyrically dramatic (Figure 3-92).

164

lj

i t tj~ L jT r 7 r r n f -r r r r
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Figure 3-91: Hello Out There, p. 16

Figure 3-92: Hello Out There, p. 26 Hello Out There is basically tonal, with some modal, and bitonal sections. Like Menotti, Beeson incorporates many unresolved seconds, sevenths, and ninths (Figure 3-93).

Figure 3-93: Hello Out There, p. 37

He also uses a great deal of phrase imitation and dove-tailing, both between the voices, as in the girl and the gambler's duet (Figure 3-94), and between the voice and the orchestra (Figure 3-95).

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Figure 3-94: Hello Out There, p. 9

166

m
ImcI i CMil*r.

Figure 3-95: Hello Out There, p. 55

The orchestra often incorporates effects such as the French horn/ used to suggest the fog horn in the San Francisco harbor (Figure 3-96), or the use of the harmonium for the mood.

Figure 3-96: Hello Out There, p. 46

167 The rhythms are complex with frequent syncopations and meter changes. Coupled with the exposed orchestration, this challenges the orchestra as much as it does the singers. Beeson's next opera was The Sweet Bve and Bye, written for Julliard in 1957, on a two-act libretto by Kenward Elmslie, dealing with revivalism. It takes place in Atlantic City and New York. Sister Rose Ora, founder of the Lifeshine Gospel, is believed drowned and is being mourned by her followers. However Mother Rainey, who raised Sister Ora, believes that she has run off with a man, Billy Wilcox. This is confirmed by Rose's friend, Sister Gladys. She and Mother Rainey follow the pair to New York. While Billy is out, Mother Rainey regains her hold on Sister Rose and persuades her to return to the flock. Back in Atlantic City, Rose, confronted by Billy, decides to break away. She tries to tell her followers the truth, but they think she is testing them. As she and Billy start to leave, Mother Rainey confronts and shoots Billy. When the followers enter, she says that Billy was stealing money. Rose's love and fall from grace are accepted, and as Billy dies in Rose's arms, the sister-elect takes over the followers. Again this opera is made up of accompanied recitative and set numbers. The language is very homey and long-winded, with many colloquialisms (Figure 3-97), and evangelist melodrama (Figure 3-98).

Figure 3-97: Sweet Bye &Bye. Act I, Scene 1, p. 30

Figure 3-98: Sweet Bye & Bye, Act I, Scene 1, p. 25

The vocal lines are very traditional. The harmonic structure is basically simple with dissonance used mainly for dramatic moments such as Billy's death. There are many occasions where several lines are going at once, similar to Ward (Figure 3-99).

169

ryr

Figure 3-99: Sweet Bye & Bye, Act I, Scene 1, p. 7

As in Hello Out There, when Billy and Rose sing together their phrases often dove-tail (Figure 3-100).

170

Aa*

M 'tl

II*

till,

bl|fc.

Figure 3-100: Sweet Bye & Bye. Act I, Scene 2, p. 65

When the followers pray, they do so in unison; hymn-like phrases; or in gospel style. The rhythms are again complex, especially in confrontations (Figure 3-101), with jazz-like styles interspersed, for the sinners or when Rose

Figure 3-101: Sweet Bve & Bye. Act I, Scene 2, p. 89

171

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1:
i:
C M a r t a t l j fM l

Figure 3-102: Sweet Bye & Bye, Act I, Scene 1, p. 18

As with Ward's operas, The Sweet Bve and Bye is also considered "directly theatrical, blessedly free from musical id eo lo g ies. "29 Commissioned by the Ford Foundation, Lizzie Borden, on another Elmslie libretto (based on a Robert Plant scenario), premiered in New York in 1965. It takes place in the Borden home in Fall River, Massachusetts. During a choir rehearsal in the Borden house, the Reverend Harrington asks Lizzie for a donation to save Old Harbor Church. She advises him to speak to Abbie, her stepmother, who can persuade Andrew Borden to anything. Borden interrupts the rehearsal. Lizzie asks for a new gown, but is told to make due with one from the attic. The family assembles for lunch. Lizzie, planning for her sister, Margaret, to escape the house by accepting Captain Jason MacFarlane's proposal of marriage, arranges that the minister should bring the captain to the house to meet Borden. During the evening, Abbie persuades her husband to buy her a new piano and to do over the house, removing all traces of his first wife, Evangeline. A

172 family quarrel is interrupted by the arrival of the minister and the captain. Andrew mocks Jason's proposal and offers Lizzie instead. He forbids Lizzie to see the preacher again or to continue her machinations in behalf of Margaret. While Abbey and Andrew are out celebrating their wedding anniversary, Jason persuades Margaret to elope. Lizzie puts on Evangeline's wedding gown, which she has been remodeling for Margaret. Entranced by her mirror image, she loses herself in fantasies and is caught and taunted by Abbie. Lizzie realizes that in sending Margaret away, she will be left alone with her parents. She confesses to Jason that his letters have meant a great deal to her, and begs to keep them. Abbie witnesses the scene, and after Jason leaves, orders Lizzie around like a servant, then goes upstairs for a nap. Lizzie follows snatching a weapon from the wall. Andrew returns. Lizzie, still in her mother's wedding dress, now stained with blood, dementedly imagines herself a young bride. She follows her horrified father into the bedroom. Several years pass. The Reverend Harrington returns a donation to Lizzie: the congregation has refused it, even though the jury had found her innocent of her parents' murders. As she closes the shutters, children circle the house, mocking her and her alleged deed.30 The language, which is very colloquial, sometimes becomes stilted and un-dramatic, but overall it maintains its fluency. The characters are quite well-drawn, with simple, strong motivations. Andrew is mostly forceful, with strong basic rhythms (3-103). hi*
I

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Figure 3-103: Lizzie Bordon. Act I, p. 39

173 Abbie is identified with a song line representing the airs she puts on (Figure 3104).

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L'Ni - raa - < tl

- la.

Figure 3-104: Lizzie Bordon. Act II, p. 98

Margaret has the most lyrical lines (Figure 3-105).

Ij

ioua4>,

tiM

W _______________

t*ia4a__

Figure 3-105: Lizzie Bordon. Act I, p. 71

Lizzie, as her hold on reality changes, sings in many styles but one of her more identifiable phrases (Figure 3-106) is repeated at varying times.

T lo itd

hut-rr

tid

i l - la s t

raaaa'

Figure 3-106: Lizzie Bordon. Act IE, p. 109

174 Musically the style ranges from nineteenth century hymnody (Figure 3 107), to complex twentieth century dissonance (Figure 3-108).

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Figure 3-107: Lizzie Bordon. Act I, p. 4

Figure 3-108: Lizzie Bordon. Act I, p. 164

Typically, there are often several distinct independent lines going at the same time (Figure 3-109).

r
Figure 3-109: Lizzie Bordon, Act I, p. 122 The opera is held together by the opening prelude, which is identical to the opening prelude of Act II and the orchestral interlude, indicative of the swirling, emotional currents. The major flaw seems to be its lack of musical culmination. The music doesn't really have a grand climax. Beeson's Mv Heart's In the Highlands, based on another Saroyan play, premiered on National Educational Television in 1970, and on stage at Columbia University in 1988. Set in a modest Californian home in Fresno, in 1914, it deals with Johnny, his unsuccessful poet/father, Ben, and his grandmother, who are barely getting by. One day they are visited by an old actor, MacGregor, who has escaped from the old people's home, and whose strong character, virtuosity on the comet, and insistence that his heart is in the highlands wins the family and neighbors who bring gifts of food. But after a few weeks, Phillip Carmichael comes to take MacGregor back. The family misses him; life grows harder as winter draws on. Henry, a newspaper seller, comes by, teaches Johnny to whistle and leaves a free paper, from which Johnny's

176 father learns about the war in Europe. Some of his poems are rejected by the Atlantic Monthly: he tries to reassure himself by reading them aloud. His despair is deepened when Mr. Cunningham, a real estate man, brings a young couple to view the house, on which three months rent is due. Ben gives his poems to Kosak in lieu of money. The grocer reads them (actually taken from other Saroyan works) to his daughter Esther, who is Johnny's friend. Johnny steals fruit, Tl\e family barricades the door, fearing the farmer whose fruit was stolen, but joyfully opens the door as MacGregor reappears. His comet draws neighbors, who again bring offerings of food. Esther gives Johnny some coins she has saved as payment for the poems. MacGregor obliges the neighbors with a grand reading from Shakespeare, then collapses as attendants come for him. The young couple appears to claim the house, and Johnny, his father and grandfather pack their pitiful possessions and take to the road 31 Though not as complicated as Lizzie Borden, the techniques used in this opera are similar. Typically the melody lines are lyrical and romantic (Figure 3-110).
r .I

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Figure 3-110: Mv Heart's In The Highlands, p. 215

177 The majority of the score is conversational recitative, set to fit the natural inflection, interspersed with dialogue and, sprechstimme which is utilized at dramatic moments. There is a recurring motif that is associated with MacGreggor, a traditional Scots song (Figure 3-111).

M jf tH M 'i ! tlw

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Figure 3-111: Mv Heart's In The Highlands, p. 76 He also incorporates traditional Armenian folk music for the grandmother (Figure 3-112).

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II f l W M l ff

-g j

Figure 3-112: My Heart's In The Highlands, p. 84 Characteristic compositional devices incorporated include complex rhythms, increasing dissonance in sequence, parallel fourths and sevenths, and bi tonality. Overall, it is well written, though challenging for the performers. His latest American-subject opera, Captain links of the Horse Marines (1975), adapted from the Clyde Fitch play, is musically more in the style of light opera, except for the sophisticated complexity of the music. Subtitled "a romantic comedy in music," by the composer, Captain links has set pieces interspersed with some dialogue, rhythmically spoken dialogue (Figure 3-113) and recitative.

TlfiTTH FSI i i / i ----jSi

if**! (U

l|VrinTB'lr

Figure 3-113: Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. 34

Each Act has its own unification. For example, Act I begins and ends with band music, playing "Jinks of the Horse Marines" motif (Figure 3-114).

tc.

Figure 3-114: Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. 1 Act II begins and ends with the stage hands getting the set ready (Figure 3-115).

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ir

ir > tlM t t*f f l H r .

---- J-#- +

Figure 3-115: Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act II, p. 116

180 Act III begins with La Traviata music, to represent the curtain coming down and ends with a paean to music (Figure 3-116).

a- t ie

Mi

reach *

at

aa eth-er art.

Ma-ile caa M f t-ti I ha hai*

- -

- a it heart.

mp

r H H l t y ta t I f j i t

Figure 3-116: Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act III, pp. 316-17 Throughout the opera there are many musical quotes woven into the contemporary music, including quotes from La Traviata. Norma. Barber of Seville. Fidelio. La Forza del Destino. and II Trovatore (Figure 3-117).

Figure 3-117: Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. 70 Beeson tries to distinguish the characters somewhat musically. The lover's music incorporates more lyrical lines (Figure 3-118).

Figure 3-118: Captain finks of the Horse Marines, Act II, p. 157 Colonel Mapleson's music is much more rhythmical and straightforward (Figure 3-119), as is Papa Belliartis.

Figure 3-119: Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act II, p. 118 There are many clever musical parodies. For example, the law (the policeman and the customs officer) are represented by a strict twelve-tone row (Figure 3-120).

182

Figure 3-120: Captain [inks of the Horse Marines, Act I, p. 91 Aurelia debates about hearing Jinks' explanation in an aria of variations on the theme of his note to her (Figure 3-121).

Figure 3-121: Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act III, p. 269 The most extended parody is the "Germont Mre Scene", which parallels and quotes from La Traviata as Mrs. Jinks demands that Aurelia give up her son. Her arrival just before this scene also serves as the basis for another clever musical pun the lovers original meeting music is played backwards as she tries to break them up.

183 Contrapuntal techniques are incorporated very often, especially for the reporters (Figure 3-122).

_________________________________________jP l.
T.

Jf
Tr.

kara ia

yaa aaat

tka frlaaa

af kalaaf

a* a - kaal

tka ar -

aaa Ckaatl

a.
/r
Tall a- kaal tka Praatk ar- falaf Tail

a. jr
Cl. Tall ai a- kaal tka Ika- 4l*al Tall ai a - kaal Tall ai a - kaal tka 1- lal laa Dakar Tall aa a - kaal

Figure 3-122: Captain links of the Horse Marines. Act I, p. 64 Other typical Beeson compositional techniques include changing meter, complex rhythms, independent vocal and orchestral lines, and natural speech rhythms. Hoiby Another successful traditionalist, Lee Hoiby was bom in 1926, and studied with Milhaud (at Mills College), Menotti (at Curtis) and at The American Academy in Rome (1954-56). He wrote his first opera, The Mother. which was produced in New York in 1960. Sabin commented in Musical America:

184 a work of notable beauty and poetic imagination that would be enough in itself to mark Hoiby as a major talent....He follows traditional paths of melody and harmony, but he spins lovely and dramatically expressive tunes and he sets then with a keen sense of atmosphere and theatre. When one is as gifted as he is, one does not need to worry about being called old-fashioned.32 His next opera, The Scarf, a one-act based on a libretto by Harry Duncan, was produced in Spoletto, Italy in 1958. Set in an isolated farmhouse during a February blizzard, Miriam spins a charmed scarf. She tries to persuade a postman who has lost his way in the storm to stay the night, but her husband thwarts her plans by urging the postman to leave, and by returning from seeing him off, with the scarf. Furious, Miriam strangles her husband and rushes into the night. The opera starts with a short introduction containing a motif (Figure 3123), which will be used later.

Figure 3-123: The Scarf, p. 1 There is also a musical theme (Figure 3-124), which represents the scarf's spell.

185

Figure 3-124: The Scarf, p. 68 The vocal lines are fairly simple, but quite dramatic with much chromaticism (Figure 3-125).

taaa

t M tea ) t bln* li

b i> i-l||

a 'n

km * t i k m ha*

M tk - r

la * m i

it -

i r Ihl

M iM tor'i M ,

im i- m

' b icrc t

cm*

lr.

Figure 3-125: The Scarf, p. 26 The accompaniment very rarely doubles the vocal line and there are instances of unaccompanied dialogue. The characters are rather one-dimensional as well. He often uses the orchestra for atmospheric effects, such as dropping entirely to the bass register for a mysterious brooding quality, as for example the strangulation (Figure 3-126). He also makes use of repeated patterns to build climaxes such as where the husband accuses the wife of witchery (Figure 3-127).

186

D ow n ir o r i d

you go, 1
_

down,

'

i . ^----L~ ,

p ipp b p

... - ~ m C o >PM

..

Figure 3-126: The Scarf, p. 19

Fra

ila

ririt

<07

Figure 3-127: The Scarf, p. 16 The complex harmonic structure provides a surreal treatment of the opera, which presents a challenge for the singers. Hoiby's next opera on an American-subject, Summer and Smoke. premiered in St. Paul in 1971. The libretto is by Langford Wilson, based on Tennessee Williams' play.

187 As children, John Buchanan, Jr., and Alma Winemiller are attracted to each other, but John is a realist, Alma a romantic, hampered by a narrow outlook and restricted by the unbalanced actions of her mother and the righteousness of her preacher father. John yields to the more accessible charms of Rosa Gonzales, and the local tavern, Moonlight Casino, while Alma becomes more introverted. Although she makes one excursion to the Casino with John, it ends in disappointment, as she cannot meet his frankness. While John's father is away, the Gonzales family overflows the office to celebrate the wedding of John and Rosa. Alma, surreptitiously phones the elder Buchanan, who returns to chase the wild party out of his house and is shot by Papa Gonzales. John blames Alma for the tragedy and goes away to resume serious study. Alma grows more and more to be a recluse, until when John returns as a successful doctor, she can hardly bear to meet him. At last she does confront him and boldly kisses him, but it is too late. He just became engaged to young Nellie, a piano pupil of Alma's, who has come home for the holidays from a finishing school. In quiet despair, Alma accepts the invitation of a traveling man to visit the Moonlight Casino.33 The vocal lines are patterned conversationally with occasional lyrical passages (Figure 3-128).

fr

T i strain ing

v i'r i r
for

w
or hu - men

some- thing out of the n>ch

fln - gen---------

Figure 3-128: Summer and Smoke. Act I, Scene 4, p. 113

188 Typical of Hoiby are vocal lines which are chromatically and rhythmically complex (Figure 3-129).
] rifa rrf. tvmpm, ra a a l t

-rtilE

Figure 3-129: Summer and Smoke. Act I, Scene 6> p. 170 Though there are passages of unaccompanied recitative, Hoiby often incorporates rhythmically notated dialogue (Figure 3-130), spoken over music, sometimes even within sung phrases. JM M
Itv. H
123)

H -*-

P U EXT
I want lo

M oth-cr,

we'll run a-long, then.

T h ii

is llie

wuy.

Figure 3-130: Summer and Smoke. Act I, Scene 1, p. 14 (cont. below)

189
Mu

r
I'm

u
w o ik i d n

r ......*
- play. Def-t-nite ly not.

----------

In. .

Figure 3-130: Summer and Smoke, Act I, Scene 1, p. 14 (conclusion) While Hoiby says these written rhythms are meant only to be a guide to the speech rhythm, they can lead to a pedantic reading of the text. The opera is unified by recurring motifs, most notably the "eternity" motif (Figure 3-131), which occurs in the prologue and subsequently recurs throughout, for instance when John first talks with Alma on his return, and as Alma finally confesses her love.

Figure 3-131: Summer and Smoke. Prologue, p. 5

190 The re-iteration of the bass "statue" motif in the epilogue (Figure 3-132) serves to enclose the opera.

Figure 3-132: Summer and Smoke. Prologue, p. 2 The Moon Lake Casino motif (Figure 3-133) returns at the very end as Alma leaves for the Casino with Archie.

Figure 3-133: Summer and Smoke. Act I Scene 5, p. 135 Other typical Hoiby compositional techniques are ever slightly changing repeating patterns, polyrhythms, and unresolved dissonances. Again the orchestra plays a large part in setting the mood and atmosphere. The Italian Lesson (1985), a one-act satire on a Ruth Draper monologue, takes place in a New York penthouse. A society woman reading Dante's

191 "Divine Comedy" during her Italian lesson is very taken by the way Dante's expressed how easily one becomes lost amidst lifes complexities. However the lesson is disrupted by her daily life as she: answers telephone calls; gives orders to the cook; deals with delivery of her husband's golf club; looks after the new puppy, talks with her son's teacher, discusses a portrait, deals with her children and has a manicure. Suddenly she realizes that she is late for a funeral and dismisses everyone as she gets ready, still continuing with her activities: gives orders to her secretary; arranges luncheon dates and rendezvous with her lover; and is totally unaware that she is lost amidst her life's complexities. The opera is scored lightly and traditionally. The music underlines the vocal lines, while still projecting the mood. Some of the soaring lines are almost Straussian, similar to the Marschallins. The biggest drawback is the difficulty of staging the opera. His latest American-subject opera, Bon Appetit (1989), based on Julia Child's television show on making Gateau au Chocolat L'Eminence Brie, has similar traits. The characteristics that all the operas in this chapter have in common are their basis in traditional roots: their tonal appeal; their lyrical lines; their rhythmic flow; and their "humanness" which makes them pleasing to the majority of listeners.

192 NOTES: CHAPTER III

1. Harold Briggs, "The North American Indian As Depicted In Musical Compositions," (M.M. Thesis, Indiana University, 1976), 121, 2. 2. H. Earle Johnson, Opera on American Subjects (New York: Coleman-Ross Company, Inc., 1964), 41. 3. Ellsworth Edward Hipsher, American Opera and It's Composers (Philidelphia, Pennsylvania: Theodore Presser Co., 1927), 87. 4. Johnson, American Subjects. 27. 5. Howard Hanson, Merry Mount (New York: Harms, Inc., 1933), 19, 6. Lawrence Gilman, New York Herald-Tribune. 11 February, 1934. 7. Howard Hanson, Musical Courier. March, 1932. 8. David Ewen, The Complete Book of Twentieth Century Music. (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1952), 164. 9. Olin Downes, "Premiere of the Blond Donna," New York Times, 15 December, 1931, 32. 10. Musical Courier. 30 April, 1935. 11. Ronald Eyre and Robert Sabin, Musical America. 6,1946, 3. 12. John Ardoin, The Stages of Menotti. (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1985), 10. 13. Ibid., 12,13. 14. Ibid., 27. 15. Mary Casmus, "Gian Carlo Menotti and His Dramatic Techniques," (Ph. D. diss., Columbia University, 1962), 74. 16. Ewen. The Complete Book, 243. 17. Ibid., 243.

193 18. Maurice Aufdemberge, "Analysis of the Dramatic Construction of American Operas," (Ph.D. diss., Northwestern University, 1965) 19. Gian Carlo Menotti, The Medium. Columbia Records (9387). 20. Brooks Atkinson, "Opera: The Saint of Bleecker Street. New York Times. 28 December, 1954, sec. L+, 21. 21. Henry Butler, "A Measure of Menotti", Opera News. 8 February, 1964,28. 22. Ibid. 23. Ardoin, Menotti. 153. 24. Gian Carlo Menotti, Help. Help. The Globolinks! (New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1969), 111. 25. Chase, America's Music. 650, 51. 26. Donald J. Grout, A Short History of Opera (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965), 9. 27. Joseph Machlis, Introduction to Contemporary Music. (New York: Norton and Company, 1961), 570. 28. Louis Biancolli, New York World - Telegram. 27 October, 1961. 29. William Bergsma, "New York", Musical Quarterly. January, vol. XLIV, no. 1, 1958, 87. 30. Quaintence Eaton, Opera Production II, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1974), 645. 31. Ibid., 139. 32. Robert Sabin, Musical America. 1960. 33. Eaton, Opera Production II. 214.

CHAPTER IV INDIAN ELEMENTS IN AMERICAN OPERA

Ever since the white man came to the American shores, he has been fascinated with the Indians. Musicians are no exception. Right from the beginnings of America's cultural growth, American theatre utilized Indian subjects. Although opinion varies as to their quality, there is no question that these works had a significant influence on American opera. The first, Tammanv. by James Hewitt, has been discussed previously in Chapter I. Bray Another Indian ballad opera, The Indian Princess (1808) by John Bray (1782-1822), on a play by James Nelson Barker (the foremost dramatist of his time to seek subject matter in native sources), is of significance for two reasons. It was the first play about Captain John Smith and Princess Pocahontas, a theme that later became very popular, and it was the first original American work to be exported to London. Bray was an Englishman who immigrated to America in 1805 to compose for the Chestnut Street Company in Philadelphia. He eventually settled in Boston in 1814. He was considered "competent, if not superior to others of his time"1 and the music,

194

195 though it is reminiscent of Mozart, Salieri and perhaps a little of Rossini, fits the drama well. While the music is "lightly sentimental''^, it is not without a certain merit. Pocahontass "When The Midnight Of Absence" is lyrically graceful, with many arpeggios and a more extended range and is composed of several contrasting sections (Figure 4-1). However there is nothing "Indian about it.

4 *- - - - - - W "

j- - - J ^ - l i j j , r
nlghl of

Whan the mld-

*> pw p -" L"p P f* rL aJ"


I*:-1 r t

Dto-

tuif

chill

W _

the

^ i. , W P ----bo-

J) =, J r- it I __of f--- love cam

Figure 4-1: The Indian Princess, pp. 33-4

196 The opera is filled with snatches of instrumental music to underline the mood, but again, those sections representing the Indians are totally devoid of any distinguishing feature (Figure 4-2).

------------------------f - w w -

j .= j
.

i f
t

------------

-j
t --------------------------

L ib r
Owens, Walcot, Sobolewski

Figure 4-2: The Indian Princess, p. 14

During the 1800s, Indian subjects, especially those from popular myths, kept appearing. Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish, written anonymously and based on a James Fennimore Cooper story, was produced at the Bowery Theatre on December 1, 1834. One of its pieces, "A Mother's Love" (Figure 4-3), became very popular.

/ =

r----------

197

Amoth-M-'i lov# A m o th ir'i lov*

Tlw dMrllwl (all*

on op*n-iri| W#

Figure 4-3: Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish. in, Yankee-Doodle-Doo. p. 127 The tragedy Pocahontas, by Robert Dale Owens, premiered successfully in New York in 1838 and featured "Tis Home, Where'er the Heart Is" (Figure 4-4), a simple, sentimental, yet touching ballad.

if

r i p
T lihom o

^ > 1J j * j
whMV'orlh* h w r t i , W hir- i V

p i t j

H i llv -ln | tra n -u m dwD;

Figure 4-4: Pocahontas, in, Yankee-Doodle-Doo. p. 128 Hiawatha, by Charles Walcot, produced in New York in 1855, was equally successful. Omano. by Lucien Southard, produced in concert form in Boston in 1858, is an Indian opera in Italian. Dwight stated that "some of the orchestral harmonies and modulations were mystical and almost Freishiitzlike, and others bright and rapturous as the theme required.''^ He also lauded it as the best American attempt thus far in the larger musical forms. Mohega. The Flower of the Forest, written by Edward de Sobolewski, a transported German who had studied with Weber, premiered in Milwaukee in 1859.

198 Based on a true story told by his grandfather, the story deals with a Polish officer, loved by an Indian girl who endeavored to save him during the siege of Savannah and ultimately died with him. It was the first opera based on the War of Independence and was very enthusiastically received. The music itself is very Wagnerian. The Civil War interrupted the writing of native operas. By the end of the War nationalistic feeling was rising in Europe and there was a movement throughout the musical world to adapt native folk music to opera and symphony. While searching for a true American style, many composers, influenced by Dvorak's teaching, decided that the only true North American native was the Indian and so the turn of the century saw the development of the "Indianist Era" (1900-1930). During this time many operas were produced, trying to incorporate Indian themes and Indian rhythms. Even the popular operetta was affected. In 1894, Friml wrote The Ogallalas. based on the "Squaw Man," a not very good love story about a white man and an Indian. N evin The first important Indian opera of this era was Poia. written by Arthur Nevin on a libretto by Randolph Hartley. Nevin (1871-1943), the youngest son and second composer in a Pennsylvanian family (his older brother was a songwriter), studied both in the United States (New England Conservatory) and in Europe (Berlin), most notably with Karl Klindworth and Engelbert Humperdinck. Through the influence of his friend, writer Walter

199 McClintock, Nevin spent two summers (1903-1904) on the Montana Blackfoot reservations, collecting authentic melodies. He felt that much of the Indian music was lost when westernized: I heard many hundreds of songs, dirges and ceremonial hymns, to write them as they are originally sung is an impossibility. The weird charm of their music is lost in the white man's interpretation through his inability to reproduce their subtle tone compass. Our scales are inadequate and there is no hope for the exact preserving of this aboriginal music after the red man has passed away.4 He felt their small intervals of quarter tones were a problem, so he substituted halftones and also concluded that "no matter what style the tune, the objective point is the fourth."5 During his time with the Indians, he heard Chief Big Moon narrate the story of Poia and conceived the idea for the opera, picking his friend Randolph Hartley as librettist. Poia was first produced at the Royal Opera, Berlin, to mixed reviews and a great deal of controversy (it was the first American opera to be performed there). The story is the legend of a young Blackfoot brave, Poia, who has a scar, a symbol of his tribe's wrongdoing in the eyes of Natosi, the sun god. This scar makes him unacceptable in the eyes of Natoya, who loves the evil Sumatsi, so Poia journeys to the upper world to ask Natosi to remove the scar. Once there he saves the life of Episur, the morning star, son of Natosi, thus becoming a hero, and has his scar replaced with beauty. He receives the honor of being Natosi's prophet to earth, as well as the magic pipe which will win any maid's love. Once back in the Blackfoot camp, Poia wins Natoya, but as she goes to him, Sumatsi tries to stab Poia, and Natoya,

200 while trying to intervene, is killed. Her dying words are of love for Poia and as Sumatsi tries again to stab Poia, Natosi appears and the lovers are taken into the eternal world of the gods. Even though the characters, the setting and the legend are unique, the opera sounds basically German with some Puccini, Bizet and Delibes influences. There are six authentic Indian melodies which Nevin incorporated. The first is "Indian Travelling Song" (Figure 4-5), sung by Natoya when she says that Poia has not even won his scar in battle. The melody appears first over a drum figure in the bass and then over a scale figure.

T he

var-rior'sscar v J " ~ J

p p

iU a

I" P :=l r7 = g P J
an im-blem Is, Of i

____
w t ~ n r f ---------fc_a r ... p - -

bLrf
w

~ 0 ----------- 0--------- 0------------

-0

--------- 0 ------ 0 ----------

r P

p.......... t
w W

1 ^ 1 \ r;
deeds of val1 0 0

or .......... - P - )

In th e s trIfe,

The

j u r - -- - - - - - - - - - - - 1 ^ Lr L r t H t H ^ f c H
m ~0
9

Figure 4-5: Poia. Act I, p. 34

201 The second melody is "Indian War Song" (Figure 4-6), which appears in the accompaniment in Act I as Poia vows to travel to the sun god. It is set above a descending chromatic line and is repeated again shortly.
Allegro feroce sub. P __________ ; te m p n e m c

T hen shall

game w ith

d eath

j n

j" m n
sempmcrvsc

w in

t
"M r

r
lose the

i
--------------

or

lj

t_ f u
=

.j

-m = J J

14 ii~

i- - 1- -

Im d w

y-..

of

lie

Figure 4-6: Poia. Act I, p. 48

The third melody is "Indian Night Song" (Figure 4-7). This is used during the opening of Act II, played by the cello, as Poia enters, tom and dirty, looking for dawn.

Figure 4-7: Poia. Act II, p. 58 The fourth melody, "Indian Ceremonial Song" (Figure 4-8), is the melody of the chorus praising Natosi in Act II.

Lord of light.

to

rn a,

Lord of light,

Na-

to-

mi,

N a- tu rab o w a

Figure 4-8: Poia. Act II, p. 65 (cont. below)

203

fore

thee,

be

fore.

thee,

fore

thee, Na-

to-

Figure 4-8: Poia, Act II, p. 65 (conclusion) The fifth "Indian Melody" (Figure 4-9), opens the "Winter" ballet over a bass line of open fifths.
Pm to

r k tr r -

H i
,-] J

Indian m elody)

y i
j

= H

. u u iJ-iJ J tJ 1 (J J 1
3 :

Figure 4-9: Poia, Act I, pp. 100-1 (cont. below)

^ j r rr y* r j rJ ..A

Figure 4-9: Poia, Act I, pp. 100-1 (conclusion) The last melody, "Indian Love Song" (Figure 4-10), is played by the flute as Poia is receiving the magic flute.
Sempllce.

vU- t

mp

?'

pre-

clous

1 h I 1=1 ll ' ' I T " 1


. . 1 .. gift 1 ...... ........... lav e for thee, This

gw----------------------------------

J. . 3 5 = .^

ih i

J J
.............

J7 3 J r J

......

J J tJ> J -

reed

that sings

w ith

ma-

gic vole*

Figure 4-10: Poia. Act II, pp. 110-11

205 As well as these melodies, Nevin intermittently uses pentatonic melodies and short drum-like patterns to invoke an Indian aura, as in the triple rhythm throughout the first scene (Figure 4-11).

i
i

Figure 4-11: Poia. Act I, p. 6 In spite of this, the work as a whole sounds European. It is very pleasant and melodious, and the choruses and orchestration are effective, but the drama is weak and the opera never generates any momentum. In 1918, Nevin and Hartley wrote another opera, A Daughter of the Forest, which premiered in Chicago. Set in western Pennsylvania, it deals with the pioneer life of trappers but again it is very lyrical with no dramatic thrust.

206 1911 saw the production of two Indian operas. Pocahontas, by Willard Patton (1853-1924), was produced in concert version in Minneapolis on January 4. Natoma, by Victor Herbert (1859-1924), was produced in Philadelphia on February 25, then in New York on February 28, and was greeted as the arrival of the "great" American opera. Herbert Victor Herbert was born in Ireland and came to America in 1886. Noted as a composer of some of the most successful operettas written, he was commissioned by Oscar Hammerstein to write a serious opera for his Manhattan Opera Company. The librettist was chosen by competition, won by a San Francisco lawyer, Joseph Redding, and the story of Natoma was picked as the topic. The finished product was not a great success. The music was attractive but the text was a problem. Howard says: "Herbert was never happy in his choice of librettos for his grand operas; he lacked the literary and dramatic judgment and taste necessary to select a work suited to serious treatment on the opera stage. "6 The critics described the libretto as "one of the most futile, fatuous, halting, impotent, inane and puerile ever written. Its dramatic development is totally wanting in sense and logic"7 and "amateurish libretto--both in style and diction and also in its construction. The prose is bald and conventional and the lyrics are of the most hopeless operatic type."

207 One of the major impediments is the improbability of the story line: On a California hacienda, Don Francisco with friends and servants awaits his daughter Barbara, returning from a convent school. In vain Natoma, a lovely Indian girl, last of her race, tells Paul Merrill, a young American naval lieutenant, Don Francesco's (sic) guest, the story of her life. She cannot prevent his falling in love with Barbara on sight. Both Merrill and Alvarado make love to Barbara. When it is clear she loves the American, Alvarado determines to abduct his cousin. The curtain falls on a passionate love scene between Paul and Barbara in the moonlight. Before Santa Barbara Mission there is color, movement, music. The fiesta is in progress, soldiers flirt with pretty girls, vaqueros crack whips, mandolins and guitars ring out. Mission bells chime as Paul comes from the ship with the sailors of the Liberty brig. The dancing begins and when Barbara has refused to dance the Panuelo, the handkerchief dance, with Alvarado, his half-breed henchman Castro challenges any girl to dance the wild Dagger Dance with him. Natoma accepts the challenge and while the attention of all is drawn to the dancers Alvarado throws his serape about Barbara's head, hoping to carry her off unnoticed. It is then that Natoma with a feigned thrust at Castro slips past him and buries her dagger in Alvarado's heart. In the tumult Paul and his sailors protect the girl from the crowd until Father Peralta, the priest, grants her the Church's protection. On the altar steps of the Mission, Natoma mourns her hopeless love. She is done with the world, its joys and sorrows and when the priest speaks to her of the Blessed Virgins love she begs to be taken in as a bride of Christ. When all come in to mass she passes through the ranks of kneeling men, stops to slip her amulet into Barbara's hand, and as the hymn "Te lucis ante omnium" rings out, the gate of the convent door closes behind her.9 The music is much better than the libretto. The Times went on to say "The degree of success that is destined for Natoma will be due chiefly to Mr. Herbert's music...It does credit in many respects to Mr. Herbert's musicianship, to his serious purpose and ambition."i

208

Musically the opera is a compendium of styles-Indian, Spanish and American. Herbert said, "In Natoma I have tried to make every character sing differently."! i Thus, every group has representative music. When the Spanish vaqueros enter, Pico sings the very rhythmic "Who Dares The Bronco Wild Defy", (Figure 4-12), with its Spanish rhythm and 3/4 and 2/4 meter.

Who

dams

ih*

bronc-

P
o

motto marcato

Who

looks lh mus- lang

lh

Figure 4-12: Natoma. Act II, p. 108 The American Paul sings a patriotic aria (Figure 4-13), in the style of a military march, as do the sailors in the music which precedes the aria.

209

I l l ' l l

coun-tiy can my own - ( ------ 1 j

out ---------

0
* ) ! t I i - , 4 --------------e--------10

m f m
3

J 1 ----

A t

\$ n a

lK

i tr
1
V l*--------------

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M i^. .... k-U In V - p- e trlr r bute ; f


p

*- ^ - 1 lo the =i

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m a >

- T
A t
-* -

T
..r

- t t f f U -----, <

a------------

> > > --------- Z 1^ m ------------------

-------- 1

rih M one who L W g

n -|----------K-----f ^ p o - f!-----------: -------1 --ii L |fc----hold the flag o4 Spain on V y high - v 5 = b y -

A t

-1 = S - u
f > 4 = *

.'.'k j

- w

* = !^

iN r

,.C

g .._ t

. . . j J

Figure 4-13: Natoma. Act II, p. 241 When Alvarado serenades Barbara (Figure 4-14), the melody is very suggestive of a Spanish folk song, over rolled chords in imitation of a guitar.

210

, |, b i r a N i i h ji
f
u i k . . ik . When (ha ... tunM.k> U|ht dt

I Bn i|h t

p f f D $=&
wbid H |> t4 _ w tt n Aw

I ...- I
t

m
P
aalaap

1=4
1

flP
atwmpo

tol. P
ctov*

^
|

Ik ftf
In

^
(ha traa

c o ila v o c *

Figure 4-14: Natoma. Act I, Scene 4, p. 83

The Spanish color is much more apparent than the Indian, because it is so identifiable. Herbert did use representative themes, both rhythmic and melodic, derived from Indian melodies but for the most part he developed and harmonized them in a western way so that they sound unusual, but not distinctive. Indian-inspired elements he uses include: pentatonic melodies, especially in the motifs associated with Natoma; drum-like rhythms, as in Castro's motif; phrases ending with leaps of fifths and fourths; and many lines with upper grace notes on the beat. Two pieces are authentic Indian melodies. The first, the "Dagger Dance" (Figure 4-15), occurs in Act II. The

211 melodic structure is a, a', b, a, over a never changing ostinato. The rhythm changes slightly but constantly. This combination of unyielding beat and stark harmonic pattern creates a wonderful build-up to a strong climax.
*

4 =
iff*

s/m. = M
8

f i simile

= 5 E f't r 'T >

J j
>

j -j

J- j

p - a: s i i
[j H

la m s. setnpre va bassa

H 4 4 4 " -'

r
4

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>

-------- 4 = 4 = --- 1 i # # -I =
4

1 ---------------------- h4 - ir* ii j 1 f f i if f i P - L l l l l j j i j i i I i 3
f*

>

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>.

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p i n

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pi
fff

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B .J. I J _ :
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Figure 4-15: Natoma. Act II, p. 261

212 The other authentic melody is the "Hawk Song" (Figure 4-16), which Natoma sings at the beginning of Act III. A gentle lullaby, it combines a simple melody over a steady rocking rhythmic accompaniment.
N M om tfottovoo)

-v

----------

c -

: wan

ofttw hawk ny

fc y .

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>
H

slm . > e If

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ii

E .e P m i d f -----g -y * P ^ t r *

T"~V
y J

war*

at the hawk,

i
my chlldl

I1 '1 ' J JJ J
^
0 0-

Figure 4-16: Natoma. Act III, p. 271 The motifs previously mentioned in conjunction with Natoma and Castro function as leitmotifs, not in the Germanic Wagnerian manner, but in the French (Bizet and Massenet) manner, to unify the work as a whole and to underline characters' emotions and/or develop them. Natoma has three motifs. The first occurs at her first entry and is just "Natoma" (Figure 4-17). Pentatonically descending, it recurs wholly and in pieces throughout the opera.

Figure 4-17: Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 15 The second, her "love motif" (Figure 4-18), appears in Act I when Natoma first meets Paul and occurs whenever she thinks of him or her love for him. It is also pentatonic, but with an unusual rhythm pattern.

t j -

V
p*

Figure 4-18: Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 20

214 Her third motif, "Fate" (Figure 4-19), a five-note descent, occurs in various ways throughout, most notably as the conclusion of the whole work.

>

Figure 4-19: Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 26 These three themes intertwine at the end of Act I when Natoma secretly sees the lovers meet. They also form the basis for the opening prelude of Act III, along with the Great Manitou theme, to show her anguish. Throughout her arias-the "Legend of the Amulet" aria in Act I and her opening Act II aria, culminating in "Great Manitou"--her motifs interweave, i.e., "fate" in the first and "love" and then "Natoma" in the second. These arias probably contain the finest music in the opera. Castro's motif (Figure 4-20), again achieves an Indian quality through the rhythm and the leap of a fifth. It is heard in the orchestra when he observes Paul and Barbara's eyes meet in Act I, Scene 3, and also becomes the underlying orchestral basis of Natoma and Castro's big fight.

Figure 4-20: Natoma. Act I, Scene 3, p. 70 The "whites" are less interesting musically. Paul's motif (Figure 4-21), heard at his entrance, is romantic and slightly syncopated; Barbara's motif (Figure 4-22), at her entrance, is sweet and graceful.

Figure 4-21: Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 16

216

^* 1 J
r

M^ ^
n m

Figure 4-22: Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 58 Their duets contain the most unsuccessful music in the opera, because they are long and disjointed. The choral numbers, though pleasant, are very operetta-like, especially those for the convent girls (Figure 4-23).

ftott In our o-

pan

bo*

Figure 4-23: Natoma. Act I, Scene 2, p. 43

217 The orchestration also sounds like operetta. It is very conventional harmonically and is monophonic. This prompted some critics, most notably in the Musical Courier to comment that Natoma "does not rise to the dignity of grand
o p e r a ."12

Still there are pieces worth performing, even if the opera

doesn't sustain itself throughout. Moore The next major Indian opera, Narcissa (1912), was produced in Seattle. Written by Mary Carr Moore, on a libretto by her mother, author Sarah Pratt Carr, it is most famous as "the first grand opera to be written, staged and directed by an American woman."i3 Mary Carr Moore (1873-1957) was bom in Memphis, Tennessee, but moved to California at age twelve, where she studied voice, piano and theory. Besides writing more than 300 songs, choral works, chamber music and instrumental works, she wrote 10 operas, three of which are on American themes. Narcissa is her most important opera. Narcissa deals with the historical figure of Narcissa Prentiss and her husband, missionary Marcus Whitman, who went to Washington, D.C. to successfully fight the transfer of the Northwest to Britain, and their subsequent massacre. The plot is: ACT I: Marcus Whitman, after a long absence in the Northwest, returns to his native village accompanied by two Indians, arriving during the Sabbath morning service. He comes to plead for help that he may carry the gospel to the Indians of that far West.

218 Narcissa, his betrothed, begs to go with him, and Marcus, though fearing for her safety, finally yields, his own desire supplementing hers. They are united and sped on their westward journey amid tears and prayers of the congregation. ACT II: Opens at the historic old Fort Vancouver, stronghold of the Hudson's Bay Company. Chief Factor, Dr. McLaughlin is daily expected home from his historic trip to England. He arrives laden with gifts for all. Amid the general festivities the signal gun is heard, and all is commotion and terror. The song of the approaching missionaries reassures the fort people, and the Whitman party is royally welcomed. Yellow Serpent, Chief of the Allied Tribes, invites Marcus to install his mission at Waiilatpu, promising him support and the friendship of the tribes. ACT III: Autumn, several years later. The orphaned child of settlers lies in the cradle of Narcissa's dead baby. The coming of many immigrants, destroying pasture and driving away game, has made the Indians sullen and resentful. Delaware Tom, a half-breed Dartmouth graduate, incites them to open rebellion. The Whitmans are upheld by Yellow Serpent, Elijah, his young son an his betrothed, Siskadee. An outbreak is impending, but Narcissa with her beautiful voice weaves a spell about the superstitious Indians, subduing them temporarily. Dr. McLaughlin comes and new promised are made, but the arrival of another larger train of immigrants rekindles the anger of the Indians. Elijah, to avert an open rupture, plans an expedition to California, and promises Siskadee to return in the spring and make her his bride. Marcus discovers that Congress proposes to sell the Northwest to England for a pittance, and starts upon his heroic and historic midwinter overland journey to save the great Northwest to the United States of America. ACT IV: The next spring. Marcus has returned successful. Indian maidens in gala attire go out to meet the returning braves. Waskema, the Indian prophetess, foretells impending catastrophe. Narcissa is apprehensive. Indian discontent grows. Soon the death wail is heard. The braves return, many horses riderless. Yellow Serpent, stricken with grief, relates the cowardly murder by a white man, of young Elijah while on his knees in prayer, at Sutters Fort. The Indians are enraged. While Yellow Serpent goes to his lodge, Delaware Tom incites the friendly Indians to massacre the immigrants. In their

219 absence, the stranger tribes guided by Tom, batter down the Mission house door, and kill the inmates, including Marcus and Narcissa, their "golden-singing-bird.1 1 Dr. McLaughlin arrives, but too late. Yellow Serpent is summoned and swears vengeance on all who participated in the massacre. Siskadee mourns her lover, on the hillside; and through all wails the death chant of the Indian women.!* The work is considered admirable for, as Hipsher comments: The lyric beauty of the score, its firm and coherent dramatic structure and climaxes, its effective melodies and an orchestral fabric which without being massive still supports well the voices and action make the work one suited to presentation by any community with a good quartet of competent singers."is The music is very traditional with simple tonic dominant relationships and cadences. It is made up of separate individual numbers duets, choruses, etc. Even though there are different groups-the immigrants, the church congregation, the Indians, the missionaries their music is not differentiated. To distinguish the "Indian", she has used a five-note scale rather superficially, as well as open fourths and fifths. There are also flute cadenzas, drum pedals and rhythmic motifs. For example, Yellow Serpent and Waskema are most often accompanied by a pedal of repeated fifths (Figure 4-24).

220

1 ........................ ................. V
W a s-

T
kem -

-Jh
a

i---------------

lL j -----------------i

Figure 4-24: Narcissa. Act II, Scene 1, p. 85 Delaware Tom is often accompanied by a dotted rhythmic figure as he incites the Indians to revolt (Figure 4-25).

h
W ith m y ow n h an d ,

..... * - = A nd

*r

w ap-ons

|tf* m s

11 -----" --------- t j f f n I p r ------ -----------

- f - f / f '

it f j v

fr* ^

If* n _ n ~ i

Figure 4-25: Narcissa. Act II, Scene 2, p. 101 Waskema has a "woe motif" (Figure 4-26), a descending chromatic line that starts as a perfect fifth, but by the conclusion is expanded to an octave.

221

iMrr
W o e ________________________

Figure 4-26: Narcissa. Act I, Scene 2, p. 113 She also often sings over a short rhythmic phrase (Figure 4-27).

-------- A---------- j--pr*~~ M


a xm les of

J
th e

IT
vi/htte

r
m en m a rc h l

a tem p o

:a L

i i l j f l j

Figure 4-27: Narcissa. Act II, Scene 1, p. 87 In the two major Indian choruses, the vocal parts imitate war chants though they are not authentic. For example, the Act II finale occurs over an accompaniment of repeated open fifths (Figure 4-28).

<

f
fi P s
hi

P
yl

B ~ p ~ ! -|1 I p
hi yl hi yl hi

P - - - p - t t Tib f t
yl hi yl hi yl hi yl

HI yi

He ya

J> p
he ya h e

J>. f

1 J> p
he ya

J> p , J?. p . U
he ya he ya he

p
ya

ya h e ya

/
p Hu ye h u ye h u J1 p J1 |p hu ,!> p ye h u p ye p hu ^ ye p h u ye ye h u ye

y*l P p P p P p g-p- IP p P p P-p P-p


Hu yu h u yu h u yu h u yu h u yu h u yu h u yu h u yu

4~

hll

HI yl h i yl

h eepl

le ya ye ya

hoopl

PPP^
H u ye ye ye H u yu y u yu,

hoopl

Figure 4-28: Narcissa. Act II, Scene 2, p. 138

223 The revolt is musically made up of previously heard motifs over tremulous fourths (Figure 4-29).

N ardaaa

From h ero th a nolM a n d c x d ta m an t Incraaaaa.

tui ftf

Hal(off stage) f f f

- *

y*l

Hal-

- #

yal

sem p n

Figure 4-29: Narcissa. Act IV, p. 260

Both the Indian prayer (Act III) and the Indian maiden's chorus (Act IV), one of the most complicated pieces, incorporate open chords, but that is their only Indian attribute (Figure 4-30).

---- a

- i --------- Z m ter, l l I* ter, th e __ * n o w _ .1 p th e 1


---^ 1

----------- ------and "k " 1 .^ = I and

Gone Is the win l J i ' JT ^ . ' . K 1

U P P - -------C ane is the win -

......... snow

------------ ------k k---- k---- k---- 1 h k 1 1 Gone Is the v/In -tj = * ter, th esn o w an d -------- r -------- ' S - T

ys*

Lfl-4

j^|-J . m u j= i
Gone Is the w ln-ter the

< ----------1 = =

1 i -tfr tri 1

Figure 4-30: Narcissa. Act IV, p. 210 There is a phrase introduced with the very first mention of Indians in Act I (Figure 4-31), which recurs like a phrase of doom when Yellow Serpent talks of the Indians searching for the Book of God and again when Elijah is killed.

225

I f l J n
-ff

"

f M

>
w lthr ~

li
In

J . =

j =

i\n d An th e way rfi m


_ n

th e wig - warn*

H ----------: ----------W ------- ^ ^ * ------- U -------------------- - of th e ir flat- head ficsts.

J L ^ ----------------------1 -------------

i - i - J J J J W herektnd^hearU and f J ------

ffT-m p i t i T =

r ..... n

...... r ~ l

Figure 4-31: Narcissa. Act I, p. 12 As befits a "golden" voice, Narcissa's music is full of long majestic lines, especially when she calms the Indians (Figure 4-32),

226

- *

--------

, ... 1

f.Z g l~ T he

4 f ^ - . ! Lord____

.....

g IE

| V f t p . m y Shepherd

A L R g -y i ft = *

< f s g r-V 1 ----------------v * r = ----------------------- ; ----------------- p -------------- ------------- * p - ------------------: : Hal- yal_____ Hal- yal A I"" ' ------ - = r - _ Hal- yal =K - 1: f

h g 7 F -4

= ------- ^ - 1

a ,< r d f a f c j ------1 ----------------------- ----------------;------I 3 -t) ' sem p re arp. _ \ f ~ a -i f

i j =

1 J '" j = . 4 J :

j ,a = - _

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a h

...

i- .. r -

-x
X

---------------

r Is,____

"

~ r 1

if shall

, not

i . w an t.

J
____

=. Hal-val

u f f t I7 f it -J Hat-val

mP *l H a l- y a l ____

| J j= p - "
* 1

P r " j

' J------J ------- j


t ' j-

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----------- - -

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r #

i> iL = 4 g J A - j , w

g --f

4 = J ::,

=j

i
3

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'j f - J

Figure 4-32: Narcissa. Act III, p. 171

227 All in all the Indian comes away as an unschooled "savage" even though Sarah Carr said: An effort has been made to give the Indian sympathetic treatment. Misunderstood, defrauded, outraged, his relations with Americans make that chapter in our history one of growing sham ed The opera portrays a patriotic panorama of the stereotypical views of the times. Carr also wrote a one-act, three-character "Indian Intermezzo", The Flaming Arrow, again on a libretto by her mother, and first performed in San Francisco in 1922. It deals with the legend of Chief Okomobo, the fair Loluna and the brave Kamiah. Kamiah loves Loluna and Okomobo needs rain for his dying people. Kamiah is ordered to pray to his gods for rain. If he succeeds he gets the hand of Loluna, if not he will die by a poisoned arrow. Carr's only other American opera was Los Rubios (1931) which takes place in Los Angeles in 1857, and deals with the romance of Ramoncita Rubio and Mark MacGreggor, a county surveyor, who foils Sheriff Henry Dailey's attempts to acquire the Rubio land rights through a loveless marriage to Ramoncita. Hanson The next Indian opera of note was produced in Vernal, Utah, in 1913, by one of its natives, William Hanson, born in 1887, a son of a Danish violinist, who studied at Brigham Young University and lived in Salt Lake

228 City. Residing near the Sioux and Ute tribes, he became an authority on traditional Indian music, spending 15 years gathering material. He wrote three Indian operas, two on traditional Indian legends and ceremonies and one on a story by E.L. Roberts. The Sun Dance, a five-act opera on his own libretto, is woven around the traditional Sun Dance ceremony of the Sioux. In the actual Sun Dance, the real test of the competing brave lasts five days and nights, with short rests, while tribe members chant and drum. In the opera, Winona, a Shoshone chief's daughter, is courted by Ohuja and by Sweet Singer, a visiting brave from another tribe who has abandoned his own betrothed for Winona. Sweet Singer fails the Sun Dance as punishment by the Great Spirit for deserting his own. Ohuja succeeds and wins Winona. Within this framework Hanson wove many beautiful Indian numbers such as "Witches", "Arrowheads" and "Fireflies". He attempts to authentically portray an actual people-"a conscientious attempt to delineate the manners, the customs, the songs, the games, the ceremonies--in short, the life of a noble, romantic people too little understood."!? The music contains both actual Indian songs and composed melodies which have been compared to Viennese operetta and therein lies its problem. While the Indian tunes worked very effectively, the more conventional melodies did not fit within the dramatic whole.

His next opera, Tam-Man-Nacup. produced in Provo, Utah, in 1928, is based on a traditional Unitah Indian Ceremony and involves a romantic triangle between Tam-Mar, a Ute maid, Tovamou-i-scie, a Ute brave, and Cutchi, a Shoshone brave. In Ute tradition the bear awakens from hibernation with the first spring rains. The Utes build an arena of branches and dance to percussion made by scraping a notched piece of wood with a bear's foreleg bone, imitating the bear's growl. Then a brave imitates the bear and is symbolically killed and offered to the Great Spirit. The opera also contains the "Scalp Dance" and the "Sacred Eagle". The finale "climaxes with the appearance of the Water Babies and the deliverance of the heroine, who has observed the death rites of the Medicine Man over her lover and has vowed to remain at the death abode till starvation shall reunite them."i Again, this opera contains genuine Indian chants and dances as well as composed music. Hanson's third opera, The Bleeding Heart, on a story by E.L. Roberts, is based on the legend of a cave on Mount Timpanogos which has a stalactite in a perfect heart shape. It was never produced. Allen, Eppert, Tonning, Noyes In 1916, L'Ultimo dei Moicani (The Last of the Mohicans), by Paul Hastings Allen (1883-1952) who lived in Italy from 1904 until 1924, was produced successfully in Florence, Italy. 1917 saw productions of Kaintuckee.

230 by Carl Eppert in Washington, Blue Wing, by Gerald Tonning in Seattle, and Waushokum. by Edith Rowens Noyes in Massachusetts. Cadman In 1918 came the first opera of the true giant of "Indianist" composers, Charles Wakefield Cadman. Cadman (1881-1946), the son of a Pennsylvanian metallurgist, came from a poor family. His musical training was entirely in Pittsburgh, paid for by selling his compositions door-to-door. After a stint as an organist and while working as music critic for The Pittsburgh Dispatch. Cadman became interested in Indian legends and melodies. He eventually spent several summers with the Omaha and Winnebago tribes in Nebraska, the Osage tribe in Oklahoma, and the Pima and Isleta in Arizona and New Mexico, becoming an Indian music specialist. In addition, he toured the country from 1909 to 1925 with Princess Tsianina Redfeather, daughter of an Oklahoma Cherokee chief, presenting lecture recitals on native Indian legends, customs and music. His first serious opera was Daoma. The Land of the Misty Water (1912), based on an Omaha legend, from a story by Francis La Flesche. The libretto was by Nellie Richmond Eberhardt (1871-1944), his main lyricist throughout his career. We were neighbors in Homestead where I met her in 1901. Our mutual interest in Indian lore and the possibility of collaboration between musician and verse-writer drew us into a friendship which has lasted throughout the years. 19

231 Briefly, the plot is: The story revolves around the love of Aedeta and Nemaha for Daoma, a niece of the Omaha chief, Obeska. Though early in the plot they discover their love for the same maiden and vow that, whichever she chooses, their friendship shall not be shaken; when in battle with the Pawnees, Nemaha, in an evil moment, yields to an advantage and betrays Aedeta into the power of the enemy. Daoma, by the canons of romance, follows her lover (the choice having been previously decided by a game of antelope hoofs) and aids in his escape from captivity and sacrifice. Amid the clamor of his tribe that the discovered treachery of Nemaha be expiated with his life, and while Daoma intercedes for mercy, Nemaha rushes in clad in his loin clothan Indian custom in great crises-and stabs himself.20 The music contains forty-seven authentic melodies in the score; however, it was never produced or orchestrated. In 1918, Cadman's next opera Shanewis. another one-act opera on a libretto by Eberhardt, was based on a story which Princess Tsianina recounted, and was commissioned and premiered by the Metropolitan Opera Company on March 23. Because it was a success, it was repeated the following year, becoming the first American opera to be performed during two consecutive seasons at the Met. It went on to be performed throughout the States, since it was both accessible and popular. The plot of the story is fairly uncomplicated: Amy, Mrs. Everton's daughter, has returned from Europe, and a fashionable soiree at the wealthy society woman's home marks the event. Shanewis, an Indian girl protege of the hostess, does credit to her vocal studies by singing in native costume. Lionel Rhodes, Amy's fiance, infatuated with her dark eyed beauty, proposes to her. But Shanewis informs him her acceptance depends on the consent of her people on the

232 Oklahoma reservation. Amy does not know Lionel is unfaithful to her, nor Shanewis that he is Amy's fiance. At the Indian reservation (ceremonial dances), Lionel tries to persuade Shanewis to marry him. Her Indian suitor, Philip Harjo, has given her a relic-the poisoned arrow another Indian maid used to slay a false white lover. Suddenly Mrs. Everton and Amy appear, the latter to win back her recreant love. When poor Shanewis learns Lionel has made love to her while engaged to another girl she rejects him and curses the white race, but does not use her poisoned arrow. Philip Harjo, however, snatches it up, draws his bow, and Lionel shot through the heart dies while Shanewis cries: "He is mine in death. "21 The libretto is not without faults. Because of her youthful contact with the reservation, Eberhardt was very sympathetic in her treatment of the Indians and their very real bitterness towards the white civilization, but her writing style has serious problems. Grenville Vernon said: It is useless to discuss this libretto. In spirit it is childish, in expression beyond belief, banal and unpoetic.22 The Musical Courier was not so unkind: She succeeded in turning out a very serviceable book, even if it has several faults of technical dramatic construction which further experience may teach her to eliminate.23 The language is colloquial and common, which, while criticized by some, actually helped to make this opera approachable by the general public and served as an excellent vehicle for Cadman's music. Musically, Shanewis is truly a mixture of all the styles prevalent-impressionism, Italian verismo, folk, Indian idioms and even the new jazz elements-and so deserves the accolade as "the first opera to deal unaffectedly with the raw material of American places and people."24

233 The first important element, of course, is the Indian "essence." Cadman felt differently than most of his colleagues on the question of harmonization. Most felt the actual Indian melodies, because of their un western intervals, could not be well-harmonized. Cadman saw his adaptation of them to a normal western scale as logical: The matter of the Indian's "thinking" an harmonic scheme to his simple melodies, subjective though the process may seem, is but a slight step forward, and the composer who idealizes his melodies follows the line of least resistance. We simply take up the process where the Indian dropped it, just as a European composer upon hearing a Scandinavian folk-song sung or whistled in the provinces and without other accompaniment would take down his folk-song and afterward use it in an orchestral work, a chamber work, or a song.25 Cadman uses at least four authentic Indian melodies. The first is the "Spring Song of the Robin Woman," which is based on a Cheyenne melody (Figure 4-33). Built up of two measure phrase patterns, with different cadences, the melody plays over an accompaniment of drum-like open fifths in the bass and parallel triads in the treble.

234

bM* of

nprlng

Com*

from

your

J - M h ----------------------- ft 1 * - = ^ J lA .u - .- J /-------- - -------

(w.w.)

r F mp ----------#---------J A

-----J**!] J-559 ..j i j - i - j - j 1

ft

. { . J - i - = = J
htding; Rob-

J " p - P In* *U and

-M ji

-hJ---- m -----------J
Mrdfc

hum -m lh|

t ..........

pP
= f

* ?

r x /
f f 1
.................................... :

_ j =

--------------------------

i l ' LJ
bar-

111
land.

& t%
f t 1

.T _

J :v ,J >-Jh
unto ihl* 9

Com *

nn

B " t< A~j~~^ ? J i g


V - .......

_____________

P ......

; .

j~~l * 1 1 in ~ T F J

-----------------------------

Figure 4-33: Shanewis. Scene 1, p. 27 The second, Shanewis's "encore" (Figure 4-34), is an Objiwa canoe song which again is melodically simple over a drum-like triadic accompaniment, oscillating between 6/8 and 9/8.

235
mp

Out on

the

^ ing,

glldr* 1

r* 1 = i

Figure 4-34: Shanewis. Scene 1, p. 34 The intermezzo between the scenes is adapted from an Omaha game song over a simple triad accompaniment (Figure 4-35).

t p

*S-J=

f3 = n n Jn * ^ j 3 l J a J..-* - ^ pf, ? ^ l= = p = = - I ,- i
-

k - n . . . p - .. * -

r r.

Figure 4-35: Shanewis. Intermezzo, p. 69

236 The last piece is an Osage ceremonial song, used at the end of the pow wow in Scene II (Figure 4-36). Sung in the Osage language, it is accompanied by rattles and open fifths played by strings and timpani.
RATTLES

Td-gp

ha

th o b a

iho

nl w a i

ha

tod

ha.

>

>

>

KAmEStTMMMV

Td-fp

ha

ha

ho

nl w ait

wa-ko ha

to*

ha.

Figure 4-36: Shanewis. Scene 2, p. 99 Philip's music is pseudo-Indian (Figure 4-37), with its two-note rhythm pattern and the descending line.

M
Shanawli, you havachoaan
SB-

an a-

llan

Pf
lo-var

* f t l J P' g H - F f
I do noi ap- prova lha m ar-tlaga

Figure 4-37: Shanewis. Scene 2, pp. 101-2

237 Not all the music has a folk-like quality. Moments of great lyric beauty exist, for example, in the love duet in Scene one, where one can see Puccini's influence (Figure 4-38).

I j &

I P
lo v t

P
to ui who

---------- I L 3 = =
are trani-

mt
. ^ P P f 1

Ah. - '

'

f
J- ^ w < J

......-

| _

F
j # ........f _ .

f rrrff

"

"

1 J T

: 1

-J

Figure 4-38: Shanewis. Scene 1, pp. 101-2 When Shanewis renounces the white civilization, she does so in abrupt, dramatic phrases (Figure 4-39).

Your ahlpt In- net

Figure 4-39: Shanewis. Scene 2, p. 118

238 There are other passages which are distinctly impressionistic and also some segments of the "new music"~a jazz band choir in the second act (to add local color) is perhaps the first jazz group to appear in an opera. Colorful and effective orchestration is even more impressive when one realizes that Cadman was basically self-taught. It flows smoothly without ever overpowering. He commented: In the first place, I decided that to employ a too flamboyant means in my instrumentation would be ruinous, since the story did not call for a score of Wagnerian proportions; and while I have striven for color and effect at all times, I wanted to give my soloists and my chorus a chance-the orchestra, to my mind, when used in connection with opera, should be the background-I felt that Bizet, Gounod, Verdi and Puccini were models worth taking and I decided not to make the mistake of a too ponderous and mastodonic orchestral accompaniment.26 All in all, Shanewis is a truly effective "stage" piece. The tunes are attractive, the Indian color is never overdone and the opera is, as the Musical Courier put it, "A work while not so learned...is completely free from dullness,"22 and well deserved the title "the best American work which the Met has yet produced."2^ His third opera, The Sunset Trail, on a libretto by Gilbert Moyle, was first produced in Denver, December 5, 1922. Called "an opera cantata" and written in two scenes, it deals with the love story of Wildflower and Redfeather amid the struggles of the tribe against the government restricting them to reservations. Scene one begins with the Indians gathered at night in council, where Grey Wolf urges renewed struggle against the whites in

239 opposition to Old Man's counsels. Medicine Man supports Grey Wolf and Chief agrees. Scene two takes place at dawn. Redfeather serenades Wildflower and she in turn allows him to enfold her in his blanket, concluding their betrothal. The warriors enter and Redfeather departs with them to meet the white soldiers. The women pray as the battle is heard in the background. The defeated Indians return. Redfeather is wounded and dies in Wildflower's arms as the tribe submits to destiny, taking the sunset trail. The portrait painted of the stoical, wise and tragic Indian evokes great sympathy. Musically Cadman uses some of the same techniques as in Shanewis. There are the same pseudo-Indian dotted rhythm patterns and shifting meters, as well as the accented appogiaturas and open fifth drum patterns. There are two authentic Indian melodies. One is an Omaha Indian flute tune used for Redfeather's serenade (Figure 4-40), first played in unison and then incorporated into the scene.

Figure 4-40: The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 41

240 The second is a Delaware ceremonial theme used for the warriors (Figure 441).
Chorus

tu n

calls

A- wakel AA- wakel A-

sun calls

high, new

high, new

- l $ f

CJ

Figure 4-41: The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 54

241 As in other cantatas, the chorus plays a significant role. It is used both chordally (Figure 4*42), and polyphonically (Figure 4-43).
^ *
i p-

" 9 ^

* Lrt

"'.,7^^ I E
________ t o

i =

ui g > In lo th* i

hill*

<

t/ J l

n 1! 6 - 'f r = f i 1 ------------- p p . - p = f l = f t ... ly , . -f f e f M * ........: U J -T ^ p f :t f - - - ---------------------p .

H P 3 - f f f r i i ---------j-?

i
> 1 I

E--------------1 4
u

---------- ' r , r r r f

-------------------

Figure 4-42: The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 39

mun

with th Grnl

Con-

mun

with th*

.f
Figure 4-43: The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 37 (cont. below)

242
m l i t f r j .......- = 1 = 1 -f-. - p - f
SptrIt m unew lth the Creel
................

-1 a eat l It m

-1

r f t f t r

T ~ Splr- ]!t f t ' ..... L Gnat Splr-

r -

V t V <s<

f ~ r = : |= f c = 1 ' ' " - ...

1 *

p f

tr f T P

Com- m une with the - - - - -

-J ^ |____ -| -i f r

r r T T J ^ Hr r

T I n

J ' p r f - -

-*1" - !-

i1 r

Figure 4-43: The Sunset Trail. Scene 2, p. 37 (conclusion) Again, the love duet (Figure 4-44), is highly lyrical.

thali drift and dream, drift and dream

and

in

shall drift and dream, drift and


m.i.

and

In acma

((Hupps
Figure 4-44: The Sunset Trail, Scene 2, p. 48 It is a unique work and has been viewed as an important contribution to American music.

243 Cadman's last opera on an American theme had little Indian content only one character, the Indian maid Tibuda. A Witch of Salem, on another libretto by Nellie Richmond Eberhardt, was produced in Chicago in 1926. It takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, telling a tale of passion and revenge. Sheila loves Arnold, who loves her cousin, Claris. When spumed, Sheila accuses Claris of witchcraft, but at the end confesses and is killed while Arnold and Claris are reunited. The main musical motif is a Puritan hymn which reappears in various forms; however, there is a little Indian sound in Tibudas music. The opera as a whole was hailed as a major work, especially the love duet which was called "as persuasive a love duet as you are likely to find outside works of Puccini."29 In the end, Cadman is remembered as the chief "Indianist" composer of his period. He developed his own musical idiom and is considered to have "created a new field for American composers to follow."30 Farner, Schoenfeld, Skilton, Knowlton, Blakeslee Among the other "Indianists" should be mentioned Eugene Farner, Henry Schoenfeld, Charles Skilton, Bruce Knowlton and Samuel Earle Blakeslee. Eugene Adrian Farner (1888- ), an organist and operetta director in Idaho, collaborated with Alfred Crubb to produce The White Buffalo Maid (1923), the story of Kate who wanders away from the wagon train to test Lt. McGowan's love and is captured by Charging Thunder and his braves. She poses, on the advice of Dappled Fawn, as "White Buffalo Woman", bringer of

244 love and peace and later is re-united with McGowan. As with Cadman, this is written around some authentic Indian themes, but was neither as wellwritten nor as popular as the former's works. Henry Schoenfeld (1857-1936), born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of a cellist, was one of the first Americans to use Indian modes. His three-act opera, Atala: or The Love of Two Savages, written on a libretto by Bernard McConville, takes place in Florida. It tells the story of Atala and Chactus, a prisoner with whom Atala falls in love, and who she then frees by killing her medicine man and driving back the warriors. She and Chactus flee, but when her mother's spirit appears, reminding her of her vow to marry one of her own faith, Atala takes poison in order to remain true to that vow, only to find out too late that Chactus has converted to her faith. The opera was never produced and so has never been tested, but the score appears interesting. Charles Sanford Skilton (1868-1941), a widely known organist and highly respected academic composer, was a great advocate of the use of indigenous materials in a realistic, rather than classical, setting. Trained in New England (a Yale graduate) and Berlin, he returned to America to teach, most notably at Kansas State University and Indiana Institute. He wrote three operas, Kalopin (1927), The Sun Bride (1930) and Blue Feather, but only The Sun Bride was ever produced-by N.B.C. in New York on April 17, 1930. The plot of the three-act Kalopin. on a libretto by Virginia Armstead Nelson, is based on the Indians' belief that the New Madrid earthquake of 1811 was

245 punishment for the Chickasaw chief Kalopin's wedding to a bride from another tribe. The opera treated this legend as an allegory, the quake and flood representing the Indians being overwhelmed by the whites. The original cast included full-blood Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians. The music is based on a series of leitmotifs. The Indian melodies are presented in a form as close as possible to their original state. The one-act Sun Bride is based on the legends surrounding the sun-worship of the Pueblo Indians of Arizona. Despite its conventional melodiousness, the Indian atmosphere comes through in the insistent monotonous drum rhythm and the strangely syncopated percussion. The Winnebago "Sunrise Song" is a true Chippewa melody. Blue Feather, on a one-act libretto by Lillian Spencer, also comes from the legends of the Pueblo Indians. Though Hamm says Skilton's "Indianizing music, superficial and conventional, has for us the interest solely of a period piece" (31), his operas are quite forward-looking, resembling the works of Bartok and Kodaly, especially in his use of the orchestra to emphasize primitive effects. A native of Wisconsin, Bruce Knowlton (1875-1941) studied in Wisconsin, Leipzig, Berlin, Dresden, London and Paris, and returned to the U.S.A. to teach, most notably as founder of the Toledo Conservatory and as president of the St. Paul Music Academy. His four-act opera Wakuta. concerning the devotion and sacrifice of a white girl who believes that she is the Indian chiefs daughter, but is finally disillusioned, was produced in 1928

246 by the American Opera Company of Portland, Oregon. The same company also produced another of his American (not Indian) operas, The Woodsman. in 1929. His third American opera is Montana. Again, this opera is only superficially Indian, borrowing only the story. The Legend of Wewahste. by Samuel Earle Blakeslee on a libretto by himself and his wife, Florence, premiered in 1924 in Ontario, California. The name was changed to Red Cloud in 1966. In three acts, it takes place at the camp of Wakawa, chief of the Dacotah tribe during the late winter, the early spring and May. It tells the story of Wakawa's daughter, Wewahste. Although she is loved by Red Cloud, a powerful Dacotah warrior who goes through the fire ordeal in order to ask for her hand in marriage, Wewahste
rejects him in favor of her beloved, Honga, chief of the Hohe Tribe, whose

return she awaits. Humiliated by her rejection, Red Cloud's love turns to hate and, urged on by Harpstinah, his former sweetheart who still loves him, he retaliates by declaring Wewahste "unfit for the virgin's ring" at the big tribal ceremony. In her distress, Wewahste kills Red Cloud and is saved from death at his kinsmans hands by the arrival of Honga, who declares her innocent and then takes her away to his home. Although there are Indian words and ceremonial sections, such as the "Feast of Heyoka" dance, which are sung in unison (Figure 4-45), most of the music sounds rather "Pucciniesque", with simple, flowing melodies, (Figure 446).

247
m \ r - m
Ho

m
Ho Yo Ho Yo

If

ir
' '

P 6 H
HoYoHo

Ho B- -

Ho Yb Ho mm

Ho

B-------------- (B -f f t m

r 1 1^4
I

PP7

--------------- P4

1 ------------ - * r 1 1
> > > > > > > >

--------------

j ----------l j i

J ^ J

3 5

r
Ho

m
HoYo Ho YoHo HoYoHo Ho

>

HoYoHo YAH (s h o u t

>

j >i >k

fesi?
Figure 4-45: The Legend of Wewahste, Act II, Scene 3, p. 12

I knowm y

U thi

M jU ui youw ill

M.-72

f r 1 Ipr

I f f rf

Figure 4-46: The Legend of Wewahste, Act I, Scene 1, p. 14

248 Blakeslee does incorporate some of the typical elements used to evoke Indian music. There are passages with drum-like accompaniment (Figure 4* 47), and many instances of: the dotted figures (Figure 4-48); polyphony (Figure 4-49); pentatonic scales (Figure 4-50); and chromatic passages (Figure 4-51).

First time, solo

if ^ r r f P ip p 1 g r - - h Jih t ~ ~J> J .. J*1 i J <H i 9 J J T 3 J ---- 1 jM i 4 JT] 111 I I I !J ... 1, m t=*=*= = > 8 ! * = 9 ir;v v 4P M = ( T 3 j [.^>-1,4 --- h3J 3 1 r r hWl- - f---- =- - - - r,:- - = K - i n k" p * 1 r p *= ------ 1 JTL-t? J-z-J-J J J V ---1 = t t... i |m #M n * * =j f ===i = =e f = f=
Oh my Guests and tribes-men, E- HO yah eh

Ha-yeh

ah ya

Oh

Ha-ya

-?

Let

us

feast

on

Buf -

fa- lo,

Ha-ya Ha- ya

Ha-ya Ha-;

tla- ya

Ha

Ha-yah

L i. n

.3.- ..1

Figure 4-47: The Legend of Wewahste. Act I, Scene 1, p. 20

249

Hsd

Ootid

foKKl

t
-

.1

t/H r t ~ . 4--- * h .m . fr f f l i
worn First

Figure 4-48: Ihe_ Legend of Wewahste. Act III Scene 2, p. 11

"

3 = - f ---------- f h ' -------------------------------------

TJ

1 ..............................
0ns j

Th* to u t oflh* Vlr-

/ - - f r f o

..... f t * -4 . " C horus: S,A


T.B

- = = =
r:-

h
T hs

r n
to u t oftha

- < --------------- j

Vtr-

0ns

1 -----------------------------------------

Figure 4-49: The Legend .of Wewahste. Act II, Scene 3, p. 38

- r r h + k a - J E L ------4 r l E J - - * - *P P ---------------3^ ----- ? K ti-h W ^ n ------------ ------

J" ' P 9

J 5

Figure 4-50: The Legend of Wewahste. Act II, Scene 1, p. 40

250

Figure 4-51: The Legend of Wewahste. Act II, Scene 1, p. 42 The chorus plays a large part, backing up almost all the action and therein lies one of the opera's great weaknesses. The constant repetition and extra chorus numbers hinder the drama and often dissipate the tension. Although there are many authentic elements, the opera as a whole sounds imitative and not terribly interesting.

251 de Leone, Bimboni Two of the more popular Indian operas of this period are full of Italian influence: Alglala and W inona. Alglala, a Romance of the Mesa, in a prologue and two scenes, with music by Francesco B. de Leone and libretto by Cecil Fanning, was called the "Buckeye
O p e ra " 3 2

because the composer, the

librettist and the Indian tribe of the heroine were from Ohio and the first performance took place in Akron, Ohio, on May 24, 1924, as part of a civic project. Born of Italian parentage in Ravenna, Ohio, de Leone (1886-1948) studied in Warren, Ohio, and Naples, Italy, before settling in Akron, Ohio, in 1910. Noted primarily for his theatre works-operettas, oratorio and four sacred music dramas, Alglala is his only opera. While it has Indian traits, i.e., melodic and rhythmic patterns, harmonically and dramatically Alglala is verismo similar to Pagliacci and Cavaleria Rusticana. They are all concerned with the individual's emotions-love, hate, jealousy and revenge. Alglala has similarities to Turiddu, in that she doesn't want the man she has and does want the forbidden (the white man, Ralph), Taking place in the Arizona desert in 1850, the plot centers around Alglala, which translates in Iroquois as "Little-Good-for-Nothing", who rebels against the continuous gloom of her Chippewa father, Namegos, who sits in front of his tepee mourning the death of his second squaw (his first, her Iroquois mother, died at Alglala's birth) and the gradual death of his race. When Alglala teases Ojawa-animiki, he wraps

252 her in his blanket, designating her as his bride, against her secret wishes. After he leaves she prays to Ra-wen-ni-yo, the Iroquois god of love, for help. When Ralph, a white stranger who is accused of murder, makes his escape from a posse, he staggers into her camp, they both fall in love and she believes that her prayers are answered. However, first her father forbids their love, and then Ojawa-animiki starts a fight with Ralph. Alglala, seeing Ralph about to lose, kills Ojawa with her axe, and after her dance of death, the lovers flee. Namegos returns with a band of warriors and after telling the warriors to pursue the two and "kill both", he sits once again in front of his tepee and chants a mourning song. The libretto, based on Fanning's experiences on a Crow reservation in Montana, is full of stereotypical images, both visually the tepee, the betrothal blanket, the woman's axe and the love flute and poetically: "You cannot make bad medicine for me"; "the coyote feast of this poor white"; and "the trail grows fainter to the forever land." The characters are also simple stereotypes-the traditional father, the strong warrior, the beautiful Indian maid who falls in love with the forbidden white man. The use of the Chippewa language for Namegos, the chorus and Ojawa-animiki; and the Iroquois language for Alglala, is just enough to be effective, not overwhelming or obstructive to the story. The melodic lines are well-shaped and quite singable, often incorporating the descending thirds favored for Indian flavor, as in Namegos' opening lament (Figure 4-52).

253
iW /y w h * ho ho o ol Manl f dol ( . . . j

rm
> - iiir n a
L u

l f h r V~L A

...... f

t ............ F y

r lip s

Figure 4-52: Alglala. Act I, p. 33 Harmonically, the whole opera is very traditional. De Leone makes minimal use of the open fourths and fifths associated with the Indian music, as in the incantation section of the prologue, (Figure 4-53).
Andante mtstlco PP
4 * pp
Sava

St*
Sava our lands and lav* our

'
bravas;

our lands and

sava

our

bravas;

PP
Sava our lands and sava our

>

brdvas;

Sava our lands and sava our

bravas;

PP

I PPi-

$
m

Figure 4-53: Alglala. Prologue, p. 11

J V

>

>

tA

tf = P * ttf 3 -!
. *

>

i f

254 He also incorporates many descending chromatic lines, most notably as a "revenge motif in the opening of the prologue, (Figure 4-54), which recurs throughout the opera and makes its last appearance as the Indians go to kill Alglala and Ralph.
AUegro furtoso

Figure 4-54: Alglala. Prologue, p. 3 Rhythm is perhaps the strongest Indian element in the opera. Throughout one finds examples of a dotted rhythm pattern. For example, this forms the basis of the second motif of the prologue (Figure 4-55), which is associated with Namegos and which recurs throughout the opera, most notably at the end.

Figure 4-55: Alglala. Prologue, p. 4

There are drum-like long-short patterns used throughout, as in Alglala's prayers to Ra-wen-ni-yo (Figure 4-56).

Moth Flute

er

of

Ha-wen-nl-yo,*

espresstvo motto

Figure 4-56: Alglala. Scene 1, p. 52 These long-short patterns become stronger and more driving for Ojawaanimiki's motif (Figure 4-57), which serves as the basis of his aria "I am catching the rays of the full May moon", and also heralds his entrance in Scene 2.

marcatiss.

Figure 4-57: Alglala. Scene 1, p. 37

256 In contrast, Ralph's music is legato and smooth (Figure 4-58).


Moderato Ralph

&
t
Sure -

ly,

i 1n -ir ^
A lgla-

la.

luslngando ^

cantando

JOlumi

Figure 4-58: Alglala. Scene 1, p. 78 Another traditional Indian cultural element, the love flute, permeates Scene 1; whether in the form of the flute calling (Figure 4-59), or of Alglala imitating it (Figure 4-60). It even appears in the orchestra under Alglala and Ralph's initial kiss.
Flute

j f

JT J

if

Tempo ad Ub in form of a Cadenza

Figure 4-59: Alglala. Act I, p. 37


Alglala (Imitating flute)

/T\

accel

j,

j n j r

Figure 4-60: Alglala. Act I, p. 25

257 Another device associated with Indian music is the little grace notes which one finds in Alglala's prayer for Ralph (Figure 4-61).

Ha

wan

* nl-

> 1

yol

1 m

Moth-er of

J 'ifl

i
m

Figure 4-61: Alglala. Act II, p. 120 One last Indian element is the "non-music" directions which de Leone has given throughout. For example, he asks Ojawa-animiki to sing "like a falsetto war-cry" (Figure 4-62).
(like a falsetto war-cry)

N ol N o! N ol r u v ld o

Figure 4-62: Alglala. Act II, p. 107

258 There are also calls for "shrieks" (p. 21), "war whoops" (p. 149), etc. Hipsher said that in Alglala there "are passages as poetic, as lyrical, as figurative, as highly emotional, as have appeared in any opera."33 When it was revived at the 1975 Newport Music Festival, Newport, Rhode Island, Alglala was well received and remains deserving of performance. The other "Italian" Indian opera, Winona, in three acts, with music by Alberto Bimboni (1882-1960) and libretto by Perry Williams, was premiered by the American Grand Opera Company of Portland, Oregon, on November 11, 1926, with full Sioux-Dakotah Indians in the cast. The libretto, based on a Sioux-Dakotah legend, tells of Chatonska who leaves the game trail to visit Winona, even though it is forbidden by Indian law. They are caught by Winona's unde, Wabashaw, who brands Chatonska's head and tries to force Winona to marry Chief Matosapa. In despair, Winona leaps from Maiden Rock to her death. Italian-born Bimboni, who came to America at age 29 to conduct, teach and compose, visited both the Indian reservation in Minnesota and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. to find hunting songs, war songs, Chippewa lullabies, flute calls, Sioux serenades and moccasin songs which he then incorporated into the opera in their original melodic and rhythmic forms. All the choruses are unison, though sometimes antiphonal. Again, the strong rhythms throughout are Indian influenced, but the harmony and drama remains Italian. Hipsher says the score "though modern in treatment, follows in the wake of Verdi, in that it is

259 an opera for voices rather than orchestra."3* Winona was one of the more popular operas during the twenties and thirties. It was also revived in 1976, in New Paltz, New York. Bimboni's only other American opera, In the Name of Culture (1949), is a satire on a women's club meeting. Freer Another unusual Indian opera, in that it was termed as the only Alaskan opera, The Chilkoot Maiden, commissioned by Skagway, Alaska, in 1926, has both the music and libretto by Eleanor Everest Freer. Influential in the cause of American music, Mrs. Freer (1864-1942) was bom into a musical Philadelphian family. After studying voice in Paris, where she was one of the "two Nellies" (Melba was the other), she returned home in 1886, as the only certified teacher of the Marchesi Voice method in America and proceeded to teach. She married Archibald Freer (1891) and together they spent several years in Europe, and settled in Chicago upon their return in 1899. Having begun to compose in 1902, she is noted for her songs, vocal trios, quartets and ten operas which include two American topics Little Women (1939) and The Chilkoot Maiden. The legend behind The Chilkoot Maiden says that "every time a white man crossed the summit of White Pass, the warm breath of a Chinook wind melted the snow and caused a disastrous avalanche."33 In the opera, Skugway, a Chilkoot maiden, having quarrelled with her Chilkoot lover, Chule, who threatens death to the pale face, wanders into the white camp,

260 where she sees Ralph dancing. They fall in love, but Skugway warns him to flee or be killed, after which she disappears into the mountains, leading Chule and his men away from the whites. The music for The Chilkoot Maiden is very conservative and uncomplicated. The music for the whites is tuneful and popular in style, with syncopated rhythms, and pop dances (Figure 4-63).

W hen

they

leave

th e ir

cam p,

w e 'll

be gay)

J-J T )
r

I
with Indian music (Figure 4-64).

FT
Figure 4-63: The Chilkoot Maiden, p. 43

The Indians are characterized by folk-like melodies which have nothing to do

r -.

Val-

* ---------- k

p &J W e 'll gtjard th is th y J; .J

JJ
ley, From = ,

VWtlte m e n

to -dayT ^

* U

t
l

i
%

J> . j

Figure 4-64: The Chilkoot Maiden, pp. 4-5

261 These melodies recur, often with the same harmonies, which serves to identify the two different groups. Skugway has her own theme, a simple arpeggio omitting the third (Figure 4-65).

\ j g J M 5
'

f i

IT <

Figure 4-65: The Chilkoot Maiden, p. 3 It occurs in the opera both in exact repetition and in different keys. Unfortunately, the funds raised were insufficient and so the opera was never produced. Because it utilizes a small ensemble it might be possible for an opera workshop to produce; however, the over-repetition and the weak, confusing plot diminish its value. After 1930, Indian operas declined, in part due to the growth of jazz, the new compositional techniques coming out of Paris, and the fact that the real Indian culture was itself dying out, or at least losing its relevancy. The operas written after this time period have enjoyed limited success. The more notable ones include Cynthia Parker. Hopitu. Spirit Owl. Ruwana and Sakakawea.

262 Smith Originally premiered at North Texas State Teachers College in Denton on February 16,1939, Cvnthia Parker, by Texas-born Julia Smith (1911), was expanded and revised and premiered in its new form in Austin in 1985. Based on a true story, the libretto, by Jan Isabell Fortune and Julia Parker, follows the tale of Cynthia Parker's childhood kidnapping by Indians, her marriage to a chief, the birth of her two children, Ouanah and Prairie Flower, her return to her family, her homesickness for her Indian friends and her subsequent death. The music is vivid, using both American folk music, as in the first scene at Ed Parker's home, and authentic Indian music, including a Hopi lullaby, a Zuni (Pueblo) Corn Song, two Wahanaki melodies, and Dakota medicine and mescal rite songs. Typical fourths and fifths, complex drum like rhythms, and chanting monotones are incorporated. Especially lovely is Cynthia's lullaby which she sings to her children (Figure 4-66).

263

3
m p ].

u
F J l - g - l ---------------- l i .......... r .^ = ==SE== r* "* i J j S p ') L a } L 1 fl _ J ------3 4 f j f 4 P "1 r *} r i

------ ^ ,r T =

Figure 4-66: Cynthia Parker. Act II

This is an opera worthy of more attention because of its well written music and flowing style.

264 Julia Smith has written two other American operas. The Stranger of Manzano. written in 1946, to a libretto by John William Rodgers is based on the legend from Frank Applegates Native New Mexican Tales. Again it is noted for its interesting and colorful music, including three Mexican dances. Daisy (1973) based on the life of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., is noted for its smoothly flowing tunes, lively dances and well-paced libretto. It incorporates excerpts of traditional Girl Scout Songs and some famous melodies.

Albright Probably the most authentic Indian opera, Hopitu. a three-act opera by Lois Albright Billingsley, on a libretto by M. W. Billingsley, is based on Hopi legends, ceremonial dances and music. In fact, the first cast included "fullblood Hopi Indians with their ceremonial dancers."36 Bom in Elwood, Indiana in 1904 and educated mostly in Chicago, Mrs. Billingsley is a "jack of all music," having performed as a violinist, pianist, singer and conductor, as well as being a composer. Written in 1955, Hopitu takes place in the southwest United States over an indefinite but lengthy time period. Rather fragmentary and confusing, the plot is made up of five episodes. Act I, Scene I begins at the

Hopi camp with the birth of Chief Karwazra's daughter whom he asks his Hopi people to name and they rejoice as she is called Polenema. Act I, Scene 2 takes place years later as the now-grown Polenema is eventually enticed into the Great Canyon by the Spider. Act II, Scene 1 opens in the Great Canyon more years later, where Ahtoctoe, the grown son of Polenema, has fallen in love with the Hopi maiden, Piyumsie, and so explains to her how his mother has been held captive by the Spider for many years. Now Ahtoctoe plans to rescue Polenema and lead her back to her people. As they are leaving the canyon in Act II, Scene 2, Ahtoctoe and Polenema meet with Piyumsie and Sohut, who also loves Piyumsie and so tries to stop them from returning home. The Spider then appears, forbidding Polenema to leave the Canyon and, as Karwazra and his braves enter, the Spider tells them that Polenema lies. After trying to make love to Piyumsie, the Spider challenges Ahtoctoe to a duel, but this is prevented by the Hopi, who then take Polenema and Ahtoctoe back to their council to decided their fate. Act III returns to the Hopi village where Ahtoctoe, in front of the council, is asked if he has magic powers and can make it rain, thereby saving himself despite the calls from the Spider for his death. Though Piyumsie pleads her love for Ahtoctoe, Sohut claims her hand because of his hunting skills. Agreeing with Sohut, the

266 council orders that Ahtoctoe be slain and Polenema thrown into the canyon, but Ahtoctoe defends himself by having the Kachines dance the snake dance for rain. When the Spider informs the Hopi that the spell cannot now be broken until she picks a mate, Piyumsie chooses Ahtoctoe. As the Hopi celebrate with the Butterfly dance, the council orders that the Spider be slain so that the Hopi can live in peace forever. The score is very complex musically. The rhythms are difficult at times, especially in the Hopi chants. There are a great number of choruses, which serve as commentary on the action. Five of these choruses consist of Hopi chants in their native tongue, sung in unison with more complex rhythm patterns (Figure 4-67).

4*
Y ahi-vl- na- h i

\nn

[i n

j
S h a-o -

y y*

11- w ya >a ya

p 1m

r-r-f-r-r-rFigure 4-67: Hopitu. Act I, Scene 1

The other 12 choruses, made up of soloists, acting as chorus, are in English and utilize much simpler rhythms, often climaxing by adding more voices. Both types of chorus are repetitious. Seven authentic Hopi dances are

267 incorporated into the score-a Kachina Dance in Act I, Scene 1, a war dance in Act I, Scene 2, the Dinosaur Bird Dance in Act II, Scene 2, and the Buffalo, Eagle, Snake and Butterfly dances in Act III. They are all accompanied by chanting and drumming. Other Indian traits include the use of: typical dotted rhythms and descending thirds (Figure 4-68); drum-like patterns in open fourths and fifths (Figure 4-69); and sequential patterns and repetitive figures (Figure 4-70).

Your n am e

w ill be great

a - m ong

snake- people

Figure 4-68: Hopitu. Act I, Scene 2

Came

a tim e w h en

you were woo- Ing

IP

l f - s f c J

In

th e realm s of

U S;
I B w M

s i

Figure 4-69: Hopitu. Act I, Scene 1 (cont. below)

268

**

the iJ t

Ka- chi- nas

a 9

. m SL -~ - E-----f= 1 L -J
L 1 h d I H

Figure 4-69: Hopitu. Act I, Scene 1 (conclusion)

Ij l

v > i B T T My People

Ii u r are you mad

with

en v y _____

Figure 4-70: Hopitu. Act III

Although this work is valuable from an historical viewpoint because of the genuine chants and dances, as a dramatic work it is poorly paced and lengthy, and even though the composer has given complete instructions for the dances it would be very difficult to recreate them authentically.

Hunkins Maniian. Spirit Owl and The Death of Wabejic (all 1956) were all written around the same time by Eusebia Simpson Hunkins (Troy, Ohio,

269 1902), who studied at Julliard. They are all based on the same authentic Indian melodies and dances. In fact, the one-act The Death of Wabejic is an excerpt of Act II, Scene 1 from Spirit Owl, the only difference being the language. The Death of Wabejic is completely in Chippewa, with the English words underneath, while this scene in Spirit Owl is only in English except for one recurring Chippewa phrase "ku-ku-ku-kuming-o sa". The one-act Maniian. though slightly different in storyline, also incorporates all the same music as Spirit Owl (i.e., Maniian's "Sorrow"; vs. the warrior's "I am fearless" etc.) The synopsis of Maniian is: Maniian, daughter of Chief Sawakwat and his wife Dekum, loves Wabejic, one of the young braves of the tribe. The choice of the parents, however, is Eniwube, who comes bearing many handsome gifts in return for the hand of Maniian. The guest is royally entertained, but Maniian is desolate, and tragically bemoans her fate. Her sorrow quickly changes of joy, however, when she hears Wabejic call from the thicket. The two lovers join in happy reunion, and then quietly slip away into the forest, together.37 The synopsis of Spirit Owl is: Maniian, daughter of Chief Sawakwat and his wife Dekum, loves Wabejic, one of the young braves of the tribe, Wabejic volunteers to go on a scouting party and departs with the other warriors. Later that night the cry of the wild loon warns of impending disaster, and Wabejic, mortally wounded, returns to die in the arms of the despairing Maniian.

270 Spring of Shadows, the final scene, shows the death of Maniian and her spirit reunion with Wabejic. As the death song is chanted by the tribe, they hear from the forest the voices of the two lovers in the call of the Spirit Owls.38 As drama, both operas drag but are effective when viewed as ceremonial pieces. The dances are choreographed in the greatest detail, (Figure 4-71).

ft
Men's chorus Jt it" >

r > iiP'
/
>

>

l
>

p P Pi O P
> >
....

?
P - P

g -ff^ R i P -I
>

>

W h at brave m a n could foH ow th e bear, hey-ehl > > >

> > r f i i \ / I - j

>

> 1 4

>

J J

i -

Figure 4-71: Spirit Owl, p. 7

The same compositional elements mentioned in other operas in this chapter to achieve the Indian idiom are also highly prevalent in Hunkins' operas. The most obvious element is, as always, the rhythm. The operas are based on drum-like patterns, usually continuous eighths, either in open fourths and fifths (Figure 4-71 above), or broken (Figure 4-72).

271
Sanakwat

Yo-hol W arriors

Yo-hot

(like speech)

Yo-hol

Yo-hol

H eheyl

H eheyl

Y oho-hoi

t
He-heyl He-heyl Y oh o -h o l

Figure 4-72: Spirit Owl, p. 45

Many dotted rhythm patterns occur (Figure 4-73) and the meter changes often (Figure 4-74).
e
I am

p
and

i r~
t

fear-less

am brave

Figure 4-73: Spirit Owl, p. 33

272
It
i n i I
Gone all _ hope

and

den goes. J Lt , ;i ? .

r ^

-q rp

1 1 r

I ^

i - r
gone

r
all joy.

* |
"1?

-BK -N IsIsh h'H Isht


lone ly In - to h er garden goes.

-p

: 3- J.

\ *
<

-----------

Figure 4-74: Spirit Owl, p. 58

Chippewa words are used frequently enough to set the feeling, but not so often as to obstruct the plot, occurring mostly during the ceremonies or in recurring phrases, such as Maniian and Wabejic's "call". There are instances of recitatives and sprechstimme (Figure 4-75); and even speech for dramatic moments.

273

Maestoso Muckktku
f _ M

(pompously)

(spoken quasi chant)

r- i ^
Muck-kl-ku, the great war-rtori

am thegreat

No one can (right- en me,

f rrfrfr

m an

nor

beastl

Figure 4-75: Spirit Owl, p. 31

The chorus plays an important role throughout, often in unison with many instances of canon (Figure 4-76).

274

l l n

T ~ = For-

4 = -----m ------- h r = j * = g w ard p w e w ill go "

jf

Charg-

p tn g

ml---------to

F o r-

w ard

wa

m eet

th e

foe.

j } > n
Charg-

t
Ing -0

Jl
to 0 m eet th e foe.

( #
-#

0-

Figure 4-76: Spirit Owl, p. 25

They are also very repetitious, as is typical in tribal chants. For instance, "What brave man will follow the bear, "Hoy-Ah" is repeated 13 times, divided into three sections, followed by one section of "This brave man will follow the bear, Hoy-Ah" (five repeated phrases). Though tonal, there

275 are many dissonances caused by altered seconds, sevenths and ninths. Traditional symbols (such as the loon call, which is an omen of disaster) and instruments (such as the "love" flute, rattles and tom-toms) add to the Indian flavor. Although it is not conventionally operatic, this work is interesting as a piece of pageantry. Hunkins also wrote several American folk operas. Smokev Mountain (1950), based on folk music from the Appalachian Mountains, contains 20 folk songs, including "Wayfaring Stranger", Unconstant Lover", "Goin' to Boston", "The Deaf Old Woman", "I Know My Love", "Pop Goes the Weasel", "Lonesome Road", "Down in the Valley", "Lonesome Valley", "Red River Valley", "Black is the Color", "Birds Courting Song", "Uncle Joe", "Coming 'Round the Mountain", "I Know Where I'm Goin'", "Foggy Foggy Dew", "Cindy", and "Turkey in the Straw". They are in their original forms, usually with simple chordal accompaniments, linked together to tell the story of the courtship of two couples, George and Jess, and Arabella and Ben. It most closely resembles a musical pastiche, not an opera. Hunkins1other American folk operas include Young Lincoln (1958) and What Have You Done to Mv Mountain. Once again, Young Lincoln is a

276 patishe containing many songs, including: "Old Abe Lincoln"; "Windsor"; "Saint's Delight"; "Armand"; "Hail! Columbia"; "None Can Love Like an Irishman"; "Amazing Grace" (New Britian); "Heavenly Dove"; "Promised Land"; "Hey Billy Martin"; "Wicked Polly"; "Adam and Eve's Wedding Song"; "The Time Has Come"; "John Anderson's Lamentations"; "Skip To The Lou"; "Chicken Reel"; "Soldier's Toy"; "Old Sister Phoebe"; "The Hunters of Kentucky"; and "Shenandoah".

Deavel Written in 1956, Ruwanna. a one-act opera in 15 continuous sections also has problems with its dramatic intent and continuity. With music by Gary Deavel (1928 ), a graduate of Manchester College, Indiana (B.M.) and Sherwood Music School, Chicago (B.M. and M.M.), and libretto by Gladden Schrock, Ruwanna begins with an orchestral introduction and the Indian women's chorus, thanking God for their crop and preparing their festival dance. This is followed by the "The Planting Dance" (section 2), the "Blessing of the Corn" Dance (section 3) and the Incarnation Dance, the coming of the Great Spirit to give life to the corn (section 4). The women sing of their loneliness waiting for the men to return home (section 5), joined by Ruwanna (section 6). The men return (section 7) and during the harvest

dance {section 8), Ruwanna finds a red ear of com symbolizing love, but her dead mother is heard singing of Ruwanna's ill-fated love (section 9). The dance concludes with the Thief Dance (section 10) in effect, a joyous game. That evening Ruwanna and Maskukwa come together (section 11), and are discovered secretly by Ruwanna's father, who waits until Maskukwa leaves to forbid Ruwanna to continue this love (section 12). Ruwanna cries herself to sleep (section 13) but her mother appears rebuking Ruwanna for her taboo love. On waking (section 14), Ruwanna realizes that she must give up her love for the sake of the tribe, so she leaps to her death (section 15). The music has no authentic Indian themes, but use of drum rhythms, parallel fourths, repeated rhythmic figures, and modal tonality all help to add an Indian flavor. While several of the episodes can be effectively staged (i.e., the mother's death), many of the sections do not hold together, the repetitious interludes seem to have no significance, and many of the sections do not make sense without more explanation.

Peterson Premiered at the University of North Dakota on September 15,1989, Sakakawea: The Woman With Many Faces tells the story of the woman who guided the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific. Though accounts vary

as to whether she died in 1812 or 1884, the two-act opera, with libretto by William Border, begins with the aged Sakakawea in 1884, who tells her story to a journalist as the time shifts back to 1805 and depicts her life-how Charbonneau, the French-Canndinn fur trader, won her at cards and married her, how she goes on the expedition and discovers her lost brother, the love that grows between Sakakawea and Clark, and their sad parting as Clark goes back East. As the lovers part, the action returns to the present and while the reporter has doubts, old Sakakawea and her granddaughter sing "The Future Flies Before Me." The music, by Thomas Peterson, uses folk themes (i.e., several English folk songs are incorporated) as well as Indian-like recurring motifs, such as the "Lakata flute" motif used for love. Though the scenes become fragmented at times, the work as a whole is very expressive and has a nice emotional believability. Although the Indian elements are of less importance today, the use and incorporation of these elements (the strong dotted rhythms, the independent meters, the percussive effects and the open fourths and fifths) have certainly added to the vigorousness and energy of the American style.

279 NOTES: CHAPTER IV

1. Earle H. Johnson, Operas on American Subjects (New York: Coleman-Ross Company, Inc., 1964), 36. 2. Ibid. 3. Arthur Nevin, "Two Summers with the Blackfeet Indians of Montana", Musical Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 2,2 April, 1916,261. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. John Tasker Howard, Our American Music (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell, Co., 1964), 654. 7. Lawrence Gilman, Harper's Weekly. 4 March, 1911,1. 8. Unsigned, "Natoma Greeted By Great Audience," New York Times. 1 March, 1911, 8. 9. Frederick H.Martens, A Thousand and One Nights At the Opera (New York: B. Appleton & Co., 1926), 247-8. 10. New York Times. 1 March, 1911, 8. 11. Louise Llewellyn, "I Believe in Writing for the Public Says Victor Herbert", Musical America. 11 February, 1911. 12. Musical Courier. 1 March, 1911. 13. Ellsworth Edward Hipsher, American Opera and Its Composers (Philadelphia: Theodore Presser Co., 1927), 332. 14. Synopsis. Sarah Pratt Carr, Narcissa. (New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1912),

280

15. Hipsher, American Opera. 221. 16. Carr, Narcissa, Forward. 17. Hipsher, American Opera. 247. 18. Ibid., 248,49. 19. Marguerite Davis, "Charles Wakefield Cadman: The 'All-American' Composer," The Etude, no. 45, June, 1927, 428. 20. Hipsher, American Opera. 103, 21. Martens, A Thousand and One Nights. 22. Grenville Vernon, New York Tribune. 24 March, 1918. 23. Musical Courier. 28 March, 1918. 24. New York Times, 11 February, 1918. 25. Charles Wakefield Cadman, "The Idealization of Indian Music," Musical Quarterly, vol. 1 no. 3, July, 1915, 389. 26. Ibid. 27. Musical Courier, 28 March, 1918. 28. Ibid. 29. Edward Moore, Chicago Daily Tribune. 9 Dec., 1926. 30. Rene Devries, Musical Courier. 16 Dec., 1926. 31. Charles Hamm, Music In the New World. (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1983), 400.

32. Hipsher, American Opera. 159. 33. Ibid., 162. 34. Ibid., 76. 35. Diane Kestin, "Folklore in American Opera." (Masters Thesis, University of California at Los Angeles, 1955), 324. 36. Johnson, American Subjects. 28. 37. Eusebia Hunkins, Maniian (New York: Carl Fischer, Inc., 1956), Forward. 38. Eusebia Hunkins, Spirit Owl (New York: Carl Fischer, Inc., 1956), Forward.

CHAPTER V URBAN / SOCIALIST OPERAS : THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIALISM

Social awareness has always been an important influence in the life of Americans and this holds true for American composers as well. As early as 1899, Mortimer Wiske wrote Criss-Cross : or The Man of the Mark, a three act comedy on a libretto by William Dinsmore. Its main significance lies in the fact that it is the first political American opera, in that it attempts to satirize American politics in a style similar to that of Gilbert and Sullivan's satirization of the British Navy in H.M.S. Pinafore. The music is stylistically similar to parlor sheet music, with repeated bass octaves under repeated symmetrical phrases and rhythmic patterns in the melody, and thus has no distinctive musical characteristics. Other turn-of-the-century socially-conscious operas include: William Albert Dean's (1874) The Rings of Chuanto. a lyrical two-act drama dealing with desire for the love of an American-born Chinese girl and with murder to possess the rings which bring either love, wealth, or death; Edward Maryon's (1867-1954) The Smelting Pot, a three-act Wagnerian style drama; and Converse's three-act drama, The Immigrants, mentioned in Chapter IH.

282

283 Chadwick The first important composer of this "operatic socialism/' Massachusetts-born George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931), started his musical education in 1872, while selling insurance with his father. After studying at the New England Conservatory (1872-77), Leipzig (1877-79), and Munich (1879-80), he returned home to teach at the New England Conservatory for forty-eight years. Noted for his playable and genuinelyinspired music, he is historically important for: his sympathy for American vernacular musical traditions; his more natural setting of English texts; and his "earthy humor joined to social conscience not common to his more aristocratic, isolated peers."1 His early works understandably show a German influence, but as he matured, he also used Debussyesque modal harmonies and pentatonic scales. The Americanisms in his works don't always succeed, being too busily orchestrated and harmonized. Altogether he wrote seven operas, but only four relate to American subjects: The Prince and the Pauper; A Quiet Lodging: Eygrywomani Pilgrimage, a Quest For Love; and The PadrQITC- Each one deals with the emotional attitudes of Americans to social areas. His first opera, The Prince and the Pauper (1884), takes place in Maine and ridicules the American awe of title and social prestige. Maud is in love with Lionel, but a British Duke is her family's choice. There is the usual comic mix-up, but all ends happily. Similar to Gilbert and Sullivan works, it

284 is written in two acts with twenty-two numbers, no overture and a little of everything -- recitatives, dialogue, dances, hymns, and marches. Undiscovered until 1956, it seems to have been discarded ( he re-used parts in later works); however, it does show his natural theatrical instinct and his developing speech-like syncopated rhythms. His next opera, A Quiet Lodging (1892), a one-act parody, has stock characters -- Blowbellow, the opera composer; Voryelli, the opera singer; and Smutchbread, the lodging owner - and situations, in the old ballad-opera tradition. Evervwoman: Her Pilgrimage In Quest of Love (1911), is a modem Broadway extravaganza of a contemporary morality drama celebrating "the importance of the modern w o m a n ,"2 which includes scenes in: a country house; a church; a theater; Broadway on New Years Eve; and a New York Penthouse. Canticle I. Everywoman is shown her quest for love. With Youth, Beauty and Modesty she sets out. Canticle II. Her travels take her first to the stage of a metropolitan theater where she mistakes Passion for Love and where Modesty deserts her. She learns in time that Passion is not Love and, pursuing her quest, leaves the playhouse. Canticle III. At a gay dinner party, lasting until dawn, Beauty dies and Everywoman, looking at her mirror sees not Flattery as she did at first but Truth. Wealth comes to her side, whispers in her ear and, desperate, she enters into a mad, drunken dance with him. Conscience seeks to dissuade Everywoman, but Wealth temporarily triumphs.

285 Canticle IV. Disappointed finally, Everywoman finds herself alone with Youth, her body clad in a cheap and shabby dress on Broadway on New Year's Eve. Time, the callboy, comes to rob Everywoman of Youth and Everywoman, in her plight, tries to regain the affections of Wealth. Wealth passes her by and hikes up with Vice instead. Canticle V. The Truth comes and reveals her Beauty to Everywoman. "Love," says Truth "is my son." Everywoman returns to her home and there finds Love waiting for her. At first she does not recognize Love, but Truth makes her see Love aright and, as Everywoman and Love clasp hands, Modesty returns and clings to Everywoman's garments.3 Musically it incorporates both popular styles, as in the New Year's Eve march (Figure 5-1), and nineteenth century ballads as in Conscience's song (Figure 5-2).

rfri

pr
Hap- py

r
Hap- py N ew Year, to th e _

N ew Year,

k m ft

Ity -v J fr - -h-fH1 t t f i P i n 1 V-) AL /J1 ft I ' ^ -I


s

Jl f -^ 1 T B

tf

Figure 5-1: Evervwoman. Canticle IV (cont. below)

l r 9 p f p. n ^ " Im. fi~S B~C B l i l t l S i T T


p l" m ul- II. m u l- tl. m u l- II m il-lio n aim.

.......

..... = i dg t * t L i H r f 2

,u r i m
^

vj a n

111

rT JT k cJr iJ > j - . i * M v
-y - v --------------

Figure 5-1: Evervwoman. Canticle 1V (conclus ion)

Jk In

4 -----e

P - * A lit* tie star


* 6

# ;

_ -------------- 5 --------- w~ ------

*' f fc = : .....a y - = crept o u t one__ nl ght,

f r r \i 1

7 (5 ( M P V P 1 iind wondered

r" fg = -= 4 J I f ... r r
J
h l l

J= H = i

:4 _

i l ..

k i 1J L . > 'L - I:::-

N pd

w=*

------- ----------------at th e fu ll nlo o n 's light I =3 I ............

k=F= .......I .................... M i i


^ - = J = J

tJ T '
3 I
t

Figure 5-2: Everywoman. Canticle in

It also incorporates recurring motifs, most notably Everywoman's (Figure 5 3).

JO TJ3T O 3JJ
F
j

T
u

...... T

n r ?

Figure 5-3: Everywoman. Canticle I While the show as a whole invoked mixed reactions from the critics, the music was universally praised. Finally in 1912 came The Padrone, a two-act drama on a libretto by David Stevens, a lawyer turned musical publisher. Hailed as the first true American verismo, the opera deals with the exploitation of Italian immigrants in Boston in the 1890s by their 'Padrone'. The Padrone were unscrupulous men who required the immigrants to contract to work for them in order to pay off the debts (at high interest rates) owed the padrone for financing their passage, their room, and their board, thus creating a quasi-

288 indentured servant system. Hence the term 'Padrone* became synonymous with corruption. In the opera the Padrone, Catani, wants the tambourine girl, Marietta, but she loves Marco who is on his way to America to be with her. When he is rebuffed by Marietta, Catani forces Marietta's sister, Francesca, who is also in love with Marco, to betray Marco to the immigration authorities as he is traveling under an assumed name because of an Italian prison conviction. When the ship docks, Francesca, under Catani's prodding, denounces Marco as he disembarks into the waiting arms of Marietta and Marco is forced back on the ship. Learning that he was responsible, Marietta stabs Catani and is seized by the police just as her well-wishers arrive for her (and Marco's) wedding procession. The opera is built around a system of recurring themes in the Puccini manner, in that they are modified as the drama unfolds. Marietta is associated with a 12/8 pentatonic, skipping motif which underlines her first recitative and aria (Figure 5-4). She is also associated with a tragic V2 - VI phrase (Figure 5-5).

Figure 5-4: The Padrone. Act I, p. 6

289

ealmo

c tlm a

Figure 5-5: The Padrone. Act I, p. 23 Francesca has an unstable oboe phrase of staccato parallel fourths in sixteenths (Figure 5-6).

k
^ i

i{

Figure 5-6: The Padrone. Act I, p, 5 When Marco is mentioned, one hears his motif, which forms the basis of his aria "O Sweet, how lovely the summer day" (Figure 5-7).

r prrVr i j T r
Figure 5-7: The Pfldrpn?, Act I, p. 9

/<

290 Catani has two motifs: a repeated major second, which eventually expands to a whole-tone scale (Figure 5-8); and augmented sixths in the trombones (Figure 5-9), which underline his first entrance and which later accompany Marco's betrayal.

Figure 5-8: The Padrone, Act I, p. 40

Figure 5-9: The Padrone. Act I, p. 40 The choruses are fairly simple, usually four-part harmony with little overlapping, even when it is in a major role. The orchestra has many coloristic effects just as in Puccini's operas. For instance, in the church motif the orchestra at first sounds like an organ but by the end takes on an ominous quality when played by the low brass. Other Puccini influences are the enharmonic modulations, the simple melodies and the non-harmonic suspensions.

291 Chadwick incorporates dotted rhythm to catch the American vernacular, for example sisters becomes J* J , and when the Italians speak

English, the word is often transposed to sound authentic. Noted for its originality, both of melody and idiom, this opera was technically superior for its time. Antheil The next major exponent of this genre, George Antheil, was a rather controversial composer. Randall Thompson stated: Few American composers have been more scathingly criticized and more enthusiastically ridiculed than George Antheil. Although only a fraction of his compositions have been heard in America, his name has gone from coast to coast. The bad boy of American music to some people, anathema to others, the mere mention of his name has provoked amusement.4 Bom in 1900, in Trenton, New Jersey, Antheil (1900-59) studied at the Sternberg School of Music (1910-19) and the Curtis Music School (1920-22). After concertizing in Europe as a pianist (1922-26), he became the first American to hold the post of Assistant Director of Music at the Berlin State Theatre (1928-29) before returning to California (1936) where he lived until his death. His more than three hundred compositions include six symphonies, picture-scores and seven operas, as well as several books. His most controversial work, the opera Transatlantic: or The Peopled Choice, for which he not only wrote the libretto and music, but also created the set designs, is a summing-up of the period, rather like Fitzgerald's The

292 Great Gatsby. Written in 1930, Antheil wanted Transatlantic to be typically American, reflecting the modem era, for he wrote before the premiere: Why not an opera about the businessman himself, his surroundings, New York, factories, the romance of the west, whatever is of absorbing interest in America?5 Set in 1930 New York, tracing events in an American presidential campaign, it is conceived in "moving-picture" style i.e., action that keeps building, with many things happening at an ever quickening pace. For example, the first act has four scenes, the second has six, and the third has twenty-seven scenes which play on four simultaneous stages and a movie screen. The locales are as diverse as an ocean liner, Child's Restaurant in New York, the election polls, a moving elevator, a bath-tub (where an aria is sung), the Brooklyn Bridge(where a man jumps off), and culminating in "a glorious apotheosis of New York rising from the fog in early dawn."5 Aufdemberge describes the confusing libretto as an allegory, contrasting the heroic (Hector) with the corrupt businessman (Ajax) fighting over the new America (the symbolic Helen and the political elections).7 Mixing in many American images (a cocktail party, presidential parade, neon signs, etc.), Antheil expected the music to hold the opera together: The opera librettos of the last few years were so well-rounded, so thought through, that they were almost playing themselves and did not need music at all. This does not seem the right way to me. If you have to have music in a play, there must be a powerful reason for it. This is essential and indeed the only true justification for opera. Through music the stage, so to speak, becomes exchanged.

293 However the score is so elastic with so many types of styles - tonal, atonal, polytonal, syncopated jazz rhythms and chords, pseudo Italian opera -- that it sounds like the work of several composers, not one, and thus has no unity. The opera as a whole therefore falls apart, even though each scene is well set. He tries to present a comprehensive view of American music. He includes nineteenth century "heroic-type" music as in the opening and ending parody (Figure 5-10), and quotes from popular songs, such as "There'll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight" in Act II, or "Chicago", set with dissonant chords, for a fake raid made by a group of gangsters on Hector's political headquarters (Figure 5-11).

Vivace sublto

Figure 5-10: Transatlantic. Act ID, Scene 28, p. 309

294

G unm en

f J
>>ou rer-W t v - #r d o n n lc h ts re- peal 1In- d e m o u r giw d o ld v o l- atead am | [ut t y Al- t o -

wm S is'

f
J * B < )ijU

I
J

w
T

f - '- K
-I 'r
t

tri P T

J a * r

J ^

l^ 'l

J 1 j

------------------------L

#-------------- --------------j *

Figure 5-11: Transatlantic. Act II, Scene 2, p. 128 In addition, he incorporates cakewalks, Negro spirituals, blues, and jazz, such as in the jazzy, atonal arrangement of "Fifteen Years on the Erie Canal" accompanied by two pianos, which serves as a basis for the nightclub scene (Figure 5-12), and even "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean", used satirically to underline the scenes at the political headquarters.

A llegretto ( -1 2 6 -138) 1. H enchm an

-6 -6 B B I B t D f i
Flfte en yean o n th e E-

rleCan-nal,_

ft , L Jasonf>
II. H enchm an

Lf r f 1
P ull. Ajax

Push A llegretto ( -1 2 6 -1 3 8 )

Push

Push

Push

B rum m C hor

PP

Flf-

teen

years

w ith

my

Sal,

ohl

II. H Pull.

Push

Push

Push

Push

B.-C.'

Figure 5-12: Transatlantic. Act I, Scene 3, p. 55

296 The opera's fast pace is reinforced by the continuous music. It is unified through recurring motifs, such as a love motif which is stated in the overture and later recurs in Scene 1 when Helen and Hector declare their love, as well as in the Cabaret Scene as Helen recalls her love. Her vocal lines are rather syllabic and declamatory (Figure 5-13).

tn e n o m o sso (adagio) ( -9 6 -1 1 6 )

til a

tBut y o u V a ju st

a
, m

m a t____ m a

- ' - f r l | - = : =
-------------------

r i .. -

= i

* )., L a

mP k

^ j 1 .v f k a

9 CZ

aw j - - - - - - v A w ti9* ---- j T $ P.:-T j - J .= *


j

^ . L f > *L
h ard -

-=

__ *- K ----ly an

g t ^ P = f i = F . . .... r
hour a - gD

-----

M
*)i iL

<

=r

, g f r

... - f = ------4 -------------------g

Figure 5-13: Transatlantic Act I, Scene 1, p. 8 Other representative compositional techniques that Antheil utilizes are: dissonant and occasionally polytonal jazz effects; tonal "moralizing" choruses; spoken dialogue; sprechstimme; and chromatic accompaniment under diatonic melodies (Figure 5-14).

297

ifrt r r r ir l u l l *] 4 > J. * Jm f r > if r* i ' i " r r r .f


A h, in th e A h, in th e A h, in th e A h, in th e

sp rin g -

tim e o f . o n e ' s

sp rin g -

tim e o f . o n e 's

sp rin g -

tim e o f . o n e 's

iJ r. ---^ 11 rF--j=i | L . JJ..Q i. I ir-w-i " < > >rf if.


life life life ............. -1------U - i-------1 im e o f . o n e 's life

ring sp

d j. ? *r p*
Jf |

Focommomosso (taprtsstvo)
------------------ J ------ ..

U - B f
----- -------------------

rh ^

-=\

F i f

1 o

----------.........

Figure 5-14: Transatlantic. Act II, Scene 6, p. 208 The brittle percussive components are influenced by Krenek and Shostakovich, whom Antheil acknowledged in his autobiography, Bad Bov of Opera .9 Critics are divided as to the value of Transatlantic, some accusing Antheil of "manipulating the cliches of c iv iliz a tio n ." ^ Others praise his:

true musical personality, a certain dyed-in-the-wool Americanism. For although his jazz is less insinuating than Gershwin's, less rhythmically absorbing than Copland's, less polished than Carpenter's, it is more robust and closer to its origins.^

298 This opera still deserves an historic position for its innovation, and expression of American life in true American verbal and musical accents. In The Brothers (1956), a modern-day American Cain and Abel story, Antheil again tried to create a synthesis of American style. It is about Ken Adams, a discharged serviceman living with his brother, Abe, and blind sisterin-law Mary, who was originally engaged to Ken but married Abe during Kens absence. When Abe is reading a newspaper story about two bitter servicemen who are searching for a third serviceman who had collaborated with the enemy while the squad was held in a prison camp and thus caused pain to be inflicted on the rest by his spying, and informing, Ken's reactions betray his guilt. While Ken and Abe are out the two servicemen arrive. When the brothers return, the servicemen shoot at Ken, who uses Abe as a shield. Mary's pleas that he spare Abe only infuriate the jealous Ken who stabs Abe just as a bullet creases his head, giving Ken "the mark of Cain". The dialogue is full of American phrases, such as "that 'dear John' letter still rankles" and "he's got it in for us". As well as his usual jazz rhythms, Antheil uses an Eastern Hebraic style heightened by high strings and oboe which is associated with Mary (Figure 5-15).

299

iJ h

' h - ' - - h k . i h h h k k i f --- - ** p T i


Cain brought of the f rult of thground, the ciff -

i n

'rin g un-to

h ? = = = T J J T 1 :3- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - : J

4*

4 J

ti
T "

lt =
n T -

1 r

Figure 5-15: The Brothers. Scene 1 The other characters also have associations: Ken a heavy march; and Abe, a light waltz. The American elements weave in and out in a fragmentary fashion, creating an effectual emotional empathy with the audience. At its premiere Allen Young commented: "It has an impact derived from the directness and simplicity of his music, complemented by the sparseness of his eloquently felt libretto.12 Venus in Africa, a short one-act written as a curtain raiser for The Brothers, is a light tale of an American couple travelling in North Africa who continually quarrel over petty little things until the woman decides to leave even though she has little money. The couple is finally reunited after a golden statue of Venus comes to life, reminding them of their love. Antheil, who spent some time in Tunis, has interspersed Arabic folk music (Figure 516), with numerous snatches of jazz-like rhythms and songs.

300

Figure 5-16: Venus in Africa. Scene 1 Once more, he works for the speech inflection (Figure 5-17).

= a s H f f p 1 3 =

-J ) J i j J r i f / L f c

T*y to un-dar-tU ndthtt

Figure 5-17: Venus in Africa. Scene 1 Antheil's next American opera, The Wish, a one-act commissioned by the Louisville Philharmonic Society in 1954, is a mixture of reality and fantasy, set in New York. In his program notes Antheil calls it: another synthesis of another subject, more often than not the principle one in the operas of the past and that is lo v e I have attempted a sort of Romeo and Juliet story in which love is so great and so real that it will live even beyond death.13

301 Before leaving for work, Josh gives his wife, Harriet, a little gift. Their painter friend Rick, brings in a traditional anniversary cake. As soon as Josh leaves, the atmosphere becomes tense and Harriet, suspecting Rick of trying to kill Josh, asks "is the cake poisoned?" Rick eventually confesses his love for her and his guilt, then leaves. Harriet makes a wish while blowing out the candles, but one remains burning. As Josh arrives home that afternoon, his landlord, Mrs. Burnett, reports that she heard Harriet scream, "Help I am being murdered." Josh finds his wife dead under the couch. Rick comes in and suggests means of disposing of the body, but the police arrive. Just as Josh is pointing out the body's location Harriet enters. All but Harriet and Josh leave. As the curtain falls Josh is shown sleeping quietly. Josh dreams that he and Harriet are celebrating at a little outdoor cafe. The scene is one of fun and dancing, but it suddenly becomes desolate. All leave but Josh. While Josh is still asleep, Mrs. Burnett, pretending to clean the blood spots, enters searching for clues. She hides as a distraught Rick enters and confesses his guilt, saying he has seen Harriet on the stairs and she is forcing him to admit his guilt. His confession, with Mrs. Burnett as witness, takes care of the crime. Still dazed, Josh looks for Harriet. Then he remembers and looks under the couch. After an outburst of despair he becomes quiet and eventually approaches the poisoned cake.

302 Though basically tonal, The Wish has elements of bitonality and modality. There are recurring motifs which hold the opera together, such as the very opening one which recurs in scenes two and three (Figure 5-18), and "dead" Helen's motif which occurs throughout scenes two and four (Figure 519).

Figure 5-18: The Wish, p. 1

Figure 5-19: The Wish, p. 29 As in his other operas Antheil incorporates various dance forms such as a waltz in scenes one, two, and three, and a Tango. There are also frequent jazz syncopations and chromatics. As is customary with Antheil, the music and drama are well-integrated creating a good theatrical piece. William Mootz commented, "The music is not only cohesive, but holds the story together and actually induces the spectator to suspend, for the moment, his control with reality."i4

303 In all these operas, what Antheil tried to do was "to make a musical speech or a musical language which would be comprehensible to American theatre audiences and easily understood by them in terms of the American stage."15 in many people's eyes, he deserves to be considered as a forefather of a national musical identity. Blitzstein The true moralist of American opera is Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964). Born in Philadelphia on March 2, he came from a comfortable, affluent family. However, his grandfather had at one time been leader of the labor institute, and his father was a member of the socialist literary society. Precocious, both musically (born with perfect pitch, he started piano at age five and composing at age seven) and intellectually (he entered high school at age nine), he attended the University of Pennsylvania on scholarship, studied at the Curtis Institute (1924-26) with Scalero and then went to Europe (192628) to study with Nadia Boulanger and Arnold Schoenberg, the first American to study with the latter. While there he became influenced by the trend toward simplification of music, exemplified by Brecht and Weill. After his return home, he met and married Eva Goldbeck, a radical leftist writer and became concerned with politics and social issues. These influences gave his music direction and function. He believed that the artist had a duty to better society and a mission to write for the masses:

304 finally I saw the relationship of the world to my music. I had been composing in a vacuum. I realized that this world I never made needed change and, as an artist, I could use my music as a weapon in that struggle.16 About this time he also joined the Composers Collective (1934) and started contributing to the publication Modem Music, something he continued to do periodically until his tragic murder in 1964 in Martinique. He chose opera as his medium because of the larger-than-life quality which the characters could achieve; at the same time they were meant to create a domestic realism with which Americans were familiar. His music was used exclusively to serve the stage. He said "music in the theatre is a powerful, almost potent weapon. It will do things you would never dream of."17 In his search for a true American form he based his operas loosely on the old ballad-opera style, using a strange melange of different music styles from Bach chorales and Handelian traits to jazz and torch songs but added to this his unique integration of speech and song in which, as Copland explained: The musical sections instead of being formally set with definite beginnings and endings seemed to start and finish casually, so that one was rarely conscious of where the music began and the dialogue left off or vice versa."16 His earliest works are experimental and somewhat neoclassic. The Harpies (1931), an allegory, is full of percussive rhythms and controlled dissonances. The Condemned, a one-act choral opera which is loosely based on the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, was his first attempt both in dealing with a

305 political issue and in incorporating popular musical idioms. Dealing with the mental torment of the condemned just before execution, the opera is sung entirely by four choruses which embody four characters: 1) the combined characters of Sacco and Vanzetti (TB), 2) the wife (SA), 3) the friend (T), and 4) the priest (B). It is written in eleven scenes. The condemned man waking from a nightmare, realizes it is reality. Although the wife continues to hope, the condemned requires strength in defeat and asks his wife to be strong. The friend says all efforts to save him are fruitless, so be a martyr, but the condemned replies, "A glorious death but I do not want to die." The priest asks God's forgiveness, but for the condemned there is no God. He is afraid of death so he calls back the priest in hope of being led to faith, while the wife despairs. He is then ashamed of his weakness. The friend and the wife say farewell. The wife visualizes the execution and laments the loss. As he goes to his execution the condemned is comforted in having found God, the friend curses the nation and the wife "gives him up to Glory." In this work, Henry Brant commented that Blitzstein "achieved an austerity and an unembarrassed directness of statement suggestive of a kind of neo - Gluck."i9 It certainly has that sense of pastoralness in the slow sections, as well as a sense of individuals' emotions, even though it is all chorus. Calling The Condemned part of his "composers truth" Blitzstein was

306 later to use ideas from it in other works, most notably Sacco and Vanzetti and No for an Answer-^ Originally a skit for the Garrick Gaities, Triple Sec (1929) is a light, satiric comment on social conventions in the Prohibition era, dealing with the relations between a man, his wife and his mistress, as seen through the eyes of cabaret patrons as they get progressively drunker. It starts with five characters, l)Perkins, the maid, 2) Hopkins, the butler, 3)Lord Silverside, 4) Lady Silverside (the stranger), and 5) Lady Bestend, the mistress, who are duplicated on stage as the audience gets drunker, until there are seven Perkins, etc. The pungent libretto, by Ronald Jeans, takes the form of a prologue, which sets the stage and play. Musically the play is divided into six parts: the sixth is built on the theme of the first, but in reverse; the fourth is devised from the second, the third is ternary and the fifth is the third extended. ------- 1 I i 1 I II III IV V VI I I As in most of Blitzstein's work, the orchestra, which is based on the piano, both idiomatically and acoustically, generally supports the vocal line, often doubling it in the bass. Every character has his/her own type of music. For instance, Lady Silverside has tragic legato lines (Figure 5-20).

307

>

Figure 5-20: Triple Sec, p. 20 Lady (Betty) Bestend has skipping staccatos (Figure 5-21).

Betty

[H

a tempo

pocoapocoaccel

H a lh a l h a l

h at h al

h al h a) h a l

hal

hal hal

hal hal hal

hal

h al

h a l...............................

Figure 5-21: Triple Sec, p. 21 Lord Silverside is rather harsh (Figure 5-22).

308
Lord S.

u ll youl

Figure 5-22: Triple Sec, p. 30 Only one figure is consistently repeated and it occurs at any mention of women in his Lordship's past i.e. when Perkins comments that his Lordship's never been married (Figure 5-23) and when Perkins is about to tell him of Lady Silverside's reappearance.

o- ver: Hop.

W
They are, Miss

Per- kins,

tray a n .

Figure 5-23: Triple Sec, p. 10

The tonal ambiguity is typically Blitzstein, as in the augmented and diminished octaves, at the beginning (Figure 5-24), and so are the irregular phrase lengths, varied to suit the English. Overall Triple Sec is very buoyant and has a freshness that still delights audiences.

E nter H ostess

(rubato)

Figure 5-24: Triple Sec, p. 1 Blitzstein's first major opera, The Cradle Will Rock, which he wrote "during five weeks in June - July 1936, at white heat, as a kind of rebound from my wife's death in May,"21 ran into production problems because of its political statement. It dealt with a proposed strike against a steel boss whose power is so great that he can buy off everyone (doctors, lawyers, ministers, editors, professors, artists) except the workers. The original production, a WPA Federal Theatre project, was banned at the last minute by the WPA administration and the Actors Equity and Musicians Union, and therefore was performed with Blitzstein at the piano and the actors singing from the audience. Even so, it was well received, as Brooks Atkinson attested:

310 Written with extraordinary vitality Although Mr. Blitzstein's story of big industry corruption and labor union gallantry is an old one in the working - class theatre, he has transmuted it into a remarkable stirring marching song by the bitterness of his satire, the savagery of his music and the ingenuity of his craftsmanship most versatile artistic triumph of the politically insurgent theatre.22 Finally staged by the New York City Opera in 1946, it was even then well received, hailed a s :" art it is, with a technique and form of its own, with popular, realistic, expressive purpose"23 and "certainly one of the best, if not the best of the musical dramas produced in the United States thus far."24 On Blitzstein's own libretto, The Cradle Will Rock was inspired by the English morality plays and Brecht's "epic" theatre. He called its theme one of literal prostitution, personified by the Moll, set against the background of prostitution of another kind the sellout of one's profession, ones talents, one's dignity and integrity, at the hands of big business or the powers that be.25 His one-dimensional characters have been frequently criticized, but Blitzstein meant them to be symbolic characters, for he commented: "The Cradle is an allegory of the kinds of people I hate Its characters are types, not real people. They are symbols of the kinds of people living in our
society."26

We have the hero (Larry, the union organizer), the heroine (Moll,

society's Victim), the villains (Mr. and Mrs. Mister), and the hypocrites (the doctor, the artist, etc. who sell their integrity for position). The opera is structured as a series of vignettes, joined by the continual return to night court. The language contains much slang and slogan.

311 While the workers wait offstage to see if their leaders vote for the union in favor of which Larry Foreman is scheduled to speak, Moll is arrested by policeman Dick because she won't give him a "freebie" and the "Liberty Committee" comprised of the town elite who are waiting to demand Larry's arrest are mistakenly arrested themselves. They are all taken to the night court, where Harry, the druggist, serves as a narrator for the next five flashback scenes, and indites the members of the "Liberty Committee" morally as they step forward to be publicly charged. He first indites Reverend Salvation, who changes attitude, to suit Mrs. Mister, from "Thou shalt not kill" (as she sells to everyone), to "Thou shalt not" (as she falls out with the Germans) to "Thou shalt" (as she says "kill the dirty huns"). Next is Editor Daily, who is ordered by Mr. Mister (the paper-owner) to frame Larry and to provide an out-of-town position for Junior Mister or else lose his job. Harry Druggist, is told that he must say that Gus set the explosion, which later kills Gus and his pregnant wife, Sadie, or else his mortgage, held by Mr. Mister, will be foreclosed. When Harry complies and doesn't warn Gus and Sadie, his own son, Steve, is blown up as he rushes out to warn them. Dauber, the painter, and Yosha, the violinist, persuade Mrs. Mister away from her new find, Scansion, the poet, as they sing "We love art for

312 art's sake." Larry, the union man is brought into court. He is a middle class farmer (owner of a sixty year old family farm), who is not convinced that one must "sell out." More defendants come forward. At the college, President Proxy is told by Mr. Mister to find a speaker to sell the boys on compulsory military training. Of the three candidates, professors Mamie, Scoot and Trixie, Scoot is rejected since he was on a WWI peace ship; Mamie is invited to join the Liberty Committee for talking gibberish; and Trixie is approved for shouting pep-talk and baring his chest for the football coach. Dr. Specialist, in order to secure his research appointment, tells the press that Joe Worker's death was an accident, not murder, because he fell into molten lead when he was drunk, even though joe's sister points out "since Joe had an ulcer, he couldn't drink." Mister Mister arrives in court and offers Larry a high salary and a prestigious place on the Liberty Committee, but Larry refuses and the opera ends with a triumphant union parade. The musical language is a mix of idioms "from Mussorgsky to boogiew o o g i e '^

for as Blitzstein noted:

I used whatever was indicated and at hand. There are recitatives, reverse-patterns, tap-dances, chorales, silly symphony, continuous incidental commentary music, lullabies ~ all pitch-forked into it. There are also silences treated musically and music which is practically silent.28

313 Though the framework is that of a musical comedy dialogues, set numbers and unspecified voice types, both the music itself and Blitzstein's unique technique of building from dialogue to accompanied dialogue, and then to song, goes beyond that genre. As in Triple Sec, the characters are connected with a musical style. For example, Larry Foreman is associated with a march (Figure 5-25), and Moll is identified with the blues (figure 5-26).
* a

tempo
f ^ p o iA h e top- m o st bough

.J? ^ anon

J J* '

on

yon* d e r

tree

legato

J T j . j T j - f IP g
Figure 5-25: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 7

A n d an te

n hom e

now

call t t

ntK ht

Figure 5-26: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 1

314 Other connections are Reverend Salvation with chorale music, Junior and Sister with pop songs, the Liberty Committee with barbershop, and Dauber and Yosha with vaudeville. There are a few recurring motifs. For instance a three note motif (Figure 5-27), is heard in scenes one, five and nine, whenever violent deaths or murders happen, and Moll's phrase in scene two (Figure 5-28), recurs in "The Nickel Under Foot."
STEVE No. waltl wait, thayT* gonna gat y o u r {Exit aftar tham.) DRUGGIST: "Stava I Stava
IH A p iV flV lb U M V A M W If

...

Cb

Figure 5-27: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 5


Allegro molto

Figure 5-28: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 2 (cont. below)

Figure 5-28: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 2 (conclusion) The most important element of Blitzstein's style is the manner in which he goes from speech into song without a break (Figure 5-29). He also uses a "parlando" type style as in the conversation between Moll and her gent (Figure 5-30), which often changes meter to accommodate the vernacular. H
I

th in k

m
a s p

r ~rr t ir.i j l j;..


she can be co unt-

ed

on

i
W

to

fh i

kJ

'j 'Y J y j;- :'.J


from sp e ec h Into so n g w ithout a break

m m

sub-

si- dlze

r r . . i r . .
me all

next

>i >
sea-

1 * *

Figure 5-29: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 6

316

Moll

on- ly gbllhlM y

dints.

Say w ould)* w ait till

catch m y breath

a
W

Figure 5-30: The Cradle Will Rock, Scene 1 Scene three is one of the opera's most interesting and shows how Blitzstein develops his ideas dramatically. The scene takes place over a three year period, with each year corresponding to a musical section. Each section is made up of two parts. In the first section (1915), we hear Mrs. Mister's theme, which is divided into a verse (Figure 5-31), and refrain (Figure 5-32), which is answered by Reverend Salvation's "Thou Shalt not Kill." It is set to a chordal accompaniment followed by his sermon over Bach's chorale "Brunnquell alter Giiter" (Source of All Virtue), simply harmonized.

ii

..

Allegretto Mrs. MUter

partando

Rev-er-end

Sal-

Ji il_J) - j q J = i ^
vatto n , how are you7

m
p p p m

m T

It's

been w eeks

I'v e w an t-

ed

to

m e et

you

-U -~ -J . i

P
PIO m osso

P
h a rd

r r
F P

Figure 5-31: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 3

ul
Hard

J
tim es,

*
1 can

J>J
as- su re

J
you; tim es,

V l* 'J

p o o ru s an d p o o r you. f S L ------ T i T ----- ~ i ~ f t " W r F

H ard tim es; :t J V J t~ ~ i *=!-=

Pa-ther, w h a t can :V L -J r i " i

we J

do7 T M . J l 1 -

^ ^ I3 3 3

i b = ^ =

Figure 5-32: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 3

318 The second section (1916), again begins with Mrs. Mister's theme slightly altered, followed by Reverend Salvation's theme over the same Bach chorale, only this time with a contrapuntal and dissonant variation as the Reverend modifies his thoughts to "Thou Shalt not" (Figure 5-33).
> 1 " aJ V Ia tnuit p rp ...^ 4 mam- fair our p honr or -e f r s f m ____ and lha

t t- r = 6
J -i 3 j 1 '

r
u J

ft

va- lor and prtd* which U our*

to

char- l*h and

um.

Figure 5-33: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 3 The third section (1917) again begins with a modified Mrs. Mister theme, but this time is followed by a metrically shouted chorus of the Mrs. Mister theme, as Reverend Salvation gives in to the "Thou Shalt." Some of the most amusing parodies occur in Scene four. "Croon Spoon", a parody of popular blues, is one of the few pieces in the opera with

319 no dissonance, except for an unresolved chromatic alteration of the second (Figure 5-34). "Honolulu", the jazziest number in the opera, is built on a repeating two-bar off-beat figure (Figure 5-35) in traditional IV, V7,1 harmony, with a hint of Hawaiian steel guitar for added satire.
Junior

Croon,

c ro o n tlllir h u rts,_ Ba- by,

croon

Figure 5-34: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 4

J l p p - fh J } J
Hv* you thought

4J

J i f ..p - A .
W hen your barfrdom would la buuMdi

olHon-

u- lu-tu?

Figure 5-35: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 4 There is also an amusing quote from Beethoven's Egmont overture, accompanied by Mrs. Mister's auto horn in "Art for Art's Sake". Most of the music while simple melodically, is often tonally ambiguous. For instance, in the drugstore scene, the music under Harry and Steve's conversation is a simple 6/8 melody which hovers between G major and minor (Figure 5-36), and is later followed by Gus and Sadie's beautiful,

but ambiguous love song, a sort of f minor with a sharp sixth and a flat seventh (Figure 5-37).

Figure 5-36: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 5


} L t, a

mp legato
r r , I v > ron -

J J------------ L ader If

ny-

one

could

p
-A -iK a t # U = :

legato sempre -------------- 1 -----1 1 ......... i 1 i 3

1 = 3 I / i t 1 *

-= 1

i M

"1---1 z b ------- ---------= ------------L i* -- ---------- U *

rr------^

f
r J it, * ' ! ................. ' be * as t------------ j i

f
i l r'nuch | |

f
in 1

f f f
........... t i I ove -q J

f f r
i ae - | ^ | i i = we.
- \ ------------

"IS'ib;- "-i.......

.............. i i .........= 1 U =

f f * 1
*Jdr *
i

i
..............

1 = 5 =

f f f

Figure 5-37: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 5

321 The two most powerful songs in the opera are "Joe Worker", a traditional strophic ballad set to a minor dirge, which has the most passionate words, and "The Nickel Under the Foot", which is the number most influenced by Brecht, in its dog-eat-dog attitude, and by Weill in its poignant tune over a driving accompaniment, again with his ambiguous major/minor tonality and added sixths and sevenths (Figure 5-38). This piece is one of the two pieces Blitzstein chose to represent his work for the Spoken Arts Corporation Recording in 1956.
Allegretto

mp

h ;i JM J.
O, you can liv e

J1 4
like hearts

p -tji-j
and flow* ers_ e

mp

m
i
e v -ly a w o n d e r la n d

( p

i e

Figure 5-38: The Cradle Will Rock. Scene 7

322 One scene, scene eight, contains no songs, although the dialogue is accompanied by the orchestra throughout, including quotes from "Boula, Boula", "In and Out the Window" and "Rockabye Baby". The only scene to have more than one text sung at a time is the finale, which is an adaptation of a classical ensemble, incorporating solo lines, rhythmically shouted comments and culminating in a dynamic unison chorus. The orchestra, scored for one flute, two clarinets, alto sax, tenor sax, two trumpets, trombone, percussion, accordion, guitar, piano and strings, is meant to sound like a pit band. Though the subject matter now seems dated, the drama is still effective for as Michael Barrett, musical director of Houseman's Acting Company's production in 1985, observed: We became aware, quite late in the piece, that we are emotionally involved in a rather gripping drama. We have arrived here through light-hearted satire and fast moving, witty repartee, singing and joking, all the while. This is Blitzstein's secret. He has written a work that exists on many levels.*9 No For An Answer (1941), Blitzstein's next major work, was again wellreceived, even though people debated whether to call it an opera or not: Whatever it is academically, it is very exciting in performance. As spoken drama, No For An Answer might be threadbare and routine, but he has remarkably succeeded in making music give emotion to characters and themes. Mr. Blitzstein's music, joyous and dramatic by turns, gives (them) flesh, blood, humor, love, loyalty, indignation, courage and all the qualities of lively, likable human beings. In recent years the dramatic stage has had no better example of the power of music to create men and women through song.30

This time Blitzstein sought to write a more fully-developed opera with real people in believable relationships, which may be one of the opera's weaknesses, for the libretto is very diffuse with too many sub-stories. Concerned with the conditions which lead to unionism, the two-act drama deals with the plight of resort employees in a summer-resort town who lose their jobs every winter. These jobless workers, mostly of Greek descent, have formed a social club, the Diogenes Social Club, in the backroom of Nick Kyriakos' lunchcounter. Paul Chase, an aristocratic "intellectual", wants to align himself with the workers, and brings his compassionate wife, Clara, a congressman's sister, to the club. When two members are attacked by resort "thugs", Paul tells the workers of plans to turn the lake into a year-round resort, which is why the owners don't want local labor to unionize. Nick then asks his son, Joe, recently held in prison for union agitation, to help turn the club into a union. Clara, trying to understand Paul's interest in the workers, later returns to Nick's where she becomes witness to a frame-up of Nick selling liquor illegally. The act ends with a planned demonstration and the workers singing "No For An Answer". During Act II, Paul loses his nerve during the demonstration and flees. Later, while drinking at the Pill Box Bar, he reveals the worker's future plans to a resort man, Mike Stretto. During the club celebration of Joe's birthday and of the release of the arrested members, Paul and Clara arrive to warn of a thug attack from the resort. While Clara tries to distract the thugs so Joe can

324 escape, a policeman arrives to take Joe into "protective custody" whereupon he takes Joe outside to be killed as gas bombs are thrown into the club. Escaping to the nearby filling station, Clara and Paul argue, and he deserts the workers and leaves. She calls her brother for help only to realize during the conversation that he ordered the killing. She then returns to the workers who have gathered around Joe's body, singing a "Hymn of Hate" and planning future agitation, and persuades them that she now is totally committed to their cause. As in The Cradle Will Rock. Blitzstein used whatever music seemed appropriate to the situation, explaining: There is continuous music-for-action, as in Verdi or Charpentier; there are 'numbers" as in Mozart or Kurt Weill; there is musicated speech; there are scenes using special instrumental forms, as in Berg's Wozzeck. There are also cabaret numbers; lullabies; death-music and fun music; "melodrama"; arias and concerted pieces; festival dances; barbershop quartets.^ More importantly he developed his "speech to song" innovation and extended it into a new kind of American recitative. According to Aaron Copland: For the first time in serious stage work he gave the typical American tough guy musical characterization. Just imagine what it means to make a taxi driver sing so that the result is natural. In No For An Answer the composer has one of the little guys, in this case a panhandler, sing a song in accents so true as to make us feel that no one has ever before ever attempted the problem of finding a voice for all those regular American fellows who seem so much at home everywhere except on the operatic stage. If the opera had nothing more than

325 this to recommend it, its historical importance would be considerable.32 The song Copland refers to is "Penny Candy, Bulge's account of meeting a wealthy woman who took pity on his craving for candy which he could not afford. It goes through spoken dialogue, metrically spoken, parlando and lyric lines, all closely adhering to natural inflection (Figure 5-39).

Allegro gtocoso

Bulge

w f (pariando)

am, Iw lllsparnyou

my

iji
tales of w oe youd so rrow soi

> \jL L h m
your y o u r heart w ould b rea k .

Figure 5-39: No For An Answer. Act n, Scene 1

326 There is less use of musical "idioms" to define the characters in this opera than in The Cradle Will Rock. Only Clara and Paul generally sing in "blues" type melodies, for example, Clara's "You leave many things" which she sings in Act II, and repeats in modified form in Act II, scene six (Figure 540).

Crow-lng pakit to-gin with w ildly h*p-jy flrit ywut, w htnyou (till d o n l know youT* you.

Figure 5-40: No For An Answer. Act II, Scene 6 There are, however, recurring themes, primarily sung by the chorus, which is natural since the story deals with a group problem. The first recurring theme occurs in the first scene (Figure 5-41), allegorically stating that a worker must choose which side he is on, or be tom by both. This recurs in the third scene and at the end of the opera.

327
Tem po prtm o Chorus /

P iu m
Once there was a w ar

J>| J
of the Beasts

and th e Birds.

The

m p

- W y

----------------- k r ~ * -----------------1 ------ -* * . - ,-^ i P two ar-m tes asked the Bat >.......... t i I M i

- ............................... I " " h "fr f p V ^ p r , : to com eand Join th em . But th e - 4 -------------- 1 -----------

/ i t i 4

1 -----^

-- -----------* --------- ---- -----------* ---------

> --------- *----------- > ---------*--------7 5

Bat could not de- tide

w hich

to

Join.

Figure 5-41 No For An Answer. Act I, Scene 1 The next important theme is "the union is most effective", which also appears in the first scene (Figure 5-42), and recurs in Act 1, scene three and Act II, scene eight, as background for the union celebration.

328
Vivace Chorui f

~P
Take

^
and

^
read

' P
the

fr,le*-

Pson.

the book

J ~ T

i l

(
I

---t i ' t 1 i ,

/ n "~ i ------ - 2[ ----------------^ -----------------------------------a I a

Figure 5-42: No For An Answer. Act I, Scene 1 The most powerful motif is the "No" theme (Figure 5-43), which ends both acts. This opening six-note motif also accompanies the pantomime of the workers1demonstration in Act II, Scene two.

A $

No

for anans-

w er

Figure 5-43: No For An Answer. Act II, Scene 2 Many of the other choruses are modal in feeling, except for the "Hate" chorus, and the "escape", where the chorus functions as a Greek chorus, commenting on Paul's betrayal of Joe in Act II, Scene five (Figure 5-44).

329

Allegro pesante (nontroppol)

Choru**^

i'X
v U H * J

: cape

ty

flight,

es-

J cap*

J J1 J ty .JrJ ileep , tt-

1 if

r r

J-J

I r i. I i i r = 4 i r Si f- r
/

7 i T :j T I *lji J T ) ;.
1 =

= = ---------------------- 1 ----------------------------------------------------fr=------- *==------ : ---- -----------1-a------m t ....... = r r ' lefer. cape w hich way you'd 1

H .* g - if -p-~ F

f .. 4 ^ 3 J J . F F 3H r

-------------------------

------- ------

' ... ^ 9 ^ 0 ! {9----- 1----- i ---------- 9--- L -------- H

mJ

Figure 5-44: No For An Answer, Act n, Scene 5 As in The Cradle, there are some lovely duets, such as the love duet between Francie and Joe in Act I, Scene eight, which starts with Joe vocalizing on her name, and is eventually is extended until it climaxes, repeating her name (Figure 5-45).

P 1

330

i
%

Oh,

Fran-cie,

oh

Fran-cla.

P*
Fran

f t

ohl

* m =

r
Figure 5-45: No For An Answer. Act I, Scene 8 Though it has many wonderful moments and was a successful step forward, No For An Answer is not completely integrated musically and dramatically, Blitzstein finally achieved this ultimate integration in Regina (1949), an adaptation of Lillian Heilman's play The Little Foxes, amplified by his over rhyming lyrics and even a few borrowings from Heilman's prequel play Another Part of the Forest (i.e. its incorporation in Regina's "To Get Away" and parts of the party scene). This opera, instead of dealing with a group theme of commercial corruption, is about the personal moral decay in one family. Though it is debatable whether or not this is a suitable subject or even whether the

331 musical treatment enhances or weakens the play, the consensus seems to agree with Lillian Heilman, who said: It is, to me, the most original of American operas, the most daring. The theme of The Little Foxes did not seem the proper subject for opera - although God knows what is a proper subject. And yet the bite and power of the music comments on the people in a wonderfully witty way, and the sad sweetness of the music for the "good characters" makes them better.33 As in his previous operas, there are separate musical numbers, spoken dialogue, and a variety of musical styles as noted by Richard Re Pass: The musical style is individual, for the most part well within tonal boundaries. Stravinsky and Copland lurk somewhere in the background, Negro jazz and ragtime in the foreground - The score is fashioned with such taste and such regard for the clear enunciation of the words themselves, that its integrity and workmanship command the highest admiration34 however it is more integrated and through-composed. As in The Cradle, characters have musical idioms, rather than themes, both in a broad sense (in that all the "good" people have lyrical music, and the bad rather pseudo-popular) and on a more individual level. The most beautiful of all of Blitzstein's music is the "rain quartet" which opens the last act. Sung by the good people (Birdie, Zan, Horace and Addie), it is made up of two themes, "day" (Figure 5-46), and "consider the rain" (Figure 5-47), which build on a rising-scale pattern to a wonderful climax, and have a vulnerability that is uniquely Blitzstein's, although the open seconds, sevenths and ninths in the orchestra remind one somewhat of Copland.

332
a

Alexandra

Make

a qul- et

m I

day.

pp

Figure 5-46: Regina. Act III, p. 173

m.
Con* si- dcr th e rain. 7 ] Llstesso te m p o (A ndante)

Figure 5-47: Regina. Act in , p. 186 Birdie is associated with coloratura, which aptly points up her instability alcoholic delusion and southern "girlishness". In her aria, we also hear her wistful longing in the falling thirds and flat sevenths as she remembers Lionnet (Figure 5-48). As the realities of the present -- her loveless marriage, her brutish son and her alcohol problem -- assert themselves, her coloratura passages start to sound like hysteria as they go through wild modulations, until she returns to her opening thoughts and we realize that there is still hope within her.

333

If dotceecantando

TTi
t
LI* on-net.

^
Ll-on-net.

j =
Re - mem

i
ber

= 3

n
T

D tp C /'

sempre 8 bassa 7 -71

$
P *

Lion-net.

Figure 5-48: Regina. Act III, p. 202 Zan's aria, "What will it do for me" (Figure 549), seems slightly trite, until one remembers her youth. The rise of the opening phrase suggests her young searching eagerness, while the unusual modulation to the minor of the dominant might suggest her hesitant anticipation. The closeness of this motif to her father's "rain" motif underlines their spiritual closeness, even more so when Zan's leave taking is identified with the "rain" theme and the "new life" motif in the spiritual "Certainly, Lord".

334
a

Z an
i i

W h a t w illtt

la

to

be

the one to say "1

L ,

iti

love y o u

ij i - J
J.

ijl

w
f

Figure 5-49: Regina. Act I, p. 73 The black plantation workers, Sam and Addie, both good straightforward people, sing the spiritual, "Want to join the angels" which later becomes "Want to join the angel band," when interspersed with ragtime. Addie also has a beautiful blues - inspired number, "If you were like the Night" (Figure 5-50). With its arpeggio-based melody and quietly rocking rhythm, it gives, in musical terms, the sincere solace that she provides physically to Horace and Zan.

i
M ay--*

,
be y o u *

I j.
k now

"
th a woi woas

th a t's

Figure 5-50: Regina. Act II, p. 150 (cont. below)

m ak- in g folks so

blue

to-

n ig h t

S
Figure 5-50: Regina. Act II, p. 150 (conclusion) Regina's music on the other hand reeks of false airs. When she is trying to get something, as in "Gallantry", where she flirts with Mr. Marshall, her melodies are almost gentile (Figure 5-51), but the real Regina is depicted with strong accents, and brash rhythms as in her Act I "The Best Thing of AU" aria (Figure 5-52), and in Handel-type recitative (Figure 5-53), as she blackmails her brothers.
A ndante cantabile A L ^ wmfcP ^

- y^h- s p -.p ,
Gal- Ian- try,

' p p p ip p i
old- fash -to n 'd gal- lan - tiy try .

J.

Figure 5-51: Regina. Act I, p. 148

336
Regina J

Y ou know ,if y o u

w an t

( you

w ant

w ant

so m e -th in g th a t's

P p P < P"pT o- v e r th e w a ll,

( |g g

Figure 5-52: Regina. Act I, p. 65

/ I f a placer*
r f c

r: ..M i4
Y ou are quite quit safe w hileH or*aoe llv e t,

Figure 5-53: Regina, Act III, p. 228

337 Her music is often filled with changing rhythms and continual modulation, as in her flirtation with John Bagtry, which gives musical depiction of her dissatisfaction. The other "bad" characters sing in poppish style. For example, Leo's "Deedle Doodle" points up his immaturity (Figure 5-54), and Ben's "Greedy Girl" cake-walk tune (Figure 5-55), reveals the true Hubbard mentality as he accepts Regina's swindling.

t~== I'l'Vr " t j i n r v H J lK i. m ,n f 7 :v ? i - '7r * ? tp 4


D eed le d o o dU dee-dledeed ie dood

i s 7t s y L J 7 L i 7 y 7 ^ -^ ^
Love a V-----parly,

.......

1 ove

T
a

' p ar-

....... S f ----- ^

ty.

*= i= l

-----------------------

...

. ?

* 7 :! y
+

:i

'p

:l -f

Figure 5-54: Regina. Act II, p. 83

338

g i r l , ___

w hat

ffe- dy

girl.

Figure 5-55: Regina. Act III, p. 228 There are a few recurring motifs, such as the "Lionnet" motif (Figure 5-48, above) which is heard whenever Lionnet in mentioned. Typically Blitzstein goes from speech to song without the audience being aware of the transition and often he incorporates sprechstimme for high emotions. For the highest climaxes, the orchestra stops, as when Regina shrieks at Horace 'Til be waiting." The orchestra plays a more important part than in his previous operas. As Harriet Johnson points out: One of the extraordinary aspects of "Regina" is Mr. Blitzstein's use of the orchestra to create tension through under-statement. There is no bombast, no "emoting" through piling on harmonies and heavy instrumentations. What is achieved might be labeled a counterpoint of friction established, sometimes, through short jagged rhythmic figures, many of which recur at pertinent moments; sometimes through sentimental melody; sometimes, through a dramatic instrumentation. He uses high brass, the drum and the bright timbre percussion with great imagination.35

339 Regina was the apex of Blitzstein's operatic career, a summation of his instinct for finding at which dramatic point the voice can no longer contain itself and must emerge in music. Reuben. Reuben, which followed in 1955, was not successful. It is the story of Reuben, a schizoid war veteran who is subject to intermittent functional aphonic (inability to speak). There are periods of cliches, slogans and meaningless scraps of poetry. In between he is able to talk meaningfully. The seven scenes in Act I show events which aggravate his condition until he takes a leap which could be fatal. The four scenes in Act II deal with the mental ward, where he becomes rational and frees himself of suicidal impulses. The theme is basically one of non - communication - one must reach out and not wait to be understood, the responsibility for the social condition lies with the individual. The most effective music is that in the mental ward, but the issues and story are too muddy. His last opera, The Sacco-Vanzetti Case (1964), was left uncompleted at the time of his death. Sacco and Vanzetti, known radicals who were convicted of a hold-up murder even though thirty-odd witnesses testified that they were nowhere near the murder site, were electrocuted in August, 1927. The case became an outstanding instance of the miscarriage of justice. Since Blitzstein supposedly had some new information regarding the case, there was some talk linking the opera to his murder, especially as it was missing at first (it later turned up locked in the trunk of his car at the airport).

340 It contains some of the music from The Condemned, though more fully developed. In all his works Blitzstein stayed true to his purpose of creating opera for the middle classes and creating something for the betterment of man. As Copland said: His purpose was not merely to write the words and music of effective theatre pieces; he wanted to shape each piece for his own ends, to shape it for human ends. He took certain pleasure in needling his audience in telling unpleasant truths straight to their faces.3* He had the respect of his peers and is considered one of the more innovative composers in the field of American opera. Meyerowitz There are no other composers as devoted to socialist reform as was Marc Blitzstein, but there are some who deal with similar issues. Born in Germany in 1913, Jan Meyerowitz came to the United States in 1948. His first opera, The Barrier (1950), a two-act tragedy set in the post civil-war south deals with race problems. It tells the story of Colonel Norwood, who has lived with his black housekeeper, Cora, for years and the problem of his son, Bert, who cannot come to terms with being mulatto. On a libretto by Langston Hughes, which is based on his play, Mulatto, the story could be good theatre but the characters are too stereotypical. For instance, Colonel Norwood is too one-sided to gain any sympathy as a victim of the social conventions of his era. Bert is ilso too filled with anger to elicit any

341 empathetic feelings. The music, set-pieces in a civilized cabaret-jazz style similar to the Brecht-Weill idiom, seems too formal for the subject matter and there is no attempt to incorporate any Black-American flavor which is so needed. Add to this the fact that the melodic intervals are rather awkward for the singers, and the opera becomes hard work for only limited success. His other opera, Eastward in Eden (1951), a five-scene opera on the life of Emily Dickinson, on a libretto by Dorothy Gardner, also does not work well dramatically, even though the music itself is rather interesting. Weill Another naturalized German-American, Kurt Weill (1900-1950), was more successful. Already established as a well-known composer when he came to America in 1933, Weill wrote two American operas, Down in the Valley, and Street Scene. Tohnnv lohnson. Knickerbocker Holiday. Ladv In The Dark, One Touch of Venus, and Love Life, though American subjects, are strictly-speaking, musicals. lohnnv lohnson (1936), on a book by Paul Green, is a bitter, yet funny anti-war "folk legend" noted for its fusion of music and fantasy. Knickerbocker Holiday (1938), on a book by Maxwell Anderson, deals with the evils of dictatorship and the value of freedom in New Amsterdam in 1790. Ladv in the Dark (1941), with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, deals with an emotionally disturbed fashion-magazine editor who goes through psychoanalysis. One Touch of Venus (1941) is concerned with the adventures of Rodney and Venus, a statue come to life, in modem

342 Manhattan. Love Life (1948) depicts the disintegration of marriage in the United States through a marriage that lasts from 1891 to 1948 and contains many sharp observations on social mores in America. All these musicals have good musical numbers, but Weill wrote: not until Street Scene did I achieve a real blending of drama and music in which the singing continues naturally where the speaking stops and the spoken word, as well as the dramatic action, is embedded in the over-all musical structure.37 On a libretto by Langston Hughes, which is based on Elmer Rice's play, Street Scene (1947) is noted for its realism. Described as a white Porgv and Bess, the opera takes place in the heat of summer on a New York sidewalk in front of a brownstone walk-up,and it deals with the joys, hopelessness, and crime that take place there. Women of varied ethnic backgrounds sit on the steps and gossip about Anna Maurrant, who is having an affair with the milkman, Mr. Sankey. Her daughter, Rose, is in love with her neighbor, Sam, a college student who is quite willing to give up his education to marry her, but Rose isn't sure that she should accept his sacrifice. When Frank Maurrant, obsessed by the local gossip, returns home unexpectedly one day and finds his wife with the milkman, he shoots and kills them both and is taken away by the police. This makes Rose realize that she mustn't destroy Sam's life by denying him his education and so she leaves with her younger brother, Willie, to find a new life. Hailed as "a musical play of magnificence and glory,"33 the work has been praised for its honesty and its simple, homey lyrics. As in Blitzstein, the

343 music is an eclectic mix of styles and forms. He incorporates a wonderful recitative and aria, "Somehow I Never Could Believe It", that is an exposition of a womans longing and frustration; a Pucciniesque duet; a satiric "lullaby"; broadway show-piece ("Moon-faced, Starry-eyed"); and a "blues" number (I Got a Marble and a Star1 ). Similarly to Blitzstein, he incorporates: repeated phrases for emphasis (Figure 5-56); complex rhythms (Figure 5-57); chromaticism and dissonance for stress (Figure 5-58).

riA A

f
i l A r f i U f a a f. g pp p p Ain't (h* got no shun*? i Ll, B f
f t '- '*

P
* i i > X h h J) f f f f f f Ain't Aw got no h*m*7 v '

. h 9 9 '

h----------------------- r 2 ----------------------------------------1 -"-p ' ..........U J L j i j u j . j i . 1 = j i ; f ^ = _ ,

t * ~ ' M r i V

r - ............... t S ....i , d P

- .................... ....

a -----=--------a -- -u = = f -

.r

+ VI iJ A *

A1 "1 1< ** ft01 n0 ihnm*? ^ J l J li h K * i \ * .

......... 7 i Ain't ih* got no ihtunn? -f-tV i------------------------- --------------------- 1 --------------------------------------------- , fr - "- "
............................

v ......... 1

Ato! tjl^MT^iDl^hun*?

1 * ,T ^ T 4 - L J f --------------
Cor. 1

. J> = , r a L . I ........... r i > . * i ----------------- - ----------

Figure 5-56: Street Scene. Act I, p. 34

345

Hal- le

- lu - J a h l.

m il- le- lu - Jahl

*:r gp j> *
Halle- lu - ja h l

Hal -

le- lu - Jahl

P p^
A n d __

a
$ W j sit,

::= f

e
a roy -

H
al

r
a,

king -

P
lu - J a h l H alle -

(t- P
lu -J a h l

mm
Hal le le-lu-Jahl

--jrp
H alle - lu -Jahl H al-

l f'

j ^ i f j Jp , _ _ fe4 i-f----y
-

id r , ' r * ' ' r .. J r >' >= J


^ #

7j j

Figure 5-57: Street Scene, Act I, p. 88

lv uid whaliv*

got tony.

th a t

you

d o n 't

for-

Figure 5-58: Street Scene. Act II, pp. 202-3 As good as the individual numbers are, the most important characteristic of this opera is its integrated texture. The speech flows into the music naturally and without a feeling of interruption (Figure 5-59), and the recitatives are made up of small intervals, occasionally interspersed with sprechstimme (Figure 5-60).

Easter

W ouldn't you like to get aw ay from this crum m y old street7

W ouldn't y o u Ilka to h av e a sm art Uttls p laca of y o u r own?

a tem p o

1
W o u ld t't y ou like a tem po to h a v e tw o m aid s

i
t Str. col canto t

Figure 5-59: Street Scene. Act I, p. 34

o - ver,

I k n o w th e

w ay

rtt.

m JL*

ea

sy

I'll show you th a way

3* 3* 3 1

SL-----' ] r = s : i T r - : = 0-d:----------- 4 -----1 ------* ------------P

<

Figure 5-60: Street Scene. Act I, p. 27

348 The orchestra is directly emotional and full of effective underscoring details. The whole work is so American in feel that Olin Downes mused: whether it is not the very artist coming here who will be quickest to perceive in its full significance an aspect of American life; and feel it as those who always have been in its vicinity might not; and in communicating it, take a historical step in the direction of genuine American music-drama.39 Written in 1947 to a libretto by Arnold Sungaard, and based on the American folk song of the same name, Down in the Valley, premiered at Indiana University in 1948. Conceived to be easily performed, it is the simple tale of the love between Brack Weaver and Jennie Parsons, who is also loved by Thomas Bouche. One night at a dance, the inebriated Bouche picks a fight with Brack and is killed. Condemned to die on the gallows for Bouche's slaying, Brack starts to doubt Jennie's love (unbeknownst to him she has been forbidden by her father to see Brack) and the night before the execution he breaks out of jail and goes to Jennie. Reassured of her undying love, he returns to jail to face death with an easy heart. Told as a series of flashbacks Down in the Valley is one continuous act in thirteen sections. The chorus, as in Blitzstein's No for an Answer, plays a major role: as commentators on the action, as story tellers, and as participants (in the church scene and the dance scene. The chorus appears eight times with harmonies ranging from unison to eight-part. Weill uses five American folk songs, although not always set traditionally. The most important is "Down in the Valley", which serves as

the basis for the whole work (Figure 5-61).


Soprano Andante sostenuto J -5 8

Alto hum m ing Tenor

Bass

P
Down in the Val Andante sostenuto -58 val* ley so

PP

low,

Hang your head

Figure 5-61: Down In the Valiev, p. 70

350 "The Lonesome Dove" (Figure 5-62) is sung by Jenny but with other words. She sings a verse of it three times, twice in scene four and once in scene ten.

"

-------- J j J ----- p ----[were some dis-tant piece Or

w ish /T \ / . i k 8 ]> li t t

j-

t t t f -

-i

doke espr.

ft
- r r m 1 V I --------------------- r"

t f f

.... on

....

-i som e dlsia nt

j: til. shiare, Or

i ,

i i r

T
r

n .
5
i

Figure 5-62: Down in the Valley, p. 33 "The Little Black Train" (Figure 5-63), is used chorally.

351

A h ____

J
T h e re 'sa
>

J)

IJ

e^

rain a m an lit- tie black train


>

en-

gin*

oh

oh

oh

Figure 5-63: Down in the Valley, p. 46 "Hop Up, My Ladies" (Figure 5-64), serves as the dance music, again set rather naively.

g tp P ..1 mmH
Ho,s u p , m y ladies,

U j r J i j U
th ree in a row,

-J .*1 3 Jili I d **
j j j j = ! m
, -V

Figure 5-64: Down in the Valiev, p. 46

352 "Sourwood Mountain", to the words " I got a gal" (Figure 5-65), shows how Weill can take the traditional inflection, and by altering a few melodic intervals, achieve a pseudo-sophisticated, yet still folksy effect.

Chorus

A ll

*3=
I
Leader /

*
I gpt a gal at the head of th e hoi-

f t
-H
Hey

dld-dla-dum

ler,

(I
dey.

' ,n n
Figure 5-65: Down in the Valley, p. 55 As did Blitzstein, Weill often sets his recitative to phrases made up of repeated pitches and little movement, with speech inflected rhythms (Figure 5-66), making the colloquial, homey text sound as American as it possibly can.

353

Brack

H ow

dolce espr.

Figure 5-66: Down in the Valley, p. 11 He also uses the same type of major/minor tonal-ambiguity, modality, dissonance (seconds, sevenths and ninths) and chromaticism as does Blitzstein. There are many interesting orchestral touches the guitar, the hoedown fiddle parts, the church bells, and brass tone clusters. Kurt Weill was innately theatre conscious, which his works reflect and as Robert Sabin said: Weill was an artist of enormous energy and imagination too responsive to the spirit of his times (Zeitgeist as the Germans call it) to trouble himself overmuch about the enduring qualities

354 of his music. He was always productive, and always vitally concerned not merely with his own work but with conditions in the theatre and their relation to society in general... one of the best musicians in the popular theatre.40

Robinson, Salt
As in Blitzstein's No For An_Answer, the main element in Sandhog (1954), by Earl Robinson and Waldo Salt, is the chorus, both dramatically and musically. The opera deals with the building of the New York river tunnel. The chorus is used three ways: as a Greek Chorus, speaking directly to the audience commenting on the action or explaining the action (Figure 5-67); as a conveyor of attitude, such as expressing joy in "Johnny-0" for his salvation, or expressing fear of danger in "The Tunnel" (Figure 5-68); and as individuals within a scene, as in "Saturday Pay Day" (Figure 5-69) or "The Wake".

I p
a

Tw en- ty-eight i .

M %-rg T~? f f r v r r 1 =<


.........- ... m en on an

' .

1
. >

eig h t-h o u r shift,______

Twice as fast,* - 75

r u '
7

--------^ -0

Figure 5-67: Sandhog. Act HI, p. 183

355

n*uf0|or~Mr*fV Sullivan (Lips alm ost closed) pressure (or Mr. 0 Sullivan. Uhr Henderson: Som eone / 7\ should go out there and I test that mud. i

(Johnny glance* at Henderson)

Slowly

r\

Figure 5-68: Sandhog, Act III, p. 193

f f r
Figure 5-69: Sandhog. Act III, p. 164

356 The chorus noted for its mammoth choral writing and its challenging soprano lines, fills out the score harmonically and stage-wise, making the opera easy to stage with few props. The other important "group" is the quartet of Tim, Andy, Joe and Fred, representing the idea of comradeship. The composer suggested that the actors listen to recordings of Negro work gangs and Leadbelly to understand his intent. Like Blitzstein's and Weill's operas, Sandhog has numbers that are a mix of dialogue, rhythmic speech, and song, as in "Death of Tim,"or "Song of the Bends", which is essentially a "talking blues" (Figure 5-70).

357
Johnny; Ah, 1 know y o u 're Joking

1 4 ~ li ft t r n
a te m p o

sand-hog's big- gest iro u - We a in 't

\i l ~ l r ffi
w o -m en o r *ln. b u t an

J .

WE

hm.

i
a tem po

i
Figure 5-70: Sandhog. Act I, p. 56

The "Sawdust Belt Line Sequence" (Figure 5-71), provides the best example of his dramatic structuring. Each theme comes in and then continues under the next, until, with Johnny cursing through the chorus and Henderson chanting, it builds to an emotional peak.

358

On*

two

on

hour

Dunn Jourmud.

Eg> J r j r ^ - j J T 1 [Kmn **1111. r 1 t'l

Ji JiJ'JlT A Jt JI T
Uaodofdw m anJm U U ad

Damn ika

li .
On* awl two and

la

kaap'am comtn' tz^a

0m

and

two awl

paa'amup a lo n | t o p

ttrfrn cA
u
low pound

= ...................

........................

>CT^ fl ^--5-.... 'r * h ---r ------ i*1 --- p--F--- - r ----- F -------- t TWanty apt hour* round dw dock rwo O A | ff .....- - =1

M
Utouaand lad to tia

'

't
tun- nal haad

k?

Figure 5-71: Sandhog. Act HI, p. 193

359 The most poignant number is "The Wake" in which the four nationalities involved in the building -- The Blacks ("Sing trouble"), the Italians ("Que Miseria"), the Slavs ("Gleboki jest nasz zal") and the Irish ("Ochone") all express sorrow in their own way (Figure 5-72). Again as with Blitzstein, the harmonies are simple, with natural speech inflection.
J - a b o u t 66 (In darkness) Solo 1 Sing i f , W o m en -= * 1

sor -9

row_ ..... r r '

4 k /

----- 1 j
r Solo IIp Sing

I - ! c f e f t '..."-------------- --------------I-,., _________ .----------------- 1 Hm ,


jl

......... ............1

ab o u t 66

t - S - r . ------------- ir iM ---------------= - i L ' - j v ......... I Plano

p
Ll --"-L

i
I

trou-ble,

Figure 5-72: Sandhog. Act II, p. 138-40 (cont. below)

Solo r

A ltos Co- sa d fa t- to c h e m '* v e-

Che

ml - se-

rla

Small gro u p

n u - la ques-ta m i-se- rta Small gro u p

bo-Vi

Jest nasz

Gle-

bO-Vl

Solo Solo a* t O- ch o n e

O- chone._

Figure 5-72: Sandhog. Act II, p. 138-40 (conclusion)

361 The orchestra is very transparent for the most part, always working to support the drama or create atmosphere, such as the constantly repeating two notes, representing the sewing machine in "Waiting for the Men" (Figure 573).

i "i1 ij -f } i/
A nd m o re lonely h o u rs

-i
of

i f f

i
u

m
u u

ur

It* H T f if ,
watch- tng the c lock,

^ t ,> t

J -------- 9

----

\utrt3 feft.C iC J C jJ
Figure 5-73: Sandhog, Act III, p. 173 Like Blitzstein and Weill, Robinson and Salt stress the fact that they have singing actors in mind. The important factor of the opera is the reality of the drama. The overall result is a simple, yet profound work.

362 Phillips Other social institutions to come under operatic scrutiny are marriage and people's relationships. Dont we All (1949) by Burrill Phillips is one work that deals with these topics. Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1907, Phillips was educated at the Eastman School of Music (B.M, 1932 and M.M, 1933) where he subsequently taught theory and composition. Don't We AIL a one-act on a libretto by his wife, Alberta Phillips, is loosely based on an old ballad "Get Up and Shut the Door". Taking place in a farm kitchen, it deals with the relationship of a young couple, Tom and Nell, who bicker over who is to bar the door, eventually reconciling with the help of their neighbors Ralph, and Amy. Written in five scenes, the libretto is very simple: 1) Nell bakes a Christmas pudding and Tom brings in wood; 2) they argue over who should bar the door: 3) Amy and Ralph arrive and tease them: 4) the couples argue: and 5) Tom and Nell make-up. The contrapuntal musical texture fits the subject well, especially the four-part cannon for the couple's argument. There are many motifs, both melodic and rhythmic, such as Nell's opening chordal motif (Figure 5-74), and Amy's opening motif (Figure 5-75), which later recurs in the quartet.

363

Allegro

>

Figure 5-74: Dont We All, p. 1


Amy
<
p

f t '

J*

H eH o,

Hel-

lo,

Is

an-

y-

bod-

hom e?

Figure 5-75: Don't We All, p. 54 The orchestra often reflects the stage action as in rolling out the pudding (Figure 5-76) or pounding on the door.

ii >r ]

Figure 5-76: Don't We All, p. 16 Compared to Cosi Fan Tutti in terms of its liveliness and called "one of the valuable new contributions to the musical stage"4i at its premiere, it is still highly enjoyed and well-suited to college workshops.

364 Bernstein Another noted American composer who deals mainly with human relationships is Leonard Bernstein. Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1918, Bernstein studied at Harvard (B.A. 1939), Curtis Institute of Music (Diploma 1941) and at Tanglewood (1940-41). He became director of the New York City Center Symphony in 1945, and later, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Although better known for musicals fWest-Side Story and Candidel, he has written two operas - Trouble In Tahiti (1952) and A Quiet Place (1983), a one-act originally written as a sequel to be performed with Trouble. However in 1984, A Quiet Place was revised and became a three-act opera which incorporates Trouble in Tahiti within its second act as a series of flashbacks. Neither has a plot in the usual sense and there is little action; rather there are psychological situations. The revised Quiet Place begins in the 1980s at the funeral of Dinah (who died in a car accident), at which friends and family hold conversations during which no one listens to anyone else. The son, Junior, who suffers from mental illness, has been home for twenty years and Sam, Dinah's husband has never met his daughter Dede's husband, Francois, who was originally involved with Junior. After the funeral they are left to confront one another, going through a series of arguments, confrontations, and affirmations of love leading to the final realization that they can and must learn to communicate. Though Trouble in

365 Tahiti's libretto is by Bernstein and A Quiet Place's by Stephen Wadsworth, the styles merge together well. Musically, though the whole work is essentially tonal, the tone centers change very often and abruptly. For arguments, chords built on fourths and fifths are common (Figure 5-77).
Dinah

j f with repressed anger

What

Mow could you sty

The

thing that you

did

e tc con ]5ma sempre

In front of

the kldl

Figure 5-77: A Quiet Place, p. 116

366 At moments of extreme tension, Bernstein, like Blitzstein (i.e. Regina) uses unaccompanied speech or sprechstimme (Figure 5-78).

, / parlando
D.D.

^ = = = ^
Nob o ty touchmal

. j.

pp parlando, a n a n a o , cresc. c r e s c . , ..

^ --------

Dl - dl, M m hold

you plaasa

J.R.

s.

' T
That'* It.

IV* had II.

Figure 5-78: A Quiet Place, p. 92 When people are the farthest apart emotionally, he often uses cannonic imitation, sometimes exact, sometimes inverted, to show how they are thinking alike, but just can't communicate (Figure 5-79).

367

Y ouw erem y charm

and alt da*

light to

m e.

cnesc

My heart

and

m ind;

charm

and all de-

light

to

me;

4,

Figure 5-79: A Quiet Place, p. 157 The Tahiti scenes are held together by the trio - a sort of mix of Greek chorus and radio commercial, singing pop lyrics to swingy, syncopated rhythms. Their sections are full of jazz-inspired sevenths, ninths, and elevenths (Figure 5-80).

368
Trio (on off-stage mike)

Oh,

Sam,

you're a

Oh,

Sam,.

Sam,_____

gen- lus,

you m ar

gen- lus,

you m ar

- v elo u s

gen- lus.

you m ar

manl.

Figure 5-80: A Quiet Place, p. 134 In fact there are jazz idioms throughout the opera, including scat (Figure 581).

369

* *---------_ ---------
" !
- ^ = e s

No, real - ly , look,

.- ,= 1 f= g = t here w e ana talk Ing and *5 "TP 1

\T 7 - p ^

9
a l

n e

.J

h. i i ---------------

Ba

d o o -d a ,__ >

(continue scat syllable s to

m . 490)

I fi U . l j . P.P \W* * 1
Ba

11

ri ' "

i ; i

1
doo-da

pp

p 'u a k i (continue scat syllables to m. 490) ry J1 i

.
Ba A , i

r '
doo- d a __

r, f r . p
. := = ) .
t

(continue a cat syllables to m. 490)

(Combo backstage o r In pit; piano, Ira ps, solo basal

----------- t-H---------------J L *i t. \> jIi1


PP
[pit orch. tacetl

1 ) : -------------

m & ek E B ----L.t-.k X --- 4

Figure 5-81: A Quiet Place, p. 293 In The Quiet Place sections, instead of the trio, an off-stage chorus comments on and aids the action throughout. In contrast to the jazz there are folk-like modal passages in both sections (Figure 5-82).

(s im p ly )

Dinah

mp

w as

stand-

in g

gar-

den,

gar- d e n g one

seed.

Figure 5-82: A Quiet Place, p. 116 There is some use of recurring figures, such as the opening figure (Figure 583), which recurs in various scenes, as an ostinato.

371

Easy, swlngy

(J -84)

P ig
Dr, + Bs

f * -------

m
^
i i

' i- ^ j

Figure 5-83: A Quiet Place, p. 101 The final motif of Tahiti, recurs as a unifying link for the family reaching out to each other (Figure 5-84).

372

Allegro J -80

> J-------- 4 -* ------------------------ jVT* f

> J-------

V con

15va sempre

zilsxlJj dl/LCBH tllrclif


Figure 5-84: A Quiet Place, Pg 245 The strongest element throughout the revised work is the rhythm. Whether it be swing, jazzy, syncopated or choral, it is always complex, with many examples of polyrhythms; constantly changing meters and dynamics. To heighten the momentum Bernstein occasionally encapsulates scenes, having two play at the same time, as in the second act, when Dede and Sam are reaching toward one another in one room, as Francois and Junior are facing each other in another room (Figure 5-85).

373
DD.

P
!

you

an

U cv d ,
mP

cresc

Ctn F.

yo_ cresc

P P

m A i de moi D t dt A t
di mol Dt-

crescp o co ap o co

JR

i
cresc

f
I know

g
w henhe ihoot-hg I tick, I lew w

*o*

L et

kind,

mol

D l-

when I tick

Ing,

D e-

Figure 5-85: A Quiet Place, p. 182

374 The orchestra is quite sumptuous and full of color and illustration, such as an accented timpani depicting a punching bag. In fact, he uses percussion frequently, especially in the Tahiti sections. Dynamics change frequently and suddenly. On the whole the music suits the subject well. It is contemporary without overstepping the bounds into shallowness. The work is full of pertinent comments as in the flashback of Sam and Dinah, reading and knitting, respectively. Bernstein comments in the score "It looks like domestic bliss, but it feels awful". It is an excellent and stimulating opera, whether taken as a whole or as two one-acts. Bucci Another composer who deals with couples is Mark Bucci, who has written two one-act operas dealing with American couples, The Dress and Tale for a Deaf Bar. Born in New York in 1924, Bucci comes from a musical family, his father played contra-bassoon with the Cleveland Orchestra and his grandfather played bassoon in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra under Toscanini. He studied with Frederick Jacobi, Vittorio Giannini, Tibor Serly and Aaron Copland, at the Julliard School of Music (B.S. in Music, 1951) and Tangle wood (1949), and has received many grants and awards. In addition to composing he also writes his own libretti. The Dress (New York, 1953) is set in a one-room apartment in New York. Vicki spends the rent money on a new dress with a pad-lock collar

375 while David is away. While modeling the dress for her neighbor, Sylvia, she drops the key out of the window, just as David is returning home unexpectedly. Quickly concealing the dress with a robe, she finds out that David found the key. She resorts to several ruses until he falls asleep and she is finally able to get the key, thus postponing telling him of her extravagance. The work is very melodic and conversational, except for moments of tension when the dissonances become harsh and unresolved (Figure 5-86).

Figure 5-86: The Dress, p. 10 Bitonal passages also make it seem dissonant at times, as when Vicki and Sylvia hunt for the key. There are two motifs which return in continuous variations (Figures 587 and 5-88).

376
Fast

( J ca. 132)

I n v C _r y - ^ u r f & j o t / T

crisp and vigorous

f *6=1 p[ >
n
*8 ft

r ^

r ^

*t~ -

i* f

Figure 5-87: The Dress, p. 4

> >

Figure 5-88: The Dress, p. 4 The vocal lines are based on speech patterns and have an almost jazzy feeling at times (Figure 5-89).

53 Veiy relaxed

( J-ca. 84)

>

"
U me gM you *oma-thing lo a n

J -

Thar*'* noth ing Ilkaahoma-oookadmeal.___________

Figure 5-89: The Dress, p. 26 The accompaniment reflects the action, such as the sixteenth patterns under the telephone conversation (Figure 5-90).

Figure 5-90: The Dress, p.16 All in all this is a tongue-in-cheek look at the wife's maneuverings. It is very cohesive, both dramatically and musically, and is very accessible. Tale for a Deaf Ear (Tanglewood, 1959) is based on Elizabeth Enright's story of two unhappily married people hurling insults at each other. When Tracy dies of a heart attack, Laura penitently wishes him back. Her plea is made at exactly 3:59; at that same time, centuries before, a good mariner, Hypraemius, had died. Because of his goodness four miracles have been in his memory for any penitent pleading for a loved one at that exact moment. The first was a son restored to a noblewoman in Tuscanny, the second was a Scottish girl and her cow, and the third was a soldier and his young brother. Tracy is the fourth, and he returns to life, but soon he and Laura are quarrelling again. Once more he dies, this time for good. The opera ends with the comment "The only death in life is the death of love". Again the style is a mix of popular, as in the beginning and the ending fox-trot chorus (Figure 5-90), and dissonant with much chromaticism and contrary motion as in some of their fighting (Figure 5-92).

378

W om en

A seed m ay

fall

on stone

but th e w ind

w ill

Men

come

Figure 5-91: Tale For a Deaf Ear, p. 8

379

m m fr
It was all

; e. p-r- j
lock r room

---------------------------------------------

-----^------1
Go
-

i A J~~5=i $ ----- -A 4----- J-t* ir n J H b p , to r f "f


sipl

e
ftl You're

(i
T

cm r~ n . i3 2
T J = T

Figure 5-92: Tale For a Deaf Ear, p. 26 As in The Dress, the vocal lines are built on speech rhythms, with instances of sprechstimme and spoken dialogue. Each of the penitents sings according to their nationality. The Italian noblewoman sings in an old Italian style (Figure 5-93), and the scots girl sings in a slightly modal folk-like idiom, (Figure 5-94), and the German soldier sings in expansive legato lines (Figure 595).

380 eapr.
t
Rldonate- lo .

i r

Rl-

do-

na

te

II

m lo bam -

bl- n o ;

Figure 5-93: Tale For a Deaf Ear, p. 38


H fesp r.

Deh-na be d e e d ,

Loo-

dy;

deh-na be

deed

How can A h

tell

th em

our

Loo-

dy

It

< 4*4

Figure 5-94: Tale For a Deaf Ear, p . 48

Soldier f

Gib

Ih n

zu- rtickl

Oh,

g[b

zu-

r tc k

den

Bra derl_

Figure 5-95: Tale For a Deaf Ear, p. 55 Even though Crist said that Bucci's operas have "the ability to provide so true a balance of word and music and action that an effect of true theatre is achieved,"42 in some ways, the couple is so thoroughly unpleasant that their tragedy doesn't quite touch one.

381 The third opera in Mark Bucci's cycle, "Triad" (which includes The D-r.es? and Tale for a Deaf Eari is Sweet Betsy From Pike (1953, revised 1958), a satire based on the folk song. It is a comment on American mores, concerning relationships, done in his typical tonal mix of popular and classical. Based on the folk song of the same name (Figure 5-96) the opera is held together by a narrator. Ike and Betsy lose their dog, see desperados, followed by a posse, followed by the Indians, followed by the cavalry, all of whom are frightened away by a tornado, which blow Ike and Betsy into town. There they meet Dirty Dan, Betsy's old lover, in the saloon, and he shoots Betsy. After Betsy's death, Ike runs off with the narrator.
i r e P \-0 --------------------- -------------- ------e r h eard of Sweet BetH ave y o u evi sy fro m Ptfce h w ho i

n jy

-------------1
*

= .

| j ---------u . | 1 ----------- 1

crossed

th e big

prair-

te

w ith

her

lo v -

er

Figure 5-96: Sweet Betsy From Pike, p. 6

382 Musically, Sweet Betsy From Pike is very tongue in cheek as well, complete with imitations of Gregorian chant, bugles and bad jokes (Figure 597).
'3 3 '3 3 J
ra

f
ta-data-data-datadata-data- dal

Ta-

~i
It's th e

= f= = M

*
r
Caval*

lee

g
-

m
rl- a Rustl-

1
capa

Figure 5-97: Sweet Betsv From Pike, p. 15 The whole opera is quite simple, both vocally and production-wise, but it is very effective. Buccis other operas include The Adams, an all-black opera and The Hero (1965), based on Gilfrey's "Far Rockaway." Barber Samuel Barber (1910-1981), has also chosen marital relationships as his only American operatic subject. Barber attended Curtis where he started his life-long friendship with Gian-Carlo Menotti, who also served as librettist for A Hand of Bridge (1959). The entire opera centers around two couples playing

their usual bridge game. Each indulges in thoughts during the game. It stresses the isolation underneath the seemingly settled relationships. Each person has his or her theme. Sally's theme is built on a rhythmic pattern of eighth notes, centering on one pitch, with increasing occasional leaps, giving the image of an obstinate woman (Figure 5-98).
p
(to herself) >

- ~ i ' i I . ^ ---------- J J J J J J J ----- L i J J J . ------------------------pea- cockfeath- ersl (I w ant to buy (hat hat of

r V ra il,1 !

i | j

-----f-------- m -------- [-------- t

------

r
y

-T ] -

> ^

Figure 5-98: Hand of Bridge, p. 4 Bill's dreams of Cymbaline are in a diatonic sensuous melody full of triplets and syncopation (Figure 5-99), while Geraldine's theme is built on fourths and fifths, underlined by mildly dissonant harmonies (Figure 5-100).

384

mp

Cym- ba- Ilne.Cym - ba- line,

w here

an you

to-night?

a tempo _______ __________________________

legatlsslmo

senza ped.

Figure 5-99: Hand of Bridge, p. 7

[3
Geraldine

Oft ----------------------- n * ---------- - r - f f 't -------------- r l ---------------------- 1 ...... .... - ------- - 1 . . - t L 4 " . - | = J > C . 4 & --------W h o Is th ere to ----- ^1
,

1ove m e?

,<l *

f. r ^ -

r~ ~ h

---- ------------- p ----------* -----------

(
\

f f c| ^=
Y L.

>r= \

^ --------- t J -------- :: ___ I f L z l --------1m ------------------------

------ h ir =

Figure 5-100: Hand of Bridge, p. 12 David's theme is a rhythmic one, buiit on eighths and sixteenths, with open fifths in the accompaniment, rather like a drone (Figure 5-101).

385
(in precise rhythm)

M m
w orked

f
terP rttch - ett

(or Mis-

Bv-'ry

day

__ and

f _ j ^ -------------------------------- -----------

I L L L f i p -------------------- ;------------------------------- i ,-e


j j i= i
ev* f -------------'ry n ig h tp l a y e d b r td g e w lth __ Sal- ly an d Bill.)____

,\l...............................
f ~ .

--------------------- =

..............................................................................

---------------------------------------------------

Figure 5-101: Hand of Bridge, p. 18 Interspersing these themes is the "bridge" motif, a jazzy, syncopated rhythm pattern (Figure 5-102).

Figure 102: Hand of Bridge, p. 1

386 The work is strongly tonal; however, he uses chromatics so freely that it sometimes verges on atonal. The merging of the polytonal textures and polytonal rhythms creates a kind of musical realism depicting the distance between the characters. Throughout there are moments of distinctive lyricism that are unique to Barber. Though this opera is only nine minutes long, it is very complete in itself and very satisfying. McKee Michigan-born Jeanellen McKee, who studied at the Detroit Institute of Musical Arts (B.M.) and the Detroit Conservatory of Music (M.M.), also deals with many types of relationships in her five one-act operas: The Depot The Fire Warden. Reunion. Collector's Piece and Monette. Taking place in a waiting room of a train station where the Information Man is calling out his services, The Depot centers on Clarice who is leaving her husband. She is waiting for the train which is late. After she checks her bag, the First Questioner asks the Information Man when he can leave responsibility and is told the train leaves twice a week. Clarice thinks first of the note that she left for Fred and then, after watching a child hopping by, of the child she will never have. The Second Questioner asks about and purchases a ticket for Utopia. Watching the baggage boy pay attention when a pretty girl approaches, Clarice sings "How a Man Loves a Girl That's Pretty" and tries to justify leaving but ends up listing Fred's good qualities as well as his faults. When she sees Fred escorting another women to the information

387 desk she is jealous and decides to return home. When she overhears Fred explaining that he has escorted his employees sister to the train, she realizes that she really loves him and leaves to destroy her note before Fred finds it. The opera ends as it had begun, with the Information Man calling out his services. The opera is a "numbers" opera which can be divided into sixteen sections which are connected by interludes. There are motifs which tie the sections together such as the Information Man's call (Figure 5-103), and Clarice's motif (Figure 5-104), which recur throughout the opera.

P- |f m attonl

In- for-

Figure 5-103: The Depot. Section 1, p. 2A

Figure 5-104: The Depot. Section 1, p. 23 There are orchestral figures that illustrate characters such as the dance-like figure that accompanies the child or the jazz-like phrases that accompany the pretty girl.

388 The text is very conversational. As well as arias, duets, trios and ensembles there are two melodramas, some spoken dialogue and even one example of sprechstimme. There are also many unaccompanied recitatives. The Depot is very tonal, with little dissonance. What dissonance there is usually resolves classically. The characters are dramatically interesting; however the repetition of the accompaniment figures and the text often slows down the drama. The Fire Warden describes Quentin, a former school teacher turned fire warden. The allegorical chorus sometimes appears as trees and sometimes as pupils, as he gradually becomes more distraught. When the forest catches fire, he ignores the chorus warnings, lets the forest bum and loses his life searching for solitude. As in The Depot, the opera is organized by recurring motifs, such as the opening motif (Figure 5-105), Quentin's "agitation" (Figure 5-106), and the final triplet motif (Figure 5-107).

A ndante con m o lo

V' 1
l i

=]

IE I 'i M > i i
1 t ' i

H |
, i t

i p * If

Figure 5-105: The Fire Warden, p. 1

389

Figure 5-106: The Fire Warden, p. 11

,---- N L= ; a=r=> r r

J1

Figure 5-107: The Fire Warden, p. 26 As well as repeated motifs there are many phrase repetitions, sequences and ostinato figures. Though basically tonal, McKee uses bitonality and chromaticism throughout to suggest a man losing his mind. However the repetition of text and motifs, often with no perceptible dramatic significance, weakens the pacing and the theatrical effectiveness of the opera. Reunion tells of a girl's meeting with a soldier, her former lover, whom she believed was killed in battle two years ago. She tells him that she is married to another man, trying to explain that she believed him dead and

390 that she was young and alive. Though he insists that she must be his, she tells him that he will love again and must live without her. As she leaves, the soldier is left standing dejectedly. As is typical in McKee's other operas, Reunion is tonal with a great deal of chromaticism. It contains many recurring motifs, such as the opening orchestral motif (Figure 5-108), which recurs in the postlude and the soldier's opening motif (Figure 5-109), as well as much unaccompanied recitative.

M oderate

( p l j J .1 ra
Figure 5-108: Reunion, p. 1

+
This tsth e d a y

m if > t i if
of m y Joy. m y day

fr-c-g-r ir of h ea v en c o m e true.

Figure 5-109: Reunion, p. 6 Once again the use of repetition is excessive, hindering the drama. Collector's Piece (premiered 1955), a one-act, takes place in Ozro Watson's Antique Shoppe. Mrs. Randall enters to see a claret jug that Mr. Watson has in the rear, and as she is waiting for him to fetch it, she sees an antique rooster which she likes. As she is looking at the rooster Mrs.

391 Bamford enters and also likes it. Each claims the rooster, but neither will draw cards to determine who will get it. Clyde Pindelcain, author of "Antique Cuspidors", arrives and suggests various solutions (buy it jointly, etc.) until he suggests that Mr. Watson get another bird, at which point the women leave, insulted that the rooster is not unique. Mr. Watson is sorry to lose the sale, but Pindelcain laughs that it was worth it to see two hens fighting over a rooster. Recurring motifs, such as the opening motif which is repeated throughout including the postlude (Figure 5-110), unify the opera.

Jf

'1 _ J

Figure 5-110: Collector's Piece, p. 1 There are orchestral figures describing the characters as well, such as Mrs. Bamford's entrance figure (Figure 5-111).

m m

mm

Figure 5-111: Collector's Piece, p. 31

392 Typically it is very conversational incorporating unaccompanied as well as accompanied recitative. McKee frequently uses rhymed lines for comic effect. Essentially tonal with the usual chromaticism and occasional bitonality, there are some strong dissonances which are not always resolved. Though Collector's Piece is still repetitious, it is more effective than McKee's previous operas. Monette (1956) deals with a designer Monette, who works with three other designers. She comes up with an original hat design, the bobbolette, but her cockiness over her originality disturbs the workroom and she is fired. As she leaves, Mrs. Fay, an import buyer, enters, falls in love with the hat, and places a large order. Monette is forgiven and she returns to her job. Typically the two principle motifs, the opening orchestral "dance" figure and the "bobbolette" motif, unify the opera. Monette is tonal with many repetitious scale passages and generally rather trite. However the pace is better than McKee's other operas. Overall, while her operas are rather simplistic and slightly uninventive musically, they are accessible to young students and perhaps have a place in opera workshops. Clarke Another short opera that is clever and yet has truths that hit home is The Loafer and the Loaf (1956), the only opera of Heniy Leland Clarke, on an "episode" by Evelyn Sharp. The loafer steals a loaf of bread from a bakery cart

and is caught by the prosperous citizen. A poet's wife comes to the loafer's defense, calling the prosperous citizen the greater thief for stealing from the poor to pile up wealth while the loafer only steals to eat. Then she steals a loaf, which the prosperous citizen promptly reclaims. The policeman enters at this point and accuses the citizen of stealing the loaf, which the loafer and the poet's wife and the baker boy substantiate. Finally the loafer is revealed as the poet and the woman as his wife, the policeman drops the charges and everyone gorges themselves on the cream cakes on the cart. The opera is full of social stings such as: "The well-filled man is the thief -- because the well filled man has stolen the loaf that belongs to the hungry man as well as the loaf that belongs to the baker." The music is very melodious, with many dance rhythms - jigs, marches, etc. The style throughout is very rhythmic and suits the nature of the story well (Figure 5-112).

Flute

Figure 5-112: The Loafer and the Loaf. Finale (cont. below)

Figure 5-112: The Loafer and the Loaf. Finale (conclusion) Adler Like the preceding opera, The Outcasts of Poker Flat (1962) by Samuel Adler makes a moral statement. Adler (1928) was born in Manheim Germany, the son of a Jewish composer and pianist. When he was eleven years of age, the family moved to Worcester, Massachusetts. He studied composition at Boston University (BA 1948), Harvard (MA 1950) and Tanglewood (summers of 1949, 1950) with Walter Piston, Randall Thompson, Paul Hindemith and Aaron Copland. Since 1958, he has been teaching, first at North Texas State University (1958-1966) and later at the Eastman School of Music (1966) where he became chairman in 1973. The Outcasts of Poker Flat was originally commissioned by the National Broadcasting Corporation, and when NBC cancelled all commissions, Samuel Adler and his librettist, Judah Stampfer, went ahead anyway. The opera, based on Bret Harte's short story, is in two scenes, connected by an orchestral interlude. The plot concerns the

395 banishment of three undesireables Duchess the prostitute, Oakhurst the gambler, and Uncle Billy the town drunk by the righteous townsmen of Poker Flat, to purify the townsmen from their avarious killing of two gold miners. The three outcasts, who have been left with nothing, encounter a young couple, Innocent and Piney, who are eloping and have horses and supplies. The five of them decide to spend the night in an abandoned cabin. During the night, Uncle Billy runs off with the horses and a winter snowstorm starts. Realizing that they will not survive without help, Oakhurst sends Innocent to Poker Flats. Ten days later, the situation is desperate. Duchess is critically weak, having secretly returned her rations to their meager pile and sleeps, while Oakhurst and Piney discuss death. After Duchess awakens, Oakhurst goes outside and a shot is heard. Piney eventually faints with hunger. When the townsmen finally arrive, they find that Oakhurst has shot himself, Duchess has died of starvation and only Piney is barely alive. Too late the townsmen realize the tragic loss which their actions have caused, as they take the bodies of Duchess and Oakhurst back for burial. Musically, the opera is a mixture of styles. Because it is set in 1850, Adler often uses tunes based on the styles prevalent in that era. For instance, there are hymns for the townsmen, many folk-like tunes such as Innocent's "Ballad of Hector" and a blues piece for Duchess. However, for Uncle Billy, he uses a twelve tone series (Figure 5-113).

396

It

Is cold

on

th e

St-

^ *r
erras

- e >p~if
W hen th e m o o n Is u p,

p-"pi
an d your

Figure 5-113: The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 1, p. 10 The melodic lines are based on conversational speech inflections, with irregular phrase lengths. They are basically syllabic, except for Piney when she talks of love. The opera is unified by the use of recurring motifs. The most important of these represents the townsmen. The first, "I have Left My Sin Behind" (Figure 5-114), opens the opera, recurs throughout, such as when the townsmen come to the cabin. The second, "Sweep Away My Sin" (Figure 5115), also occurs at the beginning of the opera, as the townsmen appear on stage, and recurs throughout, most notably serving as the postlude.

397
un/s.

hind

with

blind

w r-

ring

you

Lord.

Figure 5-114: The Outcasts of Poker Flat, Scene 1, p. 3


( -7 2 ) f d tv .

un/s.

Sweep a- way

my

rB fr
sin ibr

pfgr -Fr-'-fM
a- way m y s in Make__ Lord;

sweep

1=
me yAur _ sdld-

Figure 5-115: The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 1, p. 4. There is also a "love" motif which first occurs in Innocent and Piney's Scene 1 duet and later recurs as they are re-united (Figure 5-116).
Freely

Innocent

n#v*

er

knew

what

hope

you

nev-

was

un*

til

met

Figure 5-116: The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 2, p. 116

398 Here is a rhythmic "doom" figure which begins the opera (Figure 5-117) and recurs in the interlude.
Very slowly

Figure 5-117: The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 1, p. 3 Harmonically, though The Outcasts of Poker Flat, is very tonal, the tonal centers shift often and, in many cases, abruptly. Some sections are modal, and some have an ambiguous major/minor flavor. General compositional techniques which Adler employs in the harmonic structure to vary the tonality include: ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords; added tones such as seconds, fourths and sixths; polychords; and parallel chords built up of fourths or fifths. While the rhythm in The Outcasts of Poker Flat is relatively simple, the meters are often complex (i.e. 5/8, 7/8) and change very frequently (Figure 5-118).

399
(Very agitated) alm ost delirious Pinv / f ( J . - 88)

Day and night

seem to

(P

fast- er

as

w e wait.

T here's

bare- ly tirpe

for

11J- tie

P
Figure 5-118: The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Scene 2, p. 70 The texture fluctuates between homophonic, basically melody and accompaniment, and polyphonic. While the opera does include Twentieth Century compositional techniques, the overall impression is one of a conventional yet very expressive opera. Dello Joio, Imbrie Two other operas should be mentioned in passing before closing this chapter. Blood Moon (1961) is by Norman Dello Joio on a libretto by himself

400 and Gale Hoffman. Dello Joio, bom in 1913 in New York City, the son of an Italian organist, was first influenced by the church music that he grew up with, then by jazz as he played in and led a dance band, and later, after study at Julliard and Tanglewood, by Hindemith and his deep sense of art's ethical power. Blood Moon takes place in New Orleans, New York and Paris, just before the American civil war. The acclaimed actress, Ninette LaFont, as hidden the fact that she is an octoroon. She falls in love with a wealthy Creole, Raymond Bardac, but at a party on the Bardac estate, her rival, Edmee LeBlanc, discovers her secret and threatens exposure if Ninette remains in New Orleans. Ninette and her mother, Cleo (pretending to be Ninette's maid), go first to New York and then to Paris where she becomes Alexander Dumas' leading lady. Raymond follows her. When Cleo interferes with Raymond's attempt to persuade Ninette to marry him, he almost strikes her but is prevented. Ninette then reveals that Cleo is her mother. Raymond wishes to marry her anyway, but Ninette will not allow him to sacrifice his honor and convinces him that he must return home to fight for what he believes in. She decides to refuse to live a lie any longer The subject was significant, given to social problems of the 50s and 60s and Dello Joio was aware that: one of the difficulties in writing this opera was to strike the right mole in dealing with the subject of mixed love, for if at any point the audience loses sympathy with any main characters, I have failed to achieve what I set out to do.43

401

In order to avoid this, he employed a traditional style of recitative and set numbers. "The aria, duet, and quartet best served to convey what I felt needed to be said."44 The overall style of Blood Moon is neo-romantic, combined with mild dissonance. The melodies are extremely lyrical. The whole opera is unified by recurring motifs. The most significant is the "rose" motif which first appears in the opening prelude. It recurs in the first scene (Figure 5-119), during Raymond and Ninette's love duet in Act II and during Ninette's realization that she cannot marry Raymond in Act HI.

\f
A rose b u t o n e, n o o -th e rro se h a d

1 & - |= = j
... :

i ..... *<f l / f ,|

= 4
--------- ---J v
i

tT T "

...

. .. r

'

*52-

Figure 5-119: Blood Moon. Act I, Scene 1

The romantic harmonies, melodies and orchestration convincingly portray the characters emotions, but the libretto is rather weak so in the end the opera is not as effective as it might be.

Angle of Response (1976), by Andrew Imbrie, is based on the Wallace Stegner novel and focuses on two troubled marriages in two different generations of the same family. One marriage, that of mining engineer Oliver Ward and his Eastern artist-writer wife Susan, falls into problems because of their: lack of communication and understanding; guilt when their daughter drowns unattended while Susan yields to the temptation of Oliver's young assistant; and lack of forgiveness which causes them to retire to Grass Valley to live out their days in near-silence. Through the study of his grandparent's, Oliver and Susan, mistakes, Lyman learns to forgive his own wife, Ellen who ran off with another man and now wants reconciliation, and to accept her. Finally his daughter, Shelly, herself embittered by a love affair, also learns to accept her parents reconciliation through gaining an understanding of her family history. The music for each generation is slightly different. The whole opera is musically framed by Lyman's aria which opens the act and then returns in the last scene. Oliver and Susan sing in a broader style; there are even numbers that suggest Californian music of the 1870s - a miner song, the Nobhill Waltz and the work music. Lyman and Ellen's music is more rhythmic and dissonant. Shelly's music is the most distinctive, the most jazzy and brash. There are also some very lyrical numbers, such as the love duets between Susan and Oliver as well as the strong showy arias such as Shelly's Act II finale aria. Much of the dramatic recitative is atonal, the orchestra plays a prominent role and is very striking

403 at times, for instance when Oliver carries his dead child to an accompaniment solely of percussion instruments. Through all these composers one can see the growth of the energetic rhythms and speech patterns that are a true distinctive characteristic of American opera. Though not all Americans would be concerned with the subject matter, the style in which they are presented, especially their mix of many vernacular elements - the jazzy and pop elements, the slang, the strong rhythms - with the more traditional harmonies and melodic traditions, as well as their simplicity make them, in the main, accessible to many people and because of these two things they are an integral part of American operatic development.

404 NOTES: CHAPTER V

1. Victor Yellin, Chadwick: Yankee Composer. (Washington: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1990), 91. 2. Ibid., 200. 3. Ibid., 202. 4. Randall Thompson, "American Composers versus George Anthiel," Modern Music. 8, (May -June), 1931,17. 5. George Antheil, "Wanted - Opera by and for Americans," Modem Music. 7, (June-July), 1930,16. 6. Herbert Graf, The Opera and Its Future in America. (New York: Norton, 1941), 263. 7. Aufdemberge, "Analysis of the Dramatic Construction of American Operas," (Ph. D., Northwestern University, 1965), 144. 8. Antheil, quoted in Aufdemberge, "Dramatic Construction", 145. 9. George Antheil, Bad Bov of Opera. (New York: Doubleday and Co., Inc., 1945), 50. 10. Theodor Wisengrund-Adorno, "Transatlantic," Modem Music. 7, (June-July), 1930, 39-40. 11. Randall Thompson, "George Antheil," Modern Music. 8, (MayJune), 1931, 23. 12. Allen Young, "New Opera by Antheil Pleases," Denver Post. 22 July, 1954. 13. George Atheil, The Wish. Louisville Orchestra Recordings [LOU-56-

4 J.
14. William Mootz, "The Wish' is Triumph for Composer Antheil," The fLouisvillel Courier-Tournal. 4 April, 1955.

405 15. Antheil, The Wish. Recording. 16. Edith Hale, "Author and Composer Blitzstein," The Daily Worker. (New York), December 7, 1938. 17. Ethan Mordden, Opera in the Twentieth Century. (New York; Oxford University Press, 1978), 415. 18. Aaron Copland, Our New Music. (New York; Whittlesey, 1941), 197. 19. Henry Brant, quoted in, Barbara Zuck, A History of Musical Americanism. (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1980), 204. 20. Robert Dietz, "The Operatic Style of Marc Blitzstein in the American 'Agit-Prop' ERa" (Ph. D., University of Iowa, 1970), 35. 21. Zuck, Musical Americanism. 208. 22. Brooks Atkinson, "Marc Blitstein's The Cradle Will Rock Officially Opens At the Mercury Theater," New York Times. 6 December, 1937, L+, 19. 23. Olin Downes, "A Work of Art: Marc Blitzsteins's The Cradle Will Rock." New York Times. 25 November, 1947. 24. Robert Sabin, "Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock Given in Complete Concert Verse," Musical America. 15 December, 1947, 6. 25. Marc Blitzstein, "As He Remembered It," New York Times. 12 April, 1964, X, 13. 26. Marc Blitzstein, quoted in, Zuck, Musical Americanism. 211. 27. Downes, "A Work of Art." 28. Marc Blitzstein, quoted in, Graf, The Opera and Its Future. 130. 29. Michael Barrett, The Cradle Will Rock. Polydon Records, 1985. 30. Brooks Atkinson, "Marc Blitzstein's No For An Answer and Norman Rosten's First Step to Heaven Have Openings," New York Times. 6 January, 1941, L, 10. 31. Marc Blitzstein, No For An Answer. Theme Records [103].

406 32. Charles Hamm, Music In the New World. (New York: W.W. Norton, 1983), 37. 33. Lillian Heilman, "An American Opera," Regina. Columbia Records, 1959. 34. Richard Re Pass, "New American Opera," Music Review. August, 1953,225. 35. Harriet Johnson, The Post. November, 1949. 36. Aaron Copland, "Marc Blitzstein Remembered," Perspectives of New Music. Spring-Summer, 1964. 37. Stanley Green. The World of Musical Comedy (New Tersev: A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc., 1986), 257-58. 38. Brooks Atkinson, "The New Play," New York Times. 10 January, 1947, L+, 12. 39. Olin Downes, "Opera On Broadway," New York Times. 26 January, 1947, X, 7. 40. Robert Sabin, "Kurt Weill: Theater Man of His Times," Musical America, 70: April, 1950, pp. 7, 49. 41. Charles Warren Fox, "Rochester," Musical Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 3, July, 1949,466. 42. Judith Crist, "On Three American Operas," The Herald-Tribune. November, 1950.

AMERICAN OPERAS ON AMERICAN THEMES BY AMERICAN COMPOSERS: A Survey of Characteristics and Influences VOLUME 2

DISSERTATION

Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in the Graduate School of The Ohio State University

by
Penelope Ann Speedie, B.M., M.M.
* * * * *

The Ohio State University 1991

Dissertation Committee: Helen Swank Roger Stephens Russell T. Hastings

Approved by:

Adviser Department of Music

Copyright by Penelope Ann Speedie 1991

xxv i

TABLE OF CONTENTS VOLUME 2

TABLE OF CONTENTS: VOLUME 2 ...........................................................xxvii LIST OF FIGURES: VOLUME 2 .................................................................... xxix

CHAPTER VI.

PAGE

BLACK ELEMENTS: RAGTIME AND JAZZ................................. 407 Freeman.................................................................................407 Joplin .....................................................................................412 De Sylva, H arling..................................................................422 Graham..................................................................................426 Gruenberg............................................................................. 427 Gershwin............................................................................... 430 Still........................................................................................ 439 Fax.........................................................................................446 K ay........................................................................................449 Levister..................................................................................456

VII.

INTELLECTUAL AND ABSURD ELEMENTS............................... 460 Thomson............................................................................... 460 Kupterman............................................................................ 482 Ahlstrom............................................................................... 483 Rorem....................................................................................488 Weisgall................................................................................. 498 Argento................................................................................. 517 Barab..................................................................................... 536 Kalmanoff............................................................................. 549 xxvii

Pasatieri.................................................................................. 564 Laderman, Ramsier, Johnson.................................................. 573 VIII. FOLK ELEMENTS IN AMERICAN OPERA....................................581 DeKoven ................................................................................ 581 Beach.......................................................................................585 Bacon......................................................................................588 Moore ..................................................................................... 590 Copland.................................................................................. 615 Wilder.....................................................................................627 F oss........................................................................................ 633 Schuman................................................................................. 639 Bryan ...................................................................................... 647 Siegmeister..............................................................................651 Floyd.......................................................................................663 Haufrecht................................................................................694 K ubik......................................................................................696 Kreutz..................................................................................... 699 Moross.................................................................................... 702 Gaines, Stroughton................................................................. 707 D avis.......................................................................................709 A tw ell..................................................................................... 711 IX. MODERN TRENDS .........................................................................720 L evy........................................................................................721 Paulus..................................................................................... 723 Mollicone................................................................................726 C age........................................................................................729 Farberman...............................................................................730 G lass.......................................................................................731 A dam s.................................................................................... 738 Davis.......................................................................................741 Silverman................................................................................742 Dresher................................................................................... 744 CONCLUSION.................................................................................................748 BIBLIOGRAPHY.............................................................................................. 754

xxviii

LIST OF FIGURES VOLUME 2

FIGURES 6-1. 6-2. 6-3. 6-4. 6-5. 6-6. 6-7. 6-8. 6-9. 6-10. 6-11. 6-12. 6-13. 6-14.

PAGE

Voodoo. Prelude to Act I. p. 3 ...........................................................409 Voodoo. Prelude to Act II. p. 23 ....................................................... 410 Voodoo. Prelude to Act I, p. 6 ...........................................................410 Voodoo. Act I, p. 4 6 ......................................................................... 411 Voodoo. Act I, p. 31 ......................................................................... 411 Treemonisha. Act I, Overture.......................................................... 417 Treemonisha. Act I, No. 10...............................................................418 Treemonisha. Act III, No. 2 7 ............................................................ 419 Treemonisha. Act III. No. 20. p. 157..................................................419 Treemonisha. Act I, No. 4, p. 39 ...................................................... 420 Treemonisha. Act I, No. 10, p. 99 ..................................................... 421 Treemonisha. Act II, No. 1 8 .............................................................422
Porgy and Bess, Act I, Scene 3, p. 144 ............................................. 434

Porgy and Bess. Act II, Scene 2, p. 277 ............................................ 435

xxix

6-15. 6-16. 6-17. 6-18. 6-19. 6-20. 6-21. 6-22. 6-23. 6-24. 6-25. 6-26. 6-27. 6-28. 6-29. 6-30. 6-31. 6-32. 6-33. 7-1. 7-2.

Porgy and Bess. Act II, Scene 4, p. 366 .............................................. 435 Porgy and Bess. Act I, Scene 2, p. 159 ...............................................436 Porgv and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 7 .................................................. 437 Porgy and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 45 ................................................ 437 Porgy and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 52 ................................................ 437 Porgy and Bess. Act II, Scene 1, p. 244 .............................................. 438 Porgy and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 107 ...............................................438 Porgy and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 95 .................................................438 Highway 1. U.S.A.. Scene 1, p. 3 ....................................................... 443 Highway 1. U.S.A., Scene 2, p. 64 ......................................................444 Highway 1. U.S.A.. Scene 1, p. 49 .................................................... 444 Highway 1. U.S.A.. Scene 1, p. 21 .....................................................445 A Christmas Miracle, p. 45 ................................................................447 Till Victory Is Won. Episode 1 ...........................................................448 Till Victory Is Won. Episode 2 ........................................................... 448 Till Victory Is Won, Episode 3 ...........................................................449 Tubilee. Act I. Scene 3. p. 93 ...............................................................453 Tubilee. Act I, Scene 3, p. 189 ............................................................ 454 Tubilee. Act I, Scene 2, p. 126 .............................................................455 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 9........................................465 The Mother of Us All. Act II, Scene 3,p. 155 .................................... 466
XXX

7-3. 7-4. 7-5. 7-6. 7-7. 7-8. 7-9. 7-10. 7-11. 7-12. 7-13. 7-14. 7-15. 7-16. 7-17. 7-18. 7-19. 7-20. 7-21. 7-22. 7-23.

The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 5, p. 80 ......................................... 467 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 9, p. 7 0 ..........................................468 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 1, p. 2 5 ..........................................469 The Mother of Us All. Act II, Scene 1, p. I l l ......................................469 The Mother of Us All, Act I, Scene 3, p. 56 ......................................... 470 The Mother of Us A il Act I, Scene 5, p. 98 ......................................... 471 The Mother of Us All, Act I, Scene 5, p. 89 ......................................... 471 The Mother Qf Us All Act I, Scene 4, p. 66 ......................................... 472 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 1, p. 25 ......................................... 472 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 2, p. 33 ........................................ 473 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 2, p. 33 ..........................................474 The_Motherof Us All. Act II, Scene 2, p. 123 ..................................... 474 The Mother of Us All. Act II, Scene 3, p. 138...................................... 475 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 2, p. 35 ......................................... 476 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 5, p. 87 ......................................... 477 Ihfi.Mather. OiUs^All Act I, Scene 5, p. 82 ........................................ 478 The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 3, p. 60 ........................................ 479 ThfcMother Of Us. All Act I, Scene 3, p. 64 ........................................ 480 IhsM other of Us All. Act I, Scene 5, p. 151....................................... 482 The Open Window, p. 2 ...................................................................... 484 The Open Window, p. 2 ...................................................................... 484 xxxi

7-24. 7-25. 7-26. 7-27. 7-28. 7-29. 7-30. 7-31. 7-32. 7-33. 7-34. 7-35. 7-36. 7-37. 7-38. 7-39. 7-40. 7-41. 7-42. 7-43. 7-44.

The Open Window, p. 1 9 ............................................................... 485 Thiee.Sistgrft.Are Not,.Sisters, p. 23.................................................. 486 Truck Stop, p. 2 ...............................................................................487 Truck Stop, p. 1 3.............................................................................488 Truck Stop, p. 63 .............................................................................488 A Childhood Miracle, p. 14............................................................. 489 A Childhood Miracle, p. 39............................................................. 490 A Childhood Miracle, p. 6 ...............................................................490 A Childhood Miracle, p. 2 ...............................................................490 A Childhood Miracle, p. 21............................................................. 491 A Childhood Miracle, p. 34 ............................................................ 491 A Childhood Miracle, p. 27............................................................. 492 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act I, Scene 1, p. 13....................492 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 ......................493 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act I, Scene 1, p. 8 ......................494 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act III, Scene 1, p. 43 ............... 494 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act II, Scene 2, pp. 29-30............ 495 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act I, Scene 2, p. 16....................495 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act III, p. 37 ............................. 495 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act III, p. 38 .............................. 496 Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act III, p. 63 ............................. 496 xxxii

7-45. 7-46. 7-47. 7-48. 7-49. 7-50. 7-51. 7-52. 7-53. 7-54. 7-55. 7-56. 7-57. 7-58. 7-59. 7-60. 7-61. 7-62. 7-63. 7-64. 7-65.

Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act III, p. 46 .............................. 497 The Tenor, p. 1 ................................................................................. 499 The Tenor, p. 20 ............................................................................... 500 The Tenor, p. 1 ................................................................................. 501 The Tenor, p. 7 .................................................................................501 The Tenor, p. 42 ............................................................................... 502 The Tenor, p. 141............................................................................. 503 The Tenor, p. 56 ............................................... 503

The Tenor, p. 75 ............................................................................... 504 The Stronger, p - 1 .............................................................................507 The Stronger, p. 1 ............................................................................ 508 The. Stronger, p. 1 1 ...........................................................................508 The Stronger, p. 1 2 ...........................................................................509 TheStronger. p. 25 .......................................................................... 509 The Stronger, p. 2 6 ...........................................................................510 Six Characters In Search of an Author. Act I, p. 1 2 ..........................512 Six Characters In Search of an Author. Act I, p. 6 ............................512 Six Characters In Search of an Author. Act I, p. 1 ........................... 513 Six Characters In Search of an Author. Act I, p. 1 ........................... 514 Six Characters In Search of an Author. Act III, p. 337 .................... 515 Six Characters In Search of an Author. Act II, pp. 11M 2.................515 xxxiii

7-66. 7-67. 7-68. 7-69. 7-70. 7-71. 7-72. 7-73. 7-74. 7-75. 7-76. 7-77. 7-78. 7-79. 7-80. 7-81. 7-82. 7-83. 7-84. 7-85. 7-86.

The Boor. Scene 11, p. 8 0 ................................................................518 The Boor. Scene 1, p. 3 ....................................................................519 The Boor, Scene 4, p. 20 ..................................................................520 The Boor. Scene 1, p. 11 ..................................................................520 The Boor. Scene 5, p. 25 ..................................................................520 The Boor, Scene 1, p. 5 ....................................................................521 The Masque of Angels, p. 53 .......................................................... 523 The Masque of Angels, p. 24-5 ....................................................... 523 Ihe Masque of Angels, p. 1 ............................................................ 524 The Masque of Angels, p. 109 ....................................................... 525 The Masque of Angels, p. 100 ....................................................... 525 The Masque of Angels, p. 135 ........................................................ 525 A Waterbird Talk, p. 18................................................................... 526 A Waterbird Talk, p. 143 ..................................................................527 The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. Prologue, p. 5 ............................... 531 The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. Act I, Scene 1, p. 20 ...................... 532 The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. Act I, Scene 5, p. 160 .................... 532 The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. Act I, Scene 2, p. 57 .......................533 The Vovage of Edgar Allen Poe. Act I, Scene 5, p. 152 .................... 533 The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. Act II, Scene 7, p. 289 ................... 533 The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 6 .......................534 xxxiv

7-87. 7-88. 7-89. 7-90. 7-91. 7-92. 7-93. 7-94. 7-95. 7-96. 7-97. 7-98. 7-99. 7-100. 7-101. 7-102. 7-103. 7-104. 7-105. 7-106. 7-107.

The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe, Act I. Scene 1.p. 21 ........................ 534 The Vovage of Edgar Allen Poe, Act I, Scene 3,p. 126 ..................... 535 The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe. Act I, Scene 5,p. 2 1 7 ...................... 535 Chanticleer, p. 7 .................................................................................. 538 Chanticleer, p. 49 ................................................................................ 538 Chanticleer, p. 25 ................................................................................ 539 Chanticleer, p. 6 7 ................................................................................ 539 A Game of Chance, p. 1 ...................................................................... 541 A Game of Chance, p. 7 ...................................................................... 541 A Game of Chance, p. 26 ................................................................... 541 A Game of Chance, p. 4 1 .................................................................... 542 A Game of Chance, p. 20 ................................................................... 542 A Game of Chance, p. 1 8 .................................................................... 543 Fortunes Favorites, p. 6 ......................................................................547 Fortunes Favorites, p. 3 ......................................................................547 Fortunes Favorites, p. 1 7 .................................................................... 547 Brandy Is Mv True Love's Name, p. 1 ................................................ 550 Brandy Is My True Love's Name, p.26 ............................................... 550 Brandy Is Mv True Love's Name, pp. 22,3 ........................................ 551 A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 1 ............................................................553 A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 1 6 .......................................................... 554
XXXV

7-108. 7-109. 7-110. 7-111. 7-112. 7-113. 7-114. 7-115. 7-116. 7-117. 7-118.
7-119.

A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 22 ....................................................... 554 A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 1 .......................................................... 554 A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 1 7 ........................................................ 555 The Deliquents, p. 1 ......................................................................... 556 The Deliquents, p. 1 ......................................................................... 556 Opera. Opera, p. 1 ............................................................................558 Qpera. Opera, p. 2 ............................................................................ 558 Opera, Opera, p. 3 ............................................................................558 Opera, Opera, p. 6 ............................................................................ 559 Opera, Opera, p. 1 4 .......................................................................... 559 Opera, Opera, p. 1 6 .......................................................................... 560
Videomania, p. 4 ..........................................................................................562

7-120. 7-121. 7-122. 7-123. 7-124. 7-125. 7-126. 7-127. 7-128.

La Divina, p. 1 .................................................................................. 565 La Divina, p. 1 .................................................................................. 565 La Divina, p. 21................................................................................ 566 La Divina, p. 28 ............................................................................... 566 La Divina, p. 17................................................................................ 567 The Women, p. 1 ...............................................................................568 The Women, p. 17.............................................................................568 The Women, p. 6 ...............................................................................569 Washington Square, Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 ............................................570 xxxvi

7-129. 7-130. 7-131. 7-132. 7-133. 7-134. 8-1. 8-2. 8-3. 8-4. 8-5. 8-6. 8-7. 8-8. 8-9. 8-10. 8-11. 8-12. 8-13. 8-14. 8-15.

Washington Square. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 3 .......................................... 571 Washington Square. Act I, Scene 2, p. 29 ......................................... 571 Washington Square. Act II, Scene 3, pp. 132,3 .................................. 572 IheM aaQ n the Bearskin Rug, p. 1 ...................................................575 The Man On the Bearskin Rug, p. 18.................................................576 The Man On the Bearskin Rug, p. 3 7 .................................................576 Rip Van Winkle. Act I, p. 7 1 .............................................................. 583 Rip Van Winkle. Act I, p. 97 ...............................................................584 Rip Van Winkle. Act I, p. 53 ............................................................. 584 CahildG, p. 1 7 .................................................................................... 586 Cabildo, p. 1 8 .................................................................................... 587 ahild&P 1 7 ..................................................................................... 587 Cabildo. p. 1 9 ..................................................................................... 587 The Headless Horseman, pp. 50-51 ....................................................592 The Headless Horseman, pp. 80-81 ................................................... 593 The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 67 ................................................ 595 The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 1 6 ................................................. 595 The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 3 ..................................................596 The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 3 ..................................................596 The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 49 ....... 597

The Ballad of Baby Poe. Act I, Scene 4, p. 87 .................................... 602 xxxvii

8-16. 8-17. 8-18. 8-19. 8-20. 8-21. 8-22. 8-23. 8-24. 8-25. 8-26. 8-27. 8-28. 8-29. 8-30. 8-31. 8-32. 8-33. 8-34. 8-35. 8-36.

The Ballad of Baby Doe. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 0 ..................................... 602 The Ballad of Baby Doe, Act I, Scene 6, p. 123 .................................. 603 The Ballad of Baby Doe, Act I, Scene 2, pp. 45-6 ................................603 The Ballad of Babv Doe, Act I, Scene 3, p. 59 .................................... 604 Gallantry, p. 47 .................................................................................... 606 Gallantry, p. 3 ...................................................................................... 606 Gallantry, p. 6 ...................................................................................... 607 Gallantry, p. 3 ...................................................................................... 607 Gallantry, p. 36 ................................................................................... 607 Gallantry, p. 64 ................................................................................... 608 The Wings of the Dove. Scene 2, pp. 58-9........................................... 610 Carry Nation. Prologue p. 13.............................................................. 613 Carry Nation. Act I, Scene 2, p. 6 0 ...................................................... 614 Carry Nation. Prologue p. 6 .................................................................614 The Second Hurricane. Number 4, p. 3 9 ............................................. 618 The Second Hurricane. Number 1, p. 7 ............................................... 619 The Second Hurricane. Number 9c, p. 9 6 ........................................... 619 The Second Hurricane. Number 9d, p. 99 ......................................... 620 The Second Hurricane. Number 9b#p. 93 .......................................... 620 The Tender Land. Act I. p. 1 ................................................................622 The Tender Land. Act III, p. 158..........................................................623 xxxviii

8-37. 8-38. 8-39. 8-40. 8-41. 8-42. 8-43. 8-44. 8-45. 8-46. 8-47. 8-48. 8-49. 8-50. 8-51. 8-52. 8-53. 8-54. 8-55. 8-56. 8-57.

The Tender Land, Act I, p. 3 ............................................................. 623 The Tender Land. Act I, p. 28 ........................................................... 624 The Tender Land, Act I, p. 58 .......................................................... 624 The Tender Land, Act III, p. 177........................................................625 The Tender Land, Act II, p. 135 ........................................................ 625 The Tender Land. Act I, p. 82 ............................................................626 The Tender Land. Act III, p. 189 ....................................................... 626 The Lowland Sea, p. 68 ................................................................... 628 The Lowland Sea, p. 34 ................................................................... 628 The Lowland Sea, p. 26 ....................................................................629 The Lowland Sea, p. 1 ..................................................................... 629 The Lowland Sea, p. 3 ......................................................................630 Sunday Excursion, p. 1 0 ................................................................... 631 Sunday Excursion, p. 2 1 ...................................................................631 Sunday Excursion, p. 30 .................................................................. 632 The lumping Frog of Calaveras County, Scene 1, p. 15....................635 The Tumping Frog of Calaveras County, Scene 1, p. 27....................635 The lumping Frog of Calaveras County, Scene 1, p. 57....................636 The Tumping Frog of Calaveras County, Scene 1, p. 12....................636 The Tumping Frog of Calaveras County, Scene 1, p...31....................637 The Mighty Casev, Number 8, p. 6 1................................................. 641 xxxix

8-58. 8-59. 8-60. 8-61. 8-62. 8-63. 8-64. 8-65. 8-66. 8-67. 8-68. 8-69. 8-70. 8-71. 8-72. 8-73. 8-74. 8-75. 8-76. 8-77. 8-78.

The Mighty Casev. Number 16c, pp. 122-3 ...................................... 642 The Mighty Casev. Number 15, pp. 109-10 ....................................... 642 The Mighty Casey. Number 1, p. 1 .................................................... 643 The Mighty Casey. Number 2, p. 2 .................................................... 643 The Mighty Casey. Number 14, p. 1 0 .................................................643 The Mighty Casev. Number 17, p. 1 3.................................................644 The Mighty Casey. Number 13, p. 88 ................................................ 645 The Mighty Casey. Number 4, p. 32 .................................................. 645 Singin1Billy, p. 1 3............................................................................... 649 Singin' Billy, p. 23 .............................................................................. 650 Singin' Billy, p. 3 ................................................................................. 650 Darling Corie. Prologue, p. 4 ..............................................................653 Darling Corie. Prologue, pp. 5 -6 ........................................................ 653 Darling Corie. Scene 3, p. 27 ...............................................................654 Darling Corie. Scene 1, p. 1 3 ...............................................................655 Darling Corie. Prologue, p. 9 ..............................................................655 Miranda and the Dark Young Man. Introduction, p. 1 ...................... 657 Miranda and the Dark Young Man. Scene 1, p. 1 3 ............................ 657 Miranda and the Dark Young Man. Scene 1, p. 1 4 .............................657 Miranda and the Dark Young Man. Scene 1, p. 1 4 ............................ 658 Angel Levine, p. 8 .............................................................................. 661 xxxx

8-79. 8-80. 8-81. 8-82. 8-83. 8-84. 8-85. 8-86. 8-87. 8-88. 8-89. 8-90. 8-91. 8-92. 8-93. 8-94. 8-95. 8-96. 8-97. 8-98. 8-99.

Angel Levine, p. 102 .......................................................................... 662 Angel Levine, p. 21 ............................................................................ 662 Slow Dusk, p. 6 ...................................................................................665 Slow Dusk, p. 25 ................................................................................ 665 Slow Dusk, p. 1 9 .................................................................................666 Slow Dusk, p. 37 ................................................................................ 666 Susannah. Act I, Scene 1, p. 10................................................. 670

Susannah, Act I, Scene 1, p. 11............................................................ 671 Susannah, Act I, Scene 2, p. 33............................................................672 Susannah. Act I, Scene 1, p. 4 ..............................................................672 Susannah. Act I, Scene 4, p. 44............................................................672 Susannah. Act II, Scene 4, p. 105............ 673

Susannah, Act II, Scene 5, p. 113.........................................................673 The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 28............................................ 680 The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 3...............................................680 The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 72............................................. 681 The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 49............................................ 681 The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 1...............................................682 The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 63......... 682

The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 100........................................... 683 The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 67............................................. 683 xxxxi

8-100.
8-101. 8-102. 8-103. 8-104. 8-105. 8-106. 8-107. 8-108. 8-109. 8-110. 8-111. 8-112. 8-113. 8-114. 8-115. 8-116. 8-117. 8-118. 8-119.

Of Mice and Men. Act I, Scene 1, p. 6.................................................686


Of Mice and Men. Act I, Scene 1, p. 28.................................................... 687 Of Mice and Men. Act I, Scene 12 pp. 55,6 .............................................. 687 Of Mice and Men. Act I, Scene 2, p. 8 1 .....................................................688 Of Mice and Men. Act I, Scene 2, p. 63 .................................................... 688 Of Mice and Men. Act III, Scene 1, p. 150 ............................................... 689 Of Mice and Men. Act III, Scene 2, p. 205 ............................................... 689 Of Mice and Men. Act III, Scene 2, p. 195 ............................................... 690 Bonev Quillen, p. 3....................................................................................... 696 Boney Quillen, p. 10..................................................................................... 696 Boston Baked Beans, pp. 48-49.................................................................. 698 Sourwood Mountain, Prelude................................................................... 700 Sourwood Mountain. Scene 1 .................................................................... 700 Sourwood Mountain. Scene 3 .................................................................... 701 Sourwood Mountain, Scene 4 .................................................................... 701 Susannah and the Elders, No. 3 ................................................................ 701 Susannah and the Elders, No. 4 ................................................................ 703 Willie the Weeper. P rologue......................................................................703 The Eccentricities of P a w Crockett, Scene 3 ..........................................704 Daniel Boone, Act II, p.103 ....................................................................... 708

8-120.

The Sailing of the Nancv Belle, Scene 1 ............................................ 710 xxxxii

8-121.
8-122. 8-123. 9-1. 9-2. 9-3. 9-4. 9-5. 9-6. 9-7. 9-8. 9-9. 9-10. 9-11. 9-12.

Esta Hargis, p. 9 0 ............................................................................. 712


Esta Hargis, p. 6 3 .........................................................................................712 Esta Hargis, p. 3 1 .........................................................................................713 Mourning Becomes Eiectra. Act I ............................................................722 Mourning Becomes Eiectra. Act I I ...........................................................723 The Village Singer, p. 37 ........................................................................... 725 The Village Singer, p. 1 3 ............................................................................ 725 The Face On the Barroom Floor, p. 7 .......................................................727 The Face On the Barroom Floor, p. 22 ................................................... 728 The Face On the Barroom Floor, p. 1 3 .....................................................728 Einstein On the Beach. Act I, Scene 1 ...................................................... 733 Einstein On the Beach. Act IV, Scene 2 ...................................................733 Einstein Onthe Beach. Act IV, Scene 3 ..................................................... 733 Einstein On the Beach. Act I, Scene 2 .....................................................734 Einstein Onthe Beach. Act I, Scene 2 ....................................................... 734

xxxxiii

CHAPTER VI BLACK ELEMENTS: RAGTIME A N D JAZZ

In the early 1900s, respectability came to popular music. Negro spirituals had begun to be collected just after the Civil War. Ragtime started to become popular in the late 1890s. Its accent was quickly identified as American. Blues is commonly thought to date from 1909, the year of Handy's "Memphis Blues". Jazz evolved as a form of improvisation on commercial popular tunes, in effect becom ing the urban equivalent of folk music. It w as internationally known by the 1910s and was quickly adopted by American composers as an idiom that would be recognized im m ediately as A m erican.

Freem an Ragtime and jazz grew out of the Afro-American culture, though Black musicians them selves had a difficult time gaining recognition. The first Black opera, The Martyr, was written in 1893 by Harry Lawrence Freeman (1875-1943). Freeman was born into a well-to-do family in Cleveland, Ohio, and was exposed to music at an early age. He became assistant organist of his church at age twelve and soon thereafter became the fulltime organist. He

407

408
was: a teacher, Director of Music at Wilberforce University, Ohio (1902-4) and the Salem School of Music (New York, 1920); a music critic for the N e w Amsterdam N ew s and the Afro-American Newspaper: and a composer, the first Black to have a work performed by a major orchestra (The Cleveland Sym phony in 1900). In 1920 he founded the Negro Grand Opera Company, for which he wrote many of his twenty-two operas. On a variety of subjects, such as Egyptian, Oriental, Indian, African and American, they w ere all on his ow n librettos, with the exception of one, U zziah. The Trvst (1909) is an American Indian romance in which Lone Star has been pursued by whites, but thinking he has shaken them, he keeps his tryst with Wampum. As they meet, she is shot from the bushes. Lone Star throws his knife in the direction of the shot, after which there is a cry and the sound of a falling body. Lone Star is left holding his dead love. The Prophecy (1910) is another Indian opera. The Octoroon (1912), is based on M. L. Briddon's story of the same name. V oodoo was completed in 1914, but did not premiere until 1928. It is considered the first opera on a Black theme, by a Black com poser to be presented on Broadway (the Palm Garden on Fifty-second Street). It takes place on a Southern plantation after 1865. Lolo loves Mando, the C reole/Black overseer, but he prefers Cleota. Lolo turns to voodoo charms for help. As a result of trickery, Cleota is made to appear to have displeased

409
the voodoo snake god and must be sacrificed. She is miraculously saved, so Lolo tries again, but this time is exposed. Mando, to save Cleota, shoots Lolo. Reaction to Voodoo was mixed. The N ew York Sun commented: The first negro opera is an interesting, perhaps a significant thing ... There was a stark, stabbing, unbeautiful discord that seemed altogether right and natural; against it the molasses of the old "negro songs" seemed oddly synthetic, Nordic romances ... [the work also includes] a perfect blue harmony, [and a] sharply hot banjo that can swing a theme crazily about.* The libretto is very weak. The dialogue is too lavish and stilted and the Negro dialect is over-exaggerated. For example, Mando sings "While I languish for your ardent glances, which my very soul enhances."2 Musically, Voodoo is a mixture of spirituals, ragtime rhythms, popular style ballads and nineteenth century romanticism. There are also cake-walks, walk arounds, and clog dancing. Several themes recur, unifying the opera. The first (Figure 6-1), opens the opera. It unifies Act I, recurring as the basis for the chorus, and underscoring Lolo and Cleota's duet. In Act II, it is transformed into a Tango (Figure 6-2).

Figure 6-1: Voodoo. Prelude to Act I, p. 3

* *

Figure 6-2: Voodoo. Act II, p. 23

The second theme (Figure 6-3), is ragtime based and also appears in the opening prelude and recurs later.

Figure 6-3: Voodoo. Prelude to Act I, p. 6

There are several spirituals which are incorporated into the score both vocally and instrumentally. "Steal Away" and "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" appear in Act I. "Go D ow n Moses," "There's a Meeting Here Tonight" and

"My Day is Done" appear in Act II. "Home Sweet" appears as underscoring Lolo's aria in Act III. Throughout the opera the orchestra doubles the voice. Occasionally the m elody will be in the orchestra. The melodies are often not very appealing and they are never developed, so they lose their effectiveness (Figure 6-4).

411
" ifr
u .m Wl - 11tilt it -

it
w - w , tN ilfM * U rt
m <I

ly

Figure 6-4: Voodoo. Act I, p. 46

.Voodoo is rhythmically complex. Freeman often employs an African layering technique of adding additional rhythmic complexities gradually (Figure 6-5).

H i
On

Hf
- II* M ffr-jri

fm|M ! tk In |n w

in

E p i

i H

iT 3

Figure 6-5: Voodoo. Act I, p. 31

412
Harmonically, Voodoo is also a mixture of simple tonic, dominant harmony, incorporated with Wagnerian altered and diminished seventh progressions and pentatonic scales. The orchestration includes instruments which you would find on a plantation, such as banjos and bones. In the final analysis, Voodoo is too uneven to be successful. His next opera, The Plantation (1914), was more readily acceptable since it was really closer to a pastiche of folklore in the days before the war and incorporated many popular songs: "Old Kentucky Home," "Old Black Joe" and "Farewell to My Old Kentucky Home" in Scene One; and "Nobody Knows de Trouble I've Seen," "A Negro Lullaby," "Ma Lady," "Honey, I'm Longing for You" and "Swannee River" in Scene Two. The Flapper (1929), a frothy jazz opera in four acts, is set in a broker's office and at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York. It was never produced.

Joplin Probably the most typical Black idiom at the turn of the century was ragtime, as exemplified by the music of Scott Joplin. Joplin was bom around 1868 in Texarkana, Texas, the son of an ex-slave. His home was very musical; his father played the violin and all three of his brothers played instruments. As a child, Joplin played first the guitar, then the bugle and lastly the piano, improvising well by the age of eleven. At fourteen years of age, he left home to play ragtime. While playing in Sedalia, Missouri, in 1899, he was heard by

413
publisher John Stark, w ho published Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" later that year, with much success. In 1900, Joplin married and m oved to St. Louis where he settled to teach and com pose. Joplin's first opera, A Guest of Honor, premiered successfully in St. Louis in 1903. Joplin described it as a ragtime opera. The score has been lost and it has been speculated that Joplin m ay have destroyed it in a fit of depression, as he w as prone to do. His marriage ended in 1905 and he wandered for several years before m oving to N ew York. In 1909 he married his second w ife and started com posing for larger forms, including his opera, T reem onisha. It w as com pleted in 1911, and w hen he could find no one to publish it, Joplin published it himself. O bsessed w ith it and unable to get backers, Joplin presented Treem onisha in a private hall in Harlem in 1915, playing the accom panim ent himself. It was not w ell received and w as a failure from w hich Joplin never recovered. H e was already ill and by 1916 was admitted to the Manhattan State Hospital, where he died in 1917. N ow considered to be one of his greatest com positions, Treem onisha is on Joplin's ow n libretto. The score contains the follow ing preface, describing events before the start of the opera. The scene of the Opera is laid on a plantation som ewhere in the State of Arkansas, Northeast of the Tow n of Texarkana and three or four m iles from the Red River. The plantation is surrounded by a dense forest. There are several N egro fam ilies living on the plantation and other fam ilies back in the woods.

414
In order that the reader may better comprehend the story, I will give a few details regarding the negroes of the plantation from the year 1866 to the year 1884. The year 1866 finds them in dense ignorance, with no one to guide them, as the white folks had moved away shortly after the Negroes were set free and had left the plantation in charge of a trustworthy Negro servant named Ned. All of the Negroes but Ned and his wife were superstitious, and believed in conjuring. Monisha, being a woman, was at times impressed by what the more expert conjurors would say. Ned and Monisha had no children, and they had often prayed that their cabin might one day be brightened by a child that would be a companion for Monisha when Ned was away from home. They had dreams too, of educating the child so that when it grew up it could teach the people around them to aspire to something better and higher than superstition and conjuring. The prayers of Ned and Monisha were answered in a remarkable manner. One morning in the middle of September 1866, Monisha found a baby under a tree that grew in front of her cabin. It proved to be a light-skinned girl about two days old. Monisha took the baby into the cabin; and Ned and she adopted it as their own. They wanted the child, while growing up, to love them as it would have loved its real parents, so they decided to keep it in ignorance of the manner in which it came to them until old enough to understand. They realized, too, that if the neighbors knew the facts, they would someday tell the child, so, to deceive them, Ned hitched up his mules and, with Monisha and the child, drove over to a family of old friends who lived twenty miles away and whom they had not seen for three years. They told their friends that the child was just a week old. Ned gave these people six bushels of com and forty pounds of meat to allow Monisha and the child to stay with them for eight weeks, which Ned thought would benefit the health of Monisha. The friends willingly consented to have her stay with them for that length of time. Ned went back alone to the plantation and told his old neighbors that Monisha, while visiting some old friends had become mother of a girl baby. The neighbors were, of course, greatly surprised, but were compelled to believe that Ned's story was true. At the end of eight weeks Ned took Monisha and the child home and received the congratulations of his neighbors

415
and friends and was delighted to find that his schem e had worked so well. Monisha, at first, gave the child her ow n name; but, w hen the child w as three years old, she was so fond of playing under the tree where she was found that Monisha gave her the nam e of Tree-Monisha. W hen Treemonisha was seven years old M onisha arranged w ith a white family that she w ould do their w ashing and ironing and Ned would chop their w ood if the lady of the house w ould give Treemonisha an education, the schoolhouse being too far aw ay for the child to attend. The lady consented and as a result Treemonisha was the only educated person in the neighborhood, the other children being still in ignorance on account of their inability to travel so far to school. Zodzetrick, Luddud and Simon, three very old men, earned their living by going about the neighborhood practicing conjuring, selling little luck-bags and rabbits' feet, and confirm ing the people in their superstition. The Opera begins in September 1884. Treemonisha, being eighteen years old, now starts upon her career as a teacher and leader.3 Treemonisha com es into conflict with Zodzetrick, w ho is trying to sell a "bag o' luck" to Monisha. Ned angrily intervenes, and Treem onisha tries to convince Zodzetrick that it is w rong to prey on the people's superstition. Zodzetrick threatens Treemonisha, but Remus, w hom she taught to read and write, defends her and sends Zodzetrick on his way. The neighbors arrive for the cornhusking. Treemonisha admires the wreaths of leaves w hich the girls wear, but w hen she goes to pick som e leaves from her tree, M onisha stops her and shares the secret of Treemonisha's birth. Treemonisha, deeply m oved, tells Monisha that she loves the couple as if they really w ere her parents. Parson Alltalk arrives and preaches a sermon, at the end of w hich Lucy and Treemonisha go to the w oods for leaves. Lucy com es back alone, w ith the

416
new s that Zodzetrick and Luddud have kidnapped Treemonisha. Remus dresses like a scarecrow and goes to fight the conjurors with their ow n superstition. Deep in the forest, Zodzetrick and Luddud have taken Treemonisha to Simon. They decide to punish her for threatening their existence and leave her bound and gagged at the mercy of the forest (and a group of bears) while they go to find an appropriate punishment. The conjurors return with a big wasps' nest. They are about to hurl Treemonisha into it when Remus appears. The conjurors, thinking that he is the devil, run away. Treemonisha and Remus after a tearful reunion, start home. On the w ay they meet som e field workers ending their day. The workers are joined by their friends who direct Remus and Treemonisha toward home. They ford a swamp, and go past a ruined plantation and an ancient slave block. Meanwhile, back home, N ed is comforting M onisha w ho wants to see her child. Remus and Treemonisha arrive to everyone's joy. Amid the joyous reunion, the other men w ho were searching for Treemonisha return w ith Zodzetrick and Luddud as captives. The people w ant to punish them but Treemonisha persuades them to just give the conjurors a lecture. Remus tells them "wrong is never right" and Ned also lectures them. This experience has taught the people that they can no longer remain in ignorance. They ask Treemonisha to be their leader, and, after ascertaining that the men will follow a woman, she accepts. Everybody joins in a joyous celebration.

417
Treemonisha presents Joplin's simplistic but powerful social message that Blacks m ust rise above superstition and that only through education can they achieve their salvation. To do so he used his ow n experiences; the plot is full of the customs and beliefs of the Black people near his hometown. It has even been speculated that Monisha was representative of his mother, since both worked for a white family in order that their child w ould have an education. The libretto em ploys both the Black dialect, for the uneducated, and English for Treemonisha and Remus. Musically, the opera is a mixture of ragtime, integrated w ith European forms. A numbers opera, it incorporates recitative, solos, ensembles, choruses, dances and instrumental m ovements. There is no spoken dialogue. There is an important motif, which Joplin called "the happiness of the people w hen free from superstition"*, which unifies the opera (Figure 66). It first appears in the overture, and then recurs later, specifically in "Treemonisha's Bringing Up," "The Rescue" and "Treemonisha's Return."

i L f f f If f H

If f

t t

IH f

Figure 6-6: Treemonisha. Act I, Overture

418
The overture contains most of the important them es in the opera and its form is derived from Joplin's rag form. His piano rags generally were: AA-B-B-A-Bridge-C-C-D-D-Coda (tag). The overture outline is: A ("Happiness")-A-B ("Abuse")-A-B-Bridge-C ("The Wasp-Nest")-Bridge-D ("The Rescue")-E (new material only in the overture)-F ("A Real Slow Drag")Bridge-G (M Confusion")-A-H ("Conjurors Forgiven")-Coda (A). The prelude to Act III is also based on ragtime, being A-B-C-A in form and again incorporates the "happiness" motif. There are a variety of musical styles and black idioms incorporated into Treemonisha. The numbers vary from graceful-flowing ballads exem plified by "The Sacred Tree," to a more classical Italianate style ("Wrong Is Never Right"). F.ven the recitatives are very m elodious (Figure 6-7).

Figure 6-7: Treemonisha. No. 10

Several numbers incorporate ragtime elements such as the ragtime waltz used for the bears, and the "Stop-Time Dance," a cake-walk w hich ends the opera (Figure 6-8).

419

Figure 6-8: Treemonisha. Act III, N o. 27

The blues style is represented by "I Want to See My Child" (Figure 6-9), w ith its falling m elody line, minor seconds and chromatics.

Figure 6-9: Treemonisha. Act III, N o. 20, p. 157

The chorus often sings revival-type hymns, or w hat w ould later becom e gospel songs, as in the call and response numbers, "Good Advice" and "Goin' Around," w hich derive from the African Ring-shout (Figure 6-

10).

420

M il

ir itk k )

ill

414 - l

Ilk*

k it

n lk -

o .

|* - U*

Figure 6-10: Treemonisha. Act I, No. 4, p. 39

Other styles include barbershop harmony ("We Will Rest Awhile"), musical comedy speech/song ("The Bag of Luck") and chorale ("We Will Trust You As Our Leader"). The tonality throughout is very basic, generally dominant, tonic, augmented by chromaticism and an overabundance of sevenths, both diminished and dominant, especially in "Confusion." Joplin also employs many chromatic and whole tone scales.

421
He uses an unusual type of notation to incorporate Black w ailing and its microtones (Figure 6-11).

Figure 6-11: Treemonisha. Act I, No. 10, p. 99

The rhythms are very syncopated and energetic throughout, borrowing from jazz and ragtime, as in "Aunt Dinah has Blowed" (Figure 6-12), which Schonberg has called: "One of the great curtains of American theatre. It hits the listener like an explosion exultant, swinging, wonderfully spiced harmonically. This is the real thing. "5

Figure 6-12: Treemonisha. Act II, No. 18


Treemonisha may be flawed, simplistic, too much of a period piece for some; and one may even question whether or not it is opera; nonetheless, as Gunther Schuller notes: You can analyze it, you can criticize it, but nothing really matters, because Treemonisha works so powerfully.6

DeSylva, Harling In 1922, B. G. DeSylva's opera, Blue Monday, was written. A one act on the Frankie and Johnnie story, the opera incorporates some genuine blues strains, and is considered the first legitimate "jazz opera," even though as a whole it is awkwardly written and incorporates rather inferior recitative. The second jazz opera was A Light from St. Agnes by W. Franke Harling (18871958) in 1925.

423
Although he was born in England in 1887, Harling's family moved to America six months later. After studies in Boston and N ew York, Harling spent three years at the London Academy of Music (1903-1906) and several in Brussels studying with Theophile Ysaye. In 1909-1910 he was organist and choir director at West Point Military Academy. A prolific composer, he wrote in m any musical idioms, including symphonies, ballets, choral works, incidental play music, film scores, songs, a jazz concerto and several operas. A Light from St. Agnes, a one act jazz opera on a libretto by the famous actress, Minnie Fiske, premiered in Chicago in 1925 and was awarded the David Bishop Memorial Medal of American Opera. It takes place on the outskirts of N ew Orleans at the turn of the century. Rowdies are celebrating the death of Agnes Deveraux, a pious wom an w ho built the convent dedicated to St. Agnes and tried unsuccessfully to educate the Cajuns. They stop at the hut of Toinette, a wicked "jazz-baby1 1 to ask her to join them, but she is waiting for her lover, Michel, and refuses. The priest, Pere Bertrand, then enters with a cross which Agnes has left in order to try to reach Toinette's sinful heart. Michel arrives, drunk, and abuses first the priest, and then, after P6re Bertrand's exit, Toinette. He tells her about the diamond cross on Agnes's dead body and decides to steal it. W hen Toinette points out that the nuns will ring the alarm bell, Michel says that he will cut the rope. She grabs his knife and says that she will cut the rope herself. A few minutes later the bell is heard and Michel realizes that she has betrayed him. Upon

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her return, she tells him of a new spirit inside her as she holds up her cross. Michel grabs his knife from her and stabs her. As she dies, a chorus of spirit voices calls while Michel, after washing the blood from his hands, staggers out. Musically, Harling employs creole folk tunes, N ew Orleans street tunes, ragtime, quasi-religious chants, foxtrots and a fugue. There are many jazz syncopations and effects, such as humming and flat seconds, thirds and sevenths. Toinette and Michel both have jazz motifs, which define their characters. Toinette's motif is rather snappy, while Michel's is heavier. P6re Bertrand has a sustained, moving melody and when it is juxtaposed with Toinette's in their scene together, the contrast is very effective. The orchestration utilizes saxophone, banjo, xylophones and snare drum, but they are employed for realism and dramatic effect and are never obtrusive. The weakest point about A Light from St. Agnes is the libretto. It lacks theatrical effectiveness, as it does not build to the climax well. The ending is far too slow and dragged out. Overall, A Light from St. Agnes has some wonderful moments of dramatic intensity, is nicely varied musically and is cohesive. It is important because as Edward Moore pointed out: He introduced, likewise demonstrated and proved the use of jazz as an operatic motif.7

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It was well received at its premiere and, in 1929, was the first jazz opera heard in Europe. Maurice Rosenfeld was prompted to write that A Light from St. Agnes "showed that he has written music for an opera that should outlast many of those that have been imported, but are not so good."8 Harling's next opera, Deep River (1926), "a native opera with jazz," is on a three act libretto by Lawrence Stallings. It takes place in N ew Orleans in 1830, focuses on the famous spring Octoroon Ball and includes scenes of voodoo incantations. It is a very mixed work. The first act is closer to musical comedy, where all the action happens during spoken dialogue, with set numbers in between. The second act has no spoken dialogue and only some parlando recitative; the rest of the time it is a very long ensemble intertwined with solos, duets and trios. Act three reverts once again to dialogue and set numbers. About the libretto, Brooks Atkinson commented: From the dramatic point of view, however, Deep River is less pleasing. Too long for so mild a theme, almost as verbose as the gentlemen it portrays, leisurely in its direction, it progresses more like an animated panorama than a drama.? In the first and third acts, all the action happens in the dialogue, not in the music. There is no dramatic interest in the individual pieces, so even though the melodies are soaring and lovely in a "Puccinniesque" way, they have no real purpose. There is no character development either in the libretto or musically.

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The second act is a complete contrast. The whole act is built on three motifs which are developed in a great variety of ways. The first motif is a quasi-spiritual, the second is a jazz motif with syncopated rhythm, and the third is a blues-type motif; together they unify the act. During the voodoo scene, there is a wonderful five-part contrapuntal chorus, which incorporates jazz rhythms and harmonies. The orchestration is unique in that the strings are omitted and saxophones are added to the winds. A banjo and an accordion are also incorporated. Again the jazz never obtrudes, but adds realism and a distinct American flavor. Deep River was not as successful as A Light from St. Agnes, but it is, in some respects, more inventive as the review in the N ew York Times pointed out: [the second act] is by far the best of the three and if anything in the work may point to a new musical development, it lies here. 10

Graham Shirley Graham (1907-77) was better known as the wife of writer W.E.B. Dubois, but she was a gifted artist and composer in her own right. In 1932, her opera Tom-Tom was premiered by the Cleveland Summer Opera Company. It depicts the history of the Negro from Africa to America in sixteen scenes, ending in Harlem, and employs four characters, the Voodoo Man, the Mother, the Boy, and the Girl, as well as chorus and dancers.

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The motifs are developed from African chants. The opera begins with unison chants accompanied solely by percussion to represent the scenes in the African jungle. As it progresses, other instruments are incorporated until, by the end, the orchestra, jazz band and spirituals are all incorporated simultaneously. The tom-tom plays throughout the opera.

Gruenberg The year after Tom-Tom debuted, the N ew York Metropolitan Opera premiered its first jazz-influenced opera, The Emperor Tones, by Louis Gruenberg. Born in Russia in 1884, Gruenberg and his family m oved to N ew York when he was two years old. After com pleting his education in the N ew York public schools, he returned to Europe in 1903 to study piano with Busoni in Vienna and toured throughout Europe. H e returned to America in 1919 to devote himself to composition. He w as one of the organizers of the League of Composers and was Director of the Chicago College of Music (1933-36). After 1940, he settled his family in California, where he died in 1964. A winner of many prizes, including the 1930 Victor Symphonic Contest, the Flagler Prize and the International Schubert Contest, his com positions embrace chamber and orchestral music, film scores, and operas, including the Pyimb Wife, M ^ q m e X, The Witch of Brocker. The Bride of the Gods, lack and the Beanstock. Green M ansions, and The Emperor Jones.

428 When The Emperor [ones premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in


1933, it was a great success. Later it was staged in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles, equally successfully. Based on Gruenberg's own adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's one act play, Olin Downes hailed it as: "The first American opera by a composer whose dramatic instinct and intuition for the theater seem unfailing and whose musical technique is characterized by a complete m odem knowledge and a reckless mastery of his means."!* The Emperor lones is an expressionist play about an American Negro, set against a continual drum background. Gruenberg made a few modifications, which O'Neill approved. The speeches are pared down to hone in on the drama. One major change is the ending in which Jones kills himself with the silver bullet, instead of being killed by the soldiers. This is more theatrically effective for Jones' character. Another major change which Gruenberg makes is the addition of a chorus which functions at one time as commentators on the action and at another time as participants. Gruenberg utilizes a great deal of spoken dialogue and semi-speech underscored by the orchestra. Occasionally he incorporates sprechstimme, which rises in intensity until it becomes singing, to heighten the climaxes. There is very little lyrical singing. One of the few is the incorporation of the spiritual, "Standin' in de Need ob Prayer," used for Jones' outburst when he is most desperate. "Swannee River" is incorporated earlier to end Scene One and to begin Scene Two. The chorus often intersperses primitive chants, and shouts.

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The orchestral score is conceived atonally for as Gatti-Casazza noted: H e wrote the m usic thoroughly in keeping w ith the spirit of the drama. It w as atonal music, perhaps, but perfectly clear and easy to comprehend. 12 It begins and ends with w ild, dissonant sounds and continues to get more and more dissonant. By the end, the score is filled with clashing polytones w hich em phasize the prim itive nature of the opera. Short m otivic themes com e and go, like gasps. The musical score serves as a background to the action, not as an integral part of it. It punctuates, accentuates and intensifies the em otions. The Afro-American rhythms w hich Gruenberg em ploys add to the primitive aura. He takes the idea of the continuous tom-tom s from the play itself, but they are interrupted several tim es as Jones sees the visions in the forest. Every time they resume, they are faster and louder, until by the end they are thundering. The polyrhythm s also build towards the climax, creating intense rhythmic effects. The Emperor Tones w as considered one of the major American operas of its time. It is well crafted for the stage, swift, emotional and spectacular at times, and it is distinctly American in its sheer rhythmic energy. As Gilbert Chase concluded, it "was an American opera that w as both musical and dramatic."13

430 Gershwin
One of the greatest American composers is George Gershwin, composer of the most famous American opera, Porgv and Bess. Gershwin was born in Brooklyn in 1898, the second of four children. He wasn't particularly interested in music as a child as it was a "sissy" thing. However, w hen he was ten years of age, he heard a fellow student, Max Rosen, playing DvSr^k's "Humoresque" on the violin and suddenly was enthralled. He and Rosen became inseparable friends, and Gershwin learned all he could about music from his friend. Several years later, his parents bought a piano for Gershwin's brother, Ira, w ho gave up on lessons very shortly. George, however, was fascinated and played constantly. In 1913, when he was age fifteen, George took a job as a pianist at a summer resort. That fall, instead of returning to school, he became a "song plugger" for Remick's Music Company and stayed w ith them until 1917, studying piano, harmony, theory and orchestration, as well as the music of Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin. By the time he left, he had already sold som e songs of his own. He next worked on Broadway, first as a vaudeville pianist, which was a failure, and then as rehearsal pianist for Miss 1917. While working there, Max Dreyfus, the head of Harms Publishing House, heard him play and "discovered" Gershwin, offering to pay him a weekly salary of thirty-five dollars just to write and then submit his songs to Dreyfus. By 1921 Gershwin had his first big hit, "Swannee," m ade famous by A1 Jolson.

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In his brother, Ira, he found his ideal lyricist and the 1920s and early 1930s saw the composition of most of his classic tunes, such as "Lady Be Good," "Fascinating Rhythm," "The Man I Love," etc. This period also saw the composition of Rhapsody in Blue (1924), which became one of the most popular works of the twentieth century, and two one act jazz operas which were not successful, 135th Street (1925) on a libretto by B. G. de Silva, and Blue Monday (1928). He became captivated by the idea of writing an American opera and chose, as his basis, DuBose Heywood's novel, Porgv. He began work on it in 1933, visiting Charleston several times to spend time with the Gullah Negroes to explore their jazz rhythms, blues and "shouting" (a complicated rhythm pattern beaten out by hands and feet). When it premiered in 1935 on Broadway, Porgv and Bess was not a success, and Gershwin did not live long enough to see it become popular. In 1937, he began to have violent headaches and blank spells. The doctors discovered a brain tumor and operated, but Gershwin did not survive the operation. Porgv and Bess is on a libretto by DuBose Heywood, with additional lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It deals with the Negroes in Charleston in the 1920s, specifically in the waterfront neighborhood of Catfish Row. Clara sings her baby to sleep, while Serena tries to persuade her husband, Robbins, not to shoot craps. Porgy is also gambling and the others tease him about liking Bess, Crown's girlfriend. Crown gets into a fight with Robbins and kills him.

432
Everyone closes their doors. Bess takes shelter with Porgy as the detectives arrive. During the "saucer" burying (in which a saucer is placed in front of the casket to raise money for burial) the next day, the detective enters and learns that it was Crown who murdered Robbins. Serena mourns his death and Bess leads everyone in a hymn. The fishermen are repairing the nets when a buzzard, a sign of bad luck, is spotted. Sporting Life tries to lure Bess to N ew York with cocaine, but Porgy drives him away, protecting "his woman." Everyone is going to a picnic on Kittiwah Island, except Porgy, who cannot make the boat trip. Bess offers to stay behind, but he tells her to have a good time. At the picnic, Sporting Life entertains the folks with all the things they didn't learn in Sunday School. Later, while on the way to catch the last ferry, Crown, who is hiding on the island, overpowers Bess and she misses the boat. A week later, the fishermen are preparing to go out even though a storm is brewing. In Porgy's room, Bess is recovering after being left on the island for three days and she asks Porgy to help her to make Crown leave her alone. During the hurricane, the neighbors gather at Serena's to pray for the fishermen. Crown breaks in, grabs Bess and knocks down Porgy as he tries to protect her. Clara sees Jake's boat crash and rushes out. Crown eventually goes after her, but is too late.

433
After the storm, the w om en mourn the death of Clara and Jake. When everything is quiet, Crown sneaks over to Porgy's door, but Porgy surprises him and strangles Crown to death. The next day, the detective takes Porgy in to identify the body. While he is gone, Bess, believing that Porgy won't come back, gives in to Sporting Lifes "happy dust," and goes with him to N ew York. When Porgy returns, he learns that Bess has gone to N ew York. Calling for his goat cart, he sets off to find her. Porgv and Bess is written in three acts divided into nine scenes. It is a numbers opera, divided into arias, ensembles and choruses which are bridged by recitative. Some people classify it as a folk opera, others a jazz opera. Gershwin explains it thusly: Jazz I regard as American folk music; not the only one, but a very powerful one which is probably in the blood and feeling of the American people more than any other style of folk music. I believe that it can be made the basis of serious symphonic works of lasting value, in the hands of a com poser with talent for both jazz and sym phonic m usic.14 Porgv and Bess deals with a specific segment of people and so it seems natural to have them sing in their ow n idiom , and Gershwin has done a superior job in catching the atmosphere and traits of the Black idiom. The recitative captures the Black dialogue quite idiomatically throughout. At the same time it sounds very spontaneous. It is occasionally interspersed with sprechstimme {Figure 6-13), for added stress.

434
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Figure 6-13: Porgy and Bess. Act I, Scene 3, p. 144

Gershwin has written many pseudo spirituals and one which is very typical of the South Carolina Blacks is the "Shouter" spiritual; this is a spiritual accompanied by a complicated rhythmic pattern beaten out by their hands and feet. Gershwin adapted this for the Act I, pseudo-spiritual, "Leavin' for the Promised Land." Also incorporated are African-like drums, such as at the beginning of Act II, Scene 2 (Figure 6-14).

Figure 6-14: Porgy and Bess. Act II, Scene 2, p. 277

The street cries are a wonderful musical re-creation of actual criers heard in Charleston and the six-voice prayer which opens Act II, Scene 4, with its hummed drone (Figure 6-15) was influenced by one Gershwin heard standing outside a church in South Carolina.

Figure 6-15: Porgv and Bess. Act II, Scene 4, p. 366 One of the most stunning effects is Gershwin's "wailing" glissando in the blues number, "My Man's Gone Now," underscored by the orchestra's descending chromatics (Figure 6-16). This number also incorporates jazz syncopations and minor thirds.

436

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Figure 6-16: Porgv and Bess. Act I, Scene 2, p. 159 Other characteristic compositional techniques that Gershwin incorporated to achieve the Black atmosphere are: ambiguous major/minor chords and chromatic harmonies, as in "Summertime"; boogie-woogie rhythms, as in "A Woman is a Sometime Thing"; slide-notes, as in the quasi work song, "It Take a Long Pull to Get There"; added sixths, as well as sevenths and elevenths at the end of "Buzzard Song"; and pentatonic scales and cross rhythms, as in the opening chorus (Figure 6-17).

437

Figure 6-17: Porgv and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 7 Several characters are associated with recurring motifs. Porgy's is very blusey, with its falling fifths and flat thirds (Figure 6-18), and Crown's is a violent, syncopated rhythm (Figure 6-19).
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Figure 6-19: Porgy and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 52

Sporting Life is associated with sleazy chromatics and tritones (Figure 6-20).

Figure 6-20: Porgv and Bess. Act II, Scene 1, p. 244 There is a love motif for Porgy and Bess (Figure 6-21).

Figure 6-21: Porgv and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 107 Both murders (Crowns and Robbin's), occur during the same music (Figure 699^

Figure 6-22: Porgv and Bess. Act I, Scene 1, p. 95

439 Coupled with the popular elements discussed are melodies which are slightly reminiscent of Puccini in their soaring lines, as in Porgy and Bess's duet "Bess, You Is My Woman Now", and classical compositional techniques such as Gershwin's contrapuntal writing in the final trio. The music intensifies the original play and Porgy and Bess is theatrically gripping. Opinions may vary as to its operatic worthiness, but it is performed more than any other American opera, and may deserve the title which Hamm has given it as "the greatest nationalistic opera of this century."is Still A contemporary of Gershwin's, William Grant Still is probably the most widely recognized Black composer. He was bom in 1895 in Woodville, Mississippi, the son of two school teachers. However, his father died when he was six months old and he and his mother moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. She remarried and his stepfather instilled in the child an interest in operas and concerts. From 1911 to 1914, Still attended Wilberforce University in Ohio, studying pre-med, but he was more interested in music, and so, four months before graduation, he moved to Columbus, Ohio, to play for vaudeville theaters. In 1916 he became an arranger for the W. C. Handy Publishing House in Memphis. He also studied for awhile at the Oberlin Conservatory. In 1922, he studied with Chadwick, who inspired him to write "American"

440 music. In 1923, while he was the recording director for the Black Swan Phonograph Company, he received a scholarship to study with Edgar Varese, who opened up new vistas for Still. Still became well known for his orchestration, doing arrangements for Sophie Tucker, Artie Shaw and Earl Carroll, among others, as well as popular radio shows, movies and television shows, including "Perry Mason" and "Gunsmoke." He was the first Black to conduct a white radio show (for C.B.S.) and was the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees. He died in Los Angeles in 1978. His compositions include symphonies, ballets, band works, chamber works, songs, and nine operas. His first opera, Blue Steel (1934) on a libretto by Carlton Moss and Bruce Forsythe, dealt with conflict between voodoo and materialism. This opera was later discarded by Still. A Bayou Legend, on a three act libretto by his second wife, Verna Arvey, was composed in 1941 but did not premiere until 1974. It is set in a primitive town in the Bayou region. Father Lestant warns of the dangers of consorting with spirits, which is punishable by death, but Bazile cannot agree, for he is in love with a spirit, Aurore. Clothilde has thrown over Leonce in preference for Bazile. When Bazile tells her that their romance was just the result of too much wine, she tells him that she is pregnant with his child whereupon Bazile agrees to do the right thing. Having overheard them,

441 Leonce tells Clothilde that he still loves her and will stand by her. Bazile goes to the Bayou and Aurore tells him that there is no child, that it is a trick. She and Bazile then swear their undying love. Clothilde and Leonce, who have followed Bazile hear voices, but when Bazile cannot produce Aurore, Clothilde gives him an ultimatum: either he announces their wedding at her party or she will accuse him of witchcraft. When Bazile does not show up, Clothilde renounces him, and though a horrified Leonce and Father Lestant plead for a trial, the villagers hang Bazile since he will not renounce his love. Clothilde realizes,too late, that she has brought about Bazile and Aurora's reunion. When she turns to Leonce for comfort, he tells her that no man could want her now, leaving her in tears with no hope left for any happiness. A Bayou Legend is very conservative tonally. Most of the vocal lines are based on the speech patterns. Martin Meyer has considered Still to be an "American Grieg -- a miniaturist gifted with melody, an unerring sense of color and a fondness for the folklore. Although the performers of the premiere were all Black, Legend is not especially a Black opera."16 There is surprisingly little of the Black idiom in A Bavou Legend, even though the melodies soar and the opera is very lovely. A Southern Interlude (1943), a two act opera on another libretto by Verna Arvey, was never performed and was later discarded, although sections were used in other works, most notably in Highway No. 1. U.S.A.

442 The Pillar (1956), on a three act Arvey libretto, deals with American Indians. Minette Fontaine (1958), on a three act Arvey libretto, is set in New Orleans in 1880. After the famous opera diva, Minette Fontaine, finishes her concert at Madame de Noyan's school, she is introduced to the wealthy Creole planter, Diron. Even though Diron is to marry Clarice, Madame de Noyan's daughter, Minette, decides that she will have him herself. When Diron refuses Minette's invitation to call, she consults Marie, the voodoo priestess. Diron suddenly falls madly in love with Minette, and they are quickly wed, against the advice of his friends. After the wedding, Diron discovers Minette's involvement with Marie. During his confrontation with Minette, Diron suffers an incapacitating stroke and in repentance, Minette vows to end her career in order to spend the rest of her life caring for him. The music in Minette Fontaine is, like Porgy and Bess, colored throughout with blues melodies and harmonies, including raised sixths and lowered thirds, and jazz rhythms. Especially unusual is the voodoo dance in Act I, which Helen Deermont calls "an interesting combination of African rhythm and 1940s swing."!? She also comments that Still's "understanding and sympathy for the traditions and haunting moods of New Orleans comes through in almost every passage in the opera."1* * Highway 1, U.S.A.. composed in 1962 on a one act Arvey libretto, premiered at the University of Miami in 1963. Mary and Bob own a filling

station in a small Southern town on Highway 1. They have worked hard to put Bob's brother, Nate, through school to fulfill a promise made to Bob's mother on her deathbed. Now that Nate has graduated, Mary hopes for a new life for herself and Bob, but Bob says that they must support Nate until he gets established. Nate is lazy and ungrateful, and Bob begins to doubt his intentions. Nate tries to make love to Mary and is rebuffed, whereupon he stabs her. Nate begs Bob to shield him by confessing to the stabbing, and Bob, believing that Mary is dead, almost succumbs, but when Mary regains consciousness, Bob ignores Nate's pleas and promises Mary a better future. Much of the music from A Southern Interlude was used in Highway 1. As in Minette Fontaine, the idiom is based on jazz and blues, as shown at the very beginning of the opera (Figure 6-23). The half step intervals and tone clusters of this melody, which recurs later, give an impression of blues slurred pitches.

Figure 6-23: Highway 1. U.S.A.. Scene 1, p. 3

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Harmonically, the score ranges from traditional to polytonality. There are many instances of the jazz and blues idioms, such as the use of the blues scale, with its raised sixths, and flattened thirds, and the pentatonic scale. Other interesting chord progressions and harmonies throughout include augmented/major sevenths (Figure 6-24), diminished/major sevenths (Figure 6-25), major/minor thirds within the same triads, and added sixths chords (Figure 6-26).

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Figure 6-25: Highway 1. U.S.A.. Scene 1. p. 49

445

Figure 6-26: Highway 1. U.S.A.. Scene 1, p. 21 Still employs sequences (Figure 6-25 above) and repeating chords (Figure 6-24 above) to build tension. The tone clusters (Figure 6-26 above), suggest honking car horns . There are simple gospel hymns ("They're Our Friends"), folk tunes ("Mister Fox"), and traditional arias ("A Dream Wasted") as well. Highway 1. U.S.A. has been well received, both artistically and popularly, for as Mark Polo noted: "On the surface, the work sounds like a Bernstein Broadway musical, but it is much deeper and more complex."^ Still was convinced that good musical forms could be built with jazz rhythms and harmonies and the success of his music has helped to ingrain them into classical literature.

446 Fax A more classically oriented Black composer, Mark Fax was bom in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1911. After studies at Syracuse University (B.M.), and the Eastman School of Music (M.M.) with Howard Hanson, he joined the music faculty of Howard University (1947), where he remained until his death in 1974. His compositions include orchestral and choral works, string quartets, piano and vocal solos and several operas. A Christmas Miracle, composed in 1956 on a libretto by Owen Dodson, tells of a family who tries to find shelter and a safe hiding place on Christmas Eve from a group of marauders who have burned their home and are now after the father. Cassandra, the blind daughter, hopes that Gods "magic" star will cure her blindness. During the day, her mother gives birth to a son and the father and son go out to gather firewood. While they are gone, three strangers appear and each gives his cherished possession to the family -- a religious medal, a serape and food. The son is caught and is forced to tell where the family is hidden. The gang misses the father and kills the baby before continuing their pursuit. At this moment, the star appears and Cassandra is actually able to see it. Fax employs recurring motifs to unify the opera. For example, the "good guys" motif (Figure 6-27), occurs as each one gives up his possession.

447

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Figure 6-27: A Christmas Miracle, p. 45

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Fax utilizes an abundance of chromaticism, polychords and tritones to create a very tension-filled opera. These are balanced with modal sections, such as Cassandra's lullaby. Overall, A Christmas Miracle is a very gripping work. Till Victory Is Won (1965), based on Owen Dodson's poem, is an historical panorama of Black history from seventeenth century Africa to twentieth century America, divided into four sections. Unifying the work is Miss Truth, who is teaching school children. During the prologue, the children ask how they got here in the U.S.A. and the scene shifts to Africa. The first episode deals with slavery. "Slavery" tells how he was driven from his homeland and forced to cross to America. The second episode, "Harriet Taubman" details the escape activities of slaves and the effect of Emancipation. Episode three concerns the death of Bessie Smith who, after suffering injuries in a car accident, may either have bled to death after being refused by a white hospital, or died waiting at the hospital to be looked at. The last episode deals with the racial bombings of the 1960s, and the Mississippi march.

448 The music is an intermixing of Black elements with modem techniques, from folk-like melodies to fugues. The prologue is built responsorially, with the chorus describing the violence in American cities in shifting meters and many chromatics. The first episode incorporates chanting (Figure 6-28), with contrasting, changing meters and polytones, as well as quarter tones and blues notes.

Figure 6-28: Till Victory Is Won. Episode 1 The second episode incorporates a choral setting of the spiritual "Steal Away to Jesus," as well as the traditional hymn, "Nearer My God to Thee," mixed with the joyful slaves singing a jazz rhythmed "Massa's Dead," which contrasts white and Black (Figure 6-29).

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Figure 6-29: Till Victory Is Won. Episode 2

449 Additionally there is a quasi spiritual trio which is set in strict imitation, as well as a cake-walk utilized for the joy of escape. In the Bessie Smith episode, there is a recurring phrase "we'll take her to hospital, but they won't let her in" (Figure 6-30).

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Figure 6-30: Till Victory Is Won. Episode 3 Bessie and her friend sing a blues melody, which is set with complex harmonies. The chorus sings in parallel fourths and fifths. Episode four incorporates "We Shall Overcome," as well as chromatic scales and strong rhythms. Throughout the opera, Fax predominantly employs a sort of songspeech melody which very rarely develops. The orchestration is rich and is used to support the vocal lines or to create the varying moods. Although it is a very chromatic and harmonically dissonant work, one can still identify its Black idiom. Kay Ulysses Sympson Kay is another Black graduate of the Eastman School of Music. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Kay graduated from the University of

450 Arizona (B.M.E., 1938) before going to Eastman, where he studied with Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson (M.A., 1942). Later, he studied with Paul Hindemith at Yale University. After World War II, during which he served in a Navy band, he studied first at Columbia University, and then in Rome as a winner of the Prix de Rome prize. He has received many awards and honors, including several honorary doctorates. In 1968, he became a professor of Music at Lehman College of the City of New York. His one act opera, The Captoline of Venus (1991), is based on a Mark Twain story. It begins in George's sculpting studio, where George has been working on his masterpiece, "America." Mary expresses her love for George, but he is upset because her father opposes their marriage. Her father, Mr. Phillips, then arrives and the upshot of their meeting is that George must raise fifty thousand dollars in six months, or else Mary will marry Harold Hember. After Mr. Phillips leaves, George's roommate John, who has been sleeping, wakes up and George tells John his problem with no solution in sight. John calls George a silly fool and asks if George wants him to raise the money for him. He then knocks on the walls and floor for their neighbors, Gino, Carlo, Giacomo and Alberto. After he instructs them in whispers, John goes to the statue of America, breaks her nose, her fingers, some toes, and her left leg, while Giacomo holds George, who then goes into a dead faint. Gino

451 and Carlo carry the statue out and John and Giacomo join them as soon as George is deposited on the cot. Six months later, nothing has happened and George has given up hope. He has no food, lots of debts; he and John are barely speaking and Mrs. Phillips won't let him see Mary. Suddenly, first his bootmaker, then his landlord and finally Mr. Phillips and Mary enter one by one and treat him with deference. Mr. Phillips happily gives George Mary's hand. They are all carrying the newspaper. John enters, with yet another copy of the newspaper and shows George what they have all read. Six months ago John bought some land, and gave co-ownership to George for some damaged property. While excavating, he came across an ancient statue which the government appraised. They declared that it was unquestionably a Venus from the second century B.C. and paid one hundred thousand dollars for it. George is ecstatic and the opera ends with everyone singing joyfully. The music is marked by its energetic rhythms, atonal melodies, intense harmonies and polyphony. Jubilee (1976), on a three act libretto by Donald Door, is based on Margaret.Walker's novel of the same name. It takes place in the South during and after the Civil War. At a Christmas Eve celebration on John Dutton's Georgia plantation in 1859, Lillian Dutton's engagement to Kevin MacDougall is announced. At the same time, Vyry, Dutton's other daughter by his slave mistress, is forbidden to marry Randall Ware, a freeman by

452 whom she has already had a son. Though Randall begs her to escape north with him, Vyry won't leave their son behind. In the spring of 1860, Vyry finally agrees to escape, but on her way to meet Randall, she is captured. Meanwhile, Randall has been preaching insurrection at a church, and when the meeting is discovered and bloodily stopped, he escapes believing that Vyry has broken her promise. Vyry is publicly flogged for running away and Mandy, the Dutton cook, is hanged for poisoning her master. By the spring of 1865, war is sweeping the south. Kevin has been killed. Vyry and Lillian are the only remaining Duttons. The plantation is overrun by Yankee soldiers, who free the slaves. One of the slaves, Innis Brown, offers Vyry his protection. Lillian, destitute, is savagely attacked by a looter and goes mad. Not knowing what has become of Randall, and having Jim, her son, to protect, Vyry marries Innis Brown. By 1870, Vyry and Innis have an Alabama homestead. Jim and Innis are hostile towards one another, which bothers Vyry. As the neighbors arrive to toast Vyry as their midwife and nurse, Randall Ware enters and demands his son. Vyry shows him her scars and begs for understanding. They are reconciled and Jim leaves with his father with the promise of schooling while Vyry and Innis face a hopeful future. Kay incorporates many authentic spirituals and hymns, as well as pseudo spirituals, folksongs and blues into lubilee. Spirituals include "I'm A Rollin'," "Go Down Moses," "Rise in Glory" and "Great Day." The hymns include "Old One Hundred" and "Free as a Bird," a revivalist hymn. There

453 are Christmas carols as well -- "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "Rise Up Shepherds and Follow," a traditional call and response, which Kay sets with conventional harmony, syncopated rhythms, lowered sevenths and sixths and tone clusters. "Flee as a Bird" is first heard as part of a seven-part chorus, which contrasts the whites, the poor buckra and the slaves (Figure 631). The hymn is later sung by Vyry in Act II.

I| H I

|ll

k l Bf a M -li'

llH li

Figure 6-31: lubilee. Act I, Scene 3, p. 193

454 Mandy's aria, "The Golden Door", is blues influenced, with syncopated rhythms and a modal melody, accompanied by percussion and pedal point (Figure 6-32). The "Golden Door" motif recurs at the end of the scene and again in Act III.

Figure 6-32: lubilee. Act I, Scene 3, p. 189 The libretto incorporates Black dialect and there is quite a lot of spoken dialogue. There are instances of Black oratorical declamation, as in "Leke's Sermon," accompanied by ambiguous harmonies and characteristic humming by the chorus (Figure 6-33).

455

i M
I* rt~ t i l
M T k M ( k *

f f~mi
It

fliiu t m m 4 m lilt td I Klta M rtartf Hln

f i r **? M r i m .

Figure 6-33: lubilee. Act I, Scene 2, p. 126 Other traits characteristic of Kay include: extensive use of chromatic and diatonic half steps, both horizontally and vertically; pedal points; open fifths; parallel chords; chromatic scales; polychords; major-minor sevenths; added notes chords; and tone clusters.

456 lubilee. while challenging and dissonant at times, is still lyrical and conservative tonally. Kay combines the best of both idioms, Black and classical, and has written an opera that is challenging, but gratifying for the singer and the audience. Levister Alonzo Levister has also written an opera about the South before the war. Levister was born in Connecticut in 1926, but was raised in Harlem. At age twenty, he attended the Boston Conservatory where he studied for two years. Later he attended the Julliard School of Music, In 1956, he began to compose jazz for performers including Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. Later he wrote rhythm and blues. His first opera, G-Flat. is based on the lifestyle of a young saxophone player. Written on his own libretto, it is not successful for the libretto is very weak. His next opera, Slave Song (1971) is on a two act libretto by Oscar Brown, Jr., and is set in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1830. Judge Talbot has just purchased Crecie to work in the kitchen and has assigned Cato to impregnate her. Cato falls in love with her and the Talbot gives his consent to their marriage. However, Rudd, the overseer, wants Crecie for himself. He and Cato eventually fight, Cato shoots Rudd and flees. Rather than escaping North, Cato stays to be with Crecie and they many. He hopes that

457 Talbot will exonerate him; instead, he is killed. Crecie is led to auction, where she is sold again. The opera is a numbers opera, with a great deal of spoken dialogue. The music reflects the Black idiom by means of a simple musical language. The melodic lines are very folk-like, made up of short musical patterns. The whole opera leans a great deal towards blues. The harmony is tonal, basically tonic, subdominant, dominant, with the flattened "blues" notes (the third and seventh). The rhythms are steady, rather than complex, with some syncopation and shifting time signatures. The orchestra includes instruments which would have been found in a slave community such as banjos, guitars, and African scraper hands, with electric bass added. Slave Song is limited because of the lack of motivic development. The opera doesn't always hold together and becomes a series of underdeveloped songs. Donald Sanders sums Slave Song up as "shows great promise, but needs refinement."20 By the 1940s, interest in jazz was starting to diminish. American composers still incorporated elements, such as the syncopated rhythms, but it became integrated with new modernistic harmonies and influences.

458 NOTES:

CHAPTER VI

1. The New York Sun. 11 September, 1928, quoted in Celia Elizabeth Davidson, "Operas by Afro-American Composers." (Ph. D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1980).
2 . Ibid., 90.

3. Scott Joplin, Treemonisha. (New York; Scott Joplin, 1911), Preface. 4. Ibid. 5. Harold Schonberg, New York Times. 13 February, 1972, 15.
6 . Gunther Schuller, quoted in Robert Jones, "Treemonisha", Opera

News, vol. 40, no. 3, September, 1975,15. 7. Edward Moore, Chicago Daily Tribune. 27 December, 1925.
8 . Maurice Rosenfeld, Chicago Daily News. 28 December, 1925.

9. Brooks Atkinson, "Native Opera of the South", New York Times. 5 October, 1926,26. 10. Unsigned Review, "Deep River Makes A Big Hit", New York Times. 22 September, 1926, 27. 11. Olin Downes, "The Emperor Tones Reaches the MET", New York Times. 8 January 1933. 12. Gatti-Casazza, quoted in Leon Maurice Aufdemberge, "Analysis of the Dramatic Construction of American Opera as on American Themes," 1896 1958, (ph. D., Northwestern University, Evanston, 111., 1965), 244. 13. Gilbert Chase. America's Music from the Pilgrims to the Present. (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1955) 641. 14. George Gershwin, "The Relation of Jazz to American Music," quoted in American Composers on American Music, ed. Henry Cowell (New York; Frederick Unger Publishing Co., 1961) 187.

459 15. Charles Hamm, Music In the New World. (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1983) 450. 16. Martin Mayer, "TV Opera Hits a High Note," American Film Magazine. January - February, 1981, p. 54. 17. Helen Deermont, "Minette Fontaine, meets audiences expectations," State Times. 25 October, 1984, p. 3-D. 18. Ibid. 19. Mark O. Polo, "Opera Premiere Scores Sweet Success," Miami Hurricane. 17 May, 1963, p. 15. 20. Donald Sanders, "Premiere for Black Opera," Los Angeles Times. 30 March 1972, p. 22.

CHAPTER VII INTELLECTUAL AND ABSURD ELEMENTS

Reflecting the intellectual movements of the time, including the abstract and the surrealistic, some composers incorporated similar themes which contrasted significantly with the realistic themes of the previous operas. Chief among the proponents of this approach was Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) who collaborated with Gertrude Stein during a twenty-year friendship for many works including two of his three operas, Four Saints in 3 Acts and The Mother of Us All. Thomson Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1896, Thomson, a child prodigy, studied at Harvard (1919-1923), with a brief student exchange in Paris, where he studied with Nadia Boulanger in 1921, graduating with a B.A, degree. In 1925 he moved to Paris, where he resided for the next fifteen years, becoming a member of a select circle of intellectuals which included Stein, Cocteau, Satie, Hemingway, Antheil, Fitzgerald and Milhaud. He returned to New York permanently in 1940 and became the music critic for the New York Herald until 1954. The recipient of many honors, including a Pulitzer Prize, 460

461 16 honorary doctorates and the Kennedy Center Award for Lifetime Achievement, his later years until his death in 1989 were devoted to writing numerous books and articles, and to musical composition. Musically, his operas share many similar traits. They are an unusual mix of his American background (the hymns, folk tunes and popular waltzes, even ragtime) and classical sophistication, influenced in this by the work of Satie and Les Six. His melodic patterns are usually diatonic with skips of thirds and octaves. Sequences and repeated notes often occur. Harmonies are simple, often tonic, subdominant and dominant. Parallel fifths and whole tone scales are favorite Thomson devices. His rhythms are very precise and uncomplicated. His main contribution to American music, however, is his unique blending of these elements -- melody, rhythm and harmony -- into a musical style that is completely faithful to the American vernacular, unencumbered by any mannerisms. The stylistically odd syntax of the Stein texts provided the perfect medium for him. As Thomson said in his autobiography: My theory was that if a text is set correctly for the sound of it, the meaning will take care of itself. And the Stein texts, for prosodising in this way, were manna. With meanings already abstracted or absent, or so multiplied that choice among them was impossible, there was no temptation toward tonal illustration, say, of birdie babbling by the brook or heavy heavy hangs my heart. You could make a setting for sound and syntax only, then add, if needed, an accompaniment equally functional.1 His first opera, 4 Saints in 3 Acts (1934) is certainly not the first abstract opera, but it is probably the most famous today and is still unique. The

462 libretto, a religious fantasy, is an abstract gathering of words and images chosen for their sounds, not their meanings, patterned after the technique of Cubist painting. There is no story; rather it is a "theatrical" landscape "in which all elements of sight and sound are perceived at once."2 Thomson set these disconnected lines to single triadic melodies, with many fragments of Italian songs, hymns and childhood tunes which appear and disappear. There is also a hint of the blues, as in the opening chorus, and boogie woogie, as in the vision of the Holy Ghost's "Pigeons on the grass, alas." There are also imitations of Anglican chant, Salvation Army bands and organ sonorities. His three-act American-subject opera, The Mother of Us All (1947) was commissioned by Columbia University. Once again he collaborated with Gertrude Stein and the resulting work is considered one of the major accomplishments of both Stein's and Thomson's careers. The Mother of Us All is a panorama of Americanism, a political fantasy based upon the career of Susan B. Anthony from her earliest struggles beginning in 1820, to her ultimate triumph following her death, the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the vote in 1920. The piece is, in the composer's words: an evocation of nineteenth century America with its gospel hymns and cocky marches, its sentimental ballads, waltzes, darefool ditties and eitore and sermons..It is a memory book of all those sounds and kinds of tunes that were once the music of rural America and that are still the basic idiom of our country

463 because they are the oldest vernacular still remembered and used.3 There is no conventional development in the libretto, which is full of digressive discussions of marriage, politics, love, etc. The decades are all jumbled together so that characters meet who couldn't possibly have had anything to do with one another such as John Adams, who died in 1848 and Lillian Russell, who was born in 1861. In Act I, Scene I, the opera begins by showing the home life of Susan B. Anthony and her companion, Anne. Act I, Scene 2, takes place during a political meeting in a tent. The politicians, Daniel Webster, Andrew Johnson, John Adams, Ulysses S. Grant, Anthony Comstock and Thaddeus Stevens, parade around until they mount the platform, facing Susan B. Anthony, accompanied by Anne and Constance Fletcher. Susan B. and Daniel Webster engage in a debate. Meanwhile Jo the Loiterer and Chris the Citizen talk, after which Jo teases Angel Moore. After the "Cold Weather" Interlude, Act I, Scene 3, takes place in front of Susan B. Anthony's house and presents Andrew Johnson and Thaddeus Stevens as political enemies, Constance Fletcher and John Adams as lovers, the chorus of the other characters as sympathetic observers of public life and Jo and Chris as satirical philosophers. In Act I, Scene 4, Susan B. sits on her porch contemplating her mission and realizes that she cannot depend on the support of the Negroes whom she helped enfranchise, the educated liberals personified by professor Donald Gallup, or the VIPs, the Very Important Persons of politics who are interested

464 only in their own privileges. Act I, Scene 5 (same setting), deals with the marriage of Jo the Loiterer and Indiana Elliot, and includes a justification of marriage, and digressive love scenes first between John Adams and Constance Fletcher, and then between Daniel Webster and Angel More. Act II, Scene 1, begins in Susan B's drawing room, where she is doing housework. Anne and Jenny Reefer are telling Susan that she is going to be asked to speak at a meeting. Jo enters, complaining that Indiana will not take his name, followed by Indiana, Andrew Johnson and Thaddeus Stevens in turn, each asking Susan to speak at the meeting and each being refused. All the characters come in and finally persuade her. In Act II, Scene 2, Susan B. returns from the meeting. The politicians have put the word "male" into the Fourteenth Amendment but Susan B. is confident that her cause will eventually win. Act II, Scene 3, represents the unveiling of a statue of Susan B. Anthony in the halls of Congress years later. As the characters enter, they gather round the refreshments or admire the veiled statue. Susan B., as a ghost, crosses the stage several times as the ceremony gets out of hand. When the statue is unveiled, Susan B. Anthony is standing on the pedestal and as she sings about her long life, the women come and place wreathes around her pedestal. Then slowly, two by two, all leave until Susan B. is left singing about her life in semi-darkness to an empty stage. Typically, Stein uses words for sounds and rhythm, but less abstractly than in Four Saints in 3 Acts, with more semblance of a plot and with

465 recognizably defined characters such as Susan B. Anthony. These characters often speak in the style of their historical utterances or even in direct quotes, as in the Anthony-Webster debate (1,1) in which the debate is made up of quotations from the speeches of each. There are two narrators, Gertrude S. and Virgil T., who play a role similar to that of a Greek chorus, commenting on the action, right from the opening scene (Figure 7-1).
Susan D. Anthony

*
Ym I

P
G *rtrude S.
f

A nne

You

n n n you are,

M id

Su- san. V irgil T. f

said Anna.

Figure 7-1: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 1, p. 19 Some of the characters hail from Stein's own circle. Constance Fletcher was an American playwright and a friend of Gertrude Stein's; Jo Barry (Jo the Loiterer), also a friend of Stein's, was once arrested and charged with loitering; and Donald Gallup was the Yale librarian who later edited Stein's posthumous works. There has even been speculation that Susan B. Anthony's relationship to Anne was a reflection of Stein's life with Alice B. Toklas (though Toklas disputed this analysis).

466 The text calls for music that is often tongue-in-cheek and Thomson readily supplies it, as well as writing music that also gives depth to the characters. His greatest gift is his unique sensitivity for setting the American language in such a way that the inflection is resoundingly American. He sets the words in a mostly syllabic way, "in a style that does not attempt to do any of the things already done by the words. It merely explodes them into singing and gives them shape."(4) The exceptions are the lyrical arias, especially Susan B. Anthonys dream, "Will they Remember," and her haunting song about the Negro subjugation, "Would you vote if I could not?". Her final monologue is the emotional summation of the opera (Figure 7-2).
(J -48) (The women piece wreaths at the foot of the statue, end

motto expressive

slowly all depart.)

I. -------- -e

Figure 7-2: Act II, Scene 3, p. 155 Thomson's melodies are usually built on swift or diatonic chordal lines (Figure 7-3).

102

Susan B.

P
Will thay la mam-toar

0 9 in

i l i

r
!

j
trua

-i f

^ = = i 1
lhay,

* .........

that nal- thar

(hat nal- thar

r-

r ....

lL ] * -*i *-----------you.

....... ------------- -------- f r

..............

= J f r

| |

= S = = | 4 - U ------------ * f

Figure 7-3: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 5, p. 80 Frequent compositional devices he uses are: octave skips (Figure 7-4), sequences (Figure 7-5), patterns of thirds (Figure 7-6), and repetition of notes (Figure 7-7).

468

Andrew J. T haddeus 5.

(unlt )

it

'
We you l ie we V. L P.

3 3 3
v er-y Im-por- lent per- eone

PM f .

Tfr r

, *

T 1 ; Y1
p m

------r r p ' r
t

* *

P
A.J. Th.S

T T

D.W,

i, J J -.. J JJ. ^ L 1 J1 f ^ -| - - - - threat Lp \ *+iocan hear a you cen ten |ut we f 1- | ~ l P ' m ' 1* I ' j K- J 1 1 !p f = p 1 ----1 P v j -J P>^ -p * -* -= |^ZH 3 f r *-"1 * ' 1 r 1- 1
y-

9 an1 1 *on* 4)l Iff* P- - p p- ----- p f - p - -

Figure 7-4: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 9, p. 70

T hey

can-

not

el- t h e r aee

or
in f

I f

7 T- J b --------------

(SUO.J
b . . X h 7 } 1H

h e a r u n -le u

tell th e m so,

poor

things.

Figure 7-5: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 1, p. 25

I can be h on-est,

( - 60)

p s u b lto

Figure 7-6: The Mother of Us All. Act II, Scene 1, p. I l l (cont. below)

cause

y o u se e

h a v e n o v o te,

no

lo l-ter-er has a

v o te

e
m

i i

Figure 7-6: The Mother of Us AH. Act II, Scene 1, p. I l l (conclusion)

be- lie v e

in

pub-

lie school

ed- u - ca tio n .

4,1

^uiHm-gm0 g i %
I

Figure 7-7: The Mother of Us All, Act I, Scene 3, p. 56 The melodies are usually supported by simple harmonies, often tonic, subdominant, dominant. Thomson's most common harmonic hallmark is parallel thirds in the upper voices accompanied by parallel fifths in the lower voices (Figure 7-8).

471

I N I II I
w e w an t to

II

II

II

gp h o m e ,

w h y d o n 't you7

Figure 7-8: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 5, p. 98 Occasionally he incorporates polytonality and bitonal dissonances which are generally reserved for quarrels and stressful moments. For example, in Act I, Scene 5, where Indiana's brother disrupts the wedding, there are twenty-eight repetitions of a phrase (Figure 7-9) on different pitch levels as the various characters react.
{ -132)

_.
w ho

N o-bod-y k n o w s ( -132)

j 1

Figure 7-9: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 5, p. 89

Bitonality is also employed to create atmosphere and moods, as exemplified by the bitonal chords, used in a series of parallel triads in inverted order to create the atmosphere of bleak, cold weather (Figure 7-10).

< -48)

DO
1

m
-6 - .,

1 ^senzn

- j-.
l i ' V i

r l -------- 1 ------ & -------= = i n r =

' . I

p*

Figure 7-10: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 4, p. 66 Sometimes repeating chord progressions that change only at the most dramatic moment are employed under fast dialogue (Figure 7-11).
, un poco piti mosso

h h ^

%
a 4

Ev- ty - on* and you aach on* and


L.

I*

K I*

J
do,

you lhay all


.

thqr

un poco pJQ mosso poco p iu i

J ' j j j j j s / iempreslacc

r t f ' i

L L frj
Figure 7-11: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 1, p. 25 (cont. below)

473 A* I
II

rj I y kj .

>r-------1 r j 1 1 ti j __J J ,.J J 1

jU p r
ll-tan to ma.

Wall lattham da- ny It all tha aama th*y

j*

J '*

jflJ J

[j

do.

II*- tan to

tha man

da

Figure 7-11: The Mother of Us All, Act I, Scene 1, p. 25 (conclusion) The key signatures that change constantly with no relationship to each other help to make the plain harmonies interesting and they in turn are unified by the styles of music. Thomson uses only two direct musical quotes: "London Bridge is falling down", used for "Daniel was my father's name" in Act I, Scene 2 (Figure 7-12); and material from his own Tuesday in November score (a 1945 documentary film).

lF * = tl i
C horus

'i i

't , t n

t - i

i
My

Dan- lalw as m y fa-lh ai's n am a,

H t h r'anama, father'anama.

i i inr

Figure 7-12: Act 1, Scene 2, p. 33

However, he incorporates many "allusions" of rural America that sound like quotes but are original music: folk-like tunes, ballads, old waltzes, revival tunes (a la the Salvation Army band), blues tunes, hymns and patriotic pieces, as well as piano parlor pieces and a political rally song. Characters are sometimes associated with particular styles; for example, Daniel Webster's music is usually martial (Figure 7-13).
y

marcato
( N

H(I g p d

pit,

cI j p d It dMft h*

H|t*d It <

for hit

bro-thtr

l M

H 1 = ^ 1 = ^ 1 = ^

9
> ---------- J 1 ^ j - --------r l----------- a J j i

/
M d iU

k- 1 ----------- .
J^

______

a t.....

n J ----------

Figure 7-13: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 2, p. 33 Lillian Russell is associated with a Tennessee-type waltz catch phrase (Figure 7-14).
Russell iJ g ' i ilN . i a 1 1 i i - l = ... It I I Is so i beau1 t i tt-ful__ l l

pear

friends,

s -X -L ra b > r r
-i tV

( -721 1 .

/ 1 * r k t - a - - < S----- 1------lk T*j 1 * *

11 1
. ...j

ilm il*

I 7"

Figure 7-14: The Mother of Us All. Act II, Scene 2, p. 123 (cont. below)

475

i
to meet
you all.

Figure 7-14: The Mother of Us All. Act II, Scene 2, p. 123 (conclusion) Thaddeus Stevens' is rough and folksy (Figure 7-15).
T haddeus Stevens

Rob

I * ppm -ips*
tnecra-dle, rob it,
>

ir~f
rob

therob-ber, th i

( - 108)

/
*

ft3 1 l l l t

rob h im .

Figure 7-15: The Mother of Us AIL Act II, Scene 3, p. 138 Susan B. Anthony's is lyrical (Figure 7-16).

476

Susan B.

Su- *wi

B. An-

iho-y

Is

j I ' Mto my nm,


i -------

rT
hocus a nun* l

ia

i----------------

_ .......................

-----j------ 1

........................ ...... - .....

J- 1 7 *
..... * v J - id

PI) *
4

1 ~ o

\r

M -M -

jI Tf -

- r .- 1 - ,=

:1

fM-bto

jp rjz
I

mp

&

Figure 7-16: Act I, Scene 2, p. 35 The couples are also associated with styles. Daniel Webster and Angel Moore sing very pompously (Figure 7-17).

Daniel W.

A. M ore

D aniel W. PP

D. W. n o t. W h a t?

Sepa-

J
rate

If...
m ar-

^
riage

I
fro m

&

-r

A. M ore

#
D. W

122

~f~ f-- ^ ^ l j
m a r- riage. 8 " | A nd v*hy r Ot?

------------

ff

ft

...

^N = :
F , c .,|

f= H = i
J I -. w*

__

____ J *

Figure 7-17: The Mother of Us AH. Act I, Scene 5, p. 87

" 1

478 Jo and Indiana sing simple, straight-forward lines (Figure 7-18); and John Adams and Constance Fletcher sing "flirty" music (Figure 7-19).

109
Indiana E

have you th e ring?

You

did

not

fiof

Indiana E

an d m in e Is too

large.

H ush.

PP

Figure 7-18: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 5, p. 82

479

John Adams

I would

s ti ll, kneel-

lng

of

you hands,

if

I had n o tb een

an

Constance F,

mp
Mls-ter Ad-ams dear me.

poco rit.

mp

Figure 7-19: The Mother of Us All, Act I, Scene 3, p. 60 The overall format of The Mother of Us All is sectional, with usually unrelated musical forms linked together by recitatives and juxtaposed very

480 wittily. For instance, in the wedding scene (Act I, Scene 5), Indiana's brother's interruption of the ceremony is done to dissonant chords, which are immediately followed by an extremely trite nineteenth century-type tune. Another example comes in Act I, Scene 3, where the quarreling of Thaddeus Stevens and Andrew Johnson is followed by a waltz (Thomson often has people dance when embarrassed). The texture is generally homophonic for the soloists and polyphonic for the chorus, with frequent meter changes and many instances of canonic imitation and fugal devices (Figure 7-20).

thay ara

I p ...... P ----- ^ ^ ----p ------- ^ al w ay* quar-ral- Ing, al

^ way*

P --- L = 1 quar-ral-Ing,

i
9

U _ , .

/ --------------------k ................. ... .. ............................ p p p " p * = * "' =


thay an al ? -i r

M
F p " p quar-nl- Ing, ...... p way*

' = -----

wayi

i
^

u . .3 - 7

/
. - 'p - p tliay an il

f ------------- ---------------- 3 --------------- ------- -- ~ *.-------- ------------------------------------------- i L - 6 - 6 -------- ---------------------lhay

an

al

way*

q u ar -ral -

Ing,

al -

way*

v $ 3=1

-1
y , c re s c

Figure 7-20: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 3, p. 64 (cont. below)

481

^
al -

p.
way*

P p ft
q u a r - r a l ' Ing,

P
q u a r-ra l- Ing.

ff
f r * T
al way*

* -

q u a r-ra l- In g

q u i r ' r1 * Ing.

i f t

ff
q u a r-ra l - ling, al way* quar - ral Ing.

fa b f
q u a r-ra l- Ing, quar-ral-Ing

>

>

>

m
quar ral - Ing.

ff
> :

Figure 7-20: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 3, p. 64 (conclusion) There are a few recurring motifs, but these are used only to recall a previous mood, not as a dramatic device. For example, the overture is made up of short materials which are associated with Susan B. but which are never developed. The best example is the wedding scene motif which is first heard in the orchestra before Act I, Scene 5 (Figure 7-21). Later it is sung by Susan B., and then is employed to underline the ceremony and is repeated throughout the scene, binding the arias and ensembles together until it is finally restated at the end. It recurs once more during Susan B.'s final monologue in Act II, Scene 3, recalling what she has sacrificed for her cause and underlining her phrase, "Life is Strife."

482

Figure 7-21: The Mother of Us All. Act I, Scene 5, p. 151 The orchestration is full, the wide spacing giving the impression of volume, but at the same time it is quite transparent It serves to set the mood (for example, the use of drums and trumpets for patriot movements) and atmosphere; or to support the voices. There are abrupt changes in the instrumentation to define the various points of view or the dramatic situation. Robert Marx has said: Because of its humane complexity and the unity of its artistic vision, The Mother of Us All remains an astonishing work of American musical theatre - probably the finest of its kind.5 It is a work that can be performed in any playing space and still be effective and certainly holds a unique place in American opera. Virgil Thomson's operas are considered "the classic model of American speech unencumbered by stylistic mannerisms or personal eccentricities."6 Kupferman Not all Gertrude Stein texts have translated well into opera. In a Garden (1951), by Meyer Kupferman (1927--) on Ms. Stein's story, is

483 unimpressive. This story involves three children, Lucy, Phillip and Kit They decide that Lucy is not a queen, but the boys are kings since they have paper crowns and so Lucy must marry one in order to become a queen. She refuses to choose, so the boys fight a duel and kill each other, therefore leaving Lucy a queen with two crowns. Though the libretto is more coherent than Stein's typical idiom, she still uses words for sounds at times and often repeats phrases. The music score is perhaps too sophisticated for the subject matter (children). There is no key signature, although the keys change often and in an unrelated manner. Very often, there are sections which are polytonal and sections which are very percussive. The meters change constantly. In the end, it fails to support or clarify the intentions of the libretto, Ahlstrom Another composer to use Gertrude Stein as librettist is David Ahlstrom. Born in Lancaster, New York in 1927, Ahlstrom graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (M.M.) in 1952, and since then he has been a conductor, a band and a chorus director. His American subject operas include: The Open Window. Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Truck Stop (all one acts), and America. I Love You (three acts). The Open Window (1953) begins with Mrs. Sappleton looking out the window. As she goes upstairs to dress for dinner, she tells Veve to entertain Mr. Muttle when he arrives. As soon as he enters, Veve, having established

484 that he is new to the area, tells him a tale of how her aunt always watches out the window for her husband and two brothers who went out hunting and never returned. Mrs. Sappleton then enters and invites Mr. Muttle to join them for dinner as soon as her husband and brothers arrive. Looking out the window, she notices them returning. Mr. Muttle is horrified and runs out the door, as the men and the aunt watch amazed. They turn to Veve who says "but Aunt Sappleton, you told me to entertain him." As they comprehend, they all laugh. The music, as in In a Garden, seems to be too complicated for the simple plot. The multi-line texture doesn't really correspond with the text. The tonality is often bi - and polytonal with many sudden shifts of tonality more than the drama calls for. There are two motifs which first appear in the overture (Figures 7-22 & 23). These motifs are repeated and imitated throughout the opera, but are never developed.

Figure 7-22: The Open Window, p. 2

Figure 7-23: The Open Window, p. 2

485 The rhythms are also complex and the meters change constantly, again, more so than the dramatic action calls for (Figure 7-24).

Horn

Plano

Strings

--- j --- --- --p ft* f f , ,, .?llT p = ft* <f r_f_r r ' r rrrr~
j. 3 1 3 ----------------------------j jr u

*---------- 3 ------------

Strings

Figure 7-24: The Open Window, p. 19 Overall the sophistication of the tonalities and rhythms offers no lyrical relief and so the opera seems at odds within itself. Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters (also 1953) is based on the Gertrude Stein play about three sisters and two brothers, who play at murder. They are all killed one by one, but no one is sure who has murdered whom. Finally the only survivor is Jenny, who drinks poison because it is no good being alone. However it turns out that no one is dead, which they are all happy about and so they all go to bed. There is a chorus which takes no part in the drama.

486 While the opera is essentially tonal, the tonalities shift constantly with many bitonal passages. Dissonances in the form of sevenths, ninths and elevenths are common, as is chromaticism (Figure 7-25).

^ 1 .,1

T i4 j

j j j
i

Figure 7-25: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters, p. 23 As in The Open Door the meter changes constantly (for example, seven times in nine measures) in order to treat the text syllabically. and the rhythms are complex. The orchestration is difficult but colorful and well suited to the opera. Overall, Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters is much more successful than The Open Door. Truck Stop, his next opera, takes place late at night and deals with events in a truck stop. The waitresses Ann and Mae are behind the counter. Two girls, Donna and Ruth are at one table, a young man at another. Ann talks on the phone to her trucker husband, Bob, who says he will be home in an hour. Walter enters and eventually joins the girls. Dick also enters, then Tom and Red. Ann keeps turning on the radio to get news and weather conditions, as the roads are very icy. A couple of tourists come and go. The young man is getting impatient waiting for his girl. The radio announcer has increasingly bad news every time Ann turns it on - the roads are icy, there

487 has been an accident, etc. Finally, while Walter puts on the jukebox, Ann bends to the radio to hear the news. As she stops listening and stands with her head hanging, Tom and Dick realize what has happened and pass the word. Everyone stops laughing and exits, except for Tom and Mae. Mae turns off the grill and most of the lights, then leaves. Tom also leaves after he gets no response from Ann. Ann turns off the remaining lights and sits at the counter. As the lights fade, the others enter and take their original positions. Ann reiterates her phone call with Bob and then screams. The lights go out, the others begin to laugh increasingly and the announcer on the radio is heard above the laughter as Ann collapses. Musically Truck Stop shares the same traits as the other Ahlstrom operas. It is primarily bitonal and polytonal with some instances of atonality. The tonalities change abruptly and constantly. Typically he incorporates motifs such as the announcer's motif (Figure 7-26), and Walter's motif (Figure 7-27), which are repeated and imitated but not developed.
Plano 1 I -m t
-

m
\

r
Plano II

r r f

Figure 7-26: Truck Stop, p. 2

Figure 7-27: Truck Stop, p. 13 As usual in Ahlstrom, the rhythm patterns are complex (Figure 7-28) and the meters change frequently.
Plano I

mmFigure 7-28: Truck Stop, p. 63 The drama of Truck Stop seems more suited to Ahlstrom's music and therefore this opera is the most effective of Ahlstrom's operas from both the musical and dramatic standpoints. The last of his works, America. I Love You (1981), is technically not really an opera but a musical theatre work set to e.e. cummings texts. Rorem Ned Rorem has also written an opera based on Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Born in Richmond, Indiana in 1923, Rorem studied at Northwestern University, the Curtis Institute (B.A. ,1943), Tanglewood and the Julliard School of Music (M.A., 1949). The recipient of many awards and

489 honors, he spent the 1950s living in Paris. Upon his return, he taught at several schools. For the last fourteen years, he has lived in Nantucket and teaches at the Curtis Institute. Although he is best known for his songs, he has written several operas including A Childhood Miracle. Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters and Hearing which are based on American themes. A Childhood Miracle (1952), on a libretto by Elliot Stein, is based on part of Hawthorne's story, The Snow Image. Emma visits her sister's family on a snowy day. The father goes out and the women gossip beside the fire. The two children, Peony and Violet, go out in the snowstorm and build a snowman, who comes to life as they call him their brother and tell him hidden secrets. When their father gets home, he takes all of them inside to sit by the fire. After the snowman melts, the children rush out in the snow. When their parents find them, they are frozen into statues like their "brother." The libretto incorporates well contrasted characters and effective climaxes and the music serves these well. The opera is made up of definite numbers integrated with dialogue and recitative. It can be broken into six sections. In keeping with the conversational text, the melodic lines are mostly lyrical (Figure 7-29), with several instances of spoken dialogue.
M other

Figure 7-29: A Childhood Miracle, p. 14

490 Occasionally there are melismatic phrases, for descriptive effect, such as in Peony's aria, describing the snow (Figure 7-30).

J n g from

th e

sky,

Figure 7-30: A Childhood Miracle, p. 39 The melodies in the set pieces often sound folk-like, as in the quintet (Figure 7-31).

Father

m
Im go Ing dow n to th e general store for

n ' r ' .y Q
two-

t? *or m ay be m o re

three h o u r s

Figure 7-31: A Childhood Miracle, p. 6 The work is unified through the use of motifs. The most significant is the opening motif (Figure 7-32) which recurs in its original form and in variations throughout the work, including the final trio.
flute, clarinet

J - 60 * j t

a
mp

.7.

Figure 7-32: A Childhood Miracle, p. 2

491 There is also a melody (Figure 7-33) which first appears in the interlude between sections three and four and then forms the basis for section four.

O:

Figure 7-33: A Childhood Miracle, p. 21 While A Childhood Miracle is essentially tonal, there are many instances of modal writing. Rorem also incorporates many unresolved dissonances, such as major sevenths and ninths (Figure 7-34), often in parallel form. J. -5 2
V iolet

hard-

ly

k n ew A u n t

E-

Ifz- a-beth

Figure 7-34: A Childhood Miracle p. 34 He often utilizes chordal textures, especially ones built on fourths (Figure 735) to create atmosphere.

492

Figure 7-35: A Childhood Miracle, p. 27 There are also many instances of polyphonic writing and imitation, as in the final trio. While the meter changes very often, and syncopations are common, the rhythm is basically quite simple. Despite the unrealistic climax, A Childhood Miracle is very effective. However, it is difficult to sing and has many taxing vocal phrases. Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters (1971) is on Rorem's own libretto, based on Gertrude Steins play. The plot is the same as Ahlstrom's but there is no chorus. Typically the melodic lines are patterned after speech, but are very disjunct (Figure 7-36). There is no spoken dialogue.

h a v e an t-

dea

b eau -tt- fu l

Figure 7-36: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters: Act I, Scene 1, p. 13

493 The opera is unified through recurring motifs and sections. The Sisters have a motif (Figure 7-37) which serves as the basis for the women's music in Act I, Scene 1 and the end of Act III, thus enclosing the opera. It also recurs in various forms throughout the whole work.

(J

-7 2 )

Jenny f f f

We

are three sis-ters

w ho

are

not

sls-ten,

HelenjSflf rtn
We Ellen J j J are th ree sis-ters w ho are nto ot sis-ters

We

are three sis-ters

w ho

are

not

sls-te n

fff
V
9*

a
9*

Figure 7-37: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1 The men also have a motif (Figure 7-38) which serves as the basis for their music in Act I, Scene 1 and Act III.

494

e are

two bio- thers w h o

are

bro- thers, we

We are

two bro- thers w h o

are

n o - thers,

Figure 7-38: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act I, Scene 1, p. 8 Besides their "group" motifs, each character has his/her own type of melodic line as well. Jenny's music is often based on triadic intervals and is full of melismas (Figure 7-39).

r, ftB

--------^ ------------=----------- - i ---- 7 - ^ t - ---------- j


Oh

ff

was

not

1
Sam- ue) w ho killed them

Figure 7-39: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act III, Scene 1, p. 43 Samuel's motif is based on a downward scale, with an energetic rhythm (Figure 7-40).

495

ff m

ha.

(here Is no-bod-y dead.

and

jI have JJ to

|r ^ / f f

kill some-bod- y kill kll some-bod- y

dead.

Figure 7-40: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act II, Scene 2, pp. 29-30

Ellen's music is rather folk-like (Figure 7-41).

mp
p i s
Oh I am so glad

i
I

am

not

twin,

Figure 7-41: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act I, Scene 2, p. 16

Sylvester is associated with an upward octave sweep (Figure 7-42) and Helen with a syncopated downward sweep (Figure 7-43).

Sylvester

&
1 am Syl-vester and I

am

dead

Figure 7-42: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act III, p. 37

496

i$i * r
I

am

rt 1 1 'Mj
Heten and I

am

dead

Figure 7-43: Three Sisters Who Are N ot Sisters, Act III, p. 38

W hile Three Sisters Who Are N ot Sisters is basically tonal, Rorem em ploys m any com plex harm onies and various com positional techniques to create a tonal am biguity. These include: m any unresolved sevenths, ninths and elevenths; added seconds, fourths and sixths; parallel fourths and sevenths; som e chromaticism; polytonality; and m ajor/m inor am biguity (Figure 7-44).

f ffi
\ m

JJJ

4|a-

O P

Figure 7-44: Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Act III, p. 63

497
Rhythmically, the music does not appear complicated although the syncopations present difficulties (Figure 7-45).

E = P 3 t h e y __ s a y _____ It was she _

-4

...... -j

Ls
|

---------------7

[J
but I

r UJ

r f-^

... - r g 3 - . t .

' .........

...... ......

rn
was n te

.
...... -* ___
------- p -------tf--------

k n o w __

It

^=^=4==^ ---L-J ^
"TiT t
If

<

t [ l

^ --- ?
^

ri J U

j- z j

kf

Figure 7-45: Three Sisters Who Are N ot Sisters. Act III, p. 46

The texture is both homophonic, with an emphasis on chordal (Figure 7-37 above) and polyphonic, with many instances of counterpoint, as in the Act II, Scene 2 trio and the Act III quintet. Though Three Sisters Who Are N ot Sisters is vocally difficult, it manages to convey the atmosphere exceedingly well and can be very effective theatre.

Rorem's latest opera is Hearing (1977). The libretto by James Holmes, based on poems by Kenneth Koch, creates a scenario utilizing five of Koch's poems. A young man falls in love with a girl who is infatuated with an older man. She and the older man run off together. When she is confronted by the man's lady, who wins him back, the young girl returns to her young man. The melodic lines are quite disjunct at times and the harmony is occasionally modal. As w ell as his typical compositional techniques, Rorem also uses quartal chords.

Weisgall
One composer who has an affinity for the tensions of the expressionist theatre is Hugo Weisgall. Though he was born in Czechoslovakia in 1912, he came to America in 1920. Under his father's influence (he had studied and sung light opera) Weisgall was exposed to German lieder, opera and many orchestral works at a young age. He studied at the Peabody Conservatory, the Curtis Institute (1935-38) and John Hopkins University (Ph.d., 1940). His major teachers included Roger Sessions, Fritz Reiner and Scalero. He has conducted both in America and abroad, has received many awards and has held several teaching positions, most notably at Julliard and Queen's College. Best known for his operas, which include The Tenor. The Stronger. Purgatory. Six Characters in Search of an Author and Will You Marry Me. he writes mostly in a contemporary idiom, ranging from atonal chromaticism to twelve tone technique.

499
The Tenor (1950), on a libretto by Karl Shapiro and Ernst Lect, is based on Per Kammersanger by Frank Wedekind. Gerardo, the spoiled and cynical tenor, whose Tristan inspires wom en to follow him in droves and shower him with roses and champagne, finds his valet selling all the booty to the bellhop. A young girl has concealed herself in the room and steps out when Gerardo is alone. By her importunities she materially reduces the hour Gerardo has set apart for a rest before his departure to another city. Eventually Maurice, the manager, gets rid of her by sending her to an agent for a singing job. Maurice brings the rebellious Gerardo to heel by the effective threat to replace him by younger tenors. He promises to break off a current affair with Helen, a married woman, but she appears, saying that she has left her husband for Gerardo. Her ardent plea rouses in the tenor the w ish to abandon the false life of the stage, for his contract forbids him to marry. At the end of their impassioned duet, the phone rings. It is Maurice waiting. The spell is broken, and Gerardo prepares to depart. But it is the end for Helen she shoots herself and falls across the threshold, blocking Gerardo's exit. In a daze, he gathers up his belongings, steps over her body, and rushes out of the room.7 Musically, The Tenor is based on the constant reiteration and growth of thematic and rhythmic motifs. The opening motif (Figure 7-46), though not a strict twelve tone row (it is missing the A flat) is the principal motif which is repeated and varied throughout the opera, as in the inversion at the end of the trio for the young girl, Gerardo, and the manager.
Allegro molto

( J- 108 -112)

----- j 7 ip ( i z o ----- j

J 4 - - - - - ------------* L] ,.. r \ - - - - - ^ >J-- - - - - 1


i

Figure 7-46: The Tenor p. 1 (cont. below)

500

Figure 7-46: The Tenor p. 1 (conclusion)

Another important motif is Gerardo's "packing" m otif (Figure 7-47), an essentially tonal motif which recurs throughout, for exam ple, in Gerardo's duet w ith the young girl, and as the orchestral basis of his duet with his manager.

G er Pack W. W. ing clothes Is quite an

art.

simile

Figure 7-47: The Tenor p. 20

501
There are several rhythmic motifs that appear consistently (Figure 7-48) both alone and in combinations.

2==i
* )
ib)

p
A
c)

(d)_

Figure 7-48: The Tenor, p. 1

For example, the basic motif of the duet between the bell boy and the valet, is built upon the beginning of a), combined with c) (Figure 7-49).

Socks Presto

and

sus-144)

pen-

ders

from

both W. W,

(J.

Figure 7-49: The Tenor, p. 7 (cont. below)

502

den

Figure 7-49: The Tenor, p. 7 (conclusion)

There are also some direct quotes from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde (Figure 750).

Die Leuch-

te ver- lischt

Z uthrl

ih rl

f f dim. subllo

crvsc

ttf

Br

Figure 7-50: The Tenor, p. 42

The melodic lines are basically syllabic, but incorporate so many angular lines with large skips that they are difficult to sing. The rhythms incorporate many complex patterns that reflect the drama and which repeat often. They include many syncopations (Figure 7-51).

503

fa

J>
Par

- .f r -

J J>

Jl
of

from the b e a t

, r '
Str.

-------------- ,
p

=~~

"J

f .j.j, V ^ f i J

Jfr * ^ ....... .

r7r,^fi-f

P ?>

lie

J ? * - ----------------- tom * _____

. : , f a =
-- - - - J - - - - - - - - - - - - - - r

simile
b r - :

v q

_. J

!H

Figure 7-51: The Tenor p. 141

The meter changes frequently and there are instances of polymeters (Figure 752).
Allegro Young Girl

V r "
l

~ ^c r
den

fa y
Figure 7-52: The Tenor p. 56

504
The harmony is basically polytonal with constantly shifting centers, or atonal. The harmonic language consists of free chromaticism, altered scales and frequent non-harmonic dissonances as well as seconds, sevenths, ninths, elevenths and chords built on consecutive intervals. There is an overall continuous harmonic texture due to the avoidance of authentic cadences. The texture is a mixture of homophonic, for the lyrical sections, and polyphonic. Weisgall incorporates much contrapuntal writing (Figure 7-53). The orchestra lines work independently from the voice. Weisgall employs some unusual instrument combinations, such as viola and brass, for individual timbres and effects.

y.

c ..

ft
Please Its- ten w hen I tell you, that I'm

^
ma-

*
.. decresc,

M rI'd * Cl, I

I
hate to

see

h er

-J

Str.

Figure 7-53: The Tenor, p. 75 (cont. below)

505

turfi___________________ ihat

jf~: j Q

I'm ma ture. Ger.

Per- m tt me,Mis,per________________^fcntc.

/a-

ther at

the

door.

The

Hn.

tell
>

you

I'm

m tt

me.

and

I'll

law W. W,

ver-

brief

Figure 7-53: The Tenor, p. 75 (conclusion)

506
Even though the English is som ewhat clum sily set, and the polyphonic texture o f several lines at once makes com prehension difficult, the drama can be effective. H owever, the m usic is so com plex it requires excellent m usicians to perform it. The Stronger (1952) was adapted by Richard Hart from Stringberg's play. It w as m oved to an American cocktail lounge in the fifties and paraphrased into contemporary vernacular. Performed as a m onologue, the plot deals w ith the triangle of a wife, her husband and his mistress. Estelle (the w ife) and Lisa (the mistress) meet in a lounge on Christmas Eve. Estelle goes through a series of varied em otions as she talks first about her happy hom e and devoted husband, and then accuses Lisa of schem ing to ensnare Harold again and plotting to dominate her. At the end, she changes back to her phony "charm" as she says goodbye and leaves. M usically The Stronger is tightly constructed and unified by a series of motifs, rhythmic patterns and ostinato figures. The principal m otif (Figure 754) is stated at the beginning of the opera and can be divided into five separate m otivic units (a - e).

Ttot. (Sord.)

erase

? 3 p r.
8

(c)

(b)

44=
rl i f r

Sax

y w
(e) Bb

u
p

r1 ~
(d)

i- f - p

fa v < f r *P 7

^ i~B=l fed

M
------------------------------------

jlp 4 E )l

ii f fj Ui r i,g^
pp
subpp
Tj:----j----tl

0
J

---------

r-------- 4

ij -

- H------------

Figure 7-54: The Stronger, p. 1

There is also a rhythmic motif (f) and an ostinato motif (g) (Figure 7-55).

Figure 7-55: The Stronger, p. 1


All these little motifs recur throughout the opera in combination and in num erous variations. The m elodic lines are not tuneful as this is in the style of a declamatory m onologue. The angular lines are based on speech inflection. Many are freely chromatic (Figure 7-56).

Andantlno

( J - 80 - 84)

erase .

I knowhe's e

/
pend on H arold. Not th a th e Is- n*tsub-]acttotemp-ta-tlon.

Figure 7-56: The Stronger, p. 11

At times there are melism as to capture Estelle's artifice, such as her sarcastic use of "dear" for the friend w ho tried to seduce her husband (Figure 7-57).

509

T ; : - :^ = - = =
from mv

* ? s s r T allarg - - - - - Hk -t 5 r*
clear. daar.

1 -------

i P

flfe

fp

1- - - - - - - - - i l F * allarg. -------------

-J

i E :

-----

Figure 7-57: The Stronger, p. 12

The harmony is atonal, with dissonances used on the basis of their tonal color. Typical com positional devices include the use of minor seconds, major sevenths, minor ninths and elevenths, polychords, avoidance of conventional cadences, added tones and suspensions. The rhythm is made up of complex patterns with a great deal of syncopation (Figure 7-58). The tempo indications are strictly set.

You

sit

and stare

/
<

Tpt.

T. Sax

Figure 7-58: The Stronger, p. 25 (cont. below)

510
H
| T Tllke. I [ 9 ,, , r 1 - g f - l p like a splt p der

i
catdving flies.

jr r j

. J O

"

T- > 1

........................ f~f - ..... "


f l

Figure 7-58: The Stronger, p. 25 (conclusion)

The texture is more contrapuntal than not, w ith independent polyphonic lines for both voice and instruments which som etim es cause harsh dissonances (Figure 7-59).

AllegreUo

( J-88 - 92)

Figure 7-59: The Stronger, p. 26

The opera centers on Estelle's character which is a dem anding challenge to any singing actress, both to maintain the dramatic intensity and to conquer the pitch complexities.

Six Characters in Search of an Author, on a libretto b y Dennis Johnston, is based on the Luigi Pirandello play of the same name. A symbolic contrast of reality and illusion, it premiered in N ew York on April 26,1959. It is divided into three acts, with the interm ission coinciding w ith rehearsal breaks. During the rehearsal of a new work, on a bare stage, six characters (a father, mother, son, stepdaughter, boy and girl) interrupt, claim ing to belong to an unfinished opera. They are in search of som eone to give life to their drama and persuade the Director to substitute their opera for the one in rehearsal. As they start to develop their story, it becom es apparent that everyone hates everyone else am ong the six characters. The son hates both parents, the stepdaughter and younger children are illegitim ate children of the mother, and are in mourning for their real father, n ow deceased. After m any arguments (the characters want to portray them selves and this is not allowed; they dislike being parodied by the professional singers) and after several tragic occurrences (the little girl drow ns and the b oy shoots him self) the characters all disappear. One by one the singers suggest that the characters have existed only in the Directors mind and angrily he dism isses them. As the Stage Manager turns out all the lights, the rem aining characters appear in a funeral procession, from w hich the stepdaughter runs off laughing. The Director, w ho has seen nothing is frightened b y the laughter and shouts, "Who is there?" N o one answers and he walks out leaving the stage dark, bare and em pty as at the beginning.

512
Musically, Six Characters in Search of an Author is a mixture of dissonance, atonality and conventional harmonic structures differentiating the real and the illusionary. The melodies are functionally set following speech intonation. They are disjunct, built on second, perfect fourth and fifth intervals, as in his other operas and because they are freely chromatic, they often sound atonal (Figure 7-60). The recitative passages are short and fragmented.

^
none with the holable

\
fea- tures Of An- tho-

i
ny's

Figure 7-60: Six Characters in Search of an Author. Act 1, p. 12

These angular lines are contrasted by the more lyrical, tonal lines from the opera the company is rehearsing, as in the mezzo's aria "I bow to this sow" (Figure 7-61), and in the chorus numbers.

boat
Plano on

Figure 7-61: Six Characters in Search of an Author. Act I, p. 6 (cont. below)

513

Figure 7-61: Six Characters in Search of an Author, Act I, p. 6 (conclusion)

Typically, the opera is unified by recurring motifs and rhythmic figures. The most important motifs occur at the beginning of the opera. The first represents the characters (Figure 7-62), and the darker side of the mind. It recurs throughout the opera, most notably during the father's aria, the stepdaughter's aria and as a bridge for Madame Pace. It also appears at the ends of all the acts. w. w
I

63 m .
ZA

Figure 7-62: Six Characters in Search of an Author. Act I, p. 1

The second important motif is that of the "real" people (Figure 7-63), a complete contrast to the characters motif.

514

w. w,

n r V ' = v ' r u ^ M L rrl


v " *

Strgs.

Figure 7-63: Six Characters in Search of an Author. Act I, p. 1

It is the thematic source for most of the first section, and recurs throughout, most notably at the end of the second act where it appears in reverse, juxtaposed to the characters motif. The rhythm is very precisely notated to sound free, with a preponderance of triple meters. There are many recurring rhythmic patterns which add to the score's cohesiveness. The patterns are often complex with many polymetrical sections. The harmony is full of dissonances and obscure combinations. The movement is random; there is no preparation for the dissonances. Polytonal chords, and added seconds, fourths and fifths are typical compositional techniques (Figure 7-64).

515
molto sostenuto
Son

There Is

no

scene

betw een you

and

me..

ff

Strgs, W. W.

ff

Brass

Figure 7-64: Six Characters in Search of an Author. Act III, p. 337

The texture is a mixture of homophonic, as in the chorus sections and much of the recitative, and polyphonic, with many contrapuntal sections (Figure 7-65).

Prompter

chair, the

w o -m an 's

faint- Ing,

get

_____________

Mezzo________

Get Director Get chair, the wo- m an's

Figure 7-65: Six Characters in Search of an Author. Act II, p. 111-112 (cont.)

516

chair.

Gel

chair,

lh#

chair. Basso Contante

Get

chair,

the

wo-

m an's

Figure 7-65: Six Characters in Search of an Author. Act II, p, 111-112 (concl.)

The orchestration is quite transparent, with some unusual combinations, such as flute and tuba or piccolo and bass clarinet. It is often employed to comment on the action. The instruments often function individually. This is his most successful opera. His cerebral music suits this libretto. His latest opera, Will You Marry Me (1989), a one-act opera on a libretto by Charles Keerdek, is based on the play, A Marriage Has Been Arranged, by Alfred Sutro. A paradoxical character study, it deals with a man and a woman whose parents expect them to become engaged. They meet at a party. He behaves boorishly and she says that her only love was a poor lieutenant. As they talk, their opinions of each other change and by the time they go back to the party, they have happily accepted one another. It is said "to have a martini-dry thirties urban tone that masks the real human dilemmas underneath until the time is right for them to bubble to the surface and catch

517
us unaware."8 The m usic follows in the style of Weisgall's previously discussed operas, with its conversational and disjunct melodic lines, contemporary harmonies, and transparent instrumental texture. In sum m ing up his operas, one can quote Machlis who says: Essentially an opera composer, Weisgall writes in a contemporary idiom that ranges from atonal chromaticism to the tw elve tone style. His vocal line sensitively mirrors the natural inflections of English - better, American - speech, and at the same time incisively delineates character, situation and the psychological nuances of the action.^ and Andrew Porter w ho calls W eisgall a composer . . . w ho know s opera who has thought deeply about what opera in our day can and should be. His music engages the mind in w ays that make one want to hear it again.io

Argento Another com poser w ho deals w ith reality versus illusion in terms of ones ow n self discovery is Dom inick Argento. Bom in York, Pennsylvania in 1927, Argento began studying piano and teaching himself theory in 1943. His later studies include the Peabody Conservatory (B.M., 1951, M.M., 1955) with Henry Cowell, the Eastman School of Music (Ph.d., 1957) with Bernard Rogers, Alan H ovhaness and Howard Hanson, and privately with Hugo Weisgall and Luigi Dallapiccola. In 1958, he joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota, where he still teaches. His operas include The Boor. The Masque of Angels. Colonel Jonathan the Saint. The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe, and A Waterbird Talk.

518
The Boor (1957), a one act based on Anton Chekhov's play is on a libretto by John Olon-Scrymgeour. It premiered at the festival of American Music at the Eastman School of Music in 1957. It takes place in the drawing room o f a w id ow w ho has mourned for her dead husband a year. Her neighbor forces his w ay in and dem ands payment for oats which her husband bought. She tells him that she'll pay tomorrow and he threatens to stay until she does. They get into a shouting match, throwing insults at each other, until the w id ow challenges the boor to a duel. Impressed w ith her spirit and much against his w ill, the boor confesses that he has fallen in love w ith her. After a few feeble threats to shoot, she falls into his arms. Musically, there is a variety of styles, dependent upon the mood. It is divided into eleven scenes. The score is basically homophonic, w ith several instances of cannon and imitative phrases as in Scene II (Figure 7-66).

W . (Aside) p

a fWit ith-anL .
B. (Aside) p th bk- tom* Ing

Witha

out.

^PlOmosso, m acan tan d o

(In 2)

J J
pp dokhiss
1

th t

Figure 7-66: The Boor. Scene 2, p. 80 (cont. below)

519

bough.

blot- tom - tng bough

Figure 7-66: The Boor. Scene 2, p. 80 (conclusion)

There are several phrases associated with the characters. One is the w idow's "mourning" (Figure 7-67), which is her first line in the opera. It recurs most notably in her Scene 2 aria, as the boor accuses her of playing games (Scene 9), and as she weakens toward him in Scene 11.

14 a

> ir
cur-

J> h T f
tain o n

>r
th

i r -v ^
sut\_____

G osa th*

Figure 7-67: The Boor. Scene 1, p. 3

The boor also has an entrance phrase, which is an energetic contrast to the w idow 's (Figure 7-68). It recurs most notably in the postlude as he w ins his lady.

520

Figure 7-68: The Boor. Scene 4, p. 20

The dead husband is associated with the "Toby" phrase which is repeated three times (Figure 7-69), the third time in which the horse, Toby, is not to have any oats, as the w idow gives up her dead husband.

4 *
Tell them to give Toty an extra m ea sure of

oats

mm
to-

day.

Figure 7-69: The Boor. Scene 1, p. 11

The m oney is represented by a rhythmical figure (Figure 7-70) which is constantly repeated as the boor and w idow argue in Scene 5 and Scene 8.

pp

S
tm pnsU ccM o

Figure 7-70: The Boor. Scene 5, p. 25

521
Interspersed with set numbers are speech-inflected recitatives, with the exception of two spoken lines by the boor. The harmony throughout is basically tonal, although it is often ambiguously major/minor and polytonal (Figure 7-71).

i j P

/ 7 t j Youth's a ligi

i n

-h I

i n

. on^ 3

- 4
thing

m ust __ l,J '

i n r v it = 4 du re:_

t ..... i

k j j , ..... -

i_ ----- 1_ -----T ^ T ------

p sonamso
l !jt

-------------------

sempre arp.
4 = 1

*
i 3*

=M

u - ------- 1

Figure 7-71: The Boor. Scene 1, p. 5

The rhythm is fairly simple, although there are sections of changing meters and polyrhythms. Other compositional techniques include chromaticism, syncopation, repeating phrases and rhythmic patterns. Though it is a youthful work, it is very accessible to both performers and audience. Colonel lonathan the Saint (1958-60), "a comedy of reconstruction" in four acts with an interlude of waltzes, is also on a libretto by John Olon Scrymgeour. The mansion, Lyonesse, in Maryland was partially burned in a union raid during the war. The officer in charge, Col. Jonathan Gelourin returns after the war to find that it has been converted into a hotel by Allegra and her niece, Daisy. Sabrina, Daisy's sister and owner of Lyonesse, returns

522
from a three-year search for her dead Confederate husband. Jonathan, w ho resembles her husband, falls in love with Sabrina, but she remains in a dream world until he quotes her husband's farewell words to her. They marry and he restores the house to a private home. Even though Sabrina lives in the present, she meets her former husband's ghost, and is increasingly drawn into the shadow world. Typically, the music incorporates traditional harmonies and soaring m elodies in a rather Pucciniesque vein. The orchestration sets the m ood and atmosphere. However, the opera as a whole is too unw ieldy and is not effective as theatre. The Masque of Angels (1963) on another libretto by Olon-Scrymgeour, is a one-act set in a church at the present time. A group of angels are in a church preparing to aid the courtship of Ann and John. Metatron, their captain, is annoyed at their lack of numbers, but instructs them anyway. John and Ann are not sure of their commitment and receive advice from a spinster and an old professor (really two of the angels). The angelic com pany finally succeeds as John and Ann kiss and they head for their next project -- to visit "heads of state and their wives. If w e can promote im provem ents in their married lives, great benefits will ensue for all mankind."11 Musically it is typically melodic and traditional. There is a clear differentiation betw een "sacred" and "secular". The secular consists of recitatives, both accompanied and unaccompanied, arias (such as Metatron's

523
sermon) and duets (Figure 7-72). The melodic lines are lyrical, built triadically with homophonic texture.

We have come here to-day to

en-

cour-age one mor- tallove..

Figure 7-72: The Masque of Angels, p. 53

The sacred sections, which include Latin texts, are in the form of Eighteenth Century hymnody, often polyphonic with many melismas (Figure 7-73), as well as some pseudo Gregorian chants.

------------- 1

........ T

~ ^ = [
^Glo -

t M -------------------- h * i

.....v - F T S t Glo w-h# =0 u ^-i---------

/- -

Glo

r r

j j f

f 1

3 i>

Tf

l> 3

Figure 7-73: The Masque of Angels, pp. 24-5 (cont. below)

524

IP

3 - jJ J f L [ r f , t ^
GLo

- H f "T . 1 - 1 1 ^,-M J J

1 M iT T I u J T3 U 1,J

r-W
1

fY
H

tt

n r n-

l ^ 1 1 Ur r

J .f ,

ff ~ f u

r f r L r VV f T T T 1 i - r[T | | i r i rT cnsc
X

j Hi1 y

d *7.

M Lf l l - , , .4 ?r 1

*);f| r----------------------/ }k --------- e Ira J x

|r3

Figure 7-73; The Masque of Angels, pp. 24-5 (conclusion)

The opera begins and ends with the same music, a marching canon (Figure 7-74) which gives the work a cyclic feel.

ii

j /

. . .

'is 'fir r r f

1^

"VsiHT--------- b * = = ^ = = ft* = l
Ob. I

ft*
\J \

I f

Jl
j $

-> ------J J

-^ 2

---- ^2---------4

4tJ J 'e? j f? j
1

----- j : I -jgt-M--- 1& j

Figure 7-74: The Masque of Angels, p. 1

525

Various sections are unified by repeating motifs or rhythmic patterns, such as Ann's and John's "meeting" motif (Figure 7-75), the syncopated rhythms in triplets for John (Figure 7-76) and quadruples for the angels (Figure 7-77).

PP

legato

Figure 7-75: The Masque of Angels, p. 109

m p
A
aT a

A A

Figure 7-76: The Masque of Angels, p. 100

simile

f t

f W

-.T T

Figure 7-77: The Masque of Angels, p. 135

Other favored compositional traits include parallel chords built on consecutive intervals, added notes and ostinato figures.

A Waterbird Talk (1974), a one act monodrama freely adapted by Argento from On the Harmfulness of Tobacco b y Anton Checkov and The Birds of America by J. J. Audubon, takes place at a nineteenth century ladies club in Maryland or Virginia. The lecturer is addressing the club on the subject of water birds but it quickly degenerates, after his wife's exit, into a discussion of his life. Each bird description turns into a reflection on his wife, their relationship and the failure of his life. Upon her return he concludes his lecture with the quote "My heart has spoken, and thus m y fettered soul has taken w i n g ." i 2 Musically, A Waterbird Talk is constructed as a lyrical twelve-tone theme, six variations and a coda. The melodic lines are fluently disjunct, full of free chromaticism. Many are very complex (Figure 7-78). They are syllabic except for his occasional melisma.

W hen ev- er

my right eye _ has a lenden- cy to

blink like that

Figure 7-78: A Waterbird Talk, p. 18

The rhythm is made up of complex patterns, with instances of polyrhythm s and occasionally polymeters (Figure 7-79). The meter changes frequently.

poco a poco dimin.

Twlxt

F-T-7T f N
poco apoco dlmln Li 3 . ___3 _________ 0 ___ O . Jtft

poco a poco dimi

ancon dim

4 =

P < L

___ 3

" \ ^ ; *--- (;

nr

j [ , i*

J ;

L2

sL -

| | | g

f
ancon dim.

Figure 7-79: A Waterbird Talk, p. 143

528

The harmonic palate is very broad with many unresolved sevenths, ninths and elevenths, added seconds, fourths and sixths and many complex chords. The tonality is further submerged by such composition techniques as parallel consecutive interval chords, syncopations and few authentic cadences. The orchestral writing is atmospherically expressive, capturing the various moods that the lecturer goes through. The instruments often have independent lines and various combinations are used to capture the various bird types and musical forms employed, such as the clarinet and marimba for the "Romanza" (the Coronet - variation I) or the horn and timpani for the "Marcia all Italiana" (the Puffer - variation V). Interspersed throughout the opera is a tape of birdsongs, which begins the opera. The drama of A Waterbird Talk is well projected and the work can be a true tour de force for the singing actor. The Vovage of Edgar Allen Poe (1975), a two-act opera on a libretto by Charles Nolte which uses Poe's words as part of the text, is a psychological fantasy. Though feverish and ill, Poe plans to sail to Baltimore that night on a ship mentioned by Griswold, his literary executor. His doctor tries to dissuade him because he believes no ship will depart that night and he distrusts Griswold, urging Poe to be wary of him as well. Alone, Poe stands on the dock and boards the phantom ship captained by Griswold. A troupe of actors

529
on board begins a melodrama that Poe is drawn into, unable to distinguish illusion from reality. He experiences numerous scenes in which the characters transform mysteriously into other characters or into people from his past: his mother; his stepfather and stepmother, Mr. and Mrs. Allen; his young wife Virginia who died two years earlier. Griswold assumes roles in each scene, sometimes more than one, and always with malevolent undertones. Poe envisions his mother's death when he was a child and the frequent chiding by his stepmother and berating by his stepfather who considered him a ne'er-do-well. Gliding on a silent boat with Virginia, he relives their happy memories only to have them disrupted by another boat which carries Griswold and his mother with a seductive look in her eye. He is forced to join a staged wedding only to find that it is his own, but his bride, Virginia, is but a child of twelve and the minister is first Griswold, then a ranting Mr. Allen who disinherits him and finally a minister pronouncing them man and wife. As the passengers prepare for a masquerade Poe hears a disembodied voice singing "Annabel Lee" and believes it to be Virginia, as both she and his mother died singing to him. Though initially dissuaded of this by the crowd and by heavy drink, he hears the voice again and cries out that it is Virginia outside the door in the storm. The door bursts open to reveal Virginia in a blood-soaked bridal gown and as Poe rushes to embrace her she falls to the floor taking him with her, as Griswold and the others laugh macabrely. With

530

the lounge and the passengers normal, Poe, still clutching the bloody veil, confusedly tries to relate the experience and is deemed insane. With Griswold as the judge and Poe's fictional detective, Auguste Dupin, as his advocate, a trial to determine his madness begins. Returning to his wife's deathbed he is confronted by a priest (Griswold) who urges him to confess that he longed for his wife's death and needed her suffering to inspire his art. When Poe vehemently denies this, the priest conjures up Poe's future actions as proof. With Griswold as the auctioneer, various women who were prominent in Poe's later years step through the mirror frame and offer various physical parts of themselves for his edification. When Poe screams, the vision dissolves and he finds himself kneeling at his wife's bier. With his embrace she comes to life and warns him not to ask about life beyond the grave. In his excitement Poe insists once, and then again only to find that it brings on her demise. Poe then recognizes that she is, yet again, a victim of his creative life. When the trial resumes the jury is unmoved by Poe's defense and Griswold stands mockingly in the mirror frame. Poe challenges his tormentor only to hear him say that he represents Poe's soul, his secret self. When Poe strikes out with his sword cane his nemesis is transformed into an image of Poe who welcomes his blows. Poe stands alone on the dock once again with no sign of a ship. As Griswold emerges from the shadows the disembodied voice of Virginia is heard singing the final strains of "Annabel Lee" and Poe slowly dies as the manuscripts slip from his hands.

531
The doctor emerges, calling for Poe and finds Griswold standing over him. The doctor relates that Poe w ished to take a ship last night but Griswold insists that no vessel departed. While the doctor kneels over the body of Poe, Griswold slips into the dark. Musically the opera is divided into ten scenes, w ith a prologue and epilogue. Each scene has its ow n recurring m otifs a n d /o r rhythmic figures, som e of which recur in several scenes, thus unifying the opera. One of the first is the "discovery" m otif (Figure 7-80) w hich is first stated in the prologue and recurs throughout Scene 1, in Scene 10, and as he dies in the epilogue.

( J- 52) (col t t m p . ) ______

p o co cm c

________

j>
A

r ^ r f :
voy - age of DU-

-T

i P~=

cov- r- y__________

Figure 7-80: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Prologue, p. 5

The sea is associated with an orchestral chromatic sw eep (Figure 7-81) w hich first appears in Scene 1. This occurs w henever the sea is m entioned, for example, in Scene 8 and the epilogue.

532
PtO mosso (In 6) dim. 9d K c tl

Figure 7-81: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Foe. Act I, Scene 1, p. 20

A rhythmic chord figure (Figure 7-82) is associated with his quest for creativity, occurring whenever he is searching, for example in Scene 1, Scene 5 and Scene 10.

1 1 l i JlMTJli
( 3 V ** I / (Str) ( > > > > > > >r > >

m
Jkf} '

JV p|9

a - i- i- M

Figure 7-82: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Act 1, Scene 5, p. 160

533
The chorus has a funereal figure which occurs whenever there is a death, (Figure 7-83), both in Scene 2 and Scene 9.

PP
P
U-

solto voce

la- l u m e ,

U-

la-

lume.

P j^^^so tto v o c e

&

Figure 7-83: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Act I, Scene 2, p. 57

Other rhythmic ostinato figures include those in Scene 5 (Figure 7-84) and Scene 7 (Figure 7-85).

r
a sempre simile U

Figure 7-84: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Act I, Scene 5, p. 152

PPP

PP.

Figure 7-85: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Act II, Scene 7, p. 289

534
There is a variety of textures: folk-like for quotes of Annabel Lee; bel canto arias; chanting sections of chorus; hymn-like choruses; declamatory recitative; conversational style recitative, both accom panied and unaccom panied; sprechstimme; rhythmically spoken dialogue; and polyphonic sections. The m elodic lines vary from disjunct, w ith w ide angular leaps (Figure 7-86) to freely chromatic w ith small intervals (Figure 787).

All

ta s te

ts blt-teronmy

tongue:

and 1 m ust

dcavsc

sat),______

Figure 7-86: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Act I, Scene 1, p. 16

know.

Pb-cul- tar

not-

ex- *>

er-bate your

Figure 7-87: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Act I, Scene 1, p. 21

Argento also incorporates som e unusual techniques, such as w avering tones (Figure 7-88) and non-musical sounds such as d og how ls.

535
Mrs. Gemm

p
~m

tenz* espr.
> w ii w m w m u

B O P W ^

Ap - peal

to

Mister

How can

I marry now?

1am a beggarl

Figure 7-88: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Act I, Scene 3, p. 126

The rhythm patterns can be extremely complex, with many instances of polyrhythms and polymeters (Figure 7-89).

Figure 7-89: The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. Act I, Scene 5, p. 217

536

Harmonically The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe is a mixture of tonal and atonal ambiguity. There are numerous examples of parallel seconds, sevenths and consecutive interval chords, as well as chordal clusters, suspensions, open fourths and fifths, pedal points and polychords. The orchestration is filled with expressive color and is atmospherically evocative of many moods. The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe is a most interesting and absorbing opera. Typical of Argento, it is theatrically effective and he "succeeds in writing music that reflects the insistent nightmare of Poe's mind and still provides a diversity of emotionally charged sounds."i3 All Argento's operas are shaped with great dramatic understanding coupled with a skill for writing grateful melodies for the voice and for colorfilled orchestrations. The theme of most of them is one of self discovery, and Argento's ow n statement about The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe reflects on all his works: The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe sounds intellectual and complicated, but I want it to be thrilling, melodramatic theatre.14 Barab One composer w ho specializes in short whimsical stories and witty music is Seymour Barab. Born in Chicago in 1921, Barab received early training first on the piano, then on the cello. As a professional cellist he has played with the Indianapolis Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and the San Francisco Sym phony as well as various chamber ensembles. Though mostly

537
self-taught in composition, he did study with Vincent Persichetti and Lou Harrison. He began to work seriously as a composer in 1952, and since that time has written over thirty operas as well as works for other genres. Most of his operas are one-act works, which utilize small casts making them highly popular with opera workshops and community groups. Chanticleer (1956), on a libretto by Mary Caroline Richards, is based on a story b y Geoffrey Chaucer. Just before dawn in her farmhouse the w id ow wakes up, com es out to greet the day and wonders where Chanticleer, her treasured rooster, is. He is still under the spell of a terrible nightmare about a fox, but his w ife, Pertelote, berates him and she and the w id ow persuade him to sing. The fox in disguise tries to capture Pertelote but is thwarted by the w idow 's entrance. He entraps Chanticleer, however, by means of flattery. Chanticleer in turn tricks the fox, getting him near enough for the w id ow to whack the fox with the broom, and then is saved. The libretto is colloquial, full of wit and fun, with many Freudian slips by the fox, such as "I ate your father - er - that is - 1 meant to say, I paid your father."!5 and bad puns, such as "you caught me square; and now they say there w as 'fowl' play."i6 M usically it is one continuous act with set numbers incorporated. It is made cohesive by repeated short motifs, ostinato figures, sequences and repetitive rhythmic patterns. The vocal lines are soaring, sim ple, and speech inflected (Figure 7-90).

538

Dawn

f r Is breaking

ft1 v - n J f f i r __ and I Itst-en to hear

ij M f ir r

r . I
ofmy chant-i-clear!___

Jhe mom-tng song __________

Figure 7-90: Chanticleer, p. 7

Barab also incorporates instances of sprechstimme (Figure 7-91) and spoken dialogue for moments of tension.

ffii

- i

falsetto)

Who are you?

i i* f i * r = #
Who, me? Why uh

You

know.

you

look

like

Figure 7-91: Chanticleer, p. 49

The texture is a mixture of homophonic and polyphonic. Chanticleer sings in traditional styles, such as his Handelian aria (Figure 7-92) with much melisma, or his madrigal-like song (Figure 7-93). While there are occasional meter changes, the rhythms are not complex at all.

i
The sun has climbed (he rungs of heavan;

3o|
I

t r

mum

i t
_2iQg_

Figure 7-92: Chanticleer, p. 25

All

fears

all

fears.

Figure 7-93: Chanticleer, p. 67

540
Harmonically, Chanticleer is tonal, although the tonal centers shift frequently. Barab also incorporates chromaticism, seventh and ninth chords and altered tones. Though Chanticleer is not strong theatrically, it does please the audience for which it aims, children. A Game of Chance (1957), on a libretto by Evelyn Manacher, deals with three knitters in a garden who are bored with knitting. The third wishes for a fortune and the "representative" enters, telling her that she won a slogan contest and is rich. The second wishes for fame and again the representative enters, this time representing a publishing company, and informs her that her manuscript was accepted. The first wishes for love and the representative, now a Western Union employee, brings a telegram from her lost lover. All three of the knitters return, having discovered that they did not ask for enough. The rich woman lacks friendship, the author love and the third a home for her babies. Even the representative wants an assistant. The moral is that we all want too much or too little. Again this opera is a one-act with set numbers, recitative and spoken dialogue. It is unified by repeated motifs, ostinati and sequences. The knitting is associated with a repeated rhythm over an ostinato (Figure 7-94).

541

0 0 0

P non legato, sema espressh u me

l= f= fc

Figure 7-94: A Game of Chance, p, 1

Each knitter is associated with a rhythmic motif. The third knitter is associated with a Charleston (Figure 7-95) for riches, the second with a vigorous fanfare (Figure 7-96) for fame, and the third with a waltz (Figure 797) for love.
Charlston
>

(J -80)

>

Figure 7-95: A Game of Chance, p. 7

Tn f rrrrrr r f i rrrf f < in mm


4 -4 -4 -4

Figure 7-96: A Game of Chance, p. 26

542
Tempo divalse (J. -52)

Figure 7-97: A Game of Chance, p. 41

Typically the work is very tonal w ith frequent use of chromatic dissonances from added seconds and fourths, altered tones and seventh and ninth chords. The tonal center often shifts abruptly. The texture is m ainly hom ophonic with som e instances of polyphony (Figure 7-98).
First Knitter

4 ---------------------- J
hat a won-derful stroke of for-tune,

4 - ....... - -------- ---but -

Second Knitter ....................................... . - . .------u

3 | f l 1

..........
j .

It's so nice that she gc>t herwlsh, but

Third Knitter

'

r I

r
can't

r
be-

i
lieve

? =

that____

t poco

= .......
^

" """a
%

Figure 7-98: A Game of Chance, p. 20

543
The melodic lines follow the colloquial speech lines and help to project the text. The rhythms also correspond with the text and are relatively uncomplicated. He incorporates several typically American rhythms, including the Charleston {previously noted in Figure 7-95 above) the fox trot and jazz {Figure 7-99).
1J L 4
m

1 ....- ....*
use

soap

_______ ' 1 1

= L J * J Lav- er-y maws JV j 7 er-y makes because


m \ = >

that

$ b n

p------- J ------- f ------- p--------r J r p iI f


l use soap that Lav-

J f --------because

9
$

, r
I

j
use soap

,| .... ~r~.....
that Lav-

er-y makes iJ ~ l 4 j -

because = i

'

fh v i

Ird--------t i d --------- i . . --------^ L I

| ^ 3 - = ----------------* #

p-p p---------------------- b t t m------- p . f t ---------- f *------.... - E = J r ....... Lav- er-y makes themost lath- er-y flakesl

Lav- er-y makes i t j i n Lav- er-ymakes -

u -p - r L - j r the most lath- er-y is.sK! themost g(S / v = i t . | IT 7 j r 1 1 lath- er-y

flakesl

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l i y

............ -*____ ... |

f > | .

........... - r - r - i t - p j M l - ....... tr ------------------------1----- P 7 * ! = = = =

___ %_______
L-------

Figure 7-99; A Game of Chance, p. 18

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While there is perhaps a little too much repetition at times and the climax is rather weak, there are still many expressive and effective moments, and the comparative ease of understanding and performing the work make this opera well within the grasp of any group. Phillip Marshall, a two act tragedy on a libretto by the composer, is partially based on Dostoevsky's The Idiot. Phillip Marshall returns home at the end of the Civil War having served in the confederate army. He has spent the last year in a sanitarium. He promises Mrs. Hannan to persuade her son, Jonathan, w ho is his best friend, to come home from where his father had driven him for his pacifist nature. Phillip goes to see his former sweetheart, Rosellen, but she has become the mistress of the brothel-keeper, Lucius, and refuses to see him. Phillip becomes engaged to Maritha, Jonathan's sister, w ho has always adored him. However, Rosellen then confesses that she loves Phillip but is afraid of Lucius. Jonathan tries to kill Phillip in a duel but fails and in despair kills himself. Mrs. Hannan rejects her husband because of this, Maritha tries to win Phillip back but fails, and Lucius jealously murders Rosellen. Phillip returns to the sanitarium, his attempts to help those whom he loved having ended in tragedy for everyone. Typically the vocal lines are patterned after speech. The texture is continuous, within which are set-numbers and recitative. Harmonically it is tonal, w ith som e contemporary dissonances.

The Rajah's Ruby (1958), based on Milne's Man in the Bowler Hat takes place in a suburban living room. John and Mary are sitting in their living room, reading and sew ing respectively, and comment that nothing exciting ever happens to them. A vulgarly dressed man enters and sits on the stage. Suddenly there are off-stage screams and gunfire. The hero enters and gives guns to John and Mary. The heroine then enters and tells the hero that her father knows that the hero has the Rajah's ruby, but that he mustn't give it up because there is no telling what the father would do w ith it. She then departs, and, after telling John and Mary to wait, the hero also leaves. The villain tries to enter twice and both times John misses him w ith the gun. The hero is heard screaming "help", and as John and Mary decide what to do, the lights go out. When they come back on the hero is gagged and bound. The villain enters and, w hen the hero refuses to divulge the rubys hiding place, has John torture him with a pin. The hero then confesses that he hid the ruby in tissue paper in lockers, in suitcases and in hotels, but he doesn't remember where, finally admitting that he lost the suitcase containing the ruby. The vulgarly dressed man interrupts and says that this wasn't bad, and that they'll go through it again in ten minutes. As with his other operas which have been discussed, The Rajah's Ruby is tonal with frequent shifts as well as chromaticism and dissonances. There is more polyphonic writing and the melodic lines are a little more angular. Again, the opera is unified by short repeating motifs, ostinato and rhythmic

546
patterns and sequences. The drama itself is rather uninteresting; however the work, as a whole, is easy to produce. Fortune's Favorites (1982), which Barab himself adapted from Baker's Dozen by H. H. Munro (Saki), is a tale about Emily, a widow, and Richard, a widower. They were sweethearts in their youth, and meet accidentally in a crowded restaurant after not having seen each other for many years. Both avid believers in omens, they believe that fate has brought them together. Richard proposes and Emily immediately accepts. A problem arises when they realize that disaster awaits them if they wed, because together they would have thirteen children, her eight and his five. After deciding that there is no way to eliminate one of their children, the marriage is nearly cancelled. However, they finally discover that Richard has miscounted his children since Junior and Richard are the same boy. Therefore, they will only have 12 children and so can get married. Musically, Fortune's Favorites is in a similar vein to A Game of Chance and Chanticleer. The text is witty and the music matches it. As is typical in Barab, the score is unified by the use of motifs, such as the "entrance" music which recurs for both Richard and Emily (Figure 7-100) and the opening "fate" motif (Figure 7-101).

sempre stacc

f "

Figure 7-100: Fortunes Favorites, p. 6

Figure 7-101: Fortune's Favorites, p. 3

The style is very conservative and traditional. At times it almost sounds like popular music. The vocal lines are mostly conjunct, conversational and very singable (Figure 7-102).

tr -------------------------- i In------ 1*------p------J -------------1--------------- t 1 ------- ------ *....... ........ You're look* Ing ftnel L i.* ^

r
tng

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great!

. This

r Is

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Figure 7-102: A Game of Chance, p. 17 (cont, below)

548

It's

too

dt- vinel

treatl

How have you

been?

Figure 7-102: A Game of Chance, p. 17 (conclusion)

The rhythms are not complex, although there are occasionally some polyrhythms. The harmony is tonal, with occasional chromatics and mild dissonances. The overall effect is one of farce and its conservative style appeals to a wide variety of people. The rest of his operas on American subjects display similar musical traits combined with a variety of topics. At Last I've Found You (1984) deals with some beings from a distant galaxy who land on earth and the two government agents who are sent to get the secret of inter-galactic space flight from them. Everything Must Be Perfect is about a mother's relationship with her 12-year-old daughter. I Can't Stand Wagner deals with a composer whose "Zeus Symphony" is premiered to great acclamation by all but Zeus, who is so incensed by his association with this music that he sends the Three Furies after the composer. Little Stories in Tomorrow's Pages deals with two murderers hiding from the law, who befriend a man, thinking that he is a

549
fellow criminal. When they find out that he isn't, they want revenge for his "deception." In Out the W indow, the w ife of a jealous husband tries to cure her husband's jealousy by enlisting a neighbor's help to pretend to be unfaithful, but unfortunately the neighbor's wife is also insanely jealous and complications result. Passion In The Principal's Office combines an eight-yearold girl with a nine-year-old boy who think that marriage will solve all their problems. Predators involves a N ew York Jewish mother w ho would like to match her unmarried daughter with a suitable man, not knowing that he is a vampire. Public Defender involves an appointed public defender, who desperately needs a successful case, with a criminal w ho staunchly maintains his guilt. All of these operas are on libretti by the composer, all are one-act operas and in each one finds the same w itty sense of fun, both verbally, as w ell as musically, as has been described in the preceding operas. The same compositional techniques are also in evidence in these operas.

Kalmanoff
Another com poser w ho concentrates mainly on witty, absurd short operas is Martin Kalmanoff. Born in N ew York City in 1920, he studied com position at Harvard w ith Walter Piston. Since then he has been active as a conductor and composer. His com positions include over 22 operas. Brandy Is Mv True Love's Nam e (1953) takes place in a barroom where three cowhands, Fred, Sam and Al, are talking to Callahan, and picking up girls, Brandy and Rye. Pop, a grizzled old gent, is sitting at a table with a bottle

of brandy. Events in the bar stimulate stories; memories of Pop's unsuccessful love affairs, which are seen as flashbacks. By the time he tells about how all his w om en washed out on him, but that Brandy is his true love, everyone in the bar is asleep. As he raises his glass in toast, each of his former loves is heard off-stage and as the curtain closes, Pop is singing that "Brandy is m y true love's name." Musically, the opera is sectional and is organized by the use of folk-like motifs and quasi leitmotifs. The major motif, "Brandy is m y True Love's Name" is first stated in the opening prelude (Figure 7-103) and recurs throughout the opera eight times.

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0-0

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0 -0 f = 0

Figure 7-103: Brandy Is My True Love's Name, p. 1

The young fellow's theme (Figure 7-104), which he sings in the first flashback, also serves as a leitmotif.

4 -1---------- T7

3 P

- E

-----------------------------

Figure 7-104: Brandy is Mv True Love's Name, p. 26

551
The libretto incorporates both conversational and poetical lines (as in the arias) as well as slang expressions, such as "Damn right I want to fight." The melodic lines are syllabic and speech oriented (Figure 7-105).
Young Feller

All that I know

U '. j

j.

my

K ifT T ^ j
(a- ther taught vers..

to me.

He

m e'bout

the rl-

Figure 7-105: Brandy Is Mv True Love's Name, pp. 22-3

The texture is mainly homophonic, with instances of canonic writing. There is a Broadway show tune, "High Rise In The Mountains", a blues number, "Did I Do Wrong", and folk-like numbers such as "The Apple Song." The harmonic palette is definitely tonal with som e instances of modality, and bitonality. Parallel octaves, fifths, fourths, seconds and sevenths are incorporated, as well as parallel triads and consecutive interval chords. The opera is well-paced and is effective. The m elodies are appealing and are well written for the voices. The story and its presentation constitute an interesting work. A Quiet Game of Cribble (1954), a one-act on his own libretto, takes place in a typical middle class apartment. An actor (the wife, husband or "someone else") informs the audience that they are about to view "marito-

americanus," a picture of domestic bliss in the middle of the twentieth century. He then explains that the opera will show the fads, fancies and fanaticisms of man: gossip columns to satisfy our curiosity; matrimony as an outlet for animosity; psychiatry to straighten us out; health foods; grand opera and word games like cribble. The curtain opens on the wife preparing dinner. The husband enters with a box, a deluxe cribble set that cost only forty-nine dollars and ninety-eight cents, plus the accessories, only another forty-nine dollars and ninety-eight cents. When the wife urges the husband to eat, he thinks that they should skip dinner to get thinner, but she has anticipated this and has fixed his favorite health foods: cabbage juice with brewer's yeast, vegetable and wheat germ cutlet and beet with lemon yogurt. After eating, the wife wraps everything in the tablecloth and dumps it on the floor. Harry calls and invites the wife to the opera, but she refuses, enumerating the hateful things of opera: people sing, singers strut, sopranos pose, they shout, nobody understands what they say, etc. The husband and wife now prepare to play cribble, saying how much better it is than movies, books and television. They vow to play cribble every day. The husband reads the rules. The wife then interrupts to tell him about her dream. She was playing cribble with the world champion when the tiles came to life and looked like members of her family. They obeyed her orders and she had almost beaten the champions when they reverted to tiles and smothered her. She told the dream to her psychoanalyst. His complicated

553
explanation - envious, jealous, fearful, hostile, ending with she's not bright impressed her. The couple now finally settles into the game. They argue, try to quiet down, and argue again. The wife flings the game up in the air, and starts to hurl dishes until her husband calls her a chowder-head, to which she responds that it's a ten-letter word with a thousand-point bonus and tells her husband how intelligent he is. They then resume their game. The text is very witty with many plays on words, such as "let's not quibble over cribble," or "too little ego and too much id." The music is very tonal, with some modal sections. However, bitonal chords, altered chords and parallel chords are incorporated frequently. The work is unified by motifs which recur in various forms throughout. The most important motif opens the prelude (Figure 7-106).

Adagio

mp

Figure 7-106: A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 1

There is another which is first stated in the prologue (Figure 7-107).

554

Figure 7-107: A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 6

The third is the "cribble" motif (Figure 7-108).

What

r r
a

wonder- ful

game

is

Crlb-blel

Crib-ble's a

won-der- ful

game._

Figure 7-108: A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 22

The prologue has a glissando motif (Figure 7-109) which begins and ends it, thus making it a unit within itself.
Moderalo

P ed-

Figure 7-109: A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 1

The vocal lines are often made up of many repeating pitches and are syllabic, follow ing the speech patterns (Figure 7-110).

555

A n d th e

or- ches-

tra

tries

to d ro w n

all of th a m o u t

Figure 7-110: A Quiet Game of Cribble, p. 17 The rhythm patterns are simple and the meters are straightforward. Overall the opera is well organized, if perhaps a trifle too repetitive, the arias and duets are pleasingly melodic and the libretto is extremely clever. All these elements combine to provide an easily produced show and an amusing piece of absurd theatre. The Delinquents (1955), on his own libretto, deals with Marie, who is "in trouble", and Tommy. They have no money and feel caught in a world where there's no room for kindness. Tommy has tried unsuccessfully to get some money. Tommy can't talk to his father because he's so stern, and Maria can't talk to hers because he's so ill. She wants to run away but Tommy says they couldn't get far on the little money they have, so he suggests that Marie talk to her mother. Marie tries, but her mother doesn't want Marie and Tommy to get married right away and make the same mistake that she did. Marie is unable to tell her and so decides there is only one way out. When Tommy returns, they take her mother's sleeping pills. Marie writes a

556

letter explaining that all other roads were blocked to them and then the lovers hold hands and go to sleep. Her mother calls to Marie, looking for her new sleeping pills, comes downstairs and takes in the situation. She reads the note and then, after shaking Marie, telling her that she would have let her marry him, breaks down sobbing. Typical of Kalmanoff's operas, The Delinquents is unified by recurring motifs, most notably the opening motif (Figure 7-111), which recurs in the postlude, and the repeating passacaglia (Figure 7-112) which first appears in the first interlude.

Figure 7-111: The Delinquents, p. 1

Figure 7-112: The Delinquents, p. 1

557

There are also numerous short motifs which are repeated or treated sequentially in the various sections. The harmonic palette is a tonal mixture of major, minor and modal tonalities. There is an abundant use of sevenths and ninths, sequences, parallel octaves and consecutive interval chords, especially fourths. Bitonality is also incorporated at times. The vocal lines are based on speech and the duets sound similar to popular tunes. While the story is dramatic and the climaxes are often effective, the pacing suffers from the long discussions which get rather musically monotonous. The musical motifs do not seem to coordinate with the drama, and so The Delinquents is not as successful as many of Kalmanoff s witty operas. Opera. Opera (1956), a one-act "opera goofo" on a libretto by William Saroyan, is a good-natured spoof of grand opera and all its cliches: the posturing, the square four-bar phrases, the repetitiveness, floridity, and cadenzas. The text is witty, full of satire and is set syllabically to capture the mood of the action. Typically, Kalmanoff utilizes recurring motifs to unify the opera. Three important motifs are first heard in the overture. The first (Figure 7113) represents the "grand" and recurs throughout the opera, as for instance when the old lady says "on with the opera" and as the opera closes.

558

SB

8*

Figure 7-113: Opera. Opera, p. 1 The second (Figure 7-114) is associated with the heroine.

f i s

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r r >
/' n

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Figure 7-114: Opera. Opera, p. 2 The third (Figure 7-115) is associated with the "heroic" aspects.

Figure 7-115: Opera. Opera, p. 3

The candy sellers have a jazzy motif (Figure 7-116).

559

Figure 7-116: Opera. Opera, p. 6 Throughout various styles of writing are imitated, for instance Donizetti-type arias with cadenzas, and Wagner-type harmonies. Kalmanoff also incorporates quotes, such as, "The Star Spangled Banner" (Figure 7-117) and "Dixieland" (Figure 7-118).
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Figure 7-117: Opera. Opera, p. 14

560

glv-

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Figure 7-118: Opera. Opera, p. 16

Typical compositional techniques utilized consistently include: tone clusters; bitonality; sevenths and ninths; parallel octaves and triads; and ostinato patterns. The rhythms are not very complex and the meters are stable. Opera, Opera is very amusing and highly entertaining. It is adaptable to almost any performance space and can be enjoyed at any level of musical appreciation. Videomania (1956), on Kalmanoff's own libretto, takes place in a television studio. Charmboy tells the audience that tonight Mr. Info, who has been on the show for five years, will try for the billion billion dollar question tonight. If he loses, he must pay ten thousand dollars or half of his income

561

for life. Mr. Info trudges on. When asked if he wants to accept his million million or try for a billion billion, Mr. Info replies that he doesn't wish to go on. Immediately Mrs. Info rushes up and urges him to continue, while his father urges him to stop. Finally Mr. Info agrees to go on. When asked the question "Name the twenty species of prehistoric beetles of the Juratriassic period" Mr. Info correctly names all but the last, saying caradensis instead of carasensis. Mrs. Info is prepared to console him until he tells her that he deliberately gave the wrong answer. Comparing television to the trap of Satan, he says that he is glad that his ordeal is over. However, Charmboy, who has exited, now returns with the news that both "caradensis" and "carasensis" are correct, so now they can go on to the next question. Typically, the opera is organized by means of repeating motifs, as well as repetitive phrases, sequences and ostinato figures within set numbers. Kalmanoff also incorporates musical quotes from "America" (under the father's narrative), "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "America the Beautiful" (in the orchestra). The vocal lines are based on declamatory speech, both intervallically and rhythmically (Figure 7-119).

562

Charm boy

m il-

lio n

th e

6*

Figure 7-119: Videomania, p. 4 Though tonal, the modes change frequently with many examples of bitonality, consecutive fourths and fifths, eleventh chords, seconds, sevenths and ninths, tone clusters and chromaticism. As with The Delinquents, the monologues slow down the pacing and the musical material is too repetitive. However, the story is amusing and even the trite music can be overlooked for the satire. The Great Stone Face (1968), a one-act based on Hawthorne's story, takes place in New Hampshire. As a child, Ernest is told by his mother of the

563

prophecy that a child from this valley will grow to resemble The Great Stone Face (a natural phenomenon) and will become the greatest man of his time. All through his life one man after another fails to fulfill the prophecy: the wealthy man, the brave man, the diplomat and the artist all fail. Eventually when he is old, it becomes apparent that Ernest, the man of character, is the true noble man. Typically, the music, divided into a prologue and five scores, is unified by motivic repetition. The vocal lines are patterned after speech, the melodies are folk influenced and though tonal, the opera has many dissonances sevenths, elevenths, seconds, fourths and sixths, brief bitonality and chromaticism. The Insect Comedy, a three-act opera on a libretto by Lewis Allan, is based on the play by Karel and Josef CApek. A satirical fantasy, it involves a disillusioned drunkard who fantasizes while lying in a field. He sees the world taken over by insects. The butterflies are do-nothings. A fly appears as a businessman. A factory of ants believe that war is inevitable and the winner of the war is the ruler of the world. The hero wants to go back and tell his fellow men what he has learned but death will not give him even an hour's grace and so he dies without sharing his knowledge. The music varies from Kalmanoff's typical tonal music to a more free tonality, with starker dissonance and more complex rhythms, especially in Act II.

564

Photograph 1920 (1971), on a Gertrude Stein libretto, deals with a single character singing and dancing, with her double on tape. The text is witty and the music reverts to a simpler, less complicated melodious style. In all his operas, Kalmanoff shows his skill with satire. Not only are his texts amusing, he generally captures this wittiness in his music. His vocal lines certainly exude a genuine American buoyancy, and even if the music itself often seems less original, it is usually well-knit and very accessible to any audience. Pasatieri Another composer who deals with satire and unreality within a tonal style is Thomas Pasatieri. A native of New York City, born in 1945, Pasatieri entered the Julliard School of Music at age sixteen, where he studied with Vittorio Giannini and Vincent Persichetti. In 1969, he received the first
i

doctorate ever awarded by Julliard, after which he continued his studies with Darius Milhaud. He was already receiving national acclaim by this time. He has composed fifteen operas which include La Divina, The Trial of Marv Lincoln. The Women and Washington Square. La Divina (1966) takes place at the farewell performance of an aging coloratura. Her maid and manager are happy to see an end to the commotion caused by her "star" temperament. However, while she is in the dressing room, the diva expresses fear at the thought of a future without the spotlight.

565

To the ecstasy of the crowd and the chagrin of her staff, she announces that she will sing yet another "farewell" concert next week. Pasatieri's musical style is basically neo-romantic with some modern harmonies added. La Divina is a continuous one-act with set numbers incorporated. It is unified by repeating motifs and rhythmic patterns. The two most important motifs are associated with Madame Altina. The first (Figure 7-120) is associated with her off-stage, and the second (Figure 7-121) is "the diva."
Allegro vivace
>

>

W, W.

Figure 7-120: La Divina. p. 1

_ 3_ iff = # i-

Str.

Figure 7-121: La Divina. p. 1

566

The vocal lines consist of conversational recitative, which is syllabic with many repeated notes (Figure 7-122), and lush "Pucciniesque" melodic lines (Figure 7-123).

andlobrtnghls icon. Than an

a law things I

will straight- snout, baton

shall

lin g

Figure 7-122: La Divina. p. 21

mp dotee
W hen I was young th e w orld w as fu ll o f ptoas- u ra s

Figure 7-123: La Divina. p. 28 The harmonic palette is conventionally tonal, with instances of dissonance. Tone clusters, added seconds, fourths or sixths, polytones and seventh and ninth chords are all incorporated. The rhythm patterns are basically straightforward with a few instances of polyrhythms. The meters change frequently to accommodate the speech patterns. The texture is occasionally polyphonic (Figure 7-124).

567
Mme.

No Cecily p

more

cam,

N o m o re

WeMlleam to rest.

Figure 7-124: La Divina. Page 17 La Divina follows in the tradition of "opera buffa". It is a good example of Pasatieri's facility for comic clarity. The Trial of Marv Lincoln (1972), for which Pasatieri won an Emmy award, is on a libretto by Anne Bailey, and was commissioned and premiered by NET. The one-act opera deals with the trial of Mary Lincoln, during which her early life is reviewed through a series of flashbacks, and at its conclusion she is judged insane and is committed. Though it is divided into several scenes, the musical texture is continuous. Typically, sections of recitative alternate with melodic passages and occasional dialogue. Generally it is harmonically tonal with some instances of dissonance.

568

The Women (1965), on his own libretto was that years Aspen Festival prize winner. It is a surrealistic drama about the powerful struggle between a man, his wife and his mother which takes place in the afterlife, stressing "the eternal nature of conflict." Musically, it is built on one motif (Figure 7-125) which represents the eternal struggle. It recurs throughout the opera, most notably at the end with an added open ended dominant over a tonic pedal (Figure 7-126).

Figure 7-125: The Women, p. 1

Figure 7-126: The Women, p. 17 Typically, the harmony is conventional and the vocal lines are a combination of declamatory and melodic. However, they are more distinct and chromatic (Figure 7-127),

Figure 7-127: The Women, p. 6

Washington Square (1976), a three-act opera on a libretto by Kenward Elmslie, based on the Henry James novel, is set in 1840. At an engagement party for Maria Harrington and Arthur Townsend, Catherine Sloper dances with Arthur's cousin, Morris Townsend. Her aunt, Lavinia Davenport, invites Morris to tea, during which he sings "First Love" as Catherine plays. On discovering Morris' visits, Dr. Sloper invites him to come to dinner. After the dinner, Dr. Sloper and Morris converse. Morris is rebuffed by Dr. Sloper, who says that if Catherine marries Morris, he will leave her nothing. Morris asks Catherine to meet him in the park. In the park, Catherine and Morris decide to tell Dr. Sloper of their decision to marry. Catherine informs her father of her engagement. Morris comes to plead his case, but Dr. Sloper refuses his consent. Dr, Sloper then harangues Morris' sister until she admits that Morris is selfish. Morris asks Catherine to marry him at once, and she informs her father of her plans. When her father asks her to wait for half a year and travel with him through Europe, she agrees. Morris urges her to win her father's approval during the trip.

570

While Catherine is in Venice, Morris gets discouraged. Dr. Sloper's attitude has not changed. Lavinia dictates a final letter to Catherine detailing instructions to win her father's consent. Dr. Sloper turns on Catherine after reading the letter and she realizes that her father has never loved her. On their return to Washington Square, Morris jilts Catherine when he realizes that Dr. Sloper will never change his mind. Catherine resolves to be free of manipulative men and to become herself. Twenty years later, Morris, who has become fat and balding, asks Catherine, who has never married, to forgive the past. Catherine sincerely spurns him and contently sits in "her" chair. Musically, Washington Square exhibits similar traits to the operas already discussed. The opera is unified by motifs which recur wholly and in variations. The most important motif is the "love" motif (Figure 7-128) which recurs whenever Catherine and Morris are together, or when she thinks of him, etc.

8-

jjj r 3 1

r ..

- r i H ----------------------------- ----------------------

1
Figure 7-128: Washington Square. Act I, Scene 1, p. 1

571 Morris is also associated with a motif (Figure 7-129) as is Dr. Sloper (Figure 7130).

j _____ j . Fi

-1

* ) i LU 3
5

9---------------------- J
t

................. r r

Figure 7-129: Washington Square. Act I, Scene 1, p. 13

Figure 7-130: Washington Square. Act I, Scene 2, p. 29 The vocal lines are made up of traditional recitative which is patterned after speech and lyrical singing Italianate lines. The melodic lines are tonal, as is the whole opera, but they are also often chromatic with disjunct leaps (Figure 7-131).

572

call that

fair test

o f his

Figure 7-131: Washington Square. Act II, Scene 3, p. 132, 3 Again the mode changes frequently and Pasatieri incorporates many chord clusters, open fifths, and sevenths, ninths, and elevenths. The orchestra, typical of all his operas, often doubles the vocal line. The rhythms are more complex and there are several instances of polyrhythms. Overall, the opera demonstrates Pasatieri's skill in creating a theatrically effective piece. Every detail (phrasing, rhythm, orchestration) works to further the drama. Before Breakfast (1980), is a dramatic monologue on a libretto by Frank Corsaro, based on Eugene O'Neill's play. Charlotte, while trying to wake her

573

poet-husband, Alfred, nags him for being an inadequate husband. After putting dance music on the Victrola, she describes her marriage. They met dancing, married because she was pregnant, he neglected her, the baby was stillborn, he started seeing Helen and she became pregnant, but Charlotte refused a divorce. As she starts screaming hysterically at him, a policeman enters and after looking in the bedroom, confirms that no one is there. The landlady attributes Charlotte's condition to loneliness. Musically, Before Breakfast remains tonally conservative. It incorporates recitatives based on colloquial speech and melodic aria-like passages. Pasatieri also includes prerecorded victrola music. It is an extremely intense work, both musically and dramatically. In all his operas, one can see the influence of Menotti, especially in the use of Italianate techniques, and the innate understanding of the dramatic. Pasatieri's music is always pleasing and his lyrical conversational style is his forte, and is uniquely American. However, his music has also often been criticized as being more facile and analytical than deep. Laderman, Ramsier, Johnson Four other operas should be mentioned in connection with this topic. Goodbye to the Clown (1960) is a one-act in five scenes by Ezra Laderman (1924), who studied at Columbia University with Luening and Douglas More. The fantasy-drama, on a libretto by Ernest Kinoy, tells about Peggy, who has her own personal clown. He makes her laugh and repeats the songs and

574

stories her daddy used to tell her. When she insists on setting a place for him at the table, her mother breaks down and sends Peggy to her room. Eavesdropping, Peggy comes to the realization that her father is dead and that the clown was sent by him to bridge the gap between not understanding and growing up. His mission fulfilled, the clown disappears and a more mature Peggy falls asleep. The music incorporates contemporary harmonies, set numbers, conversational vocal lines and occasionally dialogue. lacob and the Indians (1957), also by Laderman, based on a story by Stephen Vincent Bent, tells the tale of a young Jewish scholar in pre revolutionary Philadelphia. To make a living, he trades ribbon and lace with the Indians. He also marries a wealthy merchant's daughter after his experiences in the wilderness make his character grow. Typically, the music incorporates tonality with modern dissonances, speech-like melodies and frequent recurring motifs. The Man On the Bearskin Rug (1969), by Paul Ramsier on a libretto by James Edward, takes place in a one-room apartment "this year." Henry and his fiance, Doris, have returned from Sidneys party upstairs and Doris, after remonstrating with Henry over his dull behavior, goes back to the party. His landlady, Mrs. Le Moire, arrives with a large package which contains a white bearskin rug. When it is placed on the floor, the atmosphere changes. Mrs. Le Moire pulls Henry into a passionate embrace just as Doris returns. Henry persuades Doris to stand on the rug and it has the same effect as they start to

575

kiss, only to be interrupted by Mrs. Le Moire, who has discovered that the rug really belongs to Sidney and returns it despite Henry's futile efforts to persuade her not to. With its departure, Doris resumes her nagging and Henry his submission. Similar to Ladermans operas, The Man on the Bearskin Rug also incorporates contemporary harmonies and vocal lines patterned after speech. It is unified by motifs, such as the "nagging" scale, associated with Doris (Figure 7-132), which both opens and closes the opera. The orchestra underlines the drama, for example, with the door motif (Figure 7-133) and when the bearskin is rolled out (Figure 7-134). Though not the highest calibre of music, it is amusing and well-suited for an opera workshop.

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576

Figure 7-133: The Man on the Bearskin Rug, p. 18

Figure 7-134: The Man on the Bearskin Rug, p. 37 The Four-Note Opera (1972), by Tom Johnson, is built around four notes, A, B, D and E, upon which the composer has built a series of recitatives, arias and ensembles. The numbers indicate the plot which ends in the mass immobility of both singers and music: First Chorus (Quartet, a cappella) 'There are three choruses in this opera. This is the first one." Contralto Aria "When the first chorus is over, that is the cue for my aria." Recitative 1 (Soprano, Contralto) "But now the Soprano is joining me." Imitation Duet (Soprano, Contralto) "She must respond to everything I sing." Recitative 2 (Contralto, Tenor) "Now they have stopped and I have returned to help." Concentration Aria (Baritone) 'This would be a very easy aria"

577

Recitative 3 (Soprano, Contralto) "Now we must introduce the Tenor's aria" Tenor Aria "Every time I sing this opera I find it more humiliating." Variations Duet (Soprano, Tenor) "This duet is a set of variations" Recitative 4 (Contralto, Baritone) "In the first production of this opera" Soprano Aria (slow version) "I sing this aria twice. The first time I sing it slowly" Recitative 5 (Quartet) "Since it is often difficult to understand sopranos" Quartet "This is the Quartet." Bass Aria 'This is the only time in the entire opera that you shall see me or hear my voice." Second Chorus (Quartet, a cappella) 'There are three choruses in this opera. This is the second one." Recitative 6 (Soprano, Contralto, Tenor) "Now the Baritone is going to sing another aria." Long Aria (Baritone, with Contralto) "This is one of the longest arias in the opera." Forty-Bar Duet (Contralto, Baritone) 'There are only forty bars in this duet." Unaccompanied Aria (Contralto) "This aria has no accompaniment." Recitative 7 (Soprano, Contralto, Tenor) "Now we must introduce the next aria" Wood Block Aria (Baritone) "In a moment you shall hear the wood block. It is a minor event" Trio (Soprano, Contralto, Tenor) "I sing long notes." Recitative 8 (Contralto, Tenor, Baritone) "Now the Soprano is going to sing the fast version of her aria." Soprano Aria (fast version) "I sing this aria twice..." Recitative 9 (Quartet) "We will not recapitulate what the Soprano was singing about." Interlude (Piano)

578

Third Chorus (Quartet, a cappella) 'There are three choruses in this opera. This is the third one." Final Scene (Quartet) "Now the Third Chorus has ended." i? The music is witty, with many variations in the rhythm, texture and melody, including a cappella hymnal, canon, variations of a theme and polyphony. The accompaniment is strictly piano. In most of these operas, a satiric or witty text is most prevalent, around which the composers have written in a variety of styles. In all of them the vocal lines are patterned after the speech and the rhythmic and intervallic patterns are distinctly American, even though their music is more analytically involved.

579 NOTES: CHAPTER VII

1. Virgil Thomson, Virgil Thomson (New York: Knopf, 1966), 90. 2. Virgin Thomson, quoted in, Robert Marx, "Thomson, Stein and The Mother of Us All." Record Notes, The Mother of Us All (New World Records, 1977), 9. 3. Virgil Thomson, quoted in Henry C. Levinger, Musical Courier. CHI (June, 1950), 35. 4. Charles Hamm, Music in the New World (New York: W.W. Norton, 1983), 454. 5. Marx, "Thomson, Stein", 12. 6. C.J. Luten, "Thomson at 75," Opera News, vol. 36, no. 19,15 April, 1972,13. 7. Quaintence Eaton. Opera Production I (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1961), 229-30. 8. Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine. May, 1989. 9. Joseph Machlis, Introduction to Contemporary Music (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1961), 597. 10. Andrew Porter, "Musical Events: Tragical-Comical-HistoricalPastoral," New Yorker. 17 April, 1989, 117-119. 11. Dominick Argento. The Masque of Angels (New York: Boosey Hawkes, Inc., 1964), 174. 12. Robert Saal, "Hell's Bells," Newsweek. 10 May, 1976,121. 13. Peter Altman, "The Voyage of Dominick Argento," Opera News. Vol. 40, No. 21,1976, 17 April, 33. 14. Seymour Barab, Chanticleer (New York: Boosey and Hawkes, 1956), 73. 15. Ibid., 83.

580

16. Dominick Argento, A Waterbird Talk (New York; Boosey and Hawks, Inc., 1980), 88. 17. Tom Johnson, The Four-Note Opera (New York: Associated Music Publishers, Inc., 1973), vi, 1.

CHAPTER VIII FOLK ELEMENTS IN AMERICAN OPERA

By the 1930s composers realized that the rich source of folk material in America could be successfully employed in classical music and began to be interested in using it to project authentic American atmosphere into large compositions. Operatic forms were no exception, for as Chase observed: American subject material was not the open sesame to operatic success; but, other factors being equal, it could facilitate the path to that integrity of form and style, the integration of art and expression, which makes for successful works of art.i They aimed for the dramatization of the real, with emphasis on simple tunefulness rather than the previous pomp and floweriness. De Koven The first America opera to be designated a "folk-opera" is Rip Van Winkle by Reginald DeKoven, on a text by Percy MacKaye. Bom in Middletown, Connecticut in 1859, DeKoven moved to England with his parents when he was twelve years old. He studied at Oxford (graduating in 1880), Stuttgart, Paris and Vienna before returning to America in 1889 to write music reviews. From 1889-90 he wrote for the Chicago Evening Post and

581

582

from 1890-99 he wrote for the New York papers. He conducted the Washington Philharmonic Orchestra from 1902 to 1905 and then resumed the role of critic for the New York Herald until his death in 1920. He is best known for his 20 operettas and 2 operas, the most successful of which were Don Quixote. Robin Hood. Hymen and Company. The Canterbury Pilgrims. and Rip Van Winkle. Based on Washington Irving's legend, Rip Van Winkle, a three act opera set in the Catskills, premiered at the Chicago Opera in 1920. On the day that he is to marry the sharp-tongued Katrina, Rip forgets about the wedding settlement and goes fishing with Katrina's little sister, Peterkee. On his return Rip is berated by Katrina but is cheered up by playing with Peterkee and the other children to whom he tells the tale of how Hendrich Hudson reappears to hold a bowling party every twenty years. Suddenly Hendrich Hudson himself appears with a thunderclap. Everyone runs away except Peterkee and Rip, whom Hendrich challenges to a midnight game of nine pins, at which time he promises to give Rip a magic flask. Rip and Peterkee set out for the mountains and on the way meet Dirk Spuytenduyvil, one of Hendrich's crew carrying two kegs of liquor, which Rip helps him carry to the mountain peak. While Rip plays a game of bowls, Hendrich and Dirk plot to bring about the wedding of Rip to Peterkee, instead of Katrina. To this end they allow Peterkee to win the magic flask and leave while Rip unknowingly drinks a sleeping potion.

Twenty years later Rip awakes, old and gray, and returns to the village. It is the wedding day of Peterkee, who ha3, until then, refused to marry. Katrina has long since married and has a family. When Rip comes claiming his promised bride, everyone mocks him. Peterkee gives him the magic flask which she has saved and as he drinks, his youth returns, as do Hendrich and his men, who have come to witness Rip marry Peterkee. The libretto is charming and very effective. Musically it can be compared to Weber's P er Freishiitz in genre; however the tunes are much closer to light opera. The melodies flow easily and effervescently with impetuous rhythms, (Figure 8-1).

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Figure 8-2: Rip Van Winkle: Act I, p. 97 The scoring is clever and DeKoven works to create a distinctly American atmosphere. There are many descriptive orchestral passages, such as the thunder motif (Figure 8-3).

Figure 8-3: Rip Van Winkle. Act I, p. 53

585 Hailed as "a fine honest effort to create something American, something that can be ours, and can open the way to operas still bigger and more national"2 and "one of the most definite steps taken toward a native school of operatic expression'^, Rip Van Winkle is a descriptive, entertaining opera, and well worth hearing. Beach Another composer of the old school who only tackled opera towards the end of her career is Amy Marcy Beach (1867 -1944). Her only opera, Cabildo (1932), is a one-act on a libretto by Nan Baby Stephens, and is set in the New Orleans prison and museum of the Cabildo. It takes place in the present and the past, with a flashback to just prior to the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Though not strictly a folk opera, she does include folk-like melodies in it. Tom and Mary are taking a tour of the Cabildo. When shown the cell in which Pierre Lafitte was imprisoned, the tale of Pierre's unexplained escape sparks Mary's imagination and she dreams of how the escape might have occurred, while the others go out to see the boat models. In her dreams, Pierre has been wrongly accused of ordering the destruction of the ship, the "Falcon", which carried Lady Valerie to her death, the supposed proof being his possession of her bracelet. In actual fact, Lafitte and Lady Valerie had met at the Governor's palace, fallen in love and exchanged "love tokens", but not wishing to betray their love, Pierre has remained silent and is condemned to

586 die. Domique You visits Pierre and tells him that General Jackson has asked the Lafitte brothers and their men to fight under him. Domique urges Pierre to tell the truth about the bracelet but to no avail. When Pierre is alone, Valerie's ghost appears and informs him that Grambio, one of the Lafitte's captains, was the traitor responsible for her death. Pierre threatens to take his own life to pay for his man's action but Valerie tells him that he must pay his debt by fighting for Louisiana and the United States. When Pierre agrees, Valerie opens the cell door for Pierre's escape. Tom returns for Mary and she tells him of her dream, concluding that it was the Lady Valerie who made a hero of Lafitte. The libretto is full of true historical details. Musically it is held together by recurring motifs, which are repeated in various forms. The most important of these is associated with Lady Valerie (Figure 8-4) and first appears at the mention of a lady who may have helped Pierre and recurs whenever Valerie's name is mentioned.

Figure 8-4: Cabildo: p. 17 Pierre is represented by a motif (Figure 8-5), which appears whenever he is mentioned as "wrongly condemned", or as in love with Valerie.

587

Figure 8-5: Cabildo: p. 18 The Creole influence can be seen in the music associated with Valerie and Pierre's first meeting, (Figure 8-6), and in the syncopated rhythms of the gaoler, (Figure 8-7).

Figure 8-6: Cabildo. p. 17

Figure 8-7: Cabildo. p. 19 Elsewhere, Beach incorporated authentic Creole folk melodies. When Cabildo finally premiered in 1945, it was praised for having "rhythmic life and romantic glow and intriguing harmonic colors'^.

588 Bacon Ernst Bacon was one of the earliest composers to write in a more simple and tuneful style. Bacon, who was born in Chicago in 1898, studied at Northwestern University and The University of Chicago before going to Europe to study with Bree and Weigl. From 1925-1928, he taught at Eastman, and from 1928-1930, at San Francisco Conservatory. Between 1935 and 1937 he was Supervisor of San Francisco's Federal Music Project and conductor of the Federal Symphony. In 1938, he became director of the School of Music at the University of Syracuse. A Tree On The Plains (1942), on a libretto by Paul Horgan, deals with the daily routine of life on the plains. At the gathering for the funeral of Mom's father, Lou and Buddy eventually fight over Corrie's future. Lou, the cowboy, hopes that Corrie will realize the love that he and the land offer. Buddy, Corrie's college-boy brother, wants her to adopt city ways. Tempers also flare because of the drought. The tension is broken by a storm and the little elm tree that was about to die perks up. While Mom and Pop go for a ride, Lou courts Corrie and they run off to be married. Buddy returns to the city. The next morning Lou and Corrie are welcomed home by her parents. A Tree On The Plains is simple vocally, instrumentally, and dramatically. It has many interesting aspects but is rather uneven. In the libretto Paul Horgan has tried to show the dignity of the lives and the philosophies of the plains people. To do this he uses their language, but

589 sometimes they come across as pompous. The text itself is weak. Some of the philosophical monologues kill the dramatic impetus. In between, however, are some genuinely dramatic passages. Of the music Bacon has said: It must be mentioned here that none of these people will sound vocally like opera singers. There are no arias, but plenty of songs; much declamative melody for dialogue; some crooning and where genuine, native vocal eloquence is wanted, then these people will be vocally eloquent and their souls will sound in their voices.5 The vocal lines are patterned after speech. Some of Bacon's attempts at alternating speech and song just do not work. There is a great variety of styles: a negro spiritual; a jeremiad with choral responses; a California song with "habanera" accompaniment; a stirring church hymn; a traditional folksong, "Frog Went a Courtin' ", set in a jazzy way; and several popularstyle songs, such as Lou's, "Fit to be Tied", and Buddy's "Jerked My Thumb at a Model T. Ford". While many of these pieces are well written individually, together they do not present a unified score. The simple orchestral scoring is quite effective, sometimes commenting on the action while the characters speak. Despite its uneven quality, Helen Knox Spain was correct in saying, "in the Horgan-Bacon work there are significant signs of the beginning of a folk lore opera for the United States^ . Bacon's other American opera, A Drumlin Legend (1949) is not veiy successful. The libretto, by Helen Carus, is totally undramatic and full of

590 insipid platitudes. The style of the work is meant to resemble a ballad-opera, except that it is almost exclusively recitative. The music has simple folk-like songs but the repetitive quality gets tedious, especially because there is no feeling of advancing the plot. However, some of the individual numbers are very lovely and worth hearing. Moore One of the giants of American folk-influenced opera is Douglas Moore, a conservative composer who colored his American subjects with a nostalgia for the past. Born in Cutchogue, Long Island in 1893, the son of the publishers of the Ladies World. Moores passion for dramatics surfaced earlyhe wrote, produced, directed and acted in a melodrama, The Bride's Fate, with his brothers at age 7. He studied at Yale with David Smith and Horatio Parker, receiving a BA in 1915 and a B.M. in 1917. After two years in the navy, he went to the Schola Cantorum in Paris, where he studied with Vincent d'Indy and Nadia Boulanger. He returned to America and became the Curator of Music at the Cleveland Museum of Art (1921), and continued studying with Ernest Block as well. In 1925, the receipt of the Pulitzer Fellowship allowed him to return to Paris and work again with Boulanger. Upon his return he became a member of the faculty at Columbia University (1926), later becoming the head of the department (1940) and the MacDowell Professor of Music (1945). He remained there until 1962. He died in Rhode Island in 1969. His many awards include a Pulitzer prize for Giants of the

591 Earth (1951) and the New York Critic's Award (1958), for The Ballad of Baby Doe. Moore is noted for his operas, commenting, "I love to write operas. To me it is the most spontaneous form of expression. The music writes itself if the book is good."7 He has a special gift for vocal lyricism, using a slightly different style for each work. Perhaps this is due to the strong influence American folklore, literature and poetry love had on his life; his close friends from school included Archibald MacLeish and Stephen Vincent Ben6t. Moore's appealing melodies follow the natural rhythms and inflection of the language, giving his operas an unmistakable American flavor. Their unpretentious tunefulness reflect a folk-like simplicity. The irregular phrase lengths and forms are a result of following the text. His typical rhythms are strong, frequently with intricate dotted and syncopated figures. The harmony is generally triadic and homophonic. His operatic works include: The Devil and Daniel Webster. The Headless Horseman, White Wings. Giants in the Earth, The Ballad of Babv Doe. Gallantry, Carry Nation, and The Wings of the Dove. The Headless Horseman (1937) on a libretto by Stephen Vincent Ben6t is in one-act, based upon Washington Irvings A Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The opera was written especially for school or amateur production and centers more around Katrina VanTassel and Brom Bone's love than Ichabod Crane. They love each other, but it is the VanTassel tradition, based on a

592 superstition, that the eldest daughter must marry a schoolmaster or else she's carried away by a ghost. Therefore Katrina is to marry Ichabod Crane. Brom hatches a plan whereby he tells the story of "The Headless Horseman" and then leaves, ostensibly to become a pirate. During the wedding celebration, he returns as the headless horseman and frightens Ichabod Crane away. Brom then discloses that he has become a schoolmaster through extension courses from King's College. He and Katrina can therefore be married and he will teach progressive education. Musically, The Headless Horseman seems closest to Gilbert and Sullivan, as it incorporates both dialogue and set numbers. Many of the numbers are folk-like. For instance, the boys entrance, "We Come With a Dashing Song", has rather a sea chanty feeling with its "Yo ho" phrases and its straight forward 4/4 beats (Figure 8-8).

Figure 8-8: The Headless Horseman, pp. 50-1

593 "I Have a Fearful Tale to Tell" is in the form of a tall folk tale, with verses and a cadential refrain (Figure 8-9).

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Figure 8-9: The Headless Horseman, pp. 80-1 None of the musical numbers present any difficulty and the whole work is extremely tonal and conservative. The Devil and Daniel Webster (1938), is also a one-act on a libretto by Stephen Vincent Ben6t. Set in New Hampshire in the 1840s, it takes place at the wedding celebration of Jabez and Mary Stone. Jabez has prospered amazingly and the party is very merry. The great New England hero, Daniel Webster arrives, as well as Mr. Scratch, a Boston lawyer. When the fiddle goes out of tune and a lost soul, in the form of a moth, escapes from Mr. Scratch's black box, the neighbors realize that he is the devil come for Jabez' soul, which he sold for wealth. All the neighbors flee, except for Daniel Webster who promises to help Jabez and Mary and demands a trial for his client. Scratch summons a jury of ghostly American traitors, including the infamous Judge Hathorne who presided at the Salem witch trials. Webster seems about to lose, but is so eloquent in his oratory that the jury sets Jabez

594 free. The neighbors rush in to drive the Devil out of New Hampshire and the case ends with pie, which is New England's pride, being served for breakfast. The libretto is very well written, full of homey descriptions, similes, such as "Jabez Stone, he'll fry like a batter cake once we get him where we want him"8, and tall tales such as Webster's Medford tale: Ten-year-old Medford. There's nothing like it. I saw an inch worm take a drop of it once and he stood right up on his hind legs and bit a bee.9 Choruses were added at the beginning and end to give it more impetus and Mary, the wife, has a much more substantial role than in the original story. The music matches the libretto's folksy lyrics with folk-like music. In discussing the opera, Moore said: Mr. Ben6t and I have classified The Devil and Daniel Webster as a folk opera because it is legendary in its subject matter and simple in its musical expression. We have tried to make an opera in which the union of speech, song and instrumental will communicate the essence of the dramatic story.io He incorporates a mixture of spoken dialogue, melodrama, and set pieces with very unobtrusive transitions from one to the other. A good example is the trial in which the acting members speak and the dead jurors sing, (Figure
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Figure 8-10: The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 67 There are several motifs that recur. The most important is "The Pride of New Hampshire", (Figure 8-11), which is stated as Daniel Webster enters. It later recurs during his trial oratory and at the end of the opera.

Figure 8-11: The Devil and Daniel Webster. Page 16

596 There is also a "love" motif for Mary and Jabez (Figure 8-12), which is stated at the beginning of the opera and during their duets.

Figure 8-12: The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 3 The New England atmosphere is enhanced by the country dances, and fiddle-tunes (Figure 8-13).

Figure 8-13: The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 3 Throughout The Devil and Daniel Webster is filled with vigorous tuneful folk-like melodies with strong rhythmic drive, such as Scratch's "Young William Was a Thriving Boy" and Webster's "I've Got a Ram" (Figure 8-14).

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Figure 8-14: The Devil and Daniel Webster, p. 49 The Devil and Daniel Webster has been established as an American classic, with performances at all levels, from college workshops, to summer theaters to the New York City Opera and is extremely popular. Although White Wings, on his own libretto based on a play by Philip Barry, was completed in 1935, it did not premiere until 1949. It deals with the fate of the New York street cleaners at the turn of the century when the horse was replaced by the automobile. The Inches are very proud of their trade, street sweeping, (euphemistically called the White Wings), but are going bankrupt because of the invention of the automobile. Archie Inch is in love with Mary Todd, but she is the daughter of a mechanic and a believer in the automobile. Archie is given the opportunity to join with Mary and her father to manufacture automobiles but he refuses. When Mary returns wealthy, she finds that the Inches are building a monument to the horse in the park, but because they have become so poor, they are using stone from their family vault and a deer from their front yard. She also discovers that Archie swore to his mother on her death bed to remain a white wing as long as there was a

598 living horse in town. The police destroy the monument and Mary shoots the last horse in town, thereby freeing Archie to marry her and drive a taxi, while his father mounts a garbage truck. White Wings was a failure as a play and works no better as a libretto. It is far too long (three acts) for its ridiculous and confusing plot, full of coarse gags, an unbelievable love story and cartoonish characters. The music incorporates many unpretentious numbers which are very tuneful and pleasing, such as the rousing street cleaner's songs. The parodies of barbershop and vaudeville styles are also well done, with Moore's tonguein-cheek dissonances added to their original idiom. The love songs however do not seem honest and fresh. Overall, White Wings would require substantial cutting and editing to be successful. Giants in the Earth (1951) on a libretto by Arnold Sundgaard and Douglas Moore, based on O.E. Rolvaag's novel, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1951. Set in the Dakota Territory in 1873 it deals with the early Norwegian settlers. Per Hansa and his wife Beret have emigrated from Norway and are met at the new settlement by: Hans Olsa and his wife Sorrene; Syvert and his wife Kjersti; and Henry. Per is a natural pioneer, but Beret is afraid that they will become godless, especially when she finds marker stakes hidden in a chest. Though Per assures her that they were placed illegally and that the land is legally his, Beret doubts him. While at Henry's marriage to Dagmar,

599 Per decides he would like his infant son to be baptized but Beret refuses because of her belief that God disapproves of their life. She finally becomes unbalanced and sends Per out in a raging storm to fetch the preacher to baptize her dying child. She realizes too late that she has sent him to his death. Giants in the Earth is very uneven dramatically. Virgil Thomson criticized it as "wordy, repetitive and
c u m b e rso m e "!!.

There was also said to

be "little sustained power in the libretto; the action moves with marked unevenness and at times with lapses of dramatic interest"i2. At the same time it was agreed that the musical score was outstanding at times and showed a sense of the theatrical. As is typical of Moore's vocal writing, the melodies are speech-oriented. The recitatives range from chants (by the preacher) to disjunct bitonal outbursts, such as Berets interruption of the baptism. There are many folk-like melodies, such as Per's "Home Founding Song" and Henry's and Dagmar's Act II duet, in addition to many hymns. Moore incorporated the Norse National Anthem as well, sung by Syvert in Act I and later by the chorus, arranged as a modified round. The harmony contains much modality and polytonality. Tonal centers are stable, but the mode changes frequently. Many triads, seconds, sevenths and ninths are employed, as well as altered chords and scales. The rhythmic patterns range from simple to syncopated and complex.

600 A favorite of Moore's, Giants in the Earth was revised in 1963 with more attention given to the orchestration and to Beret's character. It is only moderately effective theatrically, is very lengthy and is difficult to sing and stage, all of which has resulted in few performances. The Ballad of Babv Doe (1955), which was commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation, premiered in 1956 at Central City Opera, Colorado and won the 1958 New York Critics Award. The two-act libretto, by John LaTouche, is based on historical characters. The story begins in 1880. After 20 years of poverty, Horace Tabor and his wife, Augusta, have attained wealth and power. Elizabeth Doe, known as "Baby", has left her husband and goes to Leadville where she meets Tabor. What begins as a flirtation ends as an abiding love between Baby and the older man. Tabor divorces Augusta, and marries Baby Doe in Washington, but the new Mrs. Tabor is never accepted by society. Augusta, though she has scorned Baby Doe, visits her to warn of the impending collapse of silver. Tabor refuses to listen to Augustas advice and supports the Silver King, William Jennings Bryan, in his bid for the presidency. Bryan is defeated and Tabor is ruined. Near death, he enters the Tabor Grand Theatre and hallucinates, during which he relives his childhood, his marriage to Augusta, his rise to wealth and fame and sees the unfortunate consequences of his past failures. His daughter Elizabeth will run away and change her name and his second daughter, Silver Dollar, will become a whore. Only Baby Doe stands by him. She promises never to sell

601 the Matchless Mine. As the lights dim and the years pass, Baby Doe, now an old woman, moves toward the mine as the snow falls on her. The Ballad of Baby Doe has been widely hailed for its literary quality. Howard Taubman commented: LaTouche managed to put together a libretto in which action could move without awkward stretches of recitative. The main lines of the story and character are straight forward and touching.1^ It tells a believable story with a considerable dramatic impact. The most impressive feature is the authenticity of the flavor of the period, aided by: the colloquial language and folksy dialogue, "You're no sweet smellin' daisy yourself, Horace Tabor, spite of your beargrease and your Florida water"14, and "1 have to admit I'm a wee bit tuckered ouf'tS; and by the nineteeth century florid diction "the humblest citizen in all the land when clad in the armor of a righteous cause is stronger than all the hosts of error"16. LaTouche incorporates both prose and poetry throughout. The only criticism seems to be that sometimes the story tends to get too sprawling. As to its musical style, it echoes the homespun text and adds a sense of sophistication within an outwardly simple framework. Generally the vocal lines follow the colloquial speech in both unaccompanied and accompanied recitative, which sounds uniquely Yankee (Figure 8-15), and is full of rhythmic subtleties.

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Figure 8-15: The Ballad of Baby Doe, Act I, Scene 4, p. 87 Many of the set pieces are influenced by the styles of the nineteenth century. Moore utilizes folk-like melodies, rag-time, waltzes, polkas, political marches and ballads. He even quotes an authentic folk tune, "My Darling Clementine", used sarcastically in duple instead of the usual triple meter (Figure 8-16).

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603 When Horace sees into the future, Silver Dollar sings in a blues style, which would also be appropriate for that period. Each of the major characters is drawn well musically. Baby Doe sings in long soaring lines and is always associated with the waltz (Figure 8-17), both when she sings her major arias and whenever others talk of her. This undoubtedly symbolizes her grace and charm.

Figure 8-17: The Ballad of Babv Doe. Act I, Scene 6, p. 123 Horace's music is more coarse and vigorous, often accompanied by unusual harmonies (Figure 8-18).

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604 Augusta's music is generally the most disjunct and she is often associated with staccato rhythms (Figure 8-19). Her aria has the most extended form in the opera, suggesting her twisted and complicated emotions.
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Figure 8-19: The Ballad of Babv Doe. Act 1, Scene 3, Page 59 Throughout the opera, Moore's music can be characterized as strongly rhythmical and immensely vital, yet it has a suppleness that makes it communicate with both the lyricism and dramatize strength. The orchestra is always tuneful and supports the vocal lines well, often doubling them. The Ballad of Babv Doe has become one of the most popular and most frequently performed American operas. It is easy to understand and listen to, is entertaining, and is one of the few American operas to receive world wide recognition. Gallantry (1958) on a libretto by Arnold Sundgaard, is a satire on a uniquely American television style, the soap opera. In this episode, just before an operation, Doctor Gregg, the eminent surgeon declares his love for

605 his anesthetist, Lola, but she is already engaged to Donald Hopewell. After a commercial for Billy Boy Wax, the scene opens in the operating room where the patient is none other than Donald. Dr. Gregg interrupts Donald and Lola's embrace and tells Lola to put the patient to sleep. Just before he goes under the anesthetic, Donald asks how Mrs. Gregg is. While they operate, Lola is furiously indignant at Dr. Gregg's deception until she hands him the scalpel and he holds it menacingly over Donald. Loia rushes out for help and Dr. Gregg follows her. Donald awakens abandoned on the operating table. Lola returns and as she tells Donald that she has sent for another surgeon because they can't trust Dr. Gregg, the announcer returns, urging the audience to "Listen tomorrow for another chapter" and to buy Lochinvar soap. Gallantry is truly an American comedy of manners, called by Douglas MacKinnon a "farcical blend of ridicule and winsome tunes in two scenes of appropriately mawkish content"!?. Everything is over-exaggerated in the libretto: the characters; the emotions; and the sales pitches. Within this framework there are also instances of more subtle humor; for instance, when Dr. Gregg's stethoscope gets in the way of his embracing Lola, he sings "No, it isn't funny at all"18, referring to an entirely different matter. The music is equally excessive, with its constant tremolos and trills to over-dramatize, as when Dr. Gregg threatens to stab Donald (Figure 8-20).

606

Figure 8-20: Gallantry, p. 47 There are three figures which recur and unify the opera. The first and most important, (Figure 8-21), seems to represent the soap opera itself and recurs as the show cuts to the commercial and back, and throughout the show, as situations change, for example when Donald mentions Dr. Gregg's wife.

Figure 8-21: Gallantry: p. 3 The second (Figure 8-22), is more of a rhythmical motif, representing Lochinvar Soap, one of the show's sponsors. In occurs in the commercials, including the one at the end.

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Figure 8-22: Gallantry, p. 6 The third (Figure 8-23), represents the other sponsor, Billy Boy Wax and occurs whenever the wax is being advertized.

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Figure 8-23: Gallantry, p. 3 The harmony is very simple and tonal, built triadically for the most part, although clashing dissonances do occur during conflicts. One of Moore's most common musical devices is chromaticism and it is found throughout the work, (Figure 8-24).

Figure 8-24: Gallantry, p. 36

608 Other devices include imitation, syncopation, strong rhythmic patterns and tuneful melodies which, as is usual, follow the natural speech inflections. Within the short length of the opera (thirty - five minutes), Moore covers a variety of styles: dance numbers, arias, recitative, and ensembles. The most interesting of these is the final quartet which is half Lochinvar commercial (sung by Dr. Gregg and the announcer) and half love duet (sung by Lola and Donald to a previously heard melody) and is an amusing piece of counterpoint, both verbally and musically (Figure 8-25).

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609

Not only does Gallantry capture the spirit of the soap opera, it capitalizes on the form to produce an unusual and amusing work which is highly accessible. Though The Wings of a Dove (1961) is set in Europe, there is some debate as to whether it should be classified as an American Opera. As Irving Kolodin commented: Can you really call The Wings of a Dove an American opera? Certainly it is about Americans- not the kind known to Daniel Webster in Vermont or to Baby Doe in Colorado, but surely known to the time and place of Henry James.19 Based on the Henry James novel, the libretto, by Ethan Ayer, tells of the rich and frail American heiress, Milly Theale, who loves Miles Dunstan. Kate Croy loves Miles as well, but also wants money, so she tries to arrange a marriage between Milly and Miles, believing that Milly will die soon and leave her wealth to Miles. Milly is told by Lord Mark that Kate is Miles' mistress and at first refuses to see Miles. Eventually they are reconciled before she dies. Since Miles has grown to care for Milly, he promises to marry Kate only if she will renounce Milly's money. Kate goads him beyond endurance, until Miles says he doesn't love her. Kate tears up the envelope containing Millys money, as her aunt wraps Milly's shawl around Kate while Kate shrinks from it. The opera received mixed reactions, some very enthusiastic and some very negative. However, many agree that the libretto is one of the most outstanding librettos from a literary point of view.

610 Musically, Moore departed from the folk idiom since he did not wish to limit himself to folk operas. Nonetheless, the harmonic texture is still conventionally tonal and the melodies are very lyrical. Milly's "Dove Song" is a truly Italianate aria (Figure 8-26).

Figure 8-26: The Wings of the Dove. Scene 2, Pg. 58-9 Moore continued to incorporate styles of the period such as polkas and waltzes. He also utilizes a great deal of chromaticism, imitating phrases, parallel fourths and strong rhythmic patterns. One of the major criticisms of The Wings of the Dove was that the music was too eclectic; however, it is still theatrically effective, though unevenly so. For Carry Nation (1968), Moore returned to the folk genre. The libretto was a first time effort by William North Jayme, a free-lance writer and former

611

advertising executive. The prologue begins in a Topeka bar at the turn of the century. The clients are laughing about Carry Nation's attempt to "cleanup" Topeka saloons, when she and her women arrive with hatchets to smash the bar. Carry is arrested. The scene flashes back to 1865. Because the Civil War has left Missourians impoverished, Carry's family is taking in a boarder. While Carry readies the parlor, her father recalls her religious conversion. Carry's mother is living increasingly in the past. She can't accept the idea of a boarder and calls him a "visitor." Dr. Charles Gloyd, the new boarder, leans on alcohol to forget the war. He makes a gallant speech but then collapses. The mother suggests brandy, but the father refuses to have it served. As the bells sound, Charles is persuaded to kneel and pray with the family. The following spring, while a church service is going on, Carry and Charles flirt and embrace in the churchyard. They are interrupted by Carry's father who sends Carry into the church and then berates Charles. Charles taunts the father with his "unnatural" love for Carry and when her father accuses Charles of drinking too much, defiantly drinks from a flask. That autumn at a barn dance, Charles tells Carry that he has a chance to practice medicine in Holder, Missouri. The father tries to tell Carry that Charles is bad, but Charles publicly proposes to Carry and she accepts him amid the crowd's congratulations. In Charles and Carry's home, the ladies of a local auxiliary gossip about Charles' bad drinking habits and poor practice, while Carry is making tea.

612 When Charles returns and the ladies leave, Carry remonstrates with him about his drinking. She tries to make him promise not to drink by telling him of their forthcoming child, but he runs out of the house. In her bedroom, Carry's mother is playing with Carry's old toys. She tells Carry's father of the forthcoming baby and her father reads Carry's letter asking for money. In spite of her mothers pleas, her father is determined to bring Carry back home. The next day at a men's club, a very drunk Charles tells a war story about his allowing a soldier to bleed to death. Carry enters and shatters his bottle. Her father appears and Carry decides to go home with her father although Charles pleads with her for another chance. The following spring, while wheeling a baby carriage in the churchyard, Carry is reading a letter from Charles in which he tells that he is getting better. Her father shatters her hopes by bringing a telegram telling of Charles' death. Alone, she falls to her knees and asks God to possess her soul for "someone has to pay." As she faces the audience, her cloak falls away to reveal the Carry of the prologue. She informs the audience of their own guilt. A Bible is placed in one hand and a hatchet in the other. Carry Nation was not a success, mostly because of the libretto. Jayme's inexperience in the theater is obvious. Though the idea of a psychological study is interesting, it is not successful, for the dramatic action does not carry through. Winthrop Sargeant has stated that the libretto "is pretty thin in

613 action, ambiguous in point of view and short on strong characters, except for Carry herself."20 The poor libretto did not stop Moore from writing tuneful music. As is typical in all his operas, Moore incorporates a mixture of spoken dialogue, melodrama and set pieces without one being terribly aware of it (Figure 8-27).

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Figure 8-28: Carry Nation, Act I, Scene 2, p. 60 To create atmosphere, he incorporates styles that are suggestive of the period and place: waltzes, hoe-downs, barbershop songs and revivalist hymns. He even uses rag-time for the Topeka bar, to convey the time change (Figure 8-29).

Figure 8-29: Carry Nation. Prologue, p. 6 Musical devices which he utilizes consistently include: chromaticism, canonic imitation and polyphony, seventh and ninth chords, and parallel fourths.

615 Moore's rhythm patterns are very straight-forward and the meters change frequently to accommodate the speech patterns. The harmonic texture is romantically tonal. Because of the weakness of the male characters, in fact the one dimensional quality of all the lead characters, one doesn't truly get involved in the story. This, combined with the other dramatic weaknesses, mar the theatrical effectiveness of Carry Nation. In all Moore's operas, the outstanding characteristics are: lyrical melodies; rhythmic drive; transparent texture; and a constant building of intensity. Otto Luening commented: He possesses one quality which can't be learned, that is, the desire to sing. In his music this is manifested as an emotional drive; his spring of melody seems overflowing. Harmonic innovations, new rhythmic devices, complicated contrapuntal manipulations may follow as a consequence of this drive.21 Even w hen one of his operas as a whole is not successful, Moores music does achieve his goal: The particular idea which I have been striving to attain is to write music which will reflect the exciting quality of life, traditions and country which I feel all about me.22

Copland One of America's most important composers, Aaron Copland, was born in Brooklyn in 1900. He began piano lessons at age 13 and theory at age 17 with Rubia Goldmark. In 1919 he went to Paris and studied with Nadia Boulanger as her first American, full-time student. While there he met

Stravinsky and heard the new styles of music. From 1924 onward, he lived predominantly in N ew York, where he died in 1990, two months after his ninetieth birthday. He was very active as: a member of the Board of the Board of Directors of the League of Composers; a founder of the American Composer's Alliance; and a participant in the Composers Forum and the International Society for Contemporary Music. He was also a lecturer, writer and teacher. In 1956 he received an honorary doctorate from Princeton University. Other awards include a Gugenheim Fellowship (1925-27) and a Pulitzer Prize (1945). His musical compositions include symphonies, ballets, concertos, film scores, chamber and orchestral works, and two operas. Copland became pre-occupied with writing American music in the early twenties. His compositions can be divided into several periods. During the twenties (1921-29), his use of Americanisms in his music was rather superficial. One can hear the French influence in his attention to detail, understatement, and elegance, which he combined with jazz rhythms and the blues notes of the contemporary dance music. Towards the end of the twenties and early thirties (1929-34), his style became more abstract, and was characterized by sparse harmonies though it maintained its rhythmic complexity. After 1935, he simplified his musical style to appeal to a larger audience. In the late 1950s, he reassessed his style and experimented with the 12-tone system, which he found "forced him to

617 unconventionalize his thinking and freshen his melodic and figurational imagination."23 His two operas both fall into his third period (1934-58). His musical idioms centered on the need to find a musical language that would have an American quality, yet be very accessible. His melodies resemble folk tunes, made up of short motifs. Copland shares many of the same musical techniques with Moore, but in his music they evolve significantly further. These include: polyphonic forms, especially canon or imitation; strong rhythms with a great usage of syncopation and rapid meter changes; popular elements (i.e. dance rhythms and tunes, etc.); and chromaticism. Copland also utilizes many open fourths and fifths, added note chords, seventh, and ninth, and non-functional triads, often in parallel motion. His operas include most of these traits. The Second Hurricane. "A Play Opera for High School Students" on a two act libretto by Ewin Denby, premiered in 1937. Set in the southern m idwest in the 1930s, it tells the story of six high school students, seeking to become heroes by volunteering as relief workers, who are marooned when their airplane, carrying them and the relief supplies to the scene of a hurricane, is forced to land. Cold, tired, and hungry, the students behave nastily with one another. However the threat of another hurricane forces them to overcome their individual conflicts and makes them realize the importance of working together.

618 Though The Second Hurricane is not perfect, it is highly thought of. As Paul Rosenfield commented: The Second Hurricane is a thoroughly dramatic com position, sturdily constructed from the musical point of view , furnished with sim ple m oving choruses and rhym ing lyrics and deriving a special punch and originality from ifcrtasteful exploitation of the quality of the American adolescent. Notably enough, it approaches the rather reserved and laconic style and temper of the American expression more closely than does any other operatic work.24 The libretto may be considered slightly preachy and naive but the music is very direct. The sim ple melodic lines are triadic, with many examples of a Copland trademark, an interval of a third (Figure 8-30), and are usually made up o f short repeated phrases.

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The choruses are generally in unison or thirds, with sim ple canonic patterns (Figure 8-31).

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Figure 8-31: The Second Hurricane. Num ber 1, p. 7

The harmonies are generally functional, although there are instances of bitonality (Figure 8-32) and there are several m odal sections w ith flat seven th s.

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Scene 9 is the first instance in which Copland incorporates any traditional folk material. Here he uses a revolutionary war song, "The Capture of Burgoyne" (Figure 8-33).

Figure 8-33: The Second Hurricane. Num ber 9 d, p. 99

Though the rhythmic patterns are sim ple, em ploying m any rocking ostinati; they generally sound very vital (Figure 8-34).

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While the sim ple forms in The Second Hurricane are appropriate to the untrained voices it w as written for, there is no feeling of w riting dow n to them. It w as the first important work to be written especially for young voices by an American com poser and it has been quite successful.

The Tender Land is on a libretto by Horace Everett, a pseudonym for an author who's identity has remained a secret. Originally in two acts, it premiered in 1954, and then was withdrawn. The final revised three act version was produced in 1955. Based on photographs from Walker Evans and James Agee's book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, the opera takes place in the 1930s on a midwest farm at spring harvest time. Ten-year-old Beth is playing in the yard while Ma sits on the porch sewing. The mailman arrives with a dress for Beth's older sister, Laurie, who graduates tomorrow. Laurie arrives home, full of the emotion of graduation and impatient to be free. Two drifters, Top and Martin, enter, looking for work and food. When Grampa returns from the fields, he agrees to let them work. That evening there is a party for Laurie's graduation. After they finish eating, the dancing starts. Laurie and Martin dance and then go outside to talk. Grampa discovers them kissing and orders Top and Martin off the property by morning. Laurie is in tears and the party breaks up. Later that night, Martin cant sleep and he calls softly for Laurie. She comes out to him and they plan to run away. However Top, when he finds out, convinces Martin that their nomadic existence is no good for Laurie and the men sneak off immediately. At dawn, Laurie comes out and discovers that Martin has left her behind. Heartbroken and disillusioned, Laurie realizes that she needs to

622 leave home and find her own way. As she walks down the road, Ma turns toward Beth and the cycle begins again. The libretto is weak. Rather than successfully projecting a dramatic situation, its effect, as Howard Taubman points out "is that of a landscape with genre figures rather than of a drama of vivid, moving human beings"25. The characters are rather one dimensional and too generalized. Copland has matched the landscape effect in the music, as was noted in The N ew York Times: What the composer has succeeded in doing is to create a genuine atmosphere piece that breathes, smells, even feels like the midwest. It is gentle, homespun, sweet and casual.2* From the beginning to the end of the opera, the melodies flow naturally and tunefully with a quiet charm. The opening, with its wide spread harmonies over a C pedal point, gives a feeling of country and space. The melodic motif (Figure 8-35) recurs at the end, symbolizing the continuation of the life cycle, and gives a cyclic feeling to the opera.

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Figure 8-35: The Tender Land. Act I, p. 1

623 Throughout there are small motifs which repeat within sections. For instance, there is a "love" motif (Figure 8-36) which forms the basis of Martin's aria.

Figure 8-36: The Tender Land. Act III, p. 158

Musically the characters are well defined. Ma's melodic lines are the most folk-like and conjunct, as in her opening song (Figure 8-37).

Figure 8-37: The Tender Land. Act I, p. 3

Laurie's music is more disjunct and often polytonal to match her searching. When excited she is often supported by sevenths and ninths (Figure 8-38).

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Grampa's lines are very triadic and tonal (Figure 8-39).

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The drifter's music has a harder edge to match the roughness of their characters. Top's music is syncopated and rhythmic, often accompanied by brass, and open fourths and fifths (Figure 8-40).

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Martin's music is restless, with more triplets and sixteenths (Figure 841).

Figure 8-41: The Tender Land. Act II, p. 135

The quasi-folk-song melodies are natural for all of these country folk. There are two authentic folk melodies utilized as well. The first is Top's song, "Oh, I was a goin' courtin'", adapted from Cecil Sharp's English Folksong from the Southern Appalachians. The second is from an old revivalist hymn (though with different words) and occurs during the quintet, "The Promise of Living". This is the most sustained and beautiful number in the opera. Built of block harmonies, like a Bach chorale, each character enters

626 one by one. There are tw o distinct m elodies, which are heard alone at first and then combined in a web of contrapuntal rhythms (Figure 8-42).

Figure 8-42: The Tender Land. Act I, p. 82

Although Copland matches the sim ple plot with sim ple harmonies for the m ost part, there are instances of polytonality, for exam ple in Laurie and Martin's D u et in Act III, and of sharp dissonances, especially seconds, sevenths and ninths (often in parallel), as when Grampa catches Laurie and Martin together or w hen Laurie discovers that she has been deserted (Figure 843).

Figure 8-43: The Tender Land. Act III, p. 189

627 Other Copland trademarks are: his utilization of parallel triads, as in Tops aria, (Figure 8-41, above); his constant use of ostinato figures; his major/m inor triads; and his added-note chords. Despite the weak libretto, Julia Smith finds The Tender Land significant. In m y opinion, what Oklahoma contributed to the revitalization of the Broadway musical comedy, The Tender Land has achieved in the American Opera theatre.27

W ilder A composer w ho uses similar techniques, but in a simpler style is Alec Wilder (1907-1980). Born in Rochester, N ew York, Wilder studied at the Eastman School of Music. His musical output includes; film scores; ballet; concertos; chamber music; piano pieces; songs; one musical comedy; and 2 operas. The Lowland Sea, on a one act libretto by Arnold Sundgaard, premiered in 1952. Suggested by sea chanties, The Lowland Sea takes place in Scarlet Town about 1845. Dorie Davis loves Johnny Dee, a sailor who is at sea. She waits for him until new s comes that his ship has sunk with all hands. Unbeknownst to her, Johnny had been put off the ship with malaria. After a year she marries Nathaniel, a widow er with 3 children. Johnny returns, but it is too late, even though she still loves him. He sails away and she never sees him again.

628 The setting of The Lowland Sea was chosen for its simplicity, as the librettist and composer explain in the score: The Opera has been designed primarily for college, school and community groups. The only requirements for its production are a table, a bench, and two chairs. Through the flexible use of these basic objects and a selected assortment of props, a variety of settings and moods is p o s s ib le .2 8 To match the plot and the setting, the music is also very uncomplicated. All the elements, melody, harmony, texture, and orchestration, are at a basic level. The melodic lines resemble either folk tunes, as in The Cuckoo (Figure 8-44) or musical comedy, as in I'm Not a Sentimental Man (Figure 8-45).

Figure 8-44: The Lowland Sea, p. 68

Figure 8-45: The Lowland Sea, p. 34

There is no recitative and no unaccompanied dialogue to speak of. However, there is a great deal of melodrama, alternating measured speech with rhythmic speech (Figure 8-46).

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Figure 8-46: The Lowland Sea, p. 26

To unify the opera, Wilder uses recurring motifs. The first appears at the opening and represents the sea (Figure 8-47). It serves as the basis for the introduction, and "Haul Away" and recurs throughout the opera, representing sailing.

Figure 8-47: The Lowland Sea, p. 1

The "Scarlettown" motif (Figure 8-48) is associated with home and Dorie. It recurs throughout the opera, as in the previous figure 8-46, where the orchestra uses the motif to comment on the cause of Johnnies loneliness.

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Wilder also incorporates some authentic folk songs: Bobbie Shaftoe has a new musical setting; The Cuckoo has old words and new music; and Here We Come a-Roving is borrowed from a children's round. The harmony is tonal, usually I, IV, V, built on triads and seventh chords, which are often used as a means of modulation. Parallel octaves and fifths also occur frequently. The rhythms too are very straight forward and offer no difficulties. Wilder's most noticeable compositional trait is his utilization of repetitive techniques, such as recurring motifs, phrases that repeat two and three times, bass ostinati and repetition of whole sections. While The Lowland Sea is very appealing melodically for inexperienced singers and audiences, it is perhaps a little too naive and repetitive by today's standard. Sunday Excursion (1953), by the same librettist and composer, was written as a curtain raiser. It takes place around 1910 on an excursion train. Two boys, Hillary and Marvin, and two girls, Alice and Veronica, board the train, homeward bound from N ew York City to N ew Haven. Both pairs are

631 disgruntled and wish they hadn't come to town until they notice each other. Veronica and Hillary are interested in each other and push Alice and Marvin, who are in the same botany class, to say hello. They finally manage to get acquainted, and get so involved that they almost miss their stop. Sunday Excursion shares many of the same musical traits as The Lowland Sea. It is unified by two recurring motifs, both of which are stated in the overture. The first is the "train" motif (Figure 8-49) which recurs at various times throughout the opera and the second is the "attraction" motif (Figure 8-50) which recurs, with slight variations at climatic moments.

Figure 8-49: Sunday Excursion, p. 10

Figure 8-50: Sunday Excursion, p. 21

Tim, the candy "butcher," enters periodically selling first apples, then candy and finally a magazine, each with their own motif. All three of these

632 motifs recur at the end of the opera, along with the "attraction" and the "train" m otifs, giving the opera a cyclic feeling. Again, W ilder utilizes repetition to a great extent. The girls and the boys repeat each other's text and music constantly. For instance, Alice and Veronica sin g about w ishing they hadn't com e to town, then this w hole section is repeated by the boys and the section is finally finished with thequartet sin gin g "I W ish We Hadn't com e to the City Today".29 The sam e thing happens in other musical sections. There are also repeated phrases w ithin these sections, sequences and ostinato figures. U nlike The Lowland Sea, there is no m easured dialogue. Instead, W ilder uses conversational recitative (Figure 8-51).

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Harmonically, the opera is tonal, dom inated by: thirds, fifths, and octaves; triads; and seventh and ninth chords. The rhythm is often rem iniscent of dance rhythms, such as the waltz, used for the final quartet. In general, though Sunday Excursion is primarily light froth and a bit repetitive, it has a certain charm and audience appeal.

633 Foss One delightful folk opera that is unique is The Tumping Frog of Calaveras County by Lukas Foss. Foss was bom in Berlin, Germany, in 1922, and studied at the Paris Conservatory at the age of eleven. In 1937, he came to America to study at the Curtis Institute, graduating in 1940. In addition, he studied with Hindemith at the Bershire Music Center and Yale. In 1940, he was appointed the pianist of the Boston Symphony and in 1943, he became an American citizen. His awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1945 (the youngest composer at that time to win this), and the Pris de Rome (1950). For awhile he taught at the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1963 he became music director and conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic. His musical output has included concertos, orchestral pieces, symphonies, ballets, choral pieces and three operas. The lum ping Frog of Calaveras County (1950), on a one act libretto in two scenes by Jean Karsavina, is based on Mark Twain's tale. It takes place during the California Gold Rush. Smiley and Lulu are in Uncle Henry's saloon and Smiley is demonstrating his frog's jumping prowess. The frog, Daniel Webster, is renowned locally. After the display, Daniel is returned to his box. A stranger comes into the saloon and, after ordering a rye whiskey, asks about the box and the frog. The outcome is that Smiley bets forty dollars that Daniel will out-jump any frog. Smiley goes out to catch a frog for the

634 stranger and Uncle Henry goes out to spread the word about the contest. Lulu and the stranger flirt a bit and then Lulu also leaves. Left alone with Daniel, the stranger quickly stuffs buckshot dow n the frog's throat. Outside, Pop tells everyone about the contest and says that the stranger is taking side bets. Lulu arrives with the stranger, which annoys the other men. They remain loyal to Daniel and, after Smiley arrives with another frog, the contest begins. The stranger's frog makes a little jump; Daniel won't move despite the pleading of the townsmen and so loses the contest. Amid the lamentations over Daniel's defeat, the stranger takes the men's money and leaves. As everyone else starts to go, Smiley notices that Daniel doesn't feel well. He turns Daniel upside down and the buckshot is expelled. The other men rush out and capture the stranger. After they recover their money, they threaten to tar and feather him if he ever returns. In the end, everyone sings Daniel's praises. Even though Karsavina has made a few changes to the story dropped the narrator, added a love interest (Lulu), and changed the ending from the stranger escaping in the story to his being caught in the opera ~ the flavor of the original has been retained, helped in part by the colloquial vernacular, such as "Them outlanders, thinkin' how smart they are!"30 and "That was a mighty good dinner, and served in real (ree-yell) fine style."31

Foss's score also catches the character of the tale and the old frontier spirit. The musical idiom has been described as "suggestive of the cowboy song, the barroom piano, or the show number."3^ Foss establishes the country atmosphere right from the start with the syncopated rhythms and folk-like m elody of the opening trio (Figure 8-52).

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Figure 8-52: The lumping Frog of Calaveras County. Scene 1, p. 15

The lead characters have their own styles of music. Daniel (the lead whom w e never see) has a jumping motif (Figure 8-53) which recurs throughout the opera.

Figure 8-53: The lumping Frog of Calaveras County. Scene 1, p. 27

636 Smiley, Uncle Henry and Lulu, as has already been seen in the trio (Figure 852), sing in folksy rhythms. The stranger has more sophisticated "slick" music, with constantly changing meters and, in his aria, w ith a "blues" feeling (Figure 8-54).

Figure 8-54: The Tumping Frog of Calaveras County. Scene 1, p. 57

In between the ensembles and arias, Foss uses som e free spoken dialogue and a great deal of rhythmical dialogue and sprechstimme (Figure 855), going from one to the other w ithout any break.
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Figure 8-55: The lum ping Frog o f Calaveras County. Scene 1, p. 12

637 To help achieve an old west flavor, Foss incorporates an authentic folksong, "Sweet Betsy from Pike" which opens scene two. It recurs throughout this scene in various forms and fragments, becoming more polyphonic in texture as the tension increases. Other American traits include: the ragtime as used for the bets; the folk waltz used in Lulu and the stranger's duet; the jazz-like rhythms the stranger's discussions; and the blues already m entioned. One of the compositional traits which sets The lumping Frog of Calaveras County apart is Foss's expert use of counterpoint. He utilizes it throughout the opera, both vocally and instrumentally, with lines ranging from two to eleven parts (Figure 8-56). Other compositional techniques include: sequences; repetition of phrases; and frequent meter changes.

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figure 8-56: The Tumping Frog of Calaveras Countv. Scene 1, p. 31

The harmonics palette is very modernistic, with clashing harmonics, ambiguous major/minor chords, poly tones, sevenths, ninths, and elevenths, tone clusters, and modal cadences. There are no key signatures.

638 The orchestral score supports the drama, and underlines the action, as in the jumping music in previous figure 8-52. When Daniel takes a bigger jump, the triads are expanded to seventh chords. The lumping Frog of Calaveras Countv has always enjoyed a great deal of success, especially with opera workshops. Griffelkin (1955) is a folk fairy tale opera about a little devil who comes to earth to do his bad deed, but is fascinated with humans and can't do it. His fate is that he becomes human. About Foss's musical style, Babin, in Musical America, commented: Perhaps the most notable characteristics of this score are its rhythmic ingenuity, and transparency of texture. Foss has absorbed the bounce, syncopation, and dance impulse of the popular music of our day into his bloodstream and his music reflects them in ways that are natural, unforced and delightful.33 Introductions and Goodbyes (1960) on a libretto by Gian-Carlo Menotti, is a short satire (nine minutes) on cocktail parties. The host receives nine guests who mime typical "cocktail" conversation, while comments are made by a vocal quartet hidden in the pit. The music incorporates similar harmonic and compositional traits to The lumping Frog of Calaveras Countv. but the vocal lines are perhaps more disjunct and the idiom is more contemporary.

639 Schum an William Schuman, too, incorporates a great deal of rhythmic and harmonic vitality in his operas. Born in N ew York City in 1910, Schuman's first musical interest was tin pan alley and popular music, leading him to play piano, banjo, sax, and clarinet in a jazz band in high school. Later he played in nightclubs and wrote popular music. In 1930 he decided to study music seriously and started theory at the Malkin Conservatory. He went on to study at Columbia (B.S. 1935, M.M., 1937), working with Ray Harris, who exerted a major influence on Schuman's career. He taught first at the Sarah Lawrence College (1935-1952) and then at the Julliard School of Music (1952-1962). In 1962 he became the President of Lincoln Center. His many awards include two Guggenheim Awards (1939 and 1941) and the first Pulitzer Prize for music (1951). His musical style is noted for its clarity, complex

jazz-influenced rhythms, angular melodies, expressive dissonance, and contrapuntal technique. Am ongst his many musical m edium s, he has com posed two operas. Casev at the Bat, on a one act libretto by Jeremy Gury, which is based on a poem by Ernest L. Thayer, premiered in 1953. It takes place in Mudville, U.S.A. on the day of the state championships. Centerville is playing Mudville. The band marches to the stadium. Merry puts up a few signs for the Fireman's Carnival and visits with the watchman, w ho also serves as

640

narrator. The Watchman leaves and, after the young boy, Charlie, checks out his knothole, he and Merry leave as well. Thatcher, the Centerville catcher meets Snedikee, the Centerville pitcher, to talk game strategy, having information which will trap Casey into striking out. The crowd gathers, the hawkers sell their wares, the players are introduced one by one and then Casey enters. Charlie asks him to autograph his book but in the crowd's crush, Casey hasn't time. By the end of the ninth inning, Mudville is losing. With two outs and two players to bat before Casey, it doesn't look good. However, both Flynn and Blake have hits and the crowds cheer for Casey. He comes to bat and strikes out. The crowd disappointedly leaves. Casey enters dejectedly. First Charlie comes, still looking for his autograph. Then Merry enters and holds out her hand. Casey takes it, his self confidence restored, and they leave together. The subject of baseball in opera is unique to this work. The libretto keeps Thayer's verses intact, spoken by the watchman, but to this Gury has added the characters emotions, and has changed the ending from despair,-to a feeling of love and hope for Casey. He also includes a great deal of baseball vernacular; such as "I'm a southpaw. I can pitch side-arm, overhand, underhand. I can pitch a real fast ball, also a binder, a snake ball, and naturally a spitter."34

641 The chorus plays a major role, for both the librettist and the composer believe: that the Crowd is the hero of "The Mighty Casey." Clearly, both sides want to win. They can do som ething about it; they can field the ball, or they can bat it. But the crowd is helpless; it can cheer and pray and agonize and quarrel - but like Prometheus chained, it is easy prey to the outcome of the next pitched ball, the next sw ing of the bat. 35 Schuman utilizes the chorus in several ways. It often sings in unison to underline a situation, for example, when it imitates the watchman or introduces the play. When avidly involved in the game, the chorus cheers in a chordal style, such as when Flynn and Blake get through. When they have lost, they mourn polyphonically. The characters are somewhat characterized by the songs they sing. Casey sings nothing, for the authors felt "that one so god-like shouldn't speak. The magnificence of Casey is above mere words."36 Merry sings in a slightly popular style with simple rhythms and harmonies (Figure 8-57), em phasizing her naivete and warmth.

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Figure 8-57: The Mighty Casev. No. 8, p. 61

642 The umpire's song, with its steady, pompous rhythms and disjunct line reflects umpire Buttenheisen's self-importance (Figure 8-58),

Figure 8-58: The Mighty Casey. No. 16c, p. 122-3

Thatcher, the catcher, is associated with syncopated rhythms and ostinato chords which represent the ball hitting his glove (or his swaggering walk), (Figure 8-59).

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Figure 8-59: The Mighty Casey. No. 15, p. 109-10

There are many melodic associations, which recur to help unify the work. The most important represents the ball game (Figure 8-60) and is the principal theme of the introduction.

Figure 8-60: The Mighty Casev. No. 1 p. 1

Merry is associated with a "kind" phrase (Figure 8-61), and Casey with a "coming to bat" phrase (Figure 8-62).

Figure 8-61: The Mighty Casev. No. 2, p. 2

Figure 8-62: The Mighty Casey. No. 14, p. 10

The final pantomime utilizes the baseball, Merry and Casey phrases, as well as the umpire's (figure 8-58 above).

644 The harmonic texture is extremely varied and the tonal centers change frequently and abruptly; some even in chromatic 1/2 steps. The harmonies seem to be selected for their colors. Therefore they range from simple triads to tone clusters, often used for dramatic effects, such as when the crowd is trying to rattle the pitcher (Figure 8-63).

Figure 8-63: The Mighty Casey. No. 17, p. 13

Other compositional techniques he employs to vary the harmonic colors are: seconds, sevenths, ninths and elevenths, often unresolved; polytonality; sequences; consecutive interval chords; parallel fifths, octaves and tenths; and chromaticism. One compositional technique that is unusual is Schuman's "widening" technique. That is, he starts with a narrow interval and slow ly enlarges it to build to a climax; for example in the "Surprise" chorus, he builds from unison to a third, a fourth, and a fifth and ends on a seventh (Figure 8-64).

645

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Figure 8-64: The Mighty Casev, No. 13, p. 88 The rhythms are not terribly complex and are often made up of small repeating rhythmic patterns, (Figure 8-65), building in intensity.
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Figure 8-65: The Mighty Casey. No. 4, p. 32 The orchestral score is unusual in that it plays such an important role, having so many interludes and pantomimes. It always supports and underlines the action, as for instance, the catcher's movements (Figure 8-59 above) or Casey's third strike. The Mighty Casey has received mixed reviews. Evans Clinchy felt that Schuman has caught the true flavor of the game and particularly of the crowds that make baseball so much fun.3?

646 However, Harold Schonberg commented that: Some of it is lively, amusing, tongue-in-cheek. About everything indeed is present but relaxed melody What one looks for and what is missing is the folkish flavor The Mighty Casey is part sentimentalism, part modernism, but never quite the real thing.38 Even though the melodic lines are angular, they seem to suit the subject matter. The rhythmic vitality and constant movement produce an excitement that is catching. A Question of Taste (1989) on a libretto by J.B. McClatchy, based on a Ronald Dahl story, was written as a companion for The Mighty Casev. The noted gourmet and wine connoisseur, Phillisto Pratt is to have dinner with the Schofields. Louise's boyfriend, Tom hopes to ask Mr. Schofield for Louise's hand, although he has no money. However, he doesn't get a chance to do so before dinner. Mr. Schofield challenges Mr. Pratt to identify :he wine by taste alone. Mr. Pratt proposes a wager and Schofield agrees. The bet is Louise's hand in marriage against a check for a half a million dollars made out to her. Louise is outraged, but she goes along because of the prospect of financial security for Tom and herself. Mr. Pratt guesses correctly, but just before he is given Louise, the housekeeper enters with Mr. Pratts eyeglasses, which she found on Mr. Schofield's wine cabinet. Mr. Pratt, having been exposed as a cheat, departs, mistakenly leaving his check behind. Everyone toasts to Tom and Louise's happy future.

647 The libretto incorporates rhymed couplets and quatrains. Schuman matches this with lyrical melodies. His compositional techniques include pulsing rhythms, full harmonies and vocal lines patterned after speech. The opera has been hailed as "among his most inspired"39, and "sturdy, wellcrafted and impeccably scored "40. Bryan Another composer who studied with Hindemith at Yale in the 1940s was Charles Faulkner Bryan (1911 -1955), who wrote his only opera, Singin1 Billy, three years before his death. He is best known as a choral arranger of folk singers and as the first composer to base a symphony on a "white spiritual." He also performed regularly as folk artist on the dulcimer. He collaborated with Donald Davidson, who was active, as was Bryan, in the Tennessee Folklore Society and together they produced Singin1Billv. a folk opera in two acts. Loosely based on the life of William Walker (1809 - 1875), a famous itinerant Southern singing school master, who wrote several singing
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school tune books; Singin1Billy takes place in the fictional town of Oconee. John and Jenny Alsop are just leaving on their wedding trip when they are caught and given a shivaree. Miss Callie, the matriarch of Oconee Town stops the hazing and gives the bride one of her own hand-made quilts. After the others leave, Hezekiah, a Revolutionary War Veteran, proposes to Callie, and she refuses.

648 Singin* Billy arrives, looking for Callie. Hezekiah is jealous and leads Billy into the woods during which time he steals Billy's credentials. Meanwhile, Margaret and Hank, Callie's nephew, arrive to help prepare for the square dance that evening. Margaret tries to flirt with Hank but to no avail. Gussie arrives and confronts Margaret about flirting with Kinch, with whom Gussie is in love. Callie offers Gussie an Indian love potion and the square dance begins. It is interrupted when several men, Hezekiah among them, bring in a disheveled Billy. When they ask who he is, Billy has no credentials to prove his identity, so copies of his tune book, The Southern Harmony are passed around while he performs the "fa-so-la" scale set in that book. Billy sings of the harmony in music and life. When Kinch leads a group in "The Life and Death of John Barleycorn", Billy counters with the sacred version of the same tune, "Wondrous Love" and invites its crowd to his singing schjol next evening. During the recess of the class, Hank mentions that Margaret and Billy have been gossiped about. Gussie then arrives to warn Billy that Kinch is coming to break up the singing school. At the end of the class, Kinch arrives and accuses Billy of being a fraud who only seeks to make money and seduce young girls. The outcome is that Kinch challenges Billy to fight. Billy agrees, but the weapon he chooses is song. They are finally reconciled singing "John Barleycorn" and Wondrous Love." Hezekiah decides to produce Billy's

649 papers. It is revealed that Billy is about to return to Spartanburg to be married and all are invited to the wedding. Because the opera is based on "Singin' Billy" Walker, it is natural that several hymns from his Southern Harmony are incorporated. The most important are "Wondrous Love" and its secular counterpart, "The Life and Death of John Barleycorn." They are stated in both the overture and the Act II prelude, and are also sung in both acts. Each time the two versions are combined contrapuntally (Figure 8-66).

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Figure 8-67: Singin' Billy, p. 23 He incorporates Walker's original three-part arrangement and adds an alto line. Other authentic hymns are: "Evening Shade" and "Jerusalem", for chorus, "The Promised Land," which serves as a duet for Margaret and Hank, and "French Bread", sung by Billy as he heads for Oconee Town. The rest of the music, though original, is based on the folk-style. "The Shivaree Song," which is accompanied by cowbells, rattles, whistles, buckets and kegs, incorporates strong rhythmic figures and describes authentic customs in the lyrics (Figure 8-68).

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Figure 8-68: Singin' Billy, p. 3 "Hammer Out Sin", in which Hank hammers out his sin on his blacksmith's anvil, is in the worksong tradition.

651 Much of Bryan's folk-like style is achieved by using modal melodies. Other folk elements are open fourths and fifths; strumming figures in the strings; triple meters; and primitive harmony. Singin1Billy is definitely a genre piece of American folk opera and is easily performed as there is nothing complex in the score. Siegmeister One composer who has identified his works with American folk music is Elie Siegmeister. Born in New York City in 1909, Siegmeister studied at the Julliard School of Music, at Columbia University and with Nadia Boulanger. He has been active as a teacher, conductor and writer, including co-editing A Treasury of American Song with Olin Downes, and compiling several collections of early American songs and ballads. Included in his many compositions are several operas: Darling Corrie: Miranda and the Dark Young Man: The Mermaid in Lock 7: Night of the Moonspell: and Angel Levine. Darling Corrie (1952) is on a one act libretto by Lewis Allen. The prologue opens in the southern hill country, during Corrie's burial, with the preacher chanting, her parents weeping, the stranger mourning, and Johnny being held by several men. The scene flashes back to Corrie's home. Johnny comes calling, bringing her a necklace. He pushes her to set a wedding date, and her parents add their support, but Corrie won't be pushed. She is

652 dreaming of things she's never had, like a fancy red dress. At Johnny's mention of a rich stranger who wants to buy moonshine, Corrie runs off. Johnny goes with her father to help him with the whiskey still. Down by the woodland stream, Corrie follows an old superstition that says if you hold a mirror to the water you'll see your true love's face. The stranger meets her there and they pledge their love. At church on Sunday morning one of the neighbors tells Johnny that he thinks that the stranger may be a revenue agent. During the service, Corrie runs out, afraid of her conscience, and the stranger follows to comfort her. When Johnny comes out and tells the stranger that his whiskey is ready, the stranger gives him thirty dollars instead of the promised ten, tells him to keep the whiskey and leaves the area. Several months later, Corrie has agreed to marry Johnny and the wedding is about to begin. The stranger returns, confesses that he had been a revenue agent, but has quit. Corrie runs to him and tries to explain to Johnny that she loved the stranger from the start. Johnny pulls a knife and springs at the stranger. Corrie throws herself in between and is killed. The scene returns to the present and the burial continues. Darling Corrie is loosely based on the traditional folk song, "Darling Cora," a tale of a mountain girl who wants to kill the revenue officer who took her man, but the opera adds Corrie's father, and the love triangle.

653 Siegmeister uses this folksong to open and close the opera (Figure 8-69), giving it a cyclic feel.

Figure 8-69: Darling Corrie. Prologue, p. 4 Throughout the rest of the opera, Siegmeister incorporates his own original folk-like music. The melodies are simple and direct, based on triadic intervals. Many of them are modal. However they are accompanied by modern harmonies (Figure 8-70).

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Figure 8-70: Darling Corrie. Prologue, p. 5-6

654 Siegmeister's most frequently used compositional techniques include: sudden and frequent changes of tonal centers; minor seconds; diminished sevenths; major seventh and ninths; lowered "blues-style" thirds; polytonality; chromaticism; and thick chording. In between the arias and ensembles, Siegmeister employs conversational recitative, melodrama and sprechstiemme (Figure 8-71).
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Figure 8-71: Darling Corrie. Scene 3, p. 27 The rhythmic patterns are not very complex although they are often energetic and jazz-inspired. Syncopations are employed a great deal, as are instances of polyrhythms, (Figure 8-71 above), and ostinato figures. Several phrases recur through the opera. The "Darling Corrie" chorus has already been mentioned (Figure 8-69, above). The strangers phrase (Figure 8-70, above), representing "lost love", recurs sung by him in scene one and by Corrie in scene eight and scene ten, when he is gone. Corrie has a motif (Figure 8-72) recurring throughout the opera, which represents her dissatisfaction with life.

Figure 8-72: Darling Corrie. Scene 1, p. 13 There is a rhythmic figure (Figure 8-73) which first appears in the prologue, and recurs, as an omen of disaster in scenes one, three and eight.

Figure 8-73: Darling Corrie. Prologue, p. 9 The love duet between Corrie and the stranger returns when they are reunited in the wedding scene. The orchestra is used almost as a Greek Chorus. By repeating thematic materials, it recalls incidents or reveals the characters' inner thoughts. It also comments on the action. Darling Corrie is a fine drama and creates effective theater. It is accessible without being monotonous, and is within the competency of less experienced singers.

656 Miranda and the Dark Young Man (1953), on a one act libretto by Edward Eager, concerns seventeen year old Miranda, who agrees to a scheme concocted by her Aunt Nan, in order to meet a dark man who walks by the house every day. She tells her father several false stories about the young man's boldness toward her. As hoped for, her father has several run-ins not only with the young man, whose curiosity about Miranda is aroused, but with several passers-by. The young man eventually climbs into Miranda's bedroom via the cherry tree and the two fall immediately in love. While, Aunt Nan engages the suspicious father in a chess game with his back to the window the lovers escape. The libretto is perhaps a bit too wordy, and is often repetitious. However the music makes up for this. Many of the same characteristics that were found in Darling Corrie are employed in Miranda and the Dark Young Man. It consists of recitative, spoken dialogue, very little sprechstimme, and set pieces. The simple and charming melodies are set to sophisticated harmonies, which are at times dissonant and percussive more often than not in the recitative rather than in the arias and ensembles. Many examples can be found of sudden and frequent modulations, polytones, thick chords which employ seconds, sevenths and ninths, chromaticisms, and open fifths, and scale passages.

657 The opera is organized by recurring phrases. The opening motif in the introduction (Figure 8-74) seems to be "the scheme."

Figure 8-74: Miranda and the Dark Young Man. Introduction, p. 1 Each of the men has a motif. The fair young man's motif (Figure 8-75) appears in scene one and recurs in two, three and four. The middle-aged man's motif (Figure 8-76), also stated in scene one, recurs in two, three and four. The dark young man's motif (Figure 8-77), appears in scene one and recurs throughout the opera.

Figure 8-75: Miranda and the Dark Young Man. Scene 1, p. 13

Figure 8-76: Miranda and the Dark Young Man. Scene 1, p. 14

658

Figure 8-77: Miranda and the Dark Young Man. Scene 1. p. 14 Even though this is not, structurally speaking, a folk opera, most of the melodies have a modal, folk-like character and are also strophic or modified strophic in form. Aunt Nan's aria is more like a Broadway tune. In addition, Siegmeister employs more contrapuntal writing in this opera, especially notable in the last quartet which is quite complex. The rhythmic patterns can be slightly complex and many are jazzinfluenced. Syncopation is employed constantly, as well as ostinato figures and pedal points. Again the orchestra underlines the action and comments on the inner thoughts of the characters. Overall, the music is melodious and very sophisticated for the simple plot. Indeed, it can be quite entertaining and is well within student ranges. The Mermaid in Lock 7 (1958) is on a one act libretto in three scenes by Edward Mabley. Cap'n Swabby's son, Jack, goes to see his latest flame, Monongahela Sal, at the Catfish Club where she is singing. Liz, the Mermaid, appears, having swum the Atlantic to find Jack, with whom she fell in love when he was on Navy maneuvers off Land's End in England, and who deserted her. Cap'n Swabby, with misgivings, sends her to the Catfish Club.

659 Liz and Jack are reconciled, but Monongahela Sal eventually stirs up the crowd against this strange person who can't dance, and Liz and Jack are driven out. After returning to the lock, Liz returns to the water and Jack goes with her to Cap'n Swabby's sorrow. Generally, The Mermaid in Lock 7. is very melodious, but the harmonies and rhythms are very jazz-like. Sal sings a dirty blues number, "Goosey Gander." Liz's music is more folk-like. Again, the roles are very singable and the opera is quite interesting. Night of the Moonspell, (1976) a three act comedy on another libretto by Edward Mabley, is a reworking of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, set in Louisiana bayou country during the mardi gras season at the turn of the century. The plot is faithful to the original, but Mabley has changed the language to include Cajun, and Southern-black dialects and colloquialisms. Robin (Puck) is a young black, who dabbles in voodoo. He miscasts a spell, which brings disaster to the aristocratic lovers: Margaret and Anthony (Hermia and Lysander), and Holly and David (Helena and Demetrius). The tradesmen are Cajuns, Theseus and Hipplyte are wealthy plantation owners, and the Black King and Queen of the mardi gras replace Oberon and Titania. The score consists of set pieces (arias and ensembles) interspersed with speech inflected recitative and spoken dialogue. Each group has its own

660 musical style: the whites are atonal, with a lot of dissonant harmonies; the Cajuns have rough folk-like music; and the blacks sing in a jazzy blues style. The play within a play incorporates many quotes, including music from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Tristan Vind ISQltiaAfter its premiere, Hailer Snow commented: Siegmeister's score is an ingenious composition of beautiful sonorities, powerful and illuminating effects and solid dramatic integrity .41 Angel Levine, another Marbley/Siegmeister collaboration, premiered at the 92nd Street Y in New York City in 1985. Set in New York in the 1940s, it concerns Nathan Manischevitz, a poor tailor, who is afflicted with all the worst woes that can befall a Jew: his daughter has married a gentile, his son has joined the Army, his shop has burned down and his wife is dying. As he protests to God about all these punishments, he suddenly discovers a seedy looking black in his apartment, who says that he is Angel Levine, a black Jewish angel, on probation, earning his wings. Manischevitz calls Levine a fraud and throws him out. However his wife has overheard the conversation and begs her husband to go and search for the black angel. Manischevitz takes the subway to Harlem and comes across three blacks having a Talmudic discussion. They tell him that the angel has gone to Bella's, a low-class bar where he once worked as an entertainer. Persisting through the hostile jeers, Manischevitz finds the angel and tells him, "I

661 believe you Jewish and that you also an angel from God."42 Levine tells Manischevitz to return home. When he gets there/ he finds Levine sitting in the kitchen but no Fanny. Levine sends him to the livingroom which Fanny is entering, cured, with a bag of groceries in her arms. When they go to thank Levine, he is gone, so they rush outside and see a black feather floating down. Catching it, Manischevitz tells Fanny, "A wonderful thing, Fanny. Believe me, there are Jews everywhere."43 The libretto is very colloquial with both Jewish, "Trouble we have all our lives, Nathan. Nobody got such trouble as you and me"44 and black, "Hush yo' mouth, pop. What you know 'bout Bella? You's too old,"45 idioms. The two cultures are defined musically as well. The Jewish melodies are made up of small intervals, with many tone clusters, chromaticism, and sudden disjunct leaps (Figure 8-78).

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t t i f t r t . I t - p tll

Figure 8-78: Angel Levine, p. 8

The blacks are associated with jazz and blues (Figure 8-89).

662

Figure 8-79: Angel Levine, p. 102 The harmony is atonal with many instances of polytones, chromaticisms, angular leaps, tone clusters, and seconds, sevenths and ninths. The tonal centers change abruptly and frequently (Figure 8-80).

Figure 8-80: Angel Levine, p. 21 The rhythmic patterns throughout are very complex and jazz-influenced, and there are many instances of polyrhythms, as well as constantly changing meters.

663 The subject is interesting and the music is challenging, yet accessible. With the right cast, it could be theatrically effective. In all his works, Siegmeister captures a real sense of the American elements that he is portraying. His music is always imaginative and highly distinctive. Floyd One of the most effective of America's operatic composers is Carlisle Floyd, who began writing just after World War II. Bom in Latta, South Carolina in 1926, Floyd attended Converse College for two years and then graduated from Syracuse University (B.M.S., 1946, MM, 1949), where he studied with Ernest Bacon, Sidney Foster and Rudolf Firkusny. In 1947, he joined the faculty of Florida State University. Like Menotti, he writes his own librettos. His first opera, Slow Dusk was written in 1949, but was not staged until 1955. It takes place on a farm in the Carolina sandhills. Aunt Sue sits on the porch shelling peas and talks to Jess while he takes a break from plowing. When he asks where Sadie is, Aunt Sue guesses that she is down at the pond with Micah Hatfield. Jess hints that there may be something serious between Sadie and Micah, but Aunt Sue disagrees. She reasons that to be impossible because Sadie has finished school and Micah hasn't, but more importantly, Sadie is a Disciple and Micah is a

664 Truelight (two warring religious sects). Jess and Aunt Sue both go back to work; he to his plowing and she to pulling com. Sadie and a reluctant Micah enter. She is concerned about their poverty, but Micah reassures her by saying they have to have hope. When Micah proposes, Sadie accepts, much to his surprise. They seal their betrothal with a kiss and Sadie starts to cry for joy. Aunt Sue is heard and Micah, knowing that she doesn't like him, goes off fishing, but promises to see Sadie that night. After he leaves, she reflects on her loneliness whenever Micah isn't there. Aunt Sue comes out and Sadie tells her of their marriage plans. Aunt Sue furiously opposes it and Sadie storms away, saying that she doesn't want any supper. At dusk, Aunt Sue and Jess are told the shocking news. When Sadie enters, she senses that something is wrong, and her aunt tells her that Micah is dead. When he jumped in the pond to free his fishing line, his clothes got caught on a submerged stump. He couldn't free himself and he drowned. Sadie runs toward the pond screaming. Aunt Sue and Jess let her go, deciding that there is nothing they can do, and go into the house. Sadie returns and cries out to Micah, asking why he left her. Nothing is left for her now. The libretto is characteristically South Carolinian in its utilization of Sandhills dialect, such as, "That don't mean nothin'. Ain't it nat'ral fer a girl

665 eighteen to spoon? And Micah Hatfield ain't no match fer Sadie noways."** Some of this dialogue is spoken unaccompanied. The rest is set syllabically, with rhythms and pitches chosen to suit the speech patterns (Figure 8-81).

a' l kn

plaa-la*

ta - *J.

F h I i Ilka M i t |n i iil la

f, .J11-Lip
- itaai ar

Figure 8-81: Slow Dusk, p. 6 The opera is not very unified musically. Occasionally motifs are repeated and varied, but not with any consistency. The folk-like feel of Slow Dusk is captured by the use of many folk-like modal melodies, such as Sadie's aria (Figure 8-82).

tf
i jfc A

tlaa

yaa

aa

iw a - i t l n

aaaa

a - araaa

mj

tfir -

It,

i r

r f f
Figure 8-82: Slow Dusk, p. 25

pum p

There is one authentic hymn-tune, "Revive Us Again," incorporated for Aunt Sue's humming off-stage.

666

Harmonically, the opera is tonal and modal. However, there are many instances of prolonged dissonance (Figure 8-83).

Figure 8-83: glow Pugk, p. 19 Floyd also utilizes chromaticism, frequent seconds, sevenths and ninths, open fourths and fifths, octaves, and sequences to vary the harmonic color. The rhythm is not complex, although syncopations are used frequently and polyrhythms only occasionally. The orchestral score is thick and descriptive of the bleakness of the drama, and occasionally reflects the action, such as the "death" chord, when Sadie is told of Micah's death (Figure 8-84).

Figure 8-84: Slow Dusk, p. 37

667 Though Slow Dusk is not well-organized musically, it does reflect well on Floyd the dramatist. Because of the thick harmonic textures in the accompaniment, well-projected voices are required. Susannah premiered at Florida State University in 19S5. it is a paraphrase of the apocryphal story of Susannah and the Elders. It takes place in a primitive Tennessee mountain valley. The folks are enjoying a dance in the yard of the New Hope Church. The women are gossiping and Mrs. McLean convinces the others that Susannah's beauty is something shameful. The Reverend Olin Blitch arrives a day early and, after introductions, he notices Susannah and inquires about her. He is told first of her hard life by the men, but then of her "bad blood" by Mrs. McLean. Blitch decides to join the dance and partners Susannah. Later that evening Little Bat comes to visit Susannah at the Polk's house. They talk of Sam, Blitch, the pretty night and Susannah's dreams. Just then Sam arrives and Little Bat, who fears Sam, quickly leaves. The brother and sister then talk about the dance and sing the Jaybird song together. The next morning, Susannah is bathing in the creek. The elders are searching for a place for the baptism and discover Susannah bathing. After staring, they become indignant at this "blasphemous" and "shameful" incident.*?

668

That evening the townspeople are gathered at the church, gossiping about the afternoon's incident. When Susannah arrives and apologizes for being late, she is told that she isn't welcome in town. Trembling and flustered, she excuses herself, turns and runs home. Half an hour later Little Bat sneaks over to tell Susannah why she was condemned. When she finds out that Little Bat has lied to Blitch, telling him that Susannah always let young men "love her up" 48, she tells him to "git out"4?. When Sam arrives home, she sobs out her story. After he gives his opinion that people always think the worst, she begs him to comfort her by singing the Jaybird song again. Friday morning, Sam tells Susannah that he must go and check his traps. When she begs him to stay, he tells her that he will return tomorrow night. He also says that she must face them at the church that night. Finally, she reluctantly agrees. At the revival meeting Blitch delivers a "hellfire" sermon and then urges Susannah to meet him and God at the altar. Susannah starts to approach the altar, then cries she has not done. Later on her porch, she comforts herself by singing a ballad. Blitch arrives to pray with her. She tells him of her misery and he tells her that he
"No!"50,

refusing to confess to something that

669 is a lonely man. When he finds out that Sam won't be home, he leads Susannah into the house as she says, "I'm so tired. Jes can't fight no more''5i. The next morning, Blitch, filled with guilt, prays for peace for Susannah. Blitch tells the Elders that Susannah is innocent. When asked how he knows, Blitch avoids the truth by saying that the Lord spoke to him, but the people refuse to believe him and leave to go to the baptism. When Sam returns, Susannah tells him the whole story. He threatens to kill Blitch but Susannah says, "That'd do a lot o' good."52 He grabs his shotgun and runs out. When she realizes that he is in earnest, it is too late. At the sound of the shot, she cries, "Oh Lord, I never meant him to do it."M Little Bat runs in to warn Susannah that the people want to hang Sam and run her out of the valley. When they arrive, she stands her ground with a shotgun and they retreat. Seeking revenge, Susannah invites Little Bat to kiss her and then slaps him hard when he comes near. The libretto is simple and straight, employing natural and colloquial speech patterns consistently throughout. Susannah is a fully developed character who remains touching and consistent throughout. The comments which Howard Taubman made in 1975 still hold true: His libretto, despite some conventional moments, has dramatic fiber and suits his musical purposes. He captures the spirit of the Tennessee Valley setting.54

670 Many agree with Harriet Johnson's comments: It endears itself because of its directness, its sincerity and its singable melodic texture.55 Floyd took his singable lines and patterned his melodic lines after them. The vocal lines are generally syllabic. In the recitatives he imitates the speech patterns, both rhythmically and pitch-wise. Throughout, they contain many wide leaps (Figure 8-85). Floyd utilizes rhythmic speech as well, mainly in the sermon scene.

Figure 8-85: Susannah. Act I, Scene 1, p. 10 Most of the set pieces are in the folk idiom. Even though they are original music, several could easily pass for folk songs, for instance, "The Trees on the Mountain," "The Invitation Hymn," and "Jaybird". Susannah has many motifs that repeat to unify the work. Blitch is associated with a motif which is first stated in the opening music, and serves as his entrance music in Act I, Scene 1 (Figure 8-86). It recurs wherever he is mentioned, such as when Susannah says that he seems like a "nice fella" in Act I, Scene 2.

671
W llcfe

l i t Ik i - 1

Figure 8-86: Susannah. Act I, Scene 1, p. 11 Susannah has many associated motifs. There is a trill figure of the trumpet in the opening which recurs whenever there is a tragic occurrence; for example, when the Elders stare at Susannah in the creek, or when the shotgun blast is heard. Susannah is associated with birds throughout the opera (for example, Sam refers to her as little robin, and sparrow), and the song, "Jaybird" seems to represent the innocent Susannah. She first sings it with Sam in Act I, Scene 2 (Figure 8-87). It recurs vocally in Act I, Scene 2 as she battles and orchestrally in Act I, Scene 4 as she apologizes for being late; where it stops abruptly at the ends of phrases as she realizes that something is wrong. "Jaybird" also ends Act I, Scene 5.

672

Jajr-tirt

(II- III'

U il<

r jr

I I

I n lliM

II

M i

I IM i

Figure 8-87: Susannah. Act I, Scene 2, p. 33 The fiddle tune which begins Act I, Scene 1 (Figure 8-88), serves as a basis for the whole scene, it later recurs as Susannah tells Sam about the dance in Act II, Scene 2, and again at the church meeting in Act I, Scene 4.

Figure 8-88: Susannah. Act I, Scene 1, p. 4 When the fiddle tune recurs in Act I, Scene 4, it does so over a "doom" motif in the bass (Figure 8-89), which repeats fifteen times in this scene alone. It underscores Little Bat when he tells Susannah why she isn't welcome (Act I, Scene 5), and also the sermon scene (Act II, Scene 2).

Figure 8-89: Susannah, Act I, Scene 4, p. 44

673 Several rhythmic ostinati are utilized as well. For example, Blitch's "guilt" motif in Act II, Scene 4 (Figure 8-91) or Susannah's "truth" motif in Act II, Scene 5 as she tells Sam about Blitch (Figure 8-91).

Figure 8-90: Susannah. Act II, Scene 4, p. 105

Figure 8-91: Susannah. Act II, Scene 5, p. 113 The harmony is tonal and generally uncomplicated, often employing simple modal scales. At times it is rather stark, containing many open parallel fifths (often associated with the Elders), and fourths. Mrs. McLean always sings over dissonance. In addition, there are many instances of polytonality, as at the beginning of Act I, Scene 4 (Figure 8-89 above). For certain scenes a static quality is produced by repeating the same harmonic figure over and over, as at the beginning of Act II, Scene 2. There is a great deal of major/minor ambiguity right from the opening music. The rhythms are full of syncopations and change meter constantly in some scenes (as in Act n , Scene
1).

In others, the meter is stable.

674 The orchestra comments on the drama, for example, with the falling elevenths used for Susannah's surrender; supports or defines the character emotions, for example Little Gat enters with a squirming, sneaky pattern in both Act I, Scene 2 and 4; or creates atmosphere, for example the creek music in Act I, Scene 3. As a drama, Susannah is superb. It rushes on relentlessly, building in intensity and has an immense emotional impact. The drama is completely matched by the music and the overall product is a work which is superior theater and is one of the highlights of American opera. The Passion of Tonathan Wade, commissioned and premiered by the New York City Opera Company in 1962 was not a great success. Composed in three acts, with episodes between each scene, it takes place in the South following the Civil War. Colonel Jonathan Wade heads the occupying troops whose job it is to restore order in a Southern town. Judge Townsend introduces himself and his daughter, Celia, who refuses to acknowledge the introduction. As the Townsends leave and Wade and his aide, Patrick, exit into their headquarters, a quartet of negro boys celebrating their freedom is contrasted with a maimed Confederate soldier returning to his destroyed home. During a visit at the Townsends, Celia is provoked into denouncing Wade, who in turn describes his passionate hatred of the war. They both

675

apologize and a friendship is begun. Riddle, a pardon broker, approaches T ow nsend and is rebuked. At a Tow nsend party, Ely Pratt, the abolitionist head of the Freedm en's Bureau, gets into an argum ent w ith the Southerners, telling them that they w ill be taught the W ar's lessons by the N orth and they in tu rn shout defiantly at h im . W hile adm inistering the oath to som e Southern farm ers, reinstating them as citizens, Jonathan gets into an argum ent w ith Lucas W ardlaw. Patrick enters w ith orders from W ashington to rem ove Tow nsend as District Judge. Jonathan asks Ely to intercede, b u t Ely refuses and then exhorts Jonathan to join the radical party in their efforts to raise the status of the Negro. Jonathan refuses to condone their m ethods and Ely threatens him w ith loss of his com m and. After he leaves, Celia enters to take the oath because of her belief in Jonathan, and they declare their love for each other. W hen Lucas walks in on the scene and teases Jonathan about his love, Jonathan knocks Lucas dow n. Lucas threatens Jonathan w ith the K u Klux Klan. Riddle sells bogus certificates of land to the credulous Negroes and is sentenced by Jonathan to a prison term. Jonathan's appeal to rescind Tow nsend's rem oval is denied and Jonathan is forced to replace him w ith a N egro judge. Tow nsend is outraged and forbids Celia to see Jonathan. Celia

676

begs her father not to make her choose, but he is implacable. She is married to Jonathan even though her father disowns her. Outside, the Ku Klux Klan attacks the negroes and Jonathan sends Patrick to pursue the Klan before he returns to comfort Celia. Four years later, Celia is rocking their child as Jonathan enters, followed by Ely, who berates Jonathan for his lack of cooperation with the Union league and suggests that it may be due to his Southern wife. Celia tells Ely of her ostracism these past four years and exits in tears, followed by Jonathan. Ely realizes that he must force Jonathan out, and hits upon the idea of confiscating Townsend's household goods to satisfy a tax assessment. Patrick is coerced into helping. Judge James Bell is seen rebuking two carpetbaggers for bribing the black senators. He thereafter resigns his appointment in protest of the corruption in the state capital. Jonathan receives the confiscation order for Townsend's goods, but refuses to execute it, deciding to desert instead. Celia consoles him while he makes plans for escape. Celia overhears Townsend swearing vengeance on the Northern tyrants who have confiscated his goods. When she tells Jonathan, he senses a trap and they decide to leave immediately. As they are packing, Patrick arrives with three Klansmen who were lighting a cross on Jonathan's lawn. When they are unmasked, Jonathan finds that Lucas is one of them and

677

Lucas reveals that more are coming to rescue him and that they have orders to kill Jonathan. After ordering the Klansmen to be locked up, Jonathan sends Celia and their child to the carriage while he changes. As he is hurrying out to the carriage, he is shot. Immediately, Union soldiers and captured Ku Klux Klansmen enter. After Jonathan dies in Celia's arms, the two groups accuse each other of the m urder. Celia cries that they are all m urderers and commands them to leave. Left alone, she m ourns that they couldn't have lived in a different time. The libretto is weak, the dramatic buildup is very uneven, and there are too m any incidental episodes. The characters are rather conventional the proud self-righteous Abolitionist, the well-intentioned man, etc. The language is colloquial and m odem , rather than of the period. Sargeant rem arked: The libretto, which Mr. Floyd has, as usual, w ritten himself, is dreadfully complicated for operatic treatm ent moreover, Mr. Floyd's words are often very prosy for his purpose, and one occasionally finds him doing w hat no opera composer should do setting more talk to music.56 Musically, The Passion of Jonathan Woods is constructed like a Verdi opera, with unaccompanied and accompanied recitatives, duets, trios, arias and scenes. The compositional techniques and music are similar to Susannah except that Floyd "claims to have used m ore polytonality than

678
earlier. "57 Floyd is revising The, Passion of lonathan W ade in 1991 and it is

scheduled for a revised prem iere by the H ouston Opera. The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, originally w ritten for television, was prem iered on stage in 1964. Set on a plantation in colonial N orth Carolina in the m id-eighteenth century, it deals w ith Scottish settlers. Jenny MacDougald and Lachlan Sinclair are in love, but Jenny refuses to m arry Lachlan until he forgoes female com panionship, (except his m other an d Jenny), for three m onths. It has whittled dow n to tw o m onths w hen her father, D ougald M acDougald, enters. He is the Laird of his clan and still clings to the old ways, alw ays pining for his hom e in Skye. He w ears the tartans and kilts that w ere forbidden them in Scotland. He is a staunch supporter of King George. Today is his sixtieth birthday and he waits im patiently for his clansmen, w ho come in their kilts to w ish their Laird a happy birthday. D uring their greetings, Mollie Sinclair arrives w ith a m otley assortm ent of people. They are on their w ay to join the m arch on the British w ho have sent w arships to W ilm ington to enforce a stam p tax on the colonial ships. She invites D ougald and his kinsm en to join the march. Mollie and D ougald battle verbally, until Mollie tells him about the w arships. He calls it "a flagrant affront to loyal
s u b je c ts ." 5 8

The kinsm en ask D ougald w hat they

should do and Mollie calls them sheep. If Dougald stays w ith the old ways and rem ains a Laird, then he cannot be disloyal to the king. Mollie then

679

softens and says that they can't go back to another time and place, or they will lose the present. Dougald goes into the house and when he returns, he is in shirt and britches. He tells his kinsmen that Mollie Sinclair has many ideas, most of them wrong, but once in awhile she is right. He goes on that he can't command their allegiance because he cannot obey the King and therefore he renounces his claims as Laird. He then sends them away to decide for themselves whether to join the march or not. As Mollie leaves, she comes over to Dougald and says that it's much better to be Laird of one than of many and to think on her words. Lachlan, who is marching with his mother, bargains Jenny down to being his bride in two weeks. After everyone is gone, Dougald confesses to Jenny that he had always thought of himself as a sojourner in this new land, but today, he was forced to wonder, if he could return to Skye, would he go back. He decides not to search his heart as he doesn't want to know the answer. Instead, while musing that, with the right clothes, the widow Sinclair (Mollie) would be handsome, he and Jenny take down the British flag and hang a pirate flag. The one act libretto is full of colloquial Scottish language such as "I kinna answer that question, lass,"59 and "Dougald MacDougald, have you grown so old that the weight of years has shriveled your brain?"60

680

Musically, The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair shares m any of the same traits as Susannah, bu t is not nearly as elaborate. The vocal lines are based on speech patterns, rhythm ically and pitch-wise, b u t Floyd doesn't incorporate such large intervals as the sevenths and elevenths in S usannah. Floyd also incorporates instances of rhythmic speech and sprechstim m e as well as recitative. Characteristically, there are phrases associated with characters or ideas. Dougald is associated w ith a "youth" motif (Figure 8-92), which occurs whenever he thinks or speaks of Scotland.

Figure 8-92: The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 28

There is a "love" m otif for Jenny and Lachlan (Figure 8-93).

Figure 8-93: The Sojourner and M ollie Sinclair, p. 3

681

Rhythmic figures also recur, such as Mollie and D ougald's "arguing" rhythm (Figure 8-94).

Figure 8-94: The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 72

W henever there is any quick activity (i.e., raising and low ering the flag, hiding, etc.), an eighth-note pattern is used (Figure 8-95). For the flag it is and for the hiding it becomes.

Figure 8-95: The_Sojpurner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 49

Floyd employs many folk-like melodies. The slave chorus at the beginning, used to set the atmosphere of a plantation, has jazzy rhythm s (Figure 8-96).

m _ _ kM ,

I .

O m ip r l* |

mtt

n M n i f .

Figure 8-96: The SojPumer_and Mollie Sinclair, p. 1

Dougald's aria (Figure 8-92 above) has a modal folk melody. The Scottish reel has a bagpipe accompaniment (Figure 8-97).

Figure 8-97: The Sojourner and. Mollie Sinclair, p. 63

"God Save The King" is incorporated for the raising of the flag, with traditional harmonies. The harmonies are based in tonality, bu t the tonal centers change frequently. Ambiguous m ajor/m inor chords, parallel triads, open fifths, seconds, sevenths and ninths and polytones are utilized as well. The rhythm s are very vital and energetic for the most part, w ith m any dotted figure patterns and syncopations; changing meters are used occasionally. Polyrhythms are incorporated when the clansmen are confused (Figure 8-98).

Figure 8-98: The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 100

The orchestra underscores the action, such as the m arching figure for Mollie's "troops" (Figure 8-99).

Figure 8-99: The Sojourner and Mollie Sinclair, p. 67

684

The opera is not terribly exciting and has no great climax, but it is amusing and touches a sentimental note. It is also neither difficult to produce nor to cast. Of Mice and Men, based on the novel and play by John Steinbeck, was commissioned and premiered by the Seattle Opera in 1970. Two migrant ranch hands, George and his companion, Lennie, a giant who has the mentality of a child, are once more running from the law, because of Lennie's penchant for stroking things, in this case a girl's dress. George is exasperated with Lennie, and forces him to hand over a mouse he has killed when stroking it. They go through a ritual scolding. Relenting, George consoles Lennie with the thought of pets in the future and then, to hum or Lennie, recounts once again the dream that they have of owning a house and farm. Lennie excitedly joins in on the story and they settle in for the night. George and Lennie have been hired by Curly to work on his ranch. Just before their arrival, Curly and his wife argue over his neglect and her brazen flirting. Curly forbids her to enter the bunkhouse again. Lennie and George arrive and while they unpack, the other ranchhands return from working. Slim, the foreman, announces that he has a new litter of puppies, and the others persuade Candy to give up his old dog, whom Carlson then takes outside and shoots. Meanwhile, Curly's wife reappears, ostensibly looking for Curly, but overtly flirting. The Ballad Singer, returning late, asks about the

685

shot. He briefly comforts Candy and then sings a ballad, joined by the others, as Lennie pleads with George for a puppy. While playing checkers with Slim and reading the paper, George discovers a w ant ad for a small house and farm. Though Slim tries to dissuade him, George is adam ant about his and Lennie's dream. Later, as he reads the ad to Lennie, who now has his puppy, George is overheard by Candy, who offers his savings if he can join them. Realizing that with the money saved by the three of them they can buy it in a month, they start to dance. Curly's wife enters and kills the horseplay. George and Candy urge her to leave but she willfully stays and is found there by Curly, who provokes a fight with Lennie. When George tells him to protect himself, Lennie crushes Curly's hand. Lennie inadvertently kills his puppy and is hiding the body in the bam w hen Curly's wife enters with a suitcase. She and Lennie confide their dream s to each other, hers for a movie career and his for pets, without listening to each other. When Lennie tells her that he likes to stroke nice things, she invites him to stroke her hair. Lennie is fascinated but she gets frightened when he w on't stop and starts to scream. Frightened, Lennie first tries to sm other her screams and then shakes her, breaking her neck. Realizing w hat he has done, he escapes. Candy enters, looking for Lennie, and discovers the body. He fetches Slim and George. Slim urges George to

686

find and shoot Lennie before Curly can lynch him. As George and Slim leave, Candy curses Curly's wife's body. Lennie waits for George in the clearing and w hen he arrives insists that they go through the ritual anger and reconciliation. George recounts their dream again and, as Lennie imagines he sees the house and farm, shoots him just before Curly and the ranch hands arrive. Everyone b u t Slim is indifferent to the tragedy and leaves, while the Ballad Singer whistles p art of the bunk room ballad. Floyd feels that Of Mice and Men is his best theater piece. Dramatically, the libretto, on a very successful play, is well implemented. The characters are generally quite well-developed and have a high degree of believability. The language is colloquial yet isn't hackneyed. The dram atic thrust effectively holds the audiences interest. Musically the opera is written with set pieces which are contained w ithin a continuous texture. The recitatives follow the patterns of speech. Sprechstimme and rhythm ic speech are incorporated as well w ith no pronounced awareness of the change from one to another (Figure 8-100).

Figure 8-100: Of Mice and Men. Act L Scene 1. p. 6

687 The set pieces are lyrical and expansive (Figure 8-101).

nv f r

*- mm *r tkf.

ta

Figure 8-101: Of Mice and Men. Act I, Scene 1, p. 28

Many of the melodies are written in a folk idiom. The tune that the hands sing (Figure 8-102) is a folk-like melody, set with m odem harmonies.

Ok. I

bi

kar la frli-aa

la tha aaaik af Ja-lj,

fla t

kaal f laafe |a l

aka ralaai a f topaa M|k.

Figure 8-102: Q lM ce and Men. Act I, Scene 2, pp. 55,6

The ballad which ends Act 1 (Figure 8-103) is modal with more conventional harmony. This ballad comes after Carlson shoots Candy's dog. Later it recurs after George shoots Lennie. It can be considered a "loneliness" motif.

688

Figure 8-103: Q fM c e and .Men. Act I, Scene 2, p. 81

The music for the ranch hands (Figure 8-102 above) is m ore strongly syncopated and more dissonant than that utilized for Lennie and George. Their music is more straightforward and emotionally expressive (Figure 8-101 above). Curly's wife sings in very disjunct lines w ith m any instances of coloratura w hen she is flirting (Figure 8-104). The exception is w hen she is talking to Lennie about her dream; then her music becomes m ore honest and direct (Figure 8-105).

Figure 8-104: Of Mice and Men. Act I, Scene 2, p. 63

Figure 8-105: Of Mice and Men, Act III, Scene 1, p. 150

The m usic from Act I, Scene 1, recurs at the end of Act HI as Lennie w ants George to go through the same ritual of accusations and forgiveness. The "home" m otif repeats after George kills Lennie (Figure 8-106) b u t it ends abruptly, as the dream-is also dead.

Figure 8-106: Of Mice and Men. Act III, Scene 2, p. 205

The harm onies are conventional, w ith frequent dissonances. Seconds, sevenths, ninths and elevenths are frequently em ployed/ as well as chrom aticism polytonality, open fifths, parallel triads and consecutive interval chords.

The rhythms are intricate at times, with m any syncopations and dotted rhythms. The orchestra comments on or underscores the action, such as the tremolos when Lennie kills Curly's wife, or the rhythmic "running" figure to which the men search for Lennie (Figure 8-107).

Figure 8-107: Q fM ice and Men. Act III, Scene 2, p. 195

Both music and libretto work in perfect balance to produce as excellent dramatic work in a distinctly American way. Bilbv's Doll, commissioned and premiered by the Houston Grand Opera in 1976, takes place in Cowan Comers, Massachusetts, in 1671. Deacon Thumb proposes that his son, Titus, m arry Bilby's adopted daughter, Doll. Bilby eventually agrees after witnessing a woman arrested for witchcraft. Hannah, jealous of Bilby's attentions to Doll, denounces Doll's ideas as pagan and threatens to have all Bilbys wealth when he dies. When Titus arrives with a marriage contract, Doll tells him how Bilby adopted her when her parents were burned as witches and says that if she marries a mortal, she will m arry him.

691

Several m onths later, at Bilbys funeral, w here all are gathered except Doll, H annah tries to accuse Doll of having killed Bilby w ith a curse, but the clergyman, Zelley, says that the death was of natural causes. W hen Doll visits the grave, she begs for a sign about her future. A handsom e m an appears, the two go through a childish dem onic m arriage and Doll receives his m edallion as a gift. Several m onths later, Titus' sisters have convulsive fits and H annah denounces Doll as a witch and claims Doll's share of Bilby's possessions w hen Doll is arrested. Zelley and Titus both offer to save Doll by m arrying her but she claims she is m arried, show ing them her m edallion, which Zelley recognizes as his son Shad's. Abandoned and pregnant, Doll refuses to renounce her past life and is condem ned as a witch. W hen she goes into labor, Zelley talks about Shad to give Doll a reason for living and intentionally allows her to believe th at Shad w as the dem on lover she believed and so she dies in peace. Bilby's Doll is likewise through-com posed, w ith set pieces incorporated, b u t the harm onies range from traditionally tonal pieces, such as Titus' Broadw ay-type aria, to atonal sections. Often it is tonally am biguous. The vocal lines are very lyrical and rhythm ically flexible, bu t have been criticized for their unnatural slowness. The texture contains m ore contrapuntal w riting than any of his previous operas.

692

There are moments that involve the listener emotionally, but these are not consistent throughout. As is typical of Floyd, the orchestra portrays the action and inner thoughts of the characters, especially Doll's, who sees most things in a different way than reality. In the end, the music does not quite equal the dram a and, as Hughes comments: The libretto, devised by the composer himself, reads well, and if it had been matched with music of equal strength, the opera might have been quite successful.*! Willie Stark premiered at the Houston Grand Opera in 1981. Based on Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, it takes place during the thirties in a Southern state, where the legislature is preparing to impeach Governor Willie Stark. Willie learns that Judge Burton endorses the impeachment and tries to gain his support but to no avail. Burton's son, Jack, who works for Willie, tries to convince his father that Willie only bends the law to help the poor, but the judge remains adam ant against Willie's methods. Willie orders Duffy to search the judge's past for dirt. Meanwhile, Anne questions whether Jack really wants to marry her, since he never has any time for her and so she starts seeing Willie secretly. Duffy uncovers the fact that the judge once accepted a bribe and Jack is shocked when his father admits to it. However, the judge refuses to change his stand even though Jack warns him that the evidence will be published.

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After Jack leaves, his father shoots himself. Meanwhile, Willie announces that he and Anne will marry, which causes Sadie, his right-hand, to quit in jealousy. She tells Jack, who is stunned by Willie's deceit and treachery. As Willie gives a trium phant speech upon winning the impeachment vote, Jack shoots him from the crowd and is shot himself by Willie's bodyguard, Sugar. Willie dies in Anne's arms. The libretto condenses the plot of the original, very well, without sacrificing any of the moral dilemma. Willie's mixture of charm and ruthlessness is well portrayed. Musically, Floyd has stayed with his conservative idiom. The vocal lines are extremely conversational, and incorporate unmeasured recitative at times. Numbers such as "Come Back, Willie" and "The Law Is Like a SingleBed Blanket" are very lyrically expressive. To capture the southern atmosphere, Floyd incorporates instances of hym nody and jazz-like rhythms and intervals. The harm ony is highly chromatic, with many seconds, sevenths, ninths, elevenths, added tone chords and polytones. The rhythmic patterns are very intricate at times and there are instances of polymeters. The orchestration is complex and independently supports the action or comments on the characters' emotions. It never doubles the vocal lines.

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Willie Stark is notable for its exciting dram a and has been touted for its Americanism by H eum ann who comments: this is a subject calling for musical treatm ent of a distinctly Am erican sort. This challenge was brilliantly met.62 In all Floyd's operas, his overall emphasis seems to be on touching the emotions of the audience. Almost all of his operas deal w ith people whose liyes are changed irrevocably or destroyed. Although he incorporates some contem porary harm onies and rhythm s, his music for the m ost p art is rooted in tonal lyricism and is strongly influenced by Southern folk traditions. There are m any one act folk operas which have been w ritten for universities or folk festivals. Several of these are w orth m entioning.

H aufrecht Bonev Quillen (1951), on a libretto and score by Herbert Haufrecht, prem iered at the Folk Festival of the Catskills in Chichester, N ew York, in 1951. Haufrecht, who was bom in New York City in 1909, studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and at the Julliard Graduate School. He was active in radio, records and film work. Bonev Q uillen is based on three tales of the legendary Quillen, a Civil War veteran from the Catskill M ountains at the turn of the century, w ho was know n for his jokes and his verses.

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The opera opens with an invitation from the narrator and chorus to hear the story of Boney Quillen, who got a job in a lum ber camp. The lum berm en are hard at w ork w hen the forem an enters and orders them to w ork faster. He tells Quillen to take a wagon, go over the hill and load it with bark peelings. Quillen does so, bu t doesn't p u t any rigging on the wagon so the bark falls off. W hen the forem an berates him, Q uillen replies that he was just told to load the wagon, not rig it. He collects his pay and dances off. The narrator returns and tells how Quillen w ent from job to job. Finally, w ithout any money a hungry Quillen stops at an inn. He tries to steal some food from the w aitress tray, but unsuccessfully. W hen her boyfriend arrives with some flowers, Quillen eats them , angering the boyfriend who knocks Quillen out. The narrator then describes how Quillen w orked for Farm er Brown. The farm er announces that the family is going to town, hands his wife the yoke for the oxen, and leaves. She calls her three daughters and gives the yoke to them. They in turn pass the job to Quillen w ho yokes the oxen as they are standing, facing in opposite directions. W hen the fam ily comes out, ready to leave, they are furious. Quillen says "fare-ye-weU" and dances off. The narrator and chorus return to tell of Quillen's disappearance and how he has become a legend, praising him for his legacy of stories.

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Musically, Bonev Quillen is organized by two folk-like motifs: "Boney Quillen" (Figure 8-108), which occurs in all the narrated sections; and Boney's "fare-ye-well" (Figure 8-109), which ends stories one and three.

Figure 8-108: Bonev Quillen, p. 3

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Figure 8-109: Bonev Quillen, p. 10

The music is very folk-like, w ith sim ple m elodies, harm onies and rhythms. The melodies often have a m odal quality, and the phrases are square. The dances imitate fiddle tunes. While the m elodies are very appealing, to a sophisticated ear, the w ork is not very inventive. However, it is easily sung and produced.

Kubik Boston Baked Beans (1952), prem iered at the M useum of M odem Art, New York City. Gail Kubik (1914--), the librettist and composer, comes from South Coffeyville, Oklahoma. He studied at the American Conservatory in

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Chicago and the Eastman School of Music. During World W ar II, he served as music consultant for the Motion Pictures Bureau of the Office of War Inform ation. Boston Baked Beans starts with an introductory prologue, in which John How ard introduces himself, a H arvard graduate who w ent out west to hunt for gold, and his wife, Clementine, the daughter of a miner. In a flashback, he explains how he met Clementine as he came around the bend into Dead wood Gulch. Clementine falL in love at first sight as John introduces himself, saying, "My name is John Howard. I have an aversion to any females! But I dearly love Boston Baked
B ean s!"6 3

She gets a splinter,

trips and falls into the foaming brine. John rescues her, but refuses to stay with her. He goes to his mine, sure that he has seen the last of her. However, the next day, while working his claim, he smells Boston Baked Beans, which Clementine has cooked for him. He proposes and she eventually accepts, and they go off to mine gold together. The libretto is very colloquial, with m uch satire, such as: "Poor Clementine...she did so w ant to drive me out of my mind and get herself inside the matrimonial gates....But, of course, a Harvard education teaches one resistance to feminine wiles and m ountain madness."64 Musically, the opera is built on the folk song, "Darling Clementine" (Figure 8-110), which is set in fragments throughout the opera very skillfully and is well integrated into the libretto.

698

Figure 8-110: Boston Baked Beans, pp. 48-9

The accom panim ent, for piano, clarinet, trum pet and bass, com m ents on the action, in num erous instances of polyphonic writing. It punctuates the text w ith parodies of different musical styles including Beethoven, Faur6, Rim sky-Korsakov and "dirty blues." Both the tonal centers and the m eters change constantly. There are sharp dissonances, contrapuntal w riting and com plex percussive rhythm s. Boston Baked Beans, only fourteen m inutes long, serves as a good curtain raiser. It is well written, challenging to perform and a hit w ith audiences.

699

Kreutz Sourwood Mountain (1959) premiered at the University of Mississippi. It was written by Arthur Kreutz (1906). Bom in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Kreutz was educated at the University of Wisconsin (B.S. and B.M.), Columbia University (MA) and in Belgium. On a one act libretto by Zde Lund Schiller (Mrs. Kreutz), it is set in the Appalachians. Acting as narrator, the judge introduces the feudin' Lovells and Porters. A long time ago, Nancy Porter was in love with Robert Lovell, but Robert betrayed her with another woman and she committed suicide. Now, the love between Danny Lovell and Lucy Porter renews the bitter feelings between the families. The Lovell's break in on the Porter's square dance, so that Danny can see Lucy. The judge tells Danny to find another girl but Danny refuses. Mrs. Lovell tells Mrs.Porter that it's Lucy's fault that Danny is so much in love with her. The judge agrees to help Mrs. Lovell find Danny before Mr. Porter, who is a crack shot, does. When the judge finds Danny, Danny refuses to go home and tells the judge that he is going to run off with Lucy. The judge is unable to stop him. Danny asks Lucy to meet him at the oak tree that night and she agrees. When Lucy's father discovers that she has run off with Danny, he snatches up his rifle and sets off to shoot Danny and bring his daughter home. The

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women, who come to sit with Mrs. Porter, say the killing should stop, but the men tell them to hold their tongues. The judge returns w ith Mr. Porter, who w ounded Lucy, thinking it was Danny, since she was wearing his jacket. Mr. Porter realizes his m istake and offers Lucy and Danny both the house dow n by the spring and a barbecue for their wedding. The opera ends as the wom en dress the bride and a square dance begins. The opera incorporates two authentic folksongs, "The Silver Dagger" (Figure 8-111) and "Sourwood Mountain" (Figure 8-112), used in various ways and set to various texts.

Figure 8-111: Sourwood M ountain. Prelude

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Figure 8-112: Sourwood M ountain. Scene 1

O ther im portant folk motifs include, "I am so lovely" (Figure 8-113) and "Rock-a-bye, little possum" (Figure 8-114).

701

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Figure 8-114: Sourwood Mountain. Scene 4

This folk material dominates the opera, although it is incorporated w ith various rhythms such as jazz and tango. There are m any atmospheric dissonances, such as staccato seconds, and syncopations and ostinato figures. Like Bonev Quillen. Sourwood M ountain is relatively simple musically and stage-wise, but it is perhaps more interesting. Kreutz collaborated with Zoe Schiller on another opera, The University Greys (1954). The two act opera, set in a small Southern university town, deals with a university man, Boone, who goes to the Civil W ar and returns only to die on the campus with his sw eetheart w hom he m arried d uring his first leave.

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Musically/ The University Grevs is a numbers opera and is organized by means of very short motifs which unify sections, and by rhythmic repetitions. Harmonically it is tonal, incorporating many dissonances, bitonality, tone clusters, sequences, enharmonic changes and chromaticism.

Moross Ballet Ballads (1948) is a triple bill of three largely choral folk operas by Jerome Moross, in which the members of the chorus act out the dramas. All three benefit from their sharply worded librettos written by John LaTouche, and all are united by a tonal relationship. The first, Susannah and the Elders, takes place at a revival camp meeting where the preacher tells the story and the chorus acts it out. The libretto is very tongue-in-cheek, as in the number, "There were two Elders": There were two Elders named Moe and Joe, Seemed just as pious as they could be, But they had minds as mean and low As carrion crows in a stinkwood tree. Now as ye sow ye all shall reap And virtue's made of heavenly stuff And beauty is only skin deep For the Elders that was deep enough. Much of the music is typical revival response-type hymns (Figure 8115). The melodic lines are very simple and the harmonies are conservative. The idea of hum ming accompaniments is unusual.

703

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Figure 8-115: Susannah and the Elders, No. 3

Some of the songs remind one of popular music, but with more interesting harmonies and rhythms (Figure 8-116).

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Figure 8-116: Susannah and the Elders. No. 4

The combination of the witty words and music makes Susannah and the Elders an interesting and enjoyable work.

704

Willie the Weeper, the second opera, deals w ith "urban folklore," as Morton observed: To say that Moross is a folklorist is an accurate statement only if the term 'folk' is understood to include the American city dweller as well as the Kentucky mountaineer, the deep-South cottonpicker and the cowboy.... For him the sidewalks of New York have as good a song as the streets of Laredo, and one is as legitimate musical material as the other.67 The story unfolds in a series of episodes based on Willie's druginduced dream. The opera begins with "The Ballad of Willie the Weeper" as Willie sings and lights up a marijuana cigarette (Figure 8-117).

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Figure 8-117: Willie the Weeper. Prologue

The first episode, "Rich Willie," in which Willie sees himself as a great businessman, is composed of colloquial language set to "swing" music. Episode II, "Lonely Willie" is a poignant "blues" aria, "I'm Mister Nobody from Nowhere." "Famous Willie," episode III, sees Willie as a saxophone player, "Twelve-Tone Willie," fighting off the "groupies" while the chorus sings his praises and Willie, the dancer, dances on the steps as the crowd goes wild.

705 Episode IV is "Baffled Willie" in which the chorus bombards Willie with societal orders such as "keep off the grass," "keep moving," "no loitering," "keep working," etc. As "Big Willie" (episode V), he sees himself as a mobster while the chorus comments, "He's a killer diller." He imagines breaking out of prison, but being finally trapped and killed. Episode VI, "Contented Willie" shows a flippant Willie who sings a Broadway type song, "Got no dough." In"Sexy Willie", episode VII, Cocaine Lil enters, climbs a rope and watches her friends enter as the chorus lists them in a "blues," number then they get into a drug-produced boogie-woogie until the dope gives out. Willie the dancer ends in the center of the stage and Willie the singer approaches him. As they come face to face, the lights fade. Musically, Willie the Weeper incorporates various dance rhythms and styles, such as the blues, swing, etc., already mentioned, to achieve a threedimensional character. Again the text is very witty and is set with a great feeling for America's speech inflections. The harmonies reflect the blues flattened thirds and the popular-style rhythmic syncopations. The last of the trilogy is The Eccentricities of Davy Crockett, based on the famous hero. As is Willie the Weeper, the story is told in a series of episodes. It starts with, "The People Gather to Celebrate the memory of Davy Crockett," where the chorus eulogizes Davy's birth. When they say, "He grew up real fast," Davy springs from the cradle fully dressed and takes his father's

706 rifle and dances to "Young Davy in the Backwoods/' in which he praises his rifle. Left alone, he sings of his loneliness. Some girls walk on as "The Courtship of Davy" (Scene 3) begins. It contains an authentic folksong, "Young Women They Run/ This leads into "Davy Marries Sally Ann," and "The Journey to the Frontier." In "They Build a House in the Wilderness," Moross uses a hymn. In "On the Banks of the Tennessee River", Sally Ann sings of Davy's exploits. The next episode, "Davy Catches a mermaid," has a set-to between Sally Ann and the mermaid which is among the most cleverly written scenes: Sally: Mermaid: Sally: Mermaid: Fishtail hussy, don't flip your fins around here. Tell me was he once a friend of yours, my dear? You river bottom crook, we be married he and I. But he caught me on his hook, now he has other fish to fry.

The next episode, "Davy saves the World from Hailey's Comet," deals with Davy's bragging about his ability to lick the force of nature. The opera ends with 'Davy Journeys to the Alamo," to the tune of "Oh the Texas Star is Riding Low," which first appeared in Scene 3 (Figure 8-118).

mi

tla il|M

ti

fM fta* *-ry

Figure 8-118: The Eccentricities of Davy Crockett, Scene 3

707 The Eccentricities of Pavv Crockett is the most varied of the three operas. It ranges from Cowboy-type songs ("Oh the Western Star"), and square dance rhythms ("A Funny Kind of a lad"), to hymnody ("Peace Be on This House of Logs"), and ballad ("On the Banks of the Tennessee River"). Moross incorporates frequent meter changes, unusual leaps (i.e., unexpected sevenths) and instances of ambiguous major/minor harmonies, as well as model harmonies. The Golden Apple (1954), another Moross/LaTouche collaboration retells the Illiad myth except that it is now set in an America on the brink of global industry mastery and the apple represents power. The hero ultimately rejects the power, choosing instead to retain his innocence in a vicious world gone mad with greed. Again both the text and the music are rooted in the vernacular. These operas are set in an interesting and unique blending of music, dance and text which has great continuity. The libretti are witty, and the music, while maintaining the simplicity of folk melodies, manages to sound fresh and lively. Moross has a real talent for this style of folk opera and these operas deserve more interest. Gaines, Stroughton Other contemporaries of Davy Crockett have been utilized as subjects for folk operas as well.

708 Daniel Boone is the subject of Samuel Richard Gaines opera. Daniel Boone (1909), a three act opera on a libretto by Gregory P. Morgan, deals with Boone, the leader and scout, and takes place at Boonesborough, 1776. The story is very undramatic, even though Boone rescues the women from an Indian tribe. The cast is very large, with many unnecessary characters. Musically it is reminiscent of Herbert, or Gilbert and Sullivan, except that it is more trite. Very little attempt has been made to create American inflected music, with the exception of "Sons of Liberty," which incorporates "Yankee Doodle" into the accompaniment (Figure 8-119).

Figure 8-119: Daniel Boone. Act II, p. 103 The Beaver Trail, by Roy Stroughton, is based upon Kit Carson and the rescue of a young boy from hostile Indians. As in Daniel Boone, the music is similar to Herbert. The libretto is not dramatic and the music is inferior. The only American element is the subject matter.

Davis Alan Davis has chosen sea chanties as the basis for his Nautical Chamber Opera, The Sailing of the Nancy Belle (1948). Mary Ann tries to trick Willie, a sailor, into marrying her by telling him that she is engaged to another. The plot backfires, due to her father, the Captain's, taste for rum. Mary Ann tells Willie that she is engaged to a plumber and her father says that her fiance is a tailor. None the less, Willie discovers that he loves Mary Ann, he and the Captain buy the Nancy Belle and all three sail off for adventure. The text contains much colloquial dialogue and many nautical terms. Musically, The Sailing of the Nancy Belle incorporates both authentic and original sea chanties, sometimes combining both as in the Captain's "Blow Ye Winds," in which the Captain hunts for his rum to the authentic tune of "Drunken Sailor" and then sings a pseudo chanty, "Blow Ye Winds" (Figure 8-

710

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j* *i* t

I t tto

Figure 8-120: The Sailing of the Nancy Belle. Scene 1 The harmonic palette is conservative, often modal, and the melodies are an appealing mixture of vigorous rhythms and charming, graceful ballads. The orchestra often underscores the action, as in Willie's "When We Arrived in Rio," where the orchestra imitates a habanera as he talks about the girls. The whole opera seems quite effective theatrically. Another Allen Davis opera, The Departure, a three act opera which takes place in post Civil War New Orleans, concerns Therese Villiers who seeks to escape an oppressed life. A voodoo rite and a Mardi Gras celebration are utilized to set the locale and the atmosphere.

711 Atwell Shirl Jae Atwell, a Kansas native, presently living and teaching music in Louisville, Kentucky, has written two operas concerning the people of Appalachia. Both are based on short stories of Delmas W. Abbot. The first, the two-act Sagegrass (1985), concerns the love of Tom for Sary, a married woman with three children. Her brother, Chester, is sick, and she uses the excuse of nursing him to see Tom. Her husband, Jesse, is suspicious. One night he can stand it no longer and tells his sons that he will burn the Sagegrass (a spring chore before planting) tonight. They go out and start the sagebrush burning. Jesse has brought his gun, ostensibly to shoot rabbits. He and the boys wait quietly. When Tom comes into sight, Jesse shoots him. Sary runs to Tom and gets caught in the fire. Both are killed. Esta Hargis, adapted from another Abbot story, Plowing Time, deals with assertion of Esta's independence. She returns home from college, wanting to do something with her life, but her father is constantly pushing her to marry, believing that this is the proper state for a woman. Her neighbor, Lester, wants to marry her and Esta responds out of a mixture of fear and desire, discovering in the process that she can stand alone. Throughout the opera, Esta has long conversations with her conscience about being a woman and an individual.

712 Both operas share the same musical traits. Atwell employs a great deal of revival hymnody, reminiscent of shape-note singing (Figure 8-121), and blues style, as well as modal folk-like melodies (Figure 8-122).

lat *

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Figure 8-121: Esta Hargis, p. 90

Figure 8-122: EstaHargis, p. 63 The rhythmic patterns are often very vigorous and syncopated, reminiscent of popular music of the 1960s (Figure 8-123).

713

Figure 8-123: Esta Hargis, p. 31 The harmonies are tonal, although the centers change frequently and often. Many flattened thirds, seconds, sevenths and ninths are incorporated, as well as repeating melodic motifs and rhythmic patterns. Overall, both operas are diminished a bit by overextensive use of repetition, but they have a certain musical appeal for the audience and can be effectively staged. In sum, several dominating traits emerge in operas based on folk traditions. The vocal lines include a preponderance of colloquial speechoriented recitatives, following the pitch inflections of natural speech. The rhythmic patterns also follow the speech patterns in the recitatives. In the set numbers, one finds a great variety of syncopated figures and occasionally even cross rhythms. They are frequently vital and vigorous. The tonal patterns almost always tend toward traditional major/minor harmonies, incorporating many chromatics. A majority of the set pieces are written in

714 strophic or modified strophic form. Whatever forms are utilized, they are dominated by repeating phrases and rhythms. Many of these traits have become synonymous with American opera.

715

NQTE9; CHAfTEK.Ym

1. Gilbert Chase. Americas Music from the Pilgrims to the Present (New Yo^k: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1955), 640. 2. W.L. Hubbard, "Rip Van Winkle", Chicago Daily Tribune. 3 January, 1920. 3. H. Earle Johnson, Operas on American Subjects (Boston: ColemanRoss Co., Inc., 1963). 4. Davis Marguerite, "Opera Librettoed by Atlantan Thrills Athea at Premiere", Atlanta Constitution. 4 March, 1945,11 A. 5. H. Wilev Hitchcock. Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction. (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1974), 144. 6. Helen Knox Spain, "A Tree on the Plains," Musical America. May, 1942. 7. Joseph Machlis, American Composers of Our Time (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1963), 49. 8. Douglas Moore, The Devil and Daniel Webster, piano/vocal score (New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1943), 68. 9. Ibid., 56. 10. Machlis, American Composers. 51. 11. Virgil Thomson, "Giants In the Earth", New York Tribune. 29 March, 1951. 12. Johnson, American Subjects. 77. 13. Howard Taubman, "Opera: Baby Doe Here," New York Times. 4 April, 1958.

716 14. Douglas Moore, The Ballad of Baby Doe, piano/vocal score (New York: Chappell Music Co., 1957), 15. 15. Ibid., 35. 16. Ibid., 198. 17. Douglas MacKinnon, "Reviews", Opera News. 21 April, 1958, 30. 18. Douglas Moore, Gallantry, piano/vocal score (New York: Schirmer, Inc., 1958), 13. 19. Irving Kolodin, Saturday Review. 28 October, 1961. 20. Winthrop Sargeant, "Hatchet Girl," The New Yorker. 6 April, 1968, 143. 21. Otto Luening, "Douglas Moore," Modern Music 20 (May-June), 1943,248-53. 22. Machlis, American Composers. 42. 23. Ronald Davis. A History of Music in American Life. Vol. Ill (Malibar, Florida: Robert Krieger Publishing Co., 1981), 132. 24. Paul Rosenfeld, "The Great American Opera," Opera News, vol. 6, no. 15,26 January, 1942, 18-23. 25. Howard Taubman, "Music", New York Times. 8 April, 1954. 26. Johnson, American Subjects. 42. 27. Davis, Music in America. 132. 28. Alec Wilder, The Lowland Sea, piano /vocal score (New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1952), foreword. 29. Alec Wilder. Sunday Excursion, piano/vocal score (New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1953), 10.

717 30. Lukas Foss, The lumping Frog of Calaveras County, piano/vocal score (New York; Carl Fisher, Inc., 1952), 93. 31. Ibid., 83. 32. Ross Allen, "New Operas Bow At Indiana University", Musical Courier. July, 1950,8. 33. John Tasker Howard, Our American Music (New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1965), 593. 34. William Schuman, The Mighty Casey, piano/vocal score (New York: Schirmer, 1952), 42. 35. Ibid., V. 36. Ibid. 37. Evans Clinchy, The Hartford (Connecticut) Times, 6 May 1953. 38. Harold Schonberg, "Music", New York Times. 6 May, 1953. 39. Larry McGinn, Syracuse Post-Standard. 26 June, 1989. 40. Steve Metcalf, Hartford Courant. 26 June, 1989. 41. Harlan Snow, "Shreveport," Opera News, vol. 41. no. 14,12 February, 1977, 38. 42. Elie Siegmeister, Angel Levine, piano/vocal score (New York: Carl Fischer, 1985), 114. 43. Ibid., 131,132. 44. Ibid., 7,8. 45. Ibid, 89. 46. Carlisle Floyd, Slow Dusk, piano/vocal score (New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1957), 9-10.

718 47. Carlisle Plovd. Susannah, piano/vocal score (New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1956), 38-39. 48. Ibid., 59. 49. Ibid, 58. 50. Ibid., 92. 51. Ibid., 104. 52. Ibid., 117. 53. Ibid., 119. 54. Howard Taubman, "Music", New York Times. 29 July, 1965. 55. Harriet Johnson, New York Herald-Tribune. 4 May, 1963. 56. Winthrop Sargeant, The New Yorker. 20 October, 1962. 57. Davis. Music in America. 207. 58. Carlisle Floyd, The Soioumer and Mollie Sinclair, piano/vocal score (New York: Boosey and Hawkes, 1968), 89. 59. Ibid., 133. 60. Ibid., 80. 61. Allen Hughes, "Opera: Bilbv's Doll Opens in Houston." New York Times. 29 February, 1976, 45. 62. Scott F. Heumann, "Houston," Opera News. August, 1981, 30. 63. Gail Kubik, Boston Baked Beans, piano/vocal score (New York: Chappell and Co., Inc., 1956), 6. 64. Ibid., 34. 65. Jerome Moross, Susannah and the Elders.

719

66. Lawrence Morton, "Jerome Moross, Young Man Goes Native," Modern Music. 22,1945,112.

CHAPTER IX MODERN TRENDS

The present trend in American opera is towards an international style. The topics are often dictated primarily by what will "sell" to an audience; Ned Rorem has observed: In the mind of the American public, the serious music world does not exist. A well-educated American might know about Michelangelo, Jackson Pollock, Vivaldi and Shakespeare but not about contemporary music. An American opera composer isn't despised he's invisible.! The subject matter often seems to be one of the principle considerations, in fact, according to Robert Lyall, of the Knoxville Opera, "the key to getting the public behind you is finding the right subject matter."2 This often means incorporating historical or controversial subjects, such as Christopher Drobny's opera, Lucy's Lapses, premiered by Portland Opera in 1990, which explores the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. The other important element in modern opera is the incredible mixture of styles that are incorporated. One can see many elements within a single piece.

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721 Levy Mourning Becomes Electra (1967), by Marvin David Levy (1932 ) was commissioned and premiered by the Metropolitan Opera. On a three act libretto in seven scenes by Henry Butler, it is based on Eugene O'Neal's play, although it has been greatly compressed. Ezra Mannon and his son, Orin, are returning home from the Civil War. Ezra's wife Christine has been having an affair with Captain Adam Brant, the illegitimate son of Ezra's brother. Lavinia, Christine's daughter, who also desires Adam, scorns her mother and stands by her father. That night Christine confesses her affair to Ezra, which brings on Ezra's heart attack. Christine administers poison which she obtained from Adam, rather than Ezras medication. Orin arrives home in time for the funeral and Lavinia tells him of her suspicions concerning their father's death. They follow Christine to Adams ship and listen as she tells Adam of the murder. After she leaves, Orin stabs Adam in the back. Orin and Lavinia return home, where Orin blurts out to his mother that he has killed Adam. Christine goes mad with grief and commits suicide. Orin is guilt ridden but Lavinia proclaims that justice has been done. After travelling in Europe for a year, Lavinia and Orin return to be greeted by Helen and Peter Niles. Lavinia, who had rejected Peter when Adam was alive, now finds herself responding to him. However, they are

722 interrupted by Orin and Helen. Orin tries to give Helen an envelope, but it is recovered by Lavinia and Orin sends Helen away. Alone with Lavinia, Orin tells her that the envelope contains his history of the Mannon crimes. His latent incestuous feeling for his sister so horrifies Lavinia that Orin finally locks himself in the study and shoots himself. Three days later, Lavinia tries to recover by deciding to marry Peter, but when he arrives she finds that she confuses him with Adam and Peter becomes aware of the evil in the family. After sending Peter away, Lavinia orders the shutters to be closed as she calls to the ghosts to welcome her, a prisoner of the Mannon guilt. Musically, Mourning Becomes Electra is built upon recurring motifs which seem to grow out of one another. Christine's guilt is underlined by a motif (Figure 9-1), which is initially heard in the orchestra when the poison is first mentioned. It later recurs as the murder takes place, and when it is mentioned both by Lavinia to Orin and by Christine to Adam.

JT

Figure 9-1: Mourning Becomes Electra. Act I Death is represented by a motif (Figure 9-2) sung by Orin while looking at his father's bier, which later recurs in the orchestra as Lavinia is "entombed" in the house.

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M il

Figure 9-2: Mourning Becomes Electra. Act II The vocal line, while patterned after speech can be florid at times, especially when the characters are pleading for understanding. The harmony, though basically tonal, is periodically very complex and dissonant. Overall the dramatic tempo drags and the opera has not been successful. Paul us Steven Paulus {1949 ), a student of Argento, who has been composerin-residence with the Minnesota Orchestra, uses a variety of styles, depending on the subject of the opera. The Village Singer, on a one act libretto by Michael Dennis Browne, is based on a story by Mary Wilkins Freeman. Set in a New England village around 1900, it concerns Candace Whitcomb, who has been the paid soloist for the church choir for forty years. Her fellow choir members, including William Eammons (her choir director and suitor) throw a party for her in her cottage which stands next to the church. As they depart, they leave a photo album on Candace's table. At the back of it, Candace finds a note which says that her services are no longer needed as Miss Alma Way (who is Candace's nephew's fiance) is now the new soloist.

724 The following Sunday, as Alma begins her solo, Candace, in her cottage, sings another hymn in another key. Even though the Reverend Pollard talks to Candace about this, the same thing happens in the afternoon. Her nephew, Wilson, comes in and threatens to throw Candace's organ out the window, whereupon she threatens to change her will so that he can't marry Alma. As he leaves, Candace is suddenly ill. Three weeks later Candace is dying. She finally agrees to see William and Reverend Pollard. She and William apologize to each other. Alma and Wilson arrive and Candace first tells Wilson that she never changed her will and then asks Alma to sing a hymn for her. As Alma finishes singing Candace tells her that she was flat on the last note and waits peacefully for the final choir. Paulus uses tonal melodies to evoke the era, and incorporates traditional hymns as well. When Alma and Candace are singing at the same time, the juxtaposition of the two hymns is in differing keys and rhythms, causing a "controlled cacophony"3 (Figure 9-3).

Figure 9-3: The Village Singer, p. 37 The vocal lines are patterned after speech and are somewhat disjunct (Figure 9-4).

Figure 9-4: The Village Singer, p. 13 The harmony often has a major/minor ambiguity and Paulus incorporates many sevenths, ninths and thirteenths, as well as added notes and chromaticism. Generally Harold Blumenfeld feels "it lies somewhere between Copland's Tender Land and the recent work of another Minneapolitan, his teacher and mentor, Dominick Argento."*

The Postman Always Rings Twice, on a libretto by Colin Graham based on James M. Cain's novel, was premiered by the Opera Theater of St. Louis in 1982. Set in California in 1934 it concerns Frank, who is to be executed for killing Cora. In a series of flashbacks, we see Frank come to work for Nick Papdakis. The attraction between Frank and Nick's dissatisfied wife, Cora, is immediate. They eventually kill Nick in a fake car crash and escape the murder charge. However, their life together is haunted by Nick's murder, until Cora tells Frank that she is pregnant and they try to recapture their passion. They go for a drive and crash. Although the crash is an accident, Frank is convicted of Coras death. In this opera Paulus incorporates more modern elements such as a bluesy saxophone. The vocal lines are conversational with many disjunct leaps and chromatics. The harmonies are more complex and dissonant at times and the rhythms are more jazz-like and complex. Paulus revised The Postman Always Rings Twice for its performance by Fort Worth Opera (1985) and made it tauter and more theatrically effective. Mollicone Henry Mollicone (1946) incorporates pop elements into his operas. The Face On the Barroom Floor, which is on a one act libretto by John S. Bowman, and was commissioned and premiered by Central City Opera in 1978. Lairy and Isabelle, a budding singer, enter the Teller House Bar in Central City, Colorado. Isabelle and Tom, the bartender, recognize each other. Meanwhile,

727 Larry, noticing a woman's portrait on the floor, asks Tom about the picture. As Tom relates the story, Isabelle becomes Madeline, a bar singer, and Tom becomes John, the owner of the bar. Larry becomes Matt, a travelling artist, who asks for a song, not realizing until she sings that Madeline is his old lover. Since he doesn't have any money, he offers to paint a portrait of his only love on the floor. When Madeline's portrait is painted, John jealously

realizes that Matt and Madeline have been lovers. Matt asks Madeline to leave with him and, during the ensuing fight, Madeline is shot and falls dead on top of the portrait. As the scene returns to the present, Tom says that the spirit of Madeline still haunts the bar. Larry makes fun of the story and the gun which Tom presents as the one that killed Madeline. Larry continues to ridicule the picture until Tom reveals that he and Isabelle were lovers. The two men fight and as Isabelle tries to stop them, she is shot and falls on the portrait. Musically, The Face On the Barroom Floor has conversational vocal lines interspersed with arias, duets and trios. Mollicone incorporates saloon music and barroom jazz (Figure 9-5), to evoke the atmosphere.

Figure 9-5: The Face on the Barroom Floor, p. 7

728 There are also quotes from La Traviata and Home on the Range, as well as western ballad tunes (Figure 9-6).

Figure 9-6: The Face on the Barroom Floor, p. 22 One motif recurs throughout the opera (Figure 9-7).

Figure 9-7: The Face on the Barroom Floor, p. 13 Parts of the opera sound very similar to Broadway music. Overall Mollicone's music "exudes the sort of passion one might find in the last act of Barber's Vanessa, building to a truly knockout final ensemble."5 The Starbird. commissioned and premiered by the Houston Grand Opera Studio in 1979, is on a one act libretto by Kate Pogue. Set in New York and outer space, it deals with three animals, a dog, a cat and a mule, who

have been replaced at their jobs by mechanical devices and cannot stop complaining amongst themselves. They meet a starbird from Arcturus and ask to go there. The Starbird explains that she was once an earth bird before the robots of Arcturus took her and changed her into a metal animal. The animals sneak on board. When the robots become aware of the animals presence, they want to experiment on them, but the starbird helps the animals to deactivate their captors. As the spaceship nears its destination, the animals finally agree to face the unknown together. When they find that they are back on earth, the starbird explains that she guided the ship back when the animals learned the value of friendship and home. Mollicone incorporates blues, taped sounds, jazz rhythms and popularstyle melodies. The texture is mainly speech-patterned vocal lines, with many mixed meters and syncopations. The harmonies incorporate sevenths, elevenths and thirteenths, as well as added tones and chromaticism. The Starbird was a success in Houston and has great appeal for a children's audience. Cage John Cage (1912), one of the most famous avant-garde musicians, waited until his seventy-fifth year to write an opera. He describes his Europeras 1 & 2 as a pair of circuses of independent elements music program notes, lights, costumes, decors, action. Nothing relates to anything else except by coincidence, e.g. the lighting is independent of the action."6

Europeras 1 & 2 is a two section opera, which is a collage of familiar operas, sung in bizarre situations, such as a knight singing "La donna 6 mobile" while waving soap bubbles from his lance, and using strange stage props, such as bathtubs and garbage pails. Meanwhile, the orchestral score incorporates different operatic fragments, each instrument having an independent part played within flexible time brackets following a clock. Even though it takes a huge cast (one hundred and fifty singers in its premier at Frankfurt), and has inspired much controversy, it has been seen in Germany, Israel, America and Paris. Farberman Another avant-garde opera is The Losers (1971), written by Harold Farberman (1929), on a libretto by Barbara Fried. It deals with the violent lives of a motorcycle gang called the "Losers." The gang beats up a gas station owner and then meets at their hangout, Gino's bar. The leader, Buzz, is arrested and during his absence, the rest of the Losers gang-rape Donna, Buzz's naive girlfriend, while Gino and Marie, the waitress, stand by, afraid to get involved. Ken, a pacifist, tries to stop them, but is beaten up. He revives, as Buzz returns and tells him that Donna is being raped in the back room. Buzz can't believe it and starts a fight with Ken, during which Buzz is accidentally killed. When the Losers see that Buzz is dead, they beat Ken to death, while Donna collapses over Buzzs body in tears.

731 Musically, Farberman utilizes both live and taped music. The vocal lines are very chromatic and disjunct. The harmonic texture includes cluster chords, polytonality, and atonality. The score is very percussive with frequent and abrupt meter changes. Glass One of the most controversial American opera composers today is Phillip Glass. Born in Baltimore in 1937, Glass began studying music at the Peabody Conservatory when he was eight years old. After attending the University of Chicago, which he entered at age fifteen and majoring in philosophy, Glass studied at the Julliard School of Music for four years {M.M., Composition, 1962). He then went to Paris in 1964 to study with Nadia Boulanger. Later he also worked with Ravi Shankar (1965) and Allah Rakha (1966). In 1967 Glass returned to New York to follow a new compositional path, commenting: The logical continuation of western music was the school of extreme serialization of all aspects of composition. What I was doing was the illogical continuation.7 He started to assemble the Phillip Glass ensemble, which began concertizing in the early 1970s. By the late 1970s, he had a cult following. He is probably one of the most successful opera composers today, with his operas being performed throughout the world. In 1985 he was named "Musician of the Year" by Musical America.

732 Glass's operas have no plots in the accepted sense, but rather deal with the philosophy and fates of entire races, for example, Einstein on the Beach delves into the effects of science on mankind, and Satvagarha deals with non violence. Glass has commented: What I consider the most important and contemporary aspect of my operas is that they are not plays set to music.... They make certain assumptions about the state of contemporary theater that most opera producers are ignorant of.8 Musically Glass is generally classified as a minimalist. His music is based on the simplest melodic fragment, which is repeated rhythmically and constantly. Gradually the elements are shifted a note is added or there is a slight rhythmic change. His first opera, Einstein on the Beach, which premiered at the Avignon Festival in France in 1976, was a collaboration with the theatrical director/producer, Robert Wilson, who has been acclaimed as a genius by some. There is no plot as such. Rather it is a poetic view of the man. Various Einstein figures appear a violinist, a mathematician, etc. The whole opera revolves around three recurring visual images: trains; the trial with a huge bed in the middle of it; and a field with a spaceship. The visual images correspond to three musical themes. The train music recurs three times: in Act I, Scene 1; Act II, Scene 2; and Act IV, Scene 1. It is made up of three sections. The first (Figure 9-8) is based on two shifting rhythmic patterns.

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Figure 9-8: Einstein on the Beach. Act I, Scene 1 The second (Figure 9-9) is expanded for the "building" scene (Act IV, Scene 2).

Figure 9-9: Einstein on the Beach. Act IV, Scene 2 The third (Figure 9-10) is the rhythmic expression of the traditional cadence. It serves as the basis for Knee Plays 2, 3 and 4, as well as Act IV, Scene 3.

Figure 9-10: Einstein on the Beach. Act IV, Scene 3

734 The Trial theme also recurs three times: in Act I, Scene 2; Act HI, Scene 1; and Act IV, Scene 2. It too is in three sections. The first appears at the beginning of the Trial, Act I, Scene 2 (Figure 9-11).
Vlalla

Figure 9-11: Einstein on the Beach. Act I, Scene 2 The second section is heard during the judge's speech (Figure 9-12).

Figure 9-12: Einstein on the Beach. Act I, Scene 2 The third section occurs in Act III, Scene 1, as a series of sung numbers, accompanied by shifting arpeggios on the organ. The field/spaceship theme occurs three times: Act II, Scene 1; Act III, Scene 2; and Act IV, Scene 3. The music comes from the third section of the train music.

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In between the Acts are Knee Plays, which are short, connecting pieces that serve to unify the opera. The vocal texts are either solfege syllables or numbers representing the rhythmic structure. The spoken texts are repeated stories, used alone or in canon. The orchestra is made up of saxophones, flutes, electric organs, and a violin. The harmonies are simple and modal, with frequent pedal points. David Stevens described the end result of Einstein on the Beach as moving: in an inexorable lentissimo, animated by a proliferation of mini events, a huge theatrical machine propelled by feverishly spinning inner parts.9 The Civil WarS. Act V is the final act of a twelve hour multi-media project conceived by Robert Wilson. The complete performance never came about. Act V focuses on the leaders of the American and Italian Civil Wars, with each scene presenting one view of war. It features impossible encounters: Garibaldi watches Lincoln; a Snow Owl and Mother Earth express hope for peace; Hopi Indians dance with Garibaldi's men; Robert E. Lee floats in a spaceship, while Mrs. Lincoln describes his defeat; Hercules comes to earth to help mankind, as Mrs. Lincoln recites an end of war speech; and Hercules returns to heaven with the Olympic torch raised high. The opera is built on a rhythmic pattern in the orchestra which contrasts with the more sustained vocal lines. Richard Ginell deemed it a work "of considerable power and drive."io

The Fall of the House of Usher, on a libretto by Arthur Yorinks, was premiered by the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1988. Based on the Edgar Allen Poe story, the opera is set in a decaying mansion in the late Nineteenth Century. William comes to visit Roderick Usher, his ill friend, who reveals that his sister, Madelaine is near death. Although William hears voices and has nightmares, Roderick seems better. He tells William that Madelaine has died and the two of them carry her coffin to the dungeon. A few nights later William hears sounds and Roderick admits that he has buried Madelaine alive. She returns to murder her brother and William escapes as the house of Usher collapses. As with his other operas, The Fall of the House of Usher incorporates minimalism, creating "eighty-five minutes of musical atmosphere with a simple tale at the bottom of it."H The melodic lines are syllabic, and the scenes are separately developed, each with its own continuous texture. The rhythmic patterns have a propulsive energy. Andrew Adler described it as "evocative, nuanced music that belies the simplistic description of 'minimalism.' [Glass] shows a keen sense of instrumental timbre, and his melodic development is unusually expressive, given his past tendencies. "12 The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 (1988), premiered by the Houston Grand Opera, is the result of a collaboration with Doris Lessing, whose libretto is based on her novel of the same title. Planet 8 is symbolic of Earth, and the story reflects the perils faced by our own environment. Planet

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8 is cast into a second Ice Age and the inhabitants, who are unable to survive by themselves, are offered help from the Canopean representatives. Johor, the Chief Canopean representative, tells the people that they must build a wall around the planet. Although they start building it, the people soon realize that the end is near. Their disillusionment is described through Alsi and Nooni's experiences. They search for whatever they can harvest, aware of the encroaching ice; all the while hoping that a Canopean ship will save them. Finally all the Canopean representatives merge into one sole representative. There is a great use of spoken dialogue and long monologues, while the orchestra contains the melodic themes, which are constantly repeated and developed. The rhythms propel the opera to its climax. However stage-wise, Planet 8 is often very static. 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, on a libretto by David Henry Hwang, premiered at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia in 1988. It was hailed as "part Freud, part Kafka and part Steven S p ie lb e rg ." i3 It concerns M., a Manhattanite who, while walking his date home, is transported to an alien ship where he is subjected to medical experiments before being released with a warning to forget everything. However, he struggles to remember and tell the world. By the end, M. has forgotten much of the actual ordeal, but is left with the nightmare of its reoccurrence.

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Written for a speaking actor, a small ensemble of synthesizers, amplified winds, and soprano voice, Glass commented that: I'm trying to invent a way for English to be used as a viable music theater language. Usher was all sung, The Representative used a mixture of speech and song, and 1000 Airplanes is spoken. But I'm still finding my way.u In place of sets, holographic projections are used to create cinematic illusions. At present Glass has been commissioned to compose an opera for the Metropolitan Opera, to be produced in 1992. Called The Vovage. it supposedly deals with great explorers at different times in Americas history. Whether one loves or loathes his work, Glass has certainly been a major influence on contemporary opera. His operas may be fairly limited harmonically, and may be dependent on glitz and high amplification, but they have exposed rock-influenced audiences to the realm of classical music. Glass's operas may be seen, in one sense, as being in a direct line from Virgil Thomson's operas, since both are "theater" composers and deal with sound patterns rather than plot and meanings of words, as well as expressing music in the simplest harmonic terms. Adams Another former minimalist whose operas have been very successful is John Adams. Bom in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of musicians, Adams studied composition with Leon Kirchner at Harvard (M.A., 1973) and

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then moved to San Francisco, where he taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 1972-82. He became the San Francisco Symphony's composer-in-residence in 1982. His first opera, Nixon in China, premiered in Houston in 1987. The idea for the subject came from director Peter Sellars, and the librettist, Alice Goodman (1958), was a classmate of Sellers. The libretto for Nixon in China, written entirely in verse, was her first major work. Nixon in China opens at the Peking airport, where Premiere Chou Enlai greets the Nixon's and Henry Kissinger, while Nixon reflects on the fact that he is making history. Chou, Mao, Nixon and Kissinger meet to express their contrasting political philosophies. This is followed by a large banquet at which Chou and Nixon exchange toasts. Pat Nixon tours various Communist sites: a clinic; a model swinerearing facility and the Ming tombs; and shares her vision of middle-class American life with her guides. Madame Mao entertains the Nixon's at a performance of her revolutionary ballet, "The Red Detachment of Women," during which the Nixons end up onstage to defend virtue against a warlord villain (Kissinger in disguise). This is interrupted by Madame Mao displaying her power-mad, revolutionary fervor as "The Wife of Mao Tse-tung." Later, Nixon, Chou and Mao are seen in their bedrooms, reflecting on their past glories and revealing their human foibles.

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Musically, Nixon in China represents a mixture of styles. Adams has commented: I feel that in many ways Nixon is my best work, my most mature work, my most technically satisfying work. In it I finally come to grips with who I am. My roots are profoundly affected by American popular music, jazz, ragtime, swing, rock.... My personal style does not deny my roots.15 Nixon in China incorporates a foxtrot, a spectacular coloratura aria, Motown harmonies, jazz rhythms and romantic harmonies, as well as minimalist techniques of rhythmic surge and motivic repetition. Rather than being jarring, Swed states that "Adams' score instead truly integrates the different elements of his musical personality into a music very rich in its ability to express emotions."^ His next opera, The Death of Klinghoffer. is a collaboration with the same individuals, Sellars and Goodman. It premiered successfully in Brussels in March, 1991. Katrine Ames wrote that what Sellars and Adams created: is a work that fires the heart. They have intensified the drama of a lurid incident by taking a public event and turning it back into a private one. Klmghoffer's impact lies first, in a powerful evocative score and second, in the controlled, emotive staging.^ Musically, Adams has continued to expand the mixture of minimalist rhythmic pulses, with a free melodic and harmonic idiom. He also combines conventional instruments with electronic sounds. The choruses, which punctuate the whole opera, have been praised by many.

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In both his operas Adams has evolved a unique style, which incor porates a great range of stylistic variety in a very convincing way, making them accessible to opera devotees and new rock-oriented audiences alike. Davis One of the most prominent Black composers today, Anthony Davis (1951), also incorporates a mixture of styles. Educated at Yale and Harvard, Davis first came into prominence as a virtuoso pianist and improvisor, but as his musical idiom became more complex, he turned to other musical mediums, including two operas, X (The Life and Times of Malcolm XI and Under the Double Moon. X (The Life and Times of Malcolm XI. on a libretto by Thulani Davis, was premiered by the New York City Opera in 1986. Set in Harlem and Boston in the 1950s and 1960s, the opera recounts the major events in the life of Malcolm X. As a child, the events that shaped his character were: his preacher father's questionable "accidental" death; his mother's breakdown; and the influence of Harlem street-life. When he moved to Boston, he became a petty thief, ending up in prison, where he converted to Islam, dropped his last name (Little) and adopted the letter X. He eventually became an influential leader of the Muslim movement and a threat to the movement's leader, Elijah Muhammed, because of his outspoken radicalism. After visiting Mecca, where he converted to orthodox Islam, and travelling throughout the Third World, Malcolm developed a broader view of the

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struggle for human rights and formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which coincided with the Harlem riot of 1964 and seemed threatening to the U.S. Government. Malcolm's radical efforts ended in his assassination in 1965. Musically, X incorporates jazz, blues, rap, improvisation, Afro-rhythms and minimalist fragmented melodies and repetitions. The vocal lines are disjunct, with frequent meter changes and chromaticism. Well received at its premiere, Howard Mandel commented that in respect to X: Opera can be relevant musical theater form of the late twentieth century, embracing (gasp!) jazz-like improvisation and idiomatic American English as well as serialism, contemporary social issues, and advanced stagecraft.^ His second opera, Under the Double Moon (1988), on a libretto by Deborah Atherton, is not on an American subject since it takes place in the mythical world of Undine. However, it incorporates a similar mixture of jazz patterns and rhythmic and motivic repetition. In both his operas Davis continues the trend of fusing pop vernacular with classical forms and traditions. The roots of his music are in jazz and complex rhythms, but he also includes Mozart, Wagner, Janacek and Strauss as being major influences on his style. Silverman Several other composers incorporate pop vernacular into their operas. Stanley Silverman (1938) has written several lighter operas, all in

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collaboration with Richard Foreman as librettist. Elephant Steps (1968) is a surrealistic story dealing with the ailing Hartman's attempt to understand his guru, Reinhardt. He searches the streets for Reinhardt and is denied access to Reinhardt's house, although others have easy access. Retreating to a kitchen, he dreams that elephant angels tell him to climb a ladder. At the top he sees Reinhardt and is finally enlightened. The style of the libretto and opera is reminiscent of the Stein and Thomson collaborations. One is never sure what is real and what is illusionary, Silverman incorporates a pastiche of madrigals, tango, ragtime, vaudeville and metal rock, as well as serialism, electronic sounds and Indian ragas. The overall effect is one of sophisticated pop music. His next opera, Hotel for Criminals (1974), based on Louis Feulliade's silent crime-serial films also incorporates music and words used for their sounds rather than their meanings. Silverman's melodies are disjunct at times, although they are lyrical, and the harmonies range from French cafe style to dissonant. Madame Adare (1980) is set at the turn of the century and concerns Miss Adare's psychiatric treatment. When Dr. Hoffman refuses to give her any more treatments until she pays her bill, she tries to shoot him, but unsuccessfully. Her agent encourages her to choose a profession. The devil

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tempts her to be a movie star but Diaghilev offers her the chance to fight cultural degeneration as an opera singer. After her successful singing debut, Madame Adare comes to pay her bill, but Dr. Hoffman refuses on the grounds that she is not cured because in his treatments, he had tried to squelch that force which enables her to sing. Believing him to be making fun at her expense, she shoots him, this time successfully. She explains the shooting as a natural depravity that she shares with everyone. She cites being trashy as the basis for her success in films. Musically Silverman incorporates jazz and blues, as well as musical comedy and movie-type music, including both a torch song and a patter song. The vocal lines vary from speech inflected to aria-like. Both the tempos and the meter change often and abruptly, with many syncopations. Dresher Paul Dresher (1951) also makes use of electronic, rock and jazz fused in a minimalist style. Power Failure (1989), on a libretto by Rinde Eckert, concerns Charles Smithson, a man who built his multi-million dollar company, Delta Chemical, by lying and cheating. Now that he is dying of a rare blood disease, he hires a young biochemist, Ruth, who develops a serum which can cure every affliction known to man. Charles' secretary, Judith, reveals that Charles, who is already receiving treatments, is going to keep the serum for his own use and personal gain by selling it on the black market.

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During a power failure which happens while Charles is in treatment, Merle Townsend, once a private detective, now a security guard, tells Ruth and Charles of his daughter's death. His daughter was to receive a lifesaving liver transplant, but the organ was purchased by Charles instead for Ruth's experiments. Ruth then finds out that Charles will never allow her serum to help society and so she leaves him helplessly attached to the machine. Rather than killing him himself, Merle leaves Charles to ultimately die of the disease he tried so desperately to avoid. Musically Dresher incorporates rock, jazz and electronic idioms. The vocal lines are disjunct, chromatic and repetitious, alternating with lyrical moments. At times they are even improvised. The complex rhythmic patterns repeat and shift, propelling the music forward. The score is written for a multi-woodwind player, electronic keyboard, synthesizer and percussion. In all these operas, one can see that the present trend incorporates the fusion of many idioms into one style. Jazz, rock and popular music are incorporated and integrated with traditional operatic forms and textures. Almost all have been influenced to some extent by minimalism, by its repetitive structures and its amplification techniques. This has also resulted in a return to more tonal music. American operas continue to evolve and incorporate new influences. Today, they are in the forefront of new works being written.

746 NOTES: CHAPTER IX

1. Brian Kellow, "Stages/1Opera News, September 1989,19. 2. Ibid., 22. 3. Andrew Porter, "Prima Donna," New Yorker. 25 June, 1979, 87. 4. Harold Blumenfeld, "A Stunning Young Company," Opera. Aug. 1979, 764. 5. Bill Takariasen, "Central City," Musical America. December, 1979, 1819. 6. John Cage, quoted in Mark Swed, "Celebration of Chaos," Opera News. July, 1988, 30. 7. Allan Kozinn, "Phillip Glass," Ovation. February, 1984, 14. 8. Ibid., 15. 9. David Stevens, "Paris," Opera News. December 11, 1976, 46-47. 10. Richard S. Ginell, "American Music Weekend," Musical America. April, 1985,19. 11. Tim Page, "Glass", Opera News. June, 1988,12. 12. Andrew Alder, "Louisville", Musical America. November, 1988, 40,41. 13. Michael Walsh, "The Opera as Science Fiction," Time. 1 August, 1988, 58. 14. Ibid. 15. John Adams, quoted in, Stephanie von Buchau, "Not Just an Entertainment," Opera News. October, 1987, 24. 16. Ibid. 17. Katrine Ames, quoted in Steven Swartz (ed.), "New Adams Opera," Boosev and Hawkes Newsletter. April, 1991,1.

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18. Howard Mandel, "The Life and Times of Malcom X," Downbeat. January, 1987, 50.

CONCLUSION

The initial intent of this thesis was to define what attributes constitute American opera. During the process, it became apparent that there are so many divergent cultures and influences that it becomes almost impossible to narrow American opera into one particular mold. Clarence Cameron White has commented: In recent years we have heard much about a national spirit, a national note in music, and of the all-important necessity and desirability of working out an American national music . . . The claim put forth is that we Americans also must work out our musical independence. But does that mean a national note? . . . National means characteristic of a nation, peculiar to a nation, applies to all people of a country . . . No more can we have a genuine American music unless it be the music of all who have a share in the appellation, American. The music of one group of persons may be the music of Americans but it has not, on that account alone, the right to the exclusive use of the term American. The meaning of this thought is that just as our nation is made up of a number of smaller groups, politically, industrially, and racially, so also our music is made up of the contribution of different classes of people. The ideal American music, in the sense of national music, is not easy to formulate or describe. But if we will make it include music based on material or habits of expression and thought which are distinctively American we may venture to call it national. This will include music melody, harmony, or structure which are more American than European.1

748

749

However there are some basic traits which have developed, common to all the various cultures, and which have become permanent characteristics of American opera. Every influencing element has made its contribution to the form. Ballad operas developed both an interest by native composers in American topics and an emerging rhythmic vitality that was unique. The evolutionary influences in Chapter Two laid the foundation for the development of native opera, brought forth an awareness of the abundance of the wealth of indigenous material, and started to stimulate the public interest in these works. The very uniqueness of the multiplicity of origins presented the problem -- what to use as the basis for an indigenous music. The traditional influences helped to develop the sense of the theatrical. These operas reflected, not a new form, but a new content. There was an increased awareness of dramatic values and a concern for character growth and development which had been lacking in earlier works. The melodic lines became more speech-inflected while the composers were very much involved with writing lyrical melodies. The Indian influence, while not as long lasting as some of the other influences, left its mark on the rhythmic vitality, such as dotted rhythms and independent meters; and on the harmonic elements with its emphasis on open fourths and fifths and the whole tone scales. Indian operas were also

750

the first subject American composers experimented with which could be considered wholly indigenous. The influence of social awareness corresponded with a movement to make opera accessible to the average person. Colloquial language and a harmonic simplicity were the contributions of this movement and resulted in a new musical idiom that was appropriate to the people. The composers recognized their responsibility to address moral issues. This was enhanced by the inclusion of jazz and blues. Every composer approached jazz from a different standpoint, but its overall impact was its popular appeal and the fact that it was the first form that Europeans recognized as distinctively American. The strongest stylistic feature that has lasted is its rhythm, for as Copland has stated: It is safe to say that no living composer has been entirely unaffected by the vitalized rhythmic sense we have all gained through contact with the peoples of the dark continent.2 The intellectual elements influenced the discarding of the conventional forms and harmonies. Pitch inflection, cross rhythms, ambiguous and dissonant harmonies and the juxtaposition of various forms all contributed to the freedom of American opera. The influence of folk music stimulated the amalgamation of the national influences into a true native art. According to Siegmeister: This real American folk music is as composite in origin as American itself. Its roots are English, Irish, Scotch, Negro, German, French, Spanish and Dutch. We find these strains

751

taking on a characteristic native flavor, and the humor, the strength, the feeling and the vigor of the American temperament assert themselves in a distinctly American music.3 Nowadays American opera is developing along widely divergent lines. All the barriers are down and the old catagories are destroyed. The new composers compose in new terms sound structures, space densities, etc. The distinguishing lines between popular musicals, operetta and opera have broken down. Operas incorporate dialogue, popular forms, electronic instruments, and instruments that are natural to the idiom, for example, banjos in black influenced operas. Musicals, on the other hand, now incorporate more operatic ranges and melodies and more developed
orchestrations.

Today one will find American opera embracing all the elements -- folk songs, themes of social concern, and historical drama. It continues to develop towards producing better drama and theater. It is distinguished first and foremost by its rhythm which, in general, has a steady meter based on the smallest denominator and yet is enormously vital and asymmetrical which gives it a musical uniqueness. Secondly, the language is characterized by its strong accents and varying vowel lengths which are incorporated into its speech inflected vocal lines. Thirdly, the optimism and idealism which is part of the American character, is carried over into the libretti and music, not so much as in an unawareness of major problems but in their hopeful conclusions, as embodied by the simplicity of musical means.

American operas have always been a part of the American culture, and there continue to be great differences in expression by individual composers, even in this age of internationalism. Therefore it is safe to say that American opera will continue to reflect the divergent cultures and the individualism that characterize America itself.

753 NOTES: CONCLUSION

1. Clarence Cameron White, quoted in Hansonia Laverne Caldwell, "Black Idioms in Opera as Reflected in the Works of Six Afro-American Composers." (University of Southern California, 1974), 7, 8. 2. Aaron Copland, quoted in Ronald Davis, A History of Music In American Life, v. 3 (Malibar, Florida: Robert Krieger Publishing Co., 1981), 85. 3. Ibid., 144.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books Anderson, E. Ruth (Compiler). Contemporary American Composers Biographical Dictionary. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1982. Antheil, George. Bad Bov of Opera. New York: Doubleday and Co. Inc., 1945. Ardoin, John. The Stages of Menotti. Harder City, New York: Double Day and Company, Inc., 1985. Armitage, Merle. George Gershwin: Man and Legend. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1958. Bauer, Marion. Twentieth Century Music. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1947. Bordman, Gerald. American Operetta. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981. Boretz, Benjamin and Edward T. Cone (ed.). Perspectives on American Composers. New York: W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1971. Brockway, Wallace and Weinstock, Herbert. The World of Opera. New York: Pantheon Books, 1962. Brown, Wiliam Hill. The Better Sort. Boston: Isaiah I. Thomas, 1789. Bumgardner, Thomas. Norman Dello Toio. Boston: Twayne Publishing, A Division of G.K. Hall and Co., 1986. Butterworth, Neil. The Music of Aaron Copland. New York: Toccata Press Universe Books, 1985.

754

755

Chase, Gilbert. The American ..Composer Speaks; A Historical Anthology. Louisiana State University Press, 1966. _______ (ed.): Americas Music from the Pilgrims to the Present. New York: McGraw-Hill Co., 1955. Clarke, Garry E. Essavs on American Music. Westport, Connecticutt: Greenwood Press, 1977. Cone, Edward T. and Boretz, Ben (ed.). Prospectives on American Composers. New York: W.W. Norton, 1971. Copland, Aaron. Our New Music. New York: Whittlesey, 1941. Cowell, Henry (ed.). American Composers on American Music. New York: Frederick Unger Publishing Co., 1961. Davis, Ronald L. Davis. A History of Music in American Life. 3 vols. Malabar, Florida: Robert Krieger Publishing Co., 1981. Downes, Olin. Olin Downes on Music. Irene Downes (ed.). New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957. ________ and Siegmeister, Elie (ed.). A Treasury of American Song. New York: Howell Soskie and Co., 1940. Drummond, Andrew H. American Opera Librettos. Metucker, New York: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1973. Eaton, Quaintance (ed.). Opera Production I. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1961. _______ . Opera Production II. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1974. Elson, Louis C. The History of American Music. New York: Burt Franklin, 1925. Engel, Lehman. The American_Musical Theater/A Consideration: C.B.S. Legacy Collection Book. New York: Macmillan Co., 1967. Ewen, David. American Composers Today. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1949.

756

_______. American Musical Theater. New York: Holt and Co., 1958. _______ . The Complete Book of Twentieth Century Music. Engelwood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1950. _______ . David Ewen Introduces Modern Music. Philadelphia: Chilton Co., 1962. _______ . Encyclopedia of the Opera. New York: Hill and Wang, 1963. _______ . Music Comes to America. New York: Allen, Towne and Health, Inc., 1947. Finkelstein, Sidney. Composer and Nation. New York: International Publishers, 1960. Gagey, Edmond M. Ballad Opera. New York: Columbia University Press, 1937. Galt, Martha Caroline. Know Your American Music. Augusta, Maine: Kennebec Journal Print Shop, 1943. Gassner, John (ed.). Best American Plavs. New York: Crown Publishing, Inc., 1958. Gleason, Harold and Warren Becker. Twentieth Century American Composers. Bloomington, Indiana: Frangipani Press, 1980. Gillis, Don. A List of American Operas Compiled for the American Opera Workshop. Michigan: Interlocker Press, 1959. Goddard, Joseph. The Rise and Development of Opera. London: Wilbaim Reeves and Co., 1941. Graf, Herbert. Opera For the People. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1951. _______ . Opera and It's Future in America. W.W. Norton and Co., 1941. _______ . Producing Opera for America. New York: Atlantis Books, 1961. Green, Stanley. The World of Musical Comedy. Cranberry, New Jersey: A.S. Barnes Co., Inc., 1968.

757

Grout, Donald Jay. A Short History of Opera. New York: Columbia University Press, 1965. Grove, Sir George. Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie, 20 vols. London: Macmillan Press, 1980. Gruen, John. Menotti - A Biography. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1978. Hamm, Charles. Music in the New World. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1983. Hipsher, Edward Ellsworth. American Opera and Its Composers. Philadelphia: Theodore Presser Co., 1927. Hitchcock, H. Wiley. Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction. 2nd Edition. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1974. Howard, John Tasker. Our American Music. New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1954. ________and Mendel, Arthur. Our Contemporary Composers. New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1941. Hughes, Gervase. Composers of Operetta. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1962. Hughes, Rupert. Contemporary American Composers. Boston: L.C. Page and Co., 1900. Johnson, H. Earle. Operas on American Subjects. New York: Coleman-Ross Co., Inc., 1963. Kerman, Joseph. Opera as Drama. New York: Vintage Books, 1959. Kingsman, David. American Music. A Panorama. New York: Schirmer Co., 1979. Krehbiel, Henry E. A Book of Operas. New York: Macmillan Co., 1909. _______ . Chapters of Opera. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1909.
________. More Chapters of Opera. N ew York: Henry Holt and Co., 1919.

758

Lang, Paul Henry. Critic at the Opera. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1971. Machlis, Joseph. American Composers of Our Time. New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1963. _______ Introduction to Contemporary Music. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., Inc., 1961. Markoe, Peter. The Reconciliation. Philadelphia: Prichard and Hall, 1790. Martens, Frederick H. One Thousand and One Nights at the Opera. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1926. Martorella, Roseanna. The Sociology of Opera. New York: Praeger Special Studies - Praeger Scientific, 1982. Mates, Julian. The American Musical Stage Before 1800. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1962. McSpadden, J. Walker. Operas and Musical Comedies. New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Co., 1946. Mellers, Wilfred. Music In a New Found Land. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965. Mordden, Ethan. Opera In the Twentieth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Nettle, Bruno. North American Indian Musical Styles. Philadelphia: American Folklore Society, 1954. Root, Deane L. American Popular Stage Music 1860-1880. Ann Arbor, Michigan: U.M.I. Research Press, 1981. Schoep, Arthur (ed.). The National Association Catalogue of Contemporary American Operas. Denton, Texas: North Texas State University. Sloenmsky, Nicolas (ed.). Bakers Bographical Dictionary of Musicians. 5th ed. revised and enlarged. New York: G. Schermer, 1965. Smith, Julia Frands. Aaron Copland. His Work and Contribution to American Music. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1955.

759

Sonneck, O.G. Earlv Opera in America. New York; G. Schermer, Inc., 1915. Teasdale, May Silva. Handbook of Twentieth Century Opera. New York: E. P. Dutton and Co., Inc., 1938. Thomson, Virgil. American Music Since 1910. New York; Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970. _______ . The Musical Scene. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1945. _______ . Virgil Thomson. New York: Rinehart and Company, Inc., 1967. Virga, Patricia. The American Opera to 1970. Ann Arbor, Michigan: U.M.I. Research Press, 1982. Waters, Edward N. Victor Herbert - A Life in Music. New York: McMillan and Co., 1955. Whitesitt, Linda. The Life and Music of George Anthiel. 1900 - 1959. Ann Arbor, Michigan: U.M.I. Research Press, 1983. Yellin, Victor. Chadwick: Yankee Composer. Washington: Smithsonian Institute Press, 1990. Zuck, Barbara. A History of Musical Americanism. Ann Arbor, Michigan: U.M.I. Research Press, 1980. Unpublished Material Aufdemberge, Maurice. "Analysis of the Dramatic Construction of American Operas on American Themes, 1896-1958." Ph.D. dissertation, Northwestern University, Evanston, 111., 1965. Briggs, Harold. "The North American Indian as Depicted in Musical Compostions." Masters Thesis, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1976. Bricker, Julia. "American Themes in American Opera 1900-1951." Masters of Arts Thesis. Brooks, James A. "Technical Aspects of the Music in the Major Operas of Hugo Weisgall." Ph. D. dissertation, Washington University, 1971.

760

Caldwell, Hansonia L. "Black Idioms in Opera as Reflected in the Works of Six Afro-American Composers." Ph. D. dissertation, University of Southern California, 1974. Casmus, Mary. "Gian Carlo Menotti: His Dramatic Techniques." Ph. D. dissertation, Florida State University, Talahassee, Florida, 1966. Crawford, Sylvia. "A Survey of American Opera Since 1947." Masters Thesis, Baylor University, 1967. Davidson, Celia Elizabeth. "Operas by Afro-American Composers: A Critic, Survey and Analysis of Selected Works." Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., Ph. D. dissertation. Dietz, Robert J. "The Opera Style of Mark Blitzstein in the American'AgitProp1Era." Ph. D. dissertation, University of Iowa, 1970. Harold Cage. "A Survey of 141 Chamber Operas." Mus. Doc. dissertation, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1976. Herbert, Rubye Nell. "A Study in the Composition and Performance of Scott Joplins Opera Treemonisha." D.M.A. dissertation, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 1976. Kestin, Diane. "Folklore in Published and Unpublished American Opera of the Twentieth Century." Master's Thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, California, 1955. Lucas, Joan Dawson. "The Operas of Samuel Adler: An Analytical Study." Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Louisiana State University, 1978. Polk, Corrie Shirley, "Gian Carlo Menotti: A Study of the Man and His Operas." Master's Thesis, Baylor University, 1965. Talley, Paul Myers. "Social Criticism in the Theater Librettos of Blitzstein." Ph. D. dissertation, University of Wisconson, 1965. Weitzel, Jay Harold. "A Melodic Analysis of Selected Vocal Solos in the Operas of Doughs Moore." Ph. D. dissertation, New York University, 1971.

761

Opera Scores - Piano/Vocal


Adler, Samuel. The Outcasts of Poker Flats. New York; Oxford University Press, 1959. Ahlstrom, David. The Open Window. Unpublished. _______ . Three Sisters Who Are NotSisters.Unpublished.

_______ Truck Stop. Unpublished. Albright, Lois. Hopitu. Unpublished. Antheil, George. Transatlantic. Leipzig: Universal Edition, 1929. _______ . The Wish. Unpublished.

Argento, Dominick. The Boor. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1960. _______ The Masque of Angels. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1964. _______ The Vovage of Edgar Allen Poe.New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1976. _______ A Waterbird Talks. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1980. Atwell, Shirl Jae. Esta Hargis. Unpublished. _______ Sagegrass. Unpublished. Blakeslee, Samuel Earle. The Legend of Wewahste. Unpublished. Barab, Seymour. Chanticleer. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1956. _______ . Fortunes Favorites. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1986. _______ . A Game of Chance. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1957. Barber, Samuel. A Hand of Bridge. New York: G. Schiemer, 1960. Barton, Andrew. The Disappointment. New York: Federal Theater Project, 1937.

Beeson, Jack. Captain links of the Horse Marines. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1983. _______ . Hello Out There. New York: Mills Music, Inc., 1960. _______ . Lizzie Bordon. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1967. _______ My Heart's In the Highlands. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1970. _______. The Sweet Bve and Bve. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1966. Bernstein, Leonard. A Quiet Place. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1985. Blitzstein, Marc. The Cradle Will Rock. New York: Tams-Witmark Music Library, 1936. _______. No For An Answer. New York: Tams-Witmark Music Library, 1941. _______ . Regina. New York: Chappell and Co., Inc., 1954. _______ . Triple Sec. London: B. Schott and Sons, 1931. Bray, John. The Indian Princess. New York: Da Capo Press, 1972. Bristow, George. Rip Van Winkle. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1882. Bucci, Mark. The Dress. New York: Chappell and Co., 1956. _______. Sweet Betsy From Pike. New York: Frank Music Corporation, 1953. Tale for a Deaf Ear. New York: Frank Music Corporation, 1957. Cadman, Charles Wakefield. Shanewis. New York: White-Smith Music Publishing Co., 1918. _______ The Sunset Trail. Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania: Theodore Presser Co., 1922.

763

Chadwick, George Whitefield. Everywoman; Her Pilgrimage In Quest of Love. Unpublished. _______ . The Padrone. Unpublished. Clarke, Henry Leland. The Loafer and the Loaf. New York: American Composers Alliance, 1957. Converse, Frederick. The Sacrifice. New York: Gray Co., 1910. Copland, Aaron. The Second Hurricane. Boston: C.C. Birchard and Co., 1938. _______ . The Tender Land. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1956. Damrosch, Walter. The Man Without a Country. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1937. _______ . The Scarlet Letter. New York: Breitkopf and Hartel, 1896. Davis, Allen. The Sailing of the Nancy Bell. Unpublished. DeKoven, Reginald. Rip Van Winkle. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1919. Floyd, Carlisle. Of Mice and Men. New York: Belwin-Mills Publishing Corporation, 1971. _______ . Soft Dusk. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1957. _______ The Sojourner and Mollv Sinclair. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1968. _______ . Susannah. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1956. Foss, Lukas. The Tumping Frog of Calaveras County. New York: Carl Fischer and Co., Inc., 1951. Freen, Eleanor, Everett. The Chilkoot Maid. New York: W.A. Karen Music, 1926. Gaines, Samuel Richards. Daniel Boone. Boston: C.C. Birchard and Co., 1909. Gershwin, George. Porgv and Bess. New York: Hershwin Publishing Co., 1936.

764

Gruenberg, Louis. The Emperor lones. New York:

<ZTos-C ob Press, Inc., 1959.

Hanson, Howard. Merry Mount. New York: H a r m s . In c ., 1933. Haufrecht, Herbert. Bonev Quillen. New York: B r o u d e Brothers, 1953. Herbert, Victor. Natoma. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1911. Hoiby, Lee, The Scarf. New York: G. Schirmer, I n c . , 1969.

______ . Summer and Smoke. New York: B e l ^ v i n - M i l l s Publishing Corporation, 1976. Hunkins, Eusebia. Maniian. New York: Carl F i s c H e r , In c., 1956. ______ . Smokev Mountain. New York: Carl F i s c h e r , Inc., 1950. . Spirit Owl. New York: Carl Fischer, I r a c r . , 1956. ______ . Young Lincoln. New York: Carl F i s c H e r * In c ., 1958. Joplin, Scott. Treemonisha. New York: Chappell N l u s i c Co., 1975. Johnson, Tom. The Four Note Opera. New York: Publishers, 1973. ^ A s s o c ia t e d Music

Kalmanoff, Martin. Opera Opera. New York: C arl F i s c h e r , Inc., 1956. Kerker, Gustave. The Belle of New York. New Y o r lc -: H a r m s and Co., 1897.

Kubick, Gail. Boston Baked Beans. New York: C h a p p e l l and Co., 1956. Kreutz, Arthur. Sourwood Mountain. New York; 1959. F r a n c o Colombo, Inc.,

Kupferman, Meyer. In a Garden. New York: M e r c u r y M usic Corporation, 1951. de Leone, Francesco. Alglala. New York: G. S c h i r m . e r In c., 1924. Levy, Marvin David. Mourning Becomes Electra. N e w Hawks, Inc., 1967. York: Boosey and

765 Marrocco, W. Thomas and Harold Gleason (ed.). Music in America. New York: Norton and Co., 1964. Menotti, Gian Carlo. Help. Help. The Globolinks! New York: G. Schirmer, 1969. _______ . The Last Savage. New York: Belwin Mills Publishing Corporation, 1963. _______ . The Medium. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1947. _______ The Old Maid and the Thief. New York: G. Ricordi and Co., 1943. _______ The Saint of Bleecker Street. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1954. _______ . Tamu Tamu. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1973. _______ . The Telephone. New York: G. Schimer, Inc., 1947. Mollicone, Henry. The Face On the Barroom Floor. New York: Belwin Mills Publishing Corp., 1979. Moore, Douglas. The Ballad of Baby Doe. New York: Chappell and Co., 1957. _______ . Carry Nation. New York: Galaxy and Co., 1968. _______ . The Devil and Daniel Webster. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1943. _ . Gallantry. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1958. The Headless Horseman. New York: Boosey and Hawks, Inc., 1958. _______ The Wings of the Dove. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1963. Moore, Mary Carr. Narcissa. New York: M. Witmark, 1912. Moross. Ballet Ballads. Unpublished. Nevin, Arthur. Poia. Berlin: Adolph Furstmer, 1909.

766 Pasatieri, Thomas. La Divina. Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: Theodore Pesser, Co., 1968. _______ . Washington Square. Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: Theodore Pesser, Co., 1976. _______ . The Women. Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: Theodore Pesser, Co., 1970. Paulus, Stephen. The Village Singer. New York: European American Music Corp., 1979. Phillips, Burrell. Don't They All. Unpublished. Ramsier, Paul. The Man on a Bearskin Rug. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1958. Robinson, Earl and Waldo Salt. Sandhog. New York: Chappell and Co., Inc., 1956. Rorem, Ned. A Childhood Miracle. New York: Southern Music Co., Inc., 1972. _______ Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, Inc., 1974. Schuman, William. The Mighty Casey. New York: G. Schirmer, 1954. Siegmeister, Elie. Angel Levine. New York: Carl Fischer. _______ . Darling Corie. New York: Chappell and Co., Inc., 1953. _______ Miranda and the Dark Young Man. New York: Alec Templeton, Inc. 1957. Smith, Julia. Daisy. New York: Mobray Music, 1977. Still, William Grant. A Bayou Ledgend. Unpublished. _______ . Highway 1. USA. Unpublished.

Taylor, Raynor. Buxom loan. Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania: Theodore Presser, Co., 1975.

767 Thomson, Virgil. The Mother of Us All. New York: Music Press, Inc., 1947. Vernon, Grenville, compiler. Yankee-Doodle-Doo. A Collection of Songs. New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc., 1972. Ward, Robert. The Crucible. New York: Galaxy Music Co., 1962. Weill, Kurt. Down in the Valley. New York: G. Schirmer and Co., 1943. _______ . Street Scene. Chappell Music Co., 1948. Weisgall, Hugo. Six Characters in Search of an Author. Bryn Mawr: Merion Music, 1960. _______ . The Stronger. Bryn Mawr: Merion Music, 1956. _______ . The Tenor. Bryn Mawr: Merion Music, 1959. Wilder, Alec. The Lowland Sea. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1952. _______ . Sunday Excursion. New York: G. Schirmer, Inc., 1953. Recordings Adams, John. Nixon In China. Nonesuch [79177-2] Antheil, George. The Wish. Lousiville Commissioning Series [LOU 56-4] Barber, Samuel. A Hand of Bridge. Vanguard [VRS 1065] Beeson, Jack. Captain links of the Horse Marines. RCA [ARL 2-1727] _______ . Hello Out There. Desto [Dst - 4651] _______ Lizzie Borden. Desto [DST-6455/7] _______ J he Sweet Bye and Bye. [DC 71779/80] Bernstein, Leonard. Trouble in Tahiti. [MGM 3646] Blitzstein, Marc. The Cradle Will Rock. Composers Recordings [CRISD-266] _______ . Regina. CBS Odyssey [Y 3-35236]

768 Bray, John. The Indian Princess. [NW232] Copland, Aaron. The Second Hurricane Foss, Lukas. The lumping Frog of Calaveras County. Lyerchord [LL11] Glass, Phillip. Einstein On the Beach. C.B.S. [M4 38875] Menotti, Gian Carlo. The Medium. Odyssey [Y 235239] _______ The Old Maid and the Thief. Mercury 90521 _______ . The Saint of Bleecker Street. RCA Victor [LM 6032] _______ The Telephone. Odyssey [Y 235239] Moore, Douglas. The Ballad of Baby Doe. Helidaor [H/HS 25035-3] _______ . Carry Nation. Desto [DC 6463/5] _______ The Devil and Daniel Webster. Desto [DC 6463/65] Thomson, Virgil. Four Saints in Three Acts. Nonesuch [79035] _______ The Mother of Us All. Ward, Robert. The Crucible. Composers Recordings [CRI168] Weisgall, Hugo. The Stranger. [SD-273] _______ The Tenor. [SD-273]

Articles
Adler, Andrew. "Louisville." Musical America. November 1988, 40-1. Allen, Rose. "New Opera Bows At Indiana University." Musical Courier. July 1950,8. Aldrich, Richard. "American Composers and Opera." New York Times. 2 March 1913.

769 _______ . "Natoma." New York Times, 26 February 1911. Altman, Peter. "The Voyage of Dominick Argento." Opera News, vol. 40, no. 21,17 April 1976,12-15, 33. Artheil, George. "Opera A Way Out." Modern Music. XI, No 2, (JanuaryFebruary 1934), 89-94. _______ . "Wanted Opera By and For Americans." Modern Music. VIII, No 4, (June-July), 1930,11-16. Atkinson, Brooks. "Marc Blitzstein's The Cradel Will Rock Officially Opens At the Mercury Theater." New York Times. 12 April 1964. 14 (L+). _______ . "Marc Blitzsteins's No For An Answer and Norman Roster's * First Step to Heaven Have Openings. New York Times. 6 January 1941, 10 (L). _______ . _______ . "Music." New York Times. 6 December 1937. "Music." New York Times. 27 March 1950.

_______ . "Native Opera of the South." New York Times. 5 October 1926, 26 (L). _______ "The New Play." New York Times. 10 January 1947, 14 (L+). _______ "Opera: The Saint of Bleecker Street." New York Times.28 December 1954,21 (L+). Barlow, Samuel. "Blitzstein's Answer." Modem Music. SVIII, no. 2 (JanuaryFebruary, 1941), 81-83. Belson, Jack. "Reports: United States." Opera News. XXX, 7 May, 1966,22. Bergsma, William. "New York." Musical Quarterly, v. XLIV, no. 1, (January, 1958), 86-89. Blitzstein, Marc. "On Writing Music for the Theater." Modem Music. XV, (January-February, 1938), 81-85. _______ . "As He Remembered It." New York Times. 12 April 1964, 13 (X).

770 Blumefeld, Harold. "A Stunning Young Company." Opera. August 1979, 764. _______ and Lionell L akey. "The Battle of Baby Doe." Opera News. 8 March 1969, 8-11. Briggs, Harold. "Indians!" Opera News. June 1976 v. 40 #23, pp. 3-4,51. Brodbin, John. "Tenderland." Opera News, v. 18, April 1954. Bryant, Henry. "Marc Blitzstein," Modern Music. XXIII (Summer, 1946), 170175. Butler, Henry. "A M easure of Menotti." Opera News. 8 February 1964. Cadman, Charles W akefield. "The Idealization of Indian Music." Musical Quarterly. (July 1915), 387-396. Cazden, Norman. "H erb ert Haufrech: The Composer and the Man." Bulletin of the American C o m posers Alliance. VII, no. 4,1959, 2-7. Crist, Judith. "On Three American Operas." The Herald - Tribune. November, 1950. Copland, Aaron. "In M em o ry of Marc Blitzstein. Perspectives of Modern Music II. (Spring-Summer, 1964), 6-7. Davis, Marguerite. "C harles Wakefield Cadman: The 'All-American' Composer." The E tude. No. 45, June 1927. _______ . "Opera L ib retto ed By Atlantan Trills Alten at Premiere." Atlanta C onstitution. 4 March 1945. Davis, Peter G. "Opera: W ill You Marrv Me." New York Magazine. May 1989. Deermont, "Minette F o n tain e Meets Audiences' Expectations." State Times. 25 October 1984. Devries, Rene. "The W itch of Salem." Musical Courier. 16 December 1926. Downes, Olin. "Aaron C o p lan d On His 50th Birthday." New York Times. 29 October 1950,58.

771 _______ . "Damrosch's Work Traditional Opera." May 1937,30 (L++). New York Times. 13

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