Synopses & Reviews
and#147;Benjamin Piekut takes scholarship on late twentieth century music to new heights with this inventive and compelling study of the networks of experimental music. Weaving a historical ethnography of performances, practices, sounds, and subjectivities together with insights from recent social and anthropological theory, uncovering new perspectives on key figures from John Cage and Henry Flynt to Carla Bley and Charlotte Moorman, he gives us and#145;actually existing experimentalismand#8217; free from idealization or dilution.and#8221;
and#151;Georgina Born, author of Rationalizing Culture: IRCAM, Boulez, and the Institutionalization of the Musical Avant-Garde
and#147;Ben Piekutand#8217;s methodologically astute and#145;history of actually existing experimentalismand#8217; provides a brilliantly focused, yet ultimately expansive interrogation of the musical networks that flourished in New York City around the year 1964. Engaging, insightful, and important, Experimentalism Otherwise is certain to prove an indispensable reference not only for musicologists, but for anyone interested in the tangled cultural history of the period at large.and#8221;
and#151;Branden W. Joseph, author of Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts After Cage
and#147;Buttressed by interviews with surviving participants and close examination of scores, texts, images, and ephemera, Piekut erects a framework within which the sometimes poignant, sometimes absurd network of semi-failed interactions that defined the space of and#145;experimental musicand#8217; can take shape in the mind of a delighted reader. Experimentalism Otherwise deftly escapes the hagiographic mode: figures like John Cage, Henry Flynt, and Charlotte Moorman appear in its pages as scrappy improvisers of aesthetic contingency, not plaster saints of the avant-garde. This is late-twentieth-century music history as it ought to be written!and#8221;
and#151;Robert Fink, author of Repeating Ourselves: American Minimal Music as Cultural Practice
and#147;Experimentalism is never only that, is the meta-argument of Experimentalism Otherwise. With a focus on participants of four moments in four explicitly experimental music scenes in a single year and in a single city, Piekut and#145;follows the actorsand#8217; not only to their appointments with the new as isolated from other events, but along historically grounded routes too ordinary to have received prior notice. In doing so, he achieves something of an anti-and#145;experimentalism for experimentalismand#8217;s sakeand#8217; historiography of select New York experimental music events of the 1960s. That this gripping analysis of historical experimentalism is so rich with difference and contradiction, so illuminating of the challenges of producing the and#145;newand#8217; in the and#145;nowand#8217; is precisely due to Piekutand#8217;s diligence in opening a world of the ordinary where we didnand#8217;t expect it. This book is a revelation of the relationship between ordinariness and newness that will change how cultural historians think about experimentalism.and#8221;
and#151;Sherrie Tucker, author of Swing Shift
and#8220;Richly deserving superlatives, [Experimentalism Otherwise] is a memorable, exciting, rigorous, and beautifully written book of considerable importance.and#8221;
and#8220;This is an important book, and should be part of every academic music library.and#8221;
and#8220;Objective, insightful proseand#8221;
and#8220;An original and important book. . . . Impressive in its scope. . . . A concise and focused account.and#8221;
and#8220;Experimental Otherwise crafts a surprisingly strong narrative.and#8221;
and#8220;A nuanced analysis . . . . Demonstrates with great clarity relationships between aesthetic questions and broader political and social issues.and#8221;
During the Cold War, thousands of musicians from the United States traveled the world, sponsored by the U.S. State Departmentand#8217;s Cultural Presentations program. Performances of music in many stylesand#151;classical, rock and#8217;nand#8217; roll, folk, blues, and jazzand#151;competed with those by traveling Soviet and mainland Chinese artists, enhancing the prestige of American culture. These concerts offered audiences around the world evidence of Americaand#8217;s improving race relations, excellent musicianship, and generosity toward other peoples. Through personal contacts and the media, musical diplomacy also created subtle musical, social, and political relationships on a global scale. Although born of state-sponsored tours often conceived as propaganda ventures, these relationships were in themselves great diplomatic achievements and constituted the essence of Americaand#8217;s soft power. Using archival documents and newly collected oral histories, Danielle Fosler-Lussier shows that musical diplomacy had vastly different meanings for its various participants, including government officials, musicians, concert promoters, and audiences. Through the stories of musicians from Louis Armstrong and Marian Anderson to orchestras and college choirs, Fosler-Lussier deftly explores the value and consequences of and#147;musical diplomacy.and#8221;
In the years following World War II, American writers and artists produced a steady stream of popular stories about Americans living, working, and traveling in Asia and the Pacific. Meanwhile the U.S., competing with the Soviet Union for global power, extended its reach into Asia to an unprecedented degree. This book reveals that these trendsand#151;the proliferation of Orientalist culture and the expansion of U.S. powerand#151;were linked in complex and surprising ways. While most cultural historians of the Cold War have focused on the culture of containment, Christina Klein reads the postwar period as one of international economic and political integrationand#151;a distinct chapter in the process of U.S.-led globalization.
Through her analysis of a wide range of texts and cultural phenomenaand#151;including Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific and The King and I, James Michener's travel essays and novel Hawaii, and Eisenhower's People-to-People Programand#151;Klein shows how U.S. policy makers, together with middlebrow artists, writers, and intellectuals, created a culture of global integration that represented the growth of U.S. power in Asia as the forging of emotionally satisfying bonds between Americans and Asians. Her book enlarges Edward Said's notion of Orientalism in order to bring to light a cultural narrative about both domestic and international integration that still resonates today.
"Christina Klein takes a fresh, stimulating, and enlightening look at the complex visions of Asia dreamed over the decades by American popular culture. She argues her provocative viewpoints with the verve and flair of a showman, in a book which helps us to see the whole world through new eyes."and#151;David Henry Hwang, author of M. Butterfly
and Flower Drum Song
"An extraordinarily interesting study of and#145;Cold War internationalism.and#8217; Kleinand#8217;s brilliant and imaginative reading of such musicals as South Pacific and The King and I enables us to see how culture and geopolitics were woven together to transform the Cold War order into todayand#8217;s ethnically diverse and economically interdependent worldand#151;within the framework of and#145;U.S. global expansion.and#8217;"and#151;Akira Iriye, Professor of History, Harvard University, and author, Global Community
In Experimental Otherwise, Benjamin Piekut takes the reader into the heart of what we mean by and#147;experimentaland#8221; in avant-garde music. Focusing on one place and timeand#151;New York City, 1964and#151;Piekut examines five disparate events: the New York Philharmonicand#8217;s disastrous performance of John Cageand#8217;s Atlas Eclipticalis; Henry Flyntand#8217;s demonstrations against the downtown avant-garde; Charlotte Moormanand#8217;s Avant Garde Festival; the founding of the Jazz Composers Guild; and the emergence of Iggy Pop. Drawing together a colorful array of personalities, Piekut argues that each of these examples points to a failure and marks a limit or boundary of canonical experimentalism. What emerges from these marginal moments is an accurate picture of the avant-garde, not as a style or genre, but as a network defined by disagreements, struggles, and exclusions.
explores how political pressures affected musical life on both sides of the iron curtain during the early years of the cold war. In this groundbreaking study, Danielle Fosler-Lussier illuminates the pervasive political anxieties of the day through particular attention to artistic, music-theoretical, and propagandistic responses to the music of Hungaryand#8217;s most renowned twentieth-century composer, Band#233;la Bartand#243;k. She shows how a tense period of political transition plagued Bartand#243;kand#8217;s music and imperiled those who took a stand on its aesthetic value in the emerging socialist state. Her fascinating investigation of Bartand#243;kand#8217;s reception outside of Hungary demonstrates that Western composers, too, formulated their ideas about musical style under the influence of ever-escalating cold war tensions.
Music Divided surveys Bartand#243;kand#8217;s role in provoking negative reactions to and#147;accessibleand#8221; music from Pierre Boulez, Hermann Scherchen, and Theodor Adorno. It considers Bartand#243;kand#8217;s influence on the youthful compositions and thinking of Bruno Maderna and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and it outlines Bartand#243;kand#8217;s legacy in the music of the Hungarian composers Andrand#225;s Mihand#225;ly, Ferenc Szaband#243;, and Endre Szervand#225;nszky. These details reveal the impact of local and international politics on the selection of music for concert and radio programs, on composersand#8217; choices about musical style, on government radio propaganda about music, on the development of socialist realism, and on the use of modernism as an instrument of political action.
"This is an extremely important, groundbreaking study. The research is impressive and explores a wide variety of resources that span several languages, disciplines, and secondary as well as archival sources. Stylistically uncomplicated and lucidly written, this book is a fascinating piece of reading."and#151;Land#225;szland#243; Somfai, author of Band#233;la Bartand#243;k: Composition, Concepts, and Autograph Sources, Editor-in Chief of the Band#233;la Bartand#243;k Complete Critical Edition
This provocative history of early cold war America recreates a time when World War III seemed imminent. Headlines were dominated by stories of Soviet slave laborers, brainwashed prisoners in Korea, and courageous escapees like Oksana Kasenkina who made a and#147;leap for freedomand#8221; from the Soviet Consulate in New York. Full of fascinating and forgotten stories, Cold War Captives explores a central dimension of American culture and politicsand#151;the postwar preoccupation with captivity. and#147;Menticide,and#8221; the calculated destruction of individual autonomy, struck many Americans as a more immediate danger than nuclear annihilation. Drawing upon a rich array of declassified documents, movies, and reportageand#151;from national security directives to films like The Manchurian Candidateand#151;his book explores the ways in which east-west disputes over prisoners, repatriation, and defection shaped popular culture. Captivity became a way to understand everything from the anomie of suburban housewives to the and#147;slave worldand#8221; of drug addiction. Sixty years later, this era may seem distant. Yet, with interrogation techniques derived from America's communist enemies now being used in the and#147;war on terror,and#8221; the past remains powerfully present.
"Cold War Captives
is a strikingly original, scrupulously researched, and endlessly provocative work of cultural history that offers countless new insights into the bipolar mind of postwar America. Enlightening and informative, erudite but never stuffy, this book is a model of historical retrieval and critical interpretation."and#151;Thomas Doherty, author of Cold War, Cool Medium: Television, McCarthyism, and American Culture
"Cold War Captives is a wonderfully rich account of early cold war culture and politics. Carruthers writes with clarity and and#233;lan, illuminating aspects of the cold war that no one has heretofore explored."and#151;Marilyn Young, author of The Vietnam Wars 1945-1990
and#147;Balanced, insightful, and meticulously researched, Danielle Fosler-Lussierand#8217;s book is a magnificent account of the ways in which the U.S. government used music to advance its foreign policy goals during the Cold War. For the first time we are taken behind the triumphalist headlines and uncritical mythology of stars and swooning publics surrendering to the irresistible forces of U.S. and#145;soft powerand#8217; to see the inner workings of the cultural Cold War. The underlying message is that foreign policyand#151;like so much in lifeand#151;rests on building and maintaining relationships and that for the superpower as for the musician, success begins with listening.and#8221;
and#151; Professor Nicholas J. Cull, author of The Cold War and the United States Information Agency: American Propaganda and Public Diplomacy, 1945and#150;1989
and#147;Due to their profound differences, the interstices between governments and the arts are always worthy of attention. Danielle Fosler-Lussier has written a thorough, well-documented, and captivating account of how the U.S. State Department attempted, with some success, to bolster Americaand#8217;s image by sending musicians abroad during the Cold War era. Although I had been one of these musicians, I was surprised at their number and variety, ranging from Dizzy Gillespie to Aaron Copland, from the Boston Symphony Orchestra to Tom Two Arrows, and from Merce Cunningham to Gene Kelly. It is fascinating to discover the inner workings of how artists were selected, how countries were chosen, and how the tours were presented, as well as to read about the subsequent debates regarding the value of the tours. This book offers us not only the opportunity to understand an intriguing aspect of our cultural and political history, but also a chance to reflect upon who we were and who we are.and#8221;and#151;Stephen Addiss, author of The Art of Haiku
About the Author
Susan L. Carruthers is Associate Professor of History at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in Newark. She is the author of The Media at War: Communication and Conflict in the Twentieth Century and Winning Hearts and Minds: British Governments, the Media, and Colonial Counter-Insurgency 1944-1960.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Note on Hungarian Pronunciation
1. Bartand#243;kand#8217;s Concerto for Orchestra and the Demise of Hungaryand#8217;s and#147;Third Roadand#8221;
2. A Compromised Composer: Bartand#243;kand#8217;s Music and Western Europeand#8217;s Fresh Start
3. and#147;Bartand#243;k Is Oursand#8221;: The Voice of America and Hungarian Control over Bartand#243;kand#8217;s Legacy
4. Bartand#243;k and His Publics: Defining the and#147;Modern Classicand#8221;
5. Beyond the Folk Song; or, What Was Hungarian Socialist Realist Music?
6. The and#147;Bartand#243;k Questionand#8221; and the Politics of Dissent: The Case of Andrand#225;s Mihand#225;ly
Epilogue East: Bartand#243;kand#8217;s Difficult Truths and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956
Epilogue West: Bartand#243;kand#8217;s Legacy and George Rochbergand#8217;s Postmodernity
Appendix 1: Compositions by Bartand#243;k Broadcast on Hungarian Radio, 18 September to 1 October 1950
Appendix 2: Biographical Notes