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Project Title: Research Project by Jeffery Kong
Project Type: Report Project
Research QuestionHow did Bruce Springsteen's music affect the social issues surrounding the Berlin Wall?ThesisIn the 1970s and 1980s, Bruce Springsteen's music focused on themes of the working class that connected with people on a personal level, and was not limited to American culture. Invited by the German Democratic Republic youth arm, his performance in East Germany in the summer of 1988 focused on themes of freedom and contributed to social change and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
I. Rock and Roll and Social Issues
II. Bruce Springsteen A. Biography B. Music and Albums C. Hit Songs Influence and message on social issuesIII. Berlin Wall A. Berlin Wall history B. Symbolism of the Berlin Wall C. Social implications of Berlin WallIV. Bruce Springsteen Concert of 1988 A. History of the concert B. Significance of the concert C. Social effects of the concertV. Conclusion A. Fall Of the Berlin Wall B. Political Consequences and effects of music
Rock and roll has evolved through the ages and torn down many social barriers throughout different generations. The power of rock and roll has not been limited to only American culture, but its irrepressible force has affected many different social issues throughout international history. One major rock and roll artist that has influenced those social issues is Bruce Springsteen. His music has focused on themes of the working class and has provided rock and roll as a salvation from various social issues. Although Springsteen has not intended for his music to be politically charged, it has touched people on a personal level and given a sense of hope to many in various political climates. In this report, I will explore the effects of Bruce Springsteen’s music and explain how it affected the social issues surrounding the Berlin Wall during the Cold War.
Bruce Springsteen was born on September 23, 1949, in Freehold, New Jersey, to Douglas and Adele Springsteen. Springsteen was influenced early in music after seeing Elvis Presley perform on The Ed Sullivan show in 1956. He was in a few different bands in his early youth, ranging from Beatles-inspired music to hard rock sounds. Springsteen then started a solo career and eventually acquired manager Mike Appel. Appel set up Springsteen with an audition for Columbia Records' talent scout John Hammond, who signed him to the label in 1972 (Ruhlmann). Bruce Springsteen would reunite with some of his old band mates and form the E Street Band, featuring Max Weinberg on drums, Steve Van Zandt on guitar, Roy Bittan on piano, Danny Federici on keyboards, Gary Tallent on bass, and Clarence Clemons on saxophone. This wide array of musicians provided the ability for the group to produce a wide range of music styles drawing from many forms of rock and roll.
In the early days of Springsteen’s career, his music focused heavily on a style of blues and folk-inspired rock and roll. As his career progressed, it shifted towards a pop rock sound which increased tempo and energy. Springsteen had a “heartland” style approach to music writing, with lyrics poetically written about themes including left wing politics, the working class, and political injustices. To date, Springsteen has sold over 65 million albums in the United States and over 120 million albums worldwide. He has won twenty Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award (Music Wikia). Springsteen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, and Rolling Stone Magazine named him the twenty-third greatest artist of all time in its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time List (Music Wikia).
Bruce Springsteen debuted his first album Greetings from Asbury Park N.J. in 1973, in a style similar to the folk traditions of Bob Dylan. The album was best described as a 1950s style rock and roll, with tenor saxophone breaks toppled with acoustic guitar, husky voice singing, and elaborate imagery (Ruhlmann). The album only sold 25,000 copies but still proved to be a critical album for Bruce Springsteen. It featured the song “Blinded by the Light”, which was written by Springsteen but did not make it to number one on the charts until 1976, when it was covered and re-recorded by Manfred’s Mann’s Earth Band. Eight months later, Bruce Springsteen released his next album titled The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle (1973). It was well-received critically but did not sell relatively well. The website AllMusic.com rated this album as one of the best rock and roll albums of all time, while Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it as number 132 of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (Ruhlmann). Given the little success commercially but critically acclaimed status in the past, his next album Born to Run (1975) gained traction and began a cult-like following for his music. The album was a commercial success that features songs including “Born to Run” and “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”. The album had elements of Phil Spector’s wall of sound, containing layers of guitar, echoes on the vocals, lots of keyboard, and thunderous drums (Ruhlmann). The theme of the album focused on the idea of saying fair well to the teenage life and coming of age of young adults. Born to Run ranked number eighteen on Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time.
A few albums later, Bruce Springsteen released Born in the U.S.A. The album produced seven top ten hits and became one of the best-selling albums of all time (Ruhlmann). The album intended to criticize the treatment of Vietnam veterans and present an angry chorus to disparage those injustices. The album came off as somewhat anthemic, and the Reagan Administration tried to use it is a political tool for their re-election (Ruhlmann). Ronald Reagan stated in a campaign stop that “America’s future rests in the message of hope, in the songs of a man so many young Americans admire, New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen” (Rose). Bruce Springsteen objected to these actions and refused to allow his music to serve purposes other than the ones he wrote the songs to be about. In his 1988 lyric anthology, Bruce Springsteen said “it forced me to question the way I presented my music and think harder about what I was doing” (Rose). He wanted his message to tell the truth about issues affecting hard working citizens and connect the world to understand those disparities.
The first title in the album shares the same name “Born in the U.S.A.”. It features a captivating opening chord on the synthesizer, followed by Max Weinberg’s snap-to-attention snare rim shots (Rose). The song features overwhelming sounds from the E Street Band that captures the audience in a powerhouse effect that focuses on the lyrics and connects anyone no matter who they are. In a change of pace, “I’m On Fire” shifts the sound to one similar of country legend Johnny Cash. Its meaning is sexually driven about a man’s desires and longing for a woman that is out of reach (Rose). Another hit song “Glory Days” tells the tale of a lost youth, his coming of age, and acceptance of where everyone ended up (Rose). The song features a lot of energy with an eighties beat that invites the audience to sing along. In his touching ballad "My Hometown," Springsteen talks about his hometown and events that affected the community. It is a close hitting emotional experience that highlights the unfortunate struggles that many hard working people face. The song focuses on the idea of factories closing, struggles of a stagnant economy, and racial tensions that had impacted the community. The message in the song is a universal connection for many that some people say hits close to home and embraces the realities of life. Through his music, Bruce Springsteen embraced struggles and highlighted social issues. He used his music to inspire hope in those who were struggling, and bring people together. The heartland characterization of Springsteen music illustrates how he narrates life’s many issues and provides hypothetical salvation for those who are struggling. His music is not limited to the heartland of America, but has traveled the world and touched the lives of many international citizens as well.
The Berlin WallDiscussionAfter the end of World War II, the Axis Powers fell, and the rise of communist Soviet Socialist Republics began. Germany was divided on August 13, 1961 and the Soviet-backed German Democratic Republic began building what would be known as the Berlin Wall. The wall separated allied occupied East Germany and Soviet-influenced West Germany. The wall served to keep the “fascist” western ideologies from undermining the socialist state (History.com Staff). Prior to the construction of the Berlin Wall, German refugees fled the communist controlled East to the safe haven of the allied controlled West Berlin. Russia tried to intimidate the allied powers into leaving through a blockade, but those efforts failed. In a last ditch effort to bolster their efforts, East Germany tried to stop the flow of immigrants by building a wall of barbed wire and concrete (History.com Staff). Before the wall went up, people were free to travel from any side, but the construction limited travel and forced travelers to go through various check points. Life behind the wall became limited and censored. Fear of any western influence forced the German Democratic Republic to ban anything resembling Western ideologies, and removed much of the culture that existed. There was always ongoing competition between the western powers and the Soviet East that made life difficult for many living behind the wall. Tensions on both sides continued to rise throughout the cold war, and innocent people were forced to suffer in the middle of the political friction. The thought of liberation after World War II became more of a nightmare of oppression and tension. The social and political ramifications surrounding the Berlin wall meant that tension was building because of the lack of freedom and extended oppression. It would only be a matter of time before the wall would give way and the East and West would be no more. The iconic symbol of the Cold War would fall victim to political pressures, with the assistance of a powerful motivator known as Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Bruce Springsteen East Berlin Concert 1988Bruce Springsteen instilled many American values in his music, but those messages would prove to be universal in nature. The lyrics that he wrote would be heard around the world and would bring people of different races and issues together. At the time leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Bruce Springsteen had been seen as a critically acclaimed rock superstar that highlighted the struggles and offered hope in those hard times. The down to earth lyrics were not meant to be political, but to embrace the personal freedoms of every individual (Alterman). The positive nature of his character can be seen during a courtroom battle with his former manager, where he said to the judge “My interest is in my career, which up until now holds the promise of my being able to significantly contribute to, and possibly influence, a generation of music. No amount of money could compensate me if I were to lose this opportunity.” As his followers grew, his personal message gradually increased its political influence. The unintended consequences of his popularity became a high speed shuttle for promoting positive intentions. It was his music that indirectly nudged the political issues surrounding the Berlin Wall.
After playing twelve of the thirty-two songs, Bruce Springsteen suspended his performance to give a speech to a stunned audience in their native German (Crossland). Springsteen said to the audience "I'm not here for any government. I've come to play rock 'n' roll for you in the hope that one day all the barriers will be torn down." This speech would drive the message home, and the crowd would erupt in a thunderous roar with overexcitement. The audience waved homemade American flags, and the idea of freedom resonated throughout his captivated audience (Connolly). Bruce Springsteen would play Bob Dylan’s "Chimes of Freedom" and further drive the message of freedom deeper into his audience. After the concert, the effect on East Germany was an indirect outcome influenced by the power of rock 'n' roll. The music didn’t topple the Berlin Wall, but it made cracks in the foundation by instilling a sense of desire in the youth to want more (Connolly). It was a life changing moment for everyone that attended, and some would say contributed greatly to the motivating factors that drove the fall of the Berlin Wall and eventually the Soviet Socialist Republic.
Eighteen months after the Bruce Springsteen concert, the Berlin wall fell, and all of Berlin was liberated from the oppression of a socialist government. The former German Democratic Republic had given the youth the ability to arrange a performance to relieve tension, but it ended up having the opposite effect. The concert inflamed a spirit of rebellion within the youth, and the desire to promote change (Connolly). Music is not necessarily the hands that knocks down walls, but the hands that wipes away the cloudiness from one's vision. It does not force people to act a certain way, but allows someone to see things differently. The art is not in the composition of the music, but in the way a user listens to it. Music is a powerful platform for change, and it has repeatedly influenced many social changes. The music of Bruce Springsteen has given everyone the idea of hope, and opened people’s eyes to fight for what they want. Bruce Springsteen played his heart out that night in Berlin, and the people were fueled by his passion. Like a coach that pushes you be better, Springsteen’s music allows listeners to become motivated and reach for their desires. After exploring the issues surrounding the Berlin Wall, I believe that Bruce Springsteen played a part in helping to bring down the Berlin Wall. Some would say it was as much as a prayer, but I believe the power of music runs deeper than that. Music has always been an art to express emotions. It finds a way to bring out the best in everyone. Musical preference is a personal preference that reflects directly on an individual’s identity. It allows anyone to do anything that they can imagine; even bring down an impenetrable wall and promote personal freedoms throughout the land.
Alterman, Eric. Bruce Springsteen's Political Voice. 11 April 2012. Web Page. 16 June 2014. <http://www.thenation.com/article/167356/bruce-springsteens-political-voice>.
This article is from a reputable online news organization. The article focuses on the political influences of Bruce Springsteen’s music and shows how the unintentional powers that has inspired many individuals. The weakness in the article is that it does not go into too much depth about each song but gives a general idea of how his music has impacted social issues. The feature of the article is that it clearly explains how his music has been influential and puts it in a big picture perspective. The intended audience is anyone who is interested the influences of music and historians focused on the cold war.
Connolly, Kate. "The Night Bruce Springsteen Played East Berlin – and the Wall Cracked." 5 July 2013.Theguardian.com. Web Page. 22 June 2014. <http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/jul/05/bruce-springsteen-east-germany-berlin-wall>.
The following is an article written by Kate Connolly for the Guardian.com. The guardian is an online news organization that reports on many different focuses similar to print newspapers like the New York Times. The article explorers the Bruce Springsteen concert in Berlin in 1988. It examines the effects and consequences the ground breaking concert had on East Berlin citizens and suggest that this was a catalyst that influenced the fall of the Berlin Wall. The article directly correlates to the topic of the research question and shows minor weakness in a sense that it is a persuasive piece that tries to argue an opinion that is not common knowledge. The special feature of the article is that it does examine witness accounts from the day of the concert. The intended audience is anyone who is interested the influences of music and historians focused on the cold war. It enables a new perspective vs whats generally perceived.
Crossland, David. Chimes of Freedom: How Springsteen Helped Tear Down the Wall. 19 June 2013. Web Page. 14 June 2014. <http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/book-says-springsteen-concert-helped-bring-down-berlin-wall-a-906236.html>.
This article is featured in an online German News Organization that focuses on many areas of reports including international programs. The article is examines the events that occurred at the Bruce Springsteen concert in East Berlin in 1988. It offers some insight to the emotions of the people affected and provides descriptive imagery of the events. The source is relevant to the article because it helps to detail the issues surrounding the Berlin Wall and support findings on what lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The weakness is that outlines certain events but does not go into too much detail about the culmination of events. The special feature of the article is that it highlights the audience’s reactions and gives insight from an author writing about a similar topic to the research paper. The intended audience are people who want a deeper understanding of music and its influence on social issues like the Berlin Wall
History.com Staff. Berlin Wall. 2009. A+E Networks. Web Page. 16 June 2014.<http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/berlin-wall>
The article explores a brief history of the Berlin Wall and is a reputable source from A+E networks History channel. It outlines key events that caused the construction of the Berlin Wall and also details the time frame for the fall. The article directly correlates to the research project but the weakness is that it does not include any musical influences. The intended audience are those interested in the history of the Berlin Wall
Music Wikia. Bruce Springsteen. n.d. Web Page. 22 June 2014. <http://music.wikia.com/wiki/Bruce_Springsteen>.
The article explores information regarding Bruce Springsteen and gives brief biographical information
Rose, Caryn. Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The U.S.A.' at 30: Classic Track-By-Track Album Review. 4 June 2014. Web Page. 22 June 2014. <http://www.billboard.com/articles/review/6106507/bruce-springsteen-born-in-the-usa-30-classic-song-by-song-album-review>.
This article was a part of Billboard's review of Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA album. It does a song by song break down of the album and gives a detailed analysis of each song and content meaning. It is relevant to the research because it takes the song meaning into depth and helps to explain why Bruce Springsteen was such a rock icon. The best feature of the article was that it included direct links to youtube for the songs. The intended audience are those who are interested in a deeper understanding of Bruce Springsteen's music.
Ruhlmann, William. Bruce Springsteen Biography. 2014. Web Page. 18 June 2014. <http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bruce-springsteen-mn0000530745/biography>.
Allmusic is a reputable musical reference that includes biographies and discographies for many musicians. This article focuses on the biography of Bruce Springsteen and how he rose in the music industry. It is relevant to the research paper because it details his early life and how he became such a star. The intended audience are those who want to learn about the life of Bruce Springsteen.
Springsteen, Bruce. Born in the U.S.A. 1984. Youtube. 22 June 2014. <http://youtu.be/EPhWR4d3FJQ>.
Bruce Springsteen - Cadillac Ranch - East Berlin 1988. 14 June 2009. Youtube. 12 June 2014. <http://youtu.be/nJsHD958vpg>.
Bruce Springsteen - Glory Days. 1985. Youtube. 22 June 2014. <http://youtu.be/6vQpW9XRiyM>.
Bruce Springsteen - My Hometown. 1985. Youtube. 22 June 2014. <http://youtu.be/77gKSp8WoRg>.
Springsteen - Chimes of freedom - East Berlin 1988. 8 September 2008. Youtube. 22 June 2014. <http://youtu.be/9_hQit-3Vh0>.
Each of these youtube videos are music videos from some of the songs from his hit albums. Each video is unique in that they help illustrate the message in his songs and demonstrate creative talent on Bruce Springsteen's part. The chimes of freedom and Cadillac ranch videos are from his performances behind the Berlin Wall in East Berlin. They are important because they are a significant part of music history. The performance gives insight into the passion and emotion of Bruce Springsteen's performance and how it influenced many.
Project Title: Research Project By Ryan Burian FA 14
WHAT FORCES LEAD TO MAHLER’S NEGLECT DURING HIS LIFETIME, AND TO HIS
Racial and Religious Acceptance
Mahler’s religious background and faith
of popularized anti-Semitism in press and Europe
of Nazi era ban on Mahler performances
Political and Territorial Changes
Mahler’s childhood and native homeland in reference to his portrayal in the
world before his death
Austrian and German tensions prior and post WWI & WWII and its affect on
post-war generation and the affects of an independent Austria and Germany on
Mahler’s image in the world
Influence on Conductors and Composers
over the Years
Stokowski 2. Aaron Copland
With the majority of Mahler's compositions rejected by critics during his lifetime, what forces in social, political, and musical arenas since his death brought about his success in the world today?
Gustav Mahler was one of the many talented late Romantic composers, and is more notably the bridge between late-nineteenth century traditional composition and modernism in the twentieth century. Currently, Mahler’s compositions are some of the most performed pieces in classical music, though this was not always the case. Possessing some notoriety during his lifetime as a director, his works as a composer were highly criticized by the mainstream. With the majority of Mahler's compositions rejected by critics in his lifetime, many forces in social, political, and musical arenas since his death brought about his success in the world today, including racial and religious acceptance, political and territorial changes, and Mahler's unparalleled influence on conductors and composers over the past sixty years.
Born in Kalischt, Bohemia in 1860, which at that time was part of the Austrian Empire, Gustav was raised as part of a Jewish family during a growing anti-Semitic culture in Europe. His family was in the German-speaking minority in Bohemia, this fact an early influence for Mahler’s famous quote, “always an intruder, never welcomed” (Cooke, 7). In 1878, he graduated from the Vienna Conservatory after studying piano, composition, and harmony. At this time, he began to earn some success as a conductor, holding multiple positions at notable European opera houses, which led to his appointment as director at the Vienna Court Opera that same year. During this time, Austria was under an anti-Semitic mayor, resulting in a hostile press and political environment in regards to Mahler’s acceptance. It was not a stable journey for Mahler through his conducting career in Vienna, including the 1907 press campaign that intended to drive Mahler out of his held conducting position (Carr, 150). This continued until Mahler left for New York to direct the Philharmonic, where he concluded his career. Nazi-era bans on performances of Mahler’s work were also initiated prior to and during World War II, in fear of Jewish revolution. This ban, along with anti-Semitic press did not fully conclude until far after Mahler’s death in 1911, and after the end of World War II. The release of these bans, and the end to negative press opened the opportunity for Mahler’s career and works to be reevaluated by composers, directors, journalists, and listeners alike. The active disdain towards Gustav’s religious and racial background unfortunately left a mark on what is now a powerful legacy, something only time and social change could implement. The slow and painful end to anti-Semitic values in Europe was a focal point in the revival of Mahler’s life work.
“I am thrice homeless, as a native of Bohemia in Austria, as an Austrian among Germans, and as a Jew throughout the world. Everywhere an intruder, never welcomed.”
Along with religious boundaries, there were many political environments regarding territorial and war relations in Europe that also had a major effect on Gustav’s presence, during and after his lifetime. These factors, both positive and negative, had a dramatic influence on social views and the culture of listeners, musicians, and directors alike. Being an Austrian born Jew, Mahler faced challenges already discussed, but one major issue in Mahler’s suppression and revival of his works was related to Austrian and German relations just before and during World War II (Turino, 201). With Germany and Austria being separated by the Treaty of Versailles, there was a driving force by the Nazi party to reunite Germany and Austria into a dominate state. This political movement forced Jewish compositions penned by the likes of Mahler and others out of the public eye. Public relations towards the Jewish community in both Austria and Germany were mostly hostile, continuing to directly affect opportunities for Mahler’s works to be heard, performed, or even respected without fear of retaliation from the political establishment in the territory. As suggested in Thomas Turino’s book, “While community solidarity is thought of as positive for individual and social life, the powerful semiotic potentials of music can be used in mass movement for dangerous ends.” Gustav Mahler was a victim of music being controlled to keep unity in a dangerous Nazi movement. At the end of World War II, an independent Austria was formed, and a post-war generation of music lovers entered the world, free of the politics and social dilemmas that affected Mahler’s reception in the past. These compositions experienced a resurgence in the public eye, after the removal of long standing anti-Semitic geographical and political elements that existed prior to the 1950s, reaching countries beyond Austria including France, Spain, Italy, and the United States (Cooke, 2).
In the 1950s, many directors began performing Mahler’s works a new generation, quickly leading to Gustav Mahler becoming one of the most performed and recorded composers of all time. The early revival began with Leopold Stokowski, who performed Mahler’s 8th Symphony, Symphony of a Thousand in Philadelphia, with highly favorable reviews. America, at the time not dominated by anti-Semitic ideals, helped spearhead the appreciation of Mahler’s compositions, though not all Mahler-based American performances were successful. Aaron Copland’s attempts to bring his compositions early on received mostly negative reviews (Schiff). In 1960, marking the centenary of Gustav Mahler’s birth, Leonard Bernstein hosted a Mahler Festival and went on to record all of Mahler’s completed symphonies. These efforts acted as a breath of life given to Mahler’s works, and ultimately brought the once forgotten symphonies back into the mainstream, where they belonged. After this revival, many musicians and composers found themselves inspired by the works of Mahler. Experimental composer and electronic artist Luciano Berio wrote a composition that featured spoken word excerpts from Mahler score instructions, and has cited Mahler as a large musical influence. British composer Benjamin Britten has also been noted for his being influenced by Mahler, “...entirely clean and transparent...the material was remarkable, and the melodic shapes highly original, with such rhythmic and harmonic tension from beginning to end” (Matthews, 21). All the artists mentioned, along with many others, single-handedly played a vital role in the revival and much deserved return of Mahler’s work.
Though it took many years after Gustav Mahler’s death for his true genius to be discovered, the deserved and respected legacy left behind in his remaining symphonies speak loudly as a representation of his true genius. Thankfully, the social, political, geographical, and musical changes in the world ultimately favored Mahler's life's work, bringing his music to the attention of many generations to come.
Carr, Jonathan. Mahler: A Biography. Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 1998. Print.
The main purpose of this work is to explain Mahler's life and work in it's entirety. The content within describes everything from Mahler's childhood, early days of music, his lyrics, his symphonies, and his last works. The audience for this work would be anyone interested in knowing the whole spectrum of Mahler's life within and outside of music. This information is relevant, because it helps define the attributes of Mahler's life that explain his complicated social place in the musical environment of the late 20th century. This book is biased in its intentions to portray Mahler in an extremely positive light.
Cooke, Deryck. Gustav Mahler: An Introduction to His Music. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1980. Print.
The purpose of this book is to have an in depth look at Mahler's symphonies and composition style. It contains an in depth overview of each of Mahler's symphonies including there reception and musical attributes. Anyone looking for a very in depth analysis of all of Mahler's works would enjoy this book. The information will be relevant in tracking Mahler's unique approach to composition and the general reception of his works. This is more of a factual analysis than a biased work.
Matthews, David. Britten. London: Haus, 2003. Print.The purpose of this book is to understand Britten’s influences, including Gustav Mahler. It contains in depth information on Benjamin Britten’s career and life. Anyone who would like a deeper understanding in this composer would find it in this book. It is relevant in understanding exactly how Gustav Mahler’s works impacted other composers in the world during his revival.
"Mahler: Symphony No. 8 / Bernstein Â· Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 9 Oct. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSYEOLwVfU8>.
This citation is to display the unique approach and attributes of Mahler's symphonies and movements. This particular audio sample is the Bernstein recording of Gustav Mahler's 8th symphony. Anyone interested in Mahler's works or post-romantic symphonies would be interested in this clip. This is relevant for displaying Mahler's unique style in symphony composition and arrangement.
Schiff, David. "The Man Who Mainstreamed Mahler." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Nov. 2001. Web. 09 Oct. 2014.The purpose of this citation is to have an educated look at the revival of Mahler’s work. It contains an in depth analysis of the contributors in the Mahler revival. Anyone interested in understanding the stages of Mahler’s success would enjoy this article. It is relevant in defining fundamental stages in Mahler’s success.
Stacy, Lee, and Lol Henderson. "Gustav Mahler." Encyclopedia of Music in the 20th Century. London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999. 387-88. Print.
The purpose of this work is to document the musical works and composers of the 20th century. It's content is in depth historical descriptions of many if not all composers of the 20th century. This book is ideal for anyone seeking more information on any 20th century composer and a basic overview of their lives and musical works. The chapter on Mahler is relevant because portrays aspects of his life in a unbiased and factual way.
Turino, Thomas. Music as Social Life: The Politics of Participation. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.The purpose of this book is to have a greater understanding of the social and political importance of music. It contains analytical evidence in Nazi era bans of music and its relation to music. Anyone interested in exploring the importance of music in a political and social setting would find great information in this book. It is relevant in defining the reasoning and effects of the Nazi ban on Mahler performances.
Project Title: Zac Brown Band Concert Report
Project Type: Concert Report
Description: Zac Brown Band
San Manuel Ampletheatre
October 18, 2014
On October 17, 2014, as part of their Great American Road Trip tour, I was able to see Zac Brown Band perform at the San Manuel Amphitheater. San Manuel, formerly known as the Glen Helen Pavilion, is an outdoor venue. It features several rows of stadium-style seats, as well as a lawn area where you can sit on lawn chairs or blankets. I was seated on the lawn, where I felt more comfortable and free spirited, not to mention it was far less expensive than the standard seats. Although one cannot see the stage as well, you do get a good view of what’s going on via the big screens. The sound quality was excellent also, so I did not feel lacking for what I could not see on the stage as closely as I would have in the seats.
Zac Brown Band is marketed as a country music group. Their influences, however, span several genres. There are elements of Jimmy Buffet-style folk, blues, southern rock 'n' roll, bluegrass, Mexican folk, hard rock and funk. As a group, Zac Brown sings lead and plays guitar, though the other members of the band have several songs that they each sing lead on.
This concert was surprising for me. Most concerts I have attended have a strong current of marketing the band’s up-and-coming or newly released album. They often play their well-known songs and include the newer songs that have not yet been heard. While Zac Brown Band does have a greatest hits album that will be released soon, I was surprised that there was no reference to it. Uniquely to this concert, Zac Brown Band played only their well-known songs, and half the concert was made up of songs that the band was covering. This made the concert memorable and distinctive. After playing several of their own songs, beginning with “Let it Rain” written by Zac Brown, they took a turn and covered Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” wonderfully, showing that they are skilled at far more than country music, and exposing their hard rock influence.
After their first set, the band changed speed and began an acoustic set. As they sat on bar stools in a half circle, we were able to get a picture of how a jam session might take place for them. They covered Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” with soul and angst. Then their organist and keyboardist Clay Cook took a turn on vocals with a cover of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” This may not be at all what one would expect to hear when attending a “country” concert, yet they pulled it off convincingly. Their next cover of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniel’s Band revealed their Bluegrass influence and showcased fiddle player Jimmy De Martini’s exemplary skills beautifully.
(CMA Awards, 2014)
Because the concert was so full of music and songs, a brief intermission after the acoustic set was appropriately provided. At this time, lead singer Zac Brown pulled a little girl up on stage, quickly signed one of his own guitars and gifted her with it. I have never seen this done at concert. This showed that the band cares deeply for and appreciates their fans. After the intermission, Zac Brown went on to share that $1 of each of the ticket sales would go to their charity Camp Southern Ground, which gives opportunities for children with disorders including autism and Asperger’s to attend camp the same way other children are able to do so. They shared this information without a hint of superiority or a ploy to draw attention to their charity, but rather directed a sense of gratitude towards the audience for helping to fund this camp.
The overall feel of the audience was one of inebriation. By intermission, the majority of spectators were so drunk that some of them could not stand up straight. The ones that were able to stand were dancing happily to the music. Zac Brown Band is about having a good time, and the audience was certainly having one. This isn’t the type of concert that can be enjoyed sitting stoically on your seat. You have to smile, and you have to dance!
After some of their more upbeat songs, Zac Brown Band surprised us again by covering Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Once more, this showcased their rock and roll roots. Continuing on with their own music, we were then gifted with Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters coming onstage and playing a cover of Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” with the band. It is always a welcome surprise and a wonder when another well-known performer joins in. One of the band members mentioned that Shiflett had only come to hang out, leading me to assume that this portion of the concert was unrehearsed. Whether it was or not, it was an amazing part of the show.
At this point, the stage went black for several moments. Suddenly, black lights shone on stage and we saw the band dressed in glow in the dark skeleton costumes for “Day for the Dead", also penned by Zac Brown. This showed their theatrical influence, and was a subtle wink and nudge to performance acts like KISS and Alice Cooper. “Day for the Dead” references the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos. This song, combined with the image from their Unchained album cover, and several other songs including Spanish lyrics shows how Mexican culture and folk music has inspired the band.
Nearing the end of the concert, the band covered Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, again not at all a song I would expect to hear at any concert. Although it was a good effort, and Zac Brown’s voice is wonderful, he could not hit Freddie Mercury’s high notes. This this was the one moment of the concert I was less than impressed with. That being said, the band was able to capture the essence of the song with their fantastic instrumentation. The band finished the night with one of their most popular songs, "Chicken Fried", inviting members of the Marines to come on stage in tribute.
Zac Brown Band is highly interesting in that there are so many members of the group. There are eight musicians that play various instruments including the mandolin, petal steel, banjo, ukulele, organ, piano, keyboard and congas, as well as standard guitar, bass, standup bass and drums.
Zac Brown founded the band in 2002. Initially consisting of Brown on lead guitar and backed by a drummer and bassist. Brown quickly realized he desired another lead instrument, as well as someone to sing harmony. At this point, Brown met fiddle player Jimmy De Martini. After playing several shows together, De Martini was asked to join the band full time. In 2005, John Driskell Hopkins was invited to join the band after stepping in as an upright bassist during the recording of their first album The Foundation. The first single released off The Foundation was “Chicken Fried”, released in 2008 and written by Zac Brown. Within a month of its release, “Chicken Fried” reached number one on the country charts. Since that first song, Zac Brown Band has accumulated five members and fifty-five award nominations, winning eight. The awards they have won include Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Country Album, and the Academy of Country Music award for Top Vocal Event of the Year.
Project Title: Joseph Chaconas Film Report FA 2014
Project Type: Multi-media Production Project
Title: Kurt Cobain: About a Son
Release Year: 2006
Director: AJ Schnack
Artist: Kurt Cobain
This film is about the life, music and death of Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the band Nirvana and the leading figure behind the grunge movement from the late-80s to early-90s. It is a personal account that features conversations and interviews by Kurt Cobain and others around him. There are accounts from Courtney Love, his wife, and Michael Azerrad, who conducted the interviews and later wrote the book “Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana”. This film provides an insight into the mind and career of Kurt Cobain that had not yet been seen before. The film also provides insight into the world of Grunge and the Grunge Scene as seen through the eyes of those closest to it.
Kurt Cobain was born on February 20, 1967 and grew up in Aberdeen, Washington, about a hundred miles southwest of Seattle. Kurt showed an early aptitude for music and would prove to be a very talented performer and songwriter. Kurt was the lead singer, guitarist and primary songwriter for the band Nirvana. Kurt Cobain is largely credited for bringing the grunge scene into the mainstream with the success of Nirvana. Kurt and Nirvana burst into the mainstream in 1991 with their release of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from their album Nevermind. This song and album captured the spirit of a generation known as “Generation X”, who saw Kurt as their spokesman. Cobain and Nirvana went on to sell twenty-five million albums in the US and over seventy-five million albums worldwide. Kurt never really knew how to deal with that success and eventually spiraled downward into a world of drugs and depression. On April 8, 1994, Cobain was found dead in his home as the result of suicide from a self inflicted gunshot wound.
This film exposes the heart of the genre known as Grunge. Grunge and the Grunge scene emerged in Seattle in the mid-1980s, which was inspired by hardcore punk and heavy metal, and characterized by a heavily distorted guitar sound matched with growling vocals and angst-filled lyrics. Grunge artists borrowed from punk the attitude of being independent, and were generally opposed to the theatrics and marketing of major labels and the music industry. The main goal was to remain authentic and vocalize their disdain for the state of society, an attitude that had become a social norm of the time. The style was marked by a “thrift store look” of torn jeans and flannel, which was in far contrast to the flashy aesthetic of the 1980s. The scene offered an “I don’t care” attitude that many of the youth, who were lacking a place in society, could identify with. This was a critical moment in the history of rock and roll, as Grunge was a showcase of rock history itself. It borrowed themes from the blues, which was mixed with the energy of early punk and metal, and addressed social themes reminiscent of the rock era of the late-60s. It was Grunge that would serve as a turning point in rock and roll history and would change the face of rock music forever.
This film is not a typical rock documentary and interestingly enough did not actually feature the music of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain. Instead, it featured an ambient instrumental underscore by Ben Gibbard and Steve Fisk, that constantly played in the background. The film also featured songs that were influential and important to Cobain and were played throughout this film between the instrumentals. The entire film consists of responses by Kurt as Michael Azarred interviewed him. As the film progressed, the music changed with the mood of what Cobain was revealing about his inner thoughts and feelings. Throughout the film, there are songs and artists featured in between the instrumentals that influenced Kurt Cobain or represented what Cobain was saying in the film.
Examples of Kurt’s musical influences that were featured in this film include songs such as “Banned in D.C.” by Bad Brains, “Bourgeois Blues” by Lead Belly, and “Up Around the Bend” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Banned in D.C." would be an example of the punk influence of Cobain’s music. Much of the energy heard in the Cobain’s music can be attributed to this style. “Bourgeois Blues” is an example of the Blues influence that shaped Cobain’s musical talents and soulful performances. The Blues played a major roll in shaping Cobain’s approach to songwriting and performing and would be a driving force in his approach to music in general. “Up Around the Bend” is an example of the rock influence of the late-60s and early-70s that was woven into the fabric of Cobain’s musical style and approach to social issues. The influential songs in the film were roughly presented in a chronological order according to when the music was important to Kurt. The songs presented here, as well as others presented in the film, helped to paint a picture of who Kurt Cobain was and provide insight into the musical styles and genres that influenced Kurt Cobain, Nirvana, and the Grunge scene. Other influences presented in the film include R.E.M., David Bowie, Mudhoney, the Melvins, and the Vaselines.
This film relied on Kurt’s own recollections, which were paired with still photos and footage of Olympia, Seattle and Aberdeen, Washington. This was intentionally done in order to create the perception of seeing the world through Kurt’s eyes. This film is an extremely chilling account of Cobain’s battles with success, depression, drug use, and society, and will evoke the feelings of the era that was Grunge.
Project Title: Film Report by Lakeisha Knott
Ed Sullivan: Beatles is a television episode of the Ed Sullivan Show that features The Beatles' U.S. television debut. It aired in February 9, 1964 to an audience of seventy-three million.
The Ed Sullivan Show was a variety show on American television. The show aired on the CBS channel, Sunday nights from 1948 to 1971. The show featured a multitude of performers that families across the country could enjoy. This included various genres of musical performances, comedians, and novelty acts. Ed Sullivan was the show's host and TV personality. It was Sullivan who had the knack of spotting prominent talent, such as, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Dick Van Dyke, Hank Williams, Jr., The Rolling Stones, Jack Benny, Elvis Presley “from the waist up only,” and in this episode, he presented The Beatles.
The Beatles are a British band of four guys who are considered the greatest and most influential band of the rock era. They were based out of Liverpool, England, and known for playing local events and talent shows. Their music featured rock and roll and pop ballads, and they also experimented with other various genres and styles. Ed Sullivan witnessed The Beatles popular reception when he traveled to the U.K. After that, Sullivan decided to book them for the show. Not only were they highly acclaimed by their fans in the U.K., their music was also appropriate for the show’s family audience, contrary to Elvis’ risqué stage-presence that the show previously frowned upon. Their appearance on the show was the start of the "British Invasion," a period of time in the mid-1960s when rock and pop bands from the U.K. became popular in the U.S.
The Beatles - "She Loves You"
Because the Beatles were so positively acclaimed by the audience, it was not unexpected for the following acts to be nervous about performing after The Beatles. Right after the band’s opening, it was a little while before Sullivan could quiet the restless crowd and introduce the next act, magician Fred Kaps. None of the other acts were received negatively by the crowd, however, there was a substantial difference in the audience's reception. Every other performer received applause in the form of claps and maybe a whistle, but The Beatles received loud screams during and after their performance.
The Beatles returned towards the end of the show to perform, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” The performance was fueled by audience screams and glee just as it was before. In fact, every time Sullivan said the band’s name, screams would follow.
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