Topic: "Repetition/Variation in Literature and Music"
The creation of meaningful and beautiful similarities as part of a pattern or structure is among the most important means humankind has developed
in order to create, or respond to, order in various contexts and for various purposes. In the arts, similarity is among the most general aesthetic features which have
informed all levels of works of art across cultures and times. It may range from all but zero difference between individual occurrences of a phenomenon (‘repetition’)
to recognizable ‘variations’ of the same. The forthcoming conference will focus on the manifold forms and functions which repetition and variation can have in both literature
and music. Possible tandem explorations of this phenomenon may range from the comparative discussion of macrostructural forms such as the refrain in poetry and the form of
theme with variations in music to microstructural recurrences of motifs, themes and other devices, as well as to the creation of patterns as a general background for
TWELFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
The 12th conference of the International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA) was held in Graz, Austria, from May 29 to 1 June, 2019.
At the opening of the conference the following welcome addresses were delivered.
These words carry particularly poignant meaning as they were Hugo’s last words of public address before his totally unexpected and most untimely death only seven days after.
Dear guests and participants in this conference; dear conveners; dear colleagues!
On behalf of the Department of English Studies, I am happy and proud to welcome you to Graz on the occasion of this cutting-edge conference on “Retro Forms and Styles in Literature and Music”, which promises to be a fabulous event, both in terms of the scholarship offered, and on the social side.
Reading the conference program as well as the abstracts of contributions, I was both intrigued and highly pleased by the broad range of topics and perspectives you are offering to explore a highly topical as well as challenging agenda. Historically and generically you will be exploring an impressively wide range of disciplines, areas and issues, from intermedial studies to questions of various possible relationships between music and literature, or particular literary texts, right down to specific analytical concerns in these fields and the wide variety of texts they offer for closer consideration and study.
Being myself a specialist in drama, theatre and performance as well as the analysis of pop songs, their lyrics and reception, the general topic of this conference and the issues discussed here are indeed very close to my heart. In fact, I would have liked to participate myself, had it not been for other commitments away from Graz.
But let me also say a few words about the location and venue of this conference. Let me start by pointing out the campus of Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz itself, which was originally founded in 1485 as a Jesuit University located near the city centre, as well as this very building, the home of our English Department, which is also worth your attention, having received enthusiastic accolades and the intense interest of admirers and students of contemporary architecture since it was finished in 1991. So, if you find time, take a stroll on the premises.
I have also noted that there is one excursion on offer, of a very special sort, taking you to the major Styrian wine-growing region, or Südsteirísche Weinstraße, as we call it, which is also known as the Steirische Toskana – Styrian Tuscany. Indeed, there may be some slight differences in terms of the landscape, but let me assure you that the Steirische Toskana is hardly less spectacular, scenic and picturesque than its Italian counterpart. Besides, the wines made there are top class, second to none. So let me urge you to participate in that little outing, it’s going to be worth your while – in every respect.
Speaking of sightseeing: let me also direct your attention to the beauties and landmarks of Graz, which you can easily explore on your own. Graz is small enough to reconnoitre its prime attractions within a few hours, though, of course, even living here, one never gets tired of the old city and its beauties. It’s within comfortable walking distance from this very building, just 15 to 20 minutes on foot, down Heinrichstraße, crossing the Stadtpark and entering the historic city through Paulustor. In passing, strolling down Sporgasse towards and down to the town square, walking around the foot of the Schlossberg, the famous fortified hill with its imposing landmark, the Uhrturm, or clock tower, you might want to take a look into some of the lovely, architecturally quite singular courtyards, many of them dating from the 15th or l6th centuries, but especially you might want to visit the wonderful inner courtyard and beautiful arcades of the Landhaus, an impressive specimen, indeed a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance design, which is just off Herrengasse, 2 or 3 minutes from Hauptplatz, the town square. But judge for yourself.
Anyway, I know that with your hosts and conveners, Werner Wolf and Walter Bernhart, you are in the very best hands, and they will point out to you many other notable sights, apart from providing friendly hospitality throughout.
So let me once again extend my heartfelt welcome to all of you, wishing you a successful, enjoyable conference in our lovely Graz.
Dear Professor Wolf, dear Professor Bernhart, honored guests!
It is an honor to say a few words of welcome on behalf of the Centre for Intermediality Studies in Graz. As you all know, the International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA) (founded in 1997) and the Centre for Intermediality Studies in Graz (founded in 2008) are strongly rooted in the research and the international networking of Walter Bernhart and Werner Wolf, and it is thus all the more beautiful that this year’s WMA conference is held in the cradle of both organizations.
My congratulations and gratitude go to our distinguished conference organizers and to all of the speakers and listeners at this event. The diverse range of topics that you will be speaking and hearing about is truly impressive, as is the international roster of presenters. Last fall I had the privilege to be at the WMAF conference in Düsseldorf and was also delighted by the interdisciplinary and international group gathered there.
Let me once again express my gratitude to Professor Wolf, Professor Bernhart, and their conference team for organizing this wonderful gathering of the International Association for Word and Music Studies. I would like to wish you all the best for fruitful exchanges and enlightening discussions. I hope you will enjoy exploring our campus and the beautiful city of Graz. And I hope that you will be able to do so in pleasant weather! Thank you for your attention.
CALL FOR PAPERS
The 11th Conference on Word and Music Studies, organized by the International Association for Word and Music Studies (WMA) and hosted by the Department of English and the Centre for Intermediality Studies in Graz (CIMIG) of the Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, is scheduled for May 30 to June 1st 2019. The conveners hereby invite papers on the following topics:
The history of literature, music and other arts and media may be conceived of as a constant 'make it new' or flow to which the Heraclitean principle of never being able to step into the same flowing water applies. However, there are sometimes stumbling blocks that cause eddies which do make the water flow backwards. The forthcoming conference will deal with such ‘retro’-phenomena, which seem to follow the maxim ‘make it old’, with reference to the development of literature and (Western) music. The main focus will be on retro forms and styles (rather than contents) in creative practice and theoretical (musicological or poetological) reflections, as well as on the manifold parallels and divergences observable in this field in the history of both arts.
In this history, the period from the late 18th century is especially fertile for the investigation of retro-tendencies, since it is from this time on that literature and music have both produced retro forms of some importance. Before the 1750s, such retro forms were common mainly in literature under the auspices of neoclassical aesthetics, but – except for the occasional use of stile antico in sacred music – were all but absent in music history. Particular attention will certainly be given to the past few decades, which may be said to be characterized by a remarkable ‘retro-mania’ in Western culture. This does not only show in literary postmodernism and its typical tendency to ‘recycle’ old writing styles or in the trends of neo-modernism and neo-Victorianism, but also in a group of compositions for which the restoration of the classical piano concerto in Friedrich Gulda’s Concerto for Myself or retro styles in pop music may merit mention as well as the recent compositions in an early 19th-century style by the now 12-year-old child prodigy Alma Deutscher.
In the light of these few remarks we invite contributions which deal with any of these and related aspects of retro forms and styles, preferably from an intermedial, tandem perspective on both literature/words and music, although contributions dealing with one art only are also possible. Special attention should be given to a functional perspective which is apt to shed light on the retro-phenomena discussed from a cultural-historical point of view.
As at former conferences, a "Surveying the Field" section will feature papers airing general theoretical and methodological questions intrinsic to the scholarly field of Word and Music Studies. Overviews of recent developments and new directions are welcome; however, papers in this area should not address specialised topics.
For some time, the biannual WMA conferences have provided a platform for emerging researchers to present their work in progress in Word and Music Studies. This tradition will be continued in the forthcoming conference. We therefore also welcome shorter talks of 15 minutes dedicated to presenting current research by younger scholars in the field.
Please send abstracts of c. 300 – 400 words and a short bio-bibliographical note via email to the conference convener by October 1st, 2018 (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org). You will be notified about whether your offer will be accepted as soon as possible. Accepted full papers will have a presentation length of 30 minutes (followed by 15 minutes’ discussion). Subsequent to a peer-review process they may be published in the conference proceedings, which will appear in the book series Word and Music Studies (WMS, published by Brill/Rodopi); shorter papers may be published on the WMA website.
We are confident that the papers emerging from this conference will form valuable contributions to the analysis of retro forms and styles as a major trend in contemporary cultural history as well as to Word and Music Studies in general.
The conference city Graz is the capital of Styria and second largest city in Austria. It is a lively university city (housing three universities, one of which, the venerable Karl-Franzens-Universität, will be the conference venue) with a large and well-known historical town centre, some remarkable modern architecture and lovely surroundings, including the celebrated wine-growing area of Southern Styria.
We are looking forward to receiving your abstracts and hope to be able to welcome you in Graz in May/June 2019. For general information on the WMA, please consult our web page, www.wordmusicstudies.net.
Werner Wolfchief conference convener,on behalf of the conference team
Obituary for Klaus Zerinschek
Professor Dr Klaus Zerinschek was one of WMA’s auditors from 2005 until his untimely death on 16 February 2019.
Independently from his administrative service to the association, he will be remembered by word and music scholars
for the numerous book reviews he penned on publications in the association’s book series, Word and Music Studies.
These reviews always showed keen judicial awareness, great consideration and a wealth of knowledge. He had a wide
range of intermedial interests with a particular concern for opera.
Professor Zerinschek was one of the founders and a leading spirit of the Department of
Comparative Literature at the University of Innsbruck, and he was a favoured inspirational
teacher. His students remember him as ‘a deeply artistic man, who awakened them to enjoy
scholarship, the ‘music of thought’ and great humanity’. In 2013, the volume Intermedialität
in der Komparatistik: Eine Bestandsaufnahme, eds. Dunja Brötz/Beate Eder-Jordan/Martin Fritz
(Innsbruck University Press) was published in his honour (open access).
His last reported words were: "Der Engel der Musik hat jetzt das Ruder übernommen." ('The angel of music has now taken the helm.')