Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Oram, Celeste, and Keir GoGwilt. “A Loose Affiliation of Alleluias: Tracing Genealogies of Technique and Power in Creative Practice.” Current Musicology 108 (November 2021): 115-36.

Reflecting on the composition and performance of Celeste Oram’s 2019 violin concerto, a loose affiliation of alleluias, shows various ways that present creative practice is embedded with material histories and networks of cultural power. Important to the compositional process is Ben Spatz’s concept of “technique” as a vector of agency and cultural transmission and Edward Said’s concept of “affiliation,” describing cultural relationships and authority. A loose affiliation features an improvised solo violin part (foregrounding the performer, Keir GoGwilt) and recognizably includes material from Ad superni regis (as recorded in the Codex Calixtinus), Giovanni Gabrieli’s Exaudi me Domine, and The Boy in the Bubble by Paul Simon and Forere Motloheloa. These materials share a common entanglement with imperial power; the hymn to St. James is related to the crusades, Gabrieli’s career amplified the Venetian empire, and Paul Simon’s Graceland album signals issues of race and capital in popular music. The two main ways Oram worked with material from Ad superni regis and Exaudi me Domine for a loose affiliation were by composing additional counterpoint to existing lines and by adopting templates learned from techniques characteristic of the repertoire. For example, in a nod to the compositional process of twelfth-century polyphony, Oram improvised contrapuntal lines over the hymn until arriving at a “keeper” and notating it. GoGwilt’s improvised violin solo also grapples with the material history and cultural power of technique and genre. GoGwilt subverts the military-heroic tropes that permeate the violin concerto as a genre. Ornamentation in violin performance is similarly associated with musical taste and therefore networks of cultural power. By recognizing the historical and cultural underpinning of creative work and framing this as a motivating force, Oram and GoGwilt assert their agency and capacity to transform said culture.

Works: Celeste Oram: a loose affiliation of alleluias (119-30)

Sources: Anonymous (recorded in the Codex Calixtinus): Ad superni regis from Liber Sancti Jacobi (119-124); Giovanni Gabrieli: Exaudi me Domine (120-21, 125-26); Paul Simon and Forore Motloheloa: The Boy in the Bubble (120-21)

Index Classifications: 2000s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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