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April 8, 2010

Biennial Conference: Society for 18th Century Music

International Collection of Music Scholars Descends on St. Francis College

St. Francis College proudly hosted the Fourth Biennial Meeting of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music from April 8 – 11, with events throughout the College and across New York City. The conference, which was dedicated to the memory of the scholar H. C. Robbins Landon, attracted fifty-one registrants arrived from New Zealand, Austria, Canada, and across the United States for classical performances and presentations of cutting-edge research on topics ranging from reports on newly discovered manuscripts to fresh information on composers’ lives, to revised interpretation of their works.

“We are honored to have been chosen to host this event,” said St. Francis College Fine Arts Professor Suzanne Forsberg, the Chair of Conference Arrangements. “In my proposal, I stressed the importance of New York as an 18th century city and the accessibility of 18th century culture.”

On the first day, a small group met at St. Paul’s Chapel to tour eighteenth-century sites in Lower Manhattan, led by Linda McDonnell, licensed New York City tour guide. Professor Forsberg then took a group of ten to the Morgan Library and Museum to gather in the South Parlor for a private exhibition of rare autographs by such composers as Bach, Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. Frances Barulich, Mary Flagler Cary Curator of Music Manuscripts and Printed Music, selected the manuscripts and gave an overview of their acquisition by the Morgan Library.

Friday’s sessions featured ten papers. Neil Zaslaw, Cornell University professor, chaired the first session, held in the Nicholas A. Fiorenza Classroom: “Genres and Developments: Narrative, Connections, Topoi. “ During this three-paper session, Pierpaolo Polzonetti, University of Notre Dame, presented “Haydn and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.” Following a lunch in Callahan Center, the Grenser Trio performed works by Jean Xavier Lefèvre, Antonio Rosetti, and Ludwig van Beethoven on period instruments (fortepiano, classical clarinet, and cello) in the Academic Center Theater. Taking advantage of the fortepiano, David Schulenberg, Wagner College (CUNY), offered music by two of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sons during his paper, “A Tale of Two Brothers: Friedemann and Emanuel Bach.” The day ended with Timothy J. Houlihan, Academic Dean, hosting a festive reception in the McCardle Student Center.

Saturday morning began with a panel discussion entitled “Dissertations in Progress.” Students from University of California (Davis), Boston University, and Stanford University presented questions to the panel concerning problems they had encountered in the course of their work. Both the panel, chaired by Sterling Murray, West Chester University (emeritus), and the audience offered suggestions. The day ended with “Compositional Process and Form” chaired by Steven Zohn, Temple University. The final paper by Edward Green, Manhattan School of Music in this session put forward “A New Look at the Ployer/Attwood Notebooks—Or, Mozart: Teacher of Chromatic Completion.” The climax of the day was a concert by Brooklyn Baroque in the eighteenth-century Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest house in Manhattan. Daniel Waitzman, baroque flute, David Bakamjian, baroque cello, and Rebecca Pechefsky, harpsichord, performed works by George Frideric Handel, Johann Ludwig Krebs, Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, and C. P. E. Bach.

In the Sunday morning session “Sacred and Secular in Late Eighteenth-Century Vienna and Beyond,” chaired by Jane S. Hettrick, Hofstra University, two papers in particular stood out. The student prize winner, Lisa de Alwis, University of Southern California, presented “Censoring the Censor: Karl Glossy’s Selective Transcription (1896) of Karl Hägelin’s Directive on Viennese Theatrical Censorship (1795).” Allan Badley, traveled from the University of Auckland in New Zealand for his paper, “Issues of Authenticity and Chronology in the Sacred Works of Leopold Hofmann.”

The goal of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music is to promote the study and performance of music of the eighteenth century. The Society provides a forum where scholars and performers can further their knowledge of music, history and interrelated arts of the period and serves as a resource to facilitate and encourage collaboration.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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