This image of Ritter is taken from A Hundred Years of Music in America... A Full and Reliable Summary of American Musical Effort as Displayed in the Personal History of Artists, Composers and Educators.  By W.S.B. Matthews.  (Chicago: G.L. Howe, 1889)



In Fall 2003, with the support of the Berger Family Technology Transfer Endowment Award, a Colloquia Series was offered with the sponsorship of the Department of Music at Tufts University. Each speaker was a noted musicologist specializing in an area corresponding to one of the Ritter Collection’s particular strengths. They were invited to study materials of their own choosing in the collection, and then present a lecture that would eventually be incorporated into this Ritter Website – providing new scholarly content linked to images of pages or items from the collection.

List of Speakers and Topics

Wednesday, September 17, 2003: Thomas Christensen
Topic: Theory in Practice in Theory

Music theory is a discipline that by its nature seems pulled in opposing directions. On the on hand, it lays claim to a distinguished scholarly tradition of learned speculation seemingly removed of practical value; on the other hand, it possesses an equally venerated pragmatic lineage rooted in the exigencies of music pedagogy. Attempts by theorists to reconcile these competing claims has constituted a recurring tension in music theory. Using selected historical texts of music theory found in the Frederic Louis Ritter Collection at Tufts University, I will look at some of the ways theorists in the past have attempted to mediate the conflicting aims of musica theorica and musica practica.

Thomas Christensen (Ph.D., Yale, 1985) is Professor of Music, University of Chicago Department of Music. Prof. Christensen is a theorist and historian of music theory with special interests in 18th-century intellectual history, problems in tonal theory, historiography, and aesthetics. The author of numerous books and articles, he most recently has edited the Cambridge History of Western Music Theory (Cambridge, 2002).

Wednesday, October 1, 2003: Ellen T. Harris
Topic: The Music Lover in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century England

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed revolutionary changes in music repertoire, not just in terms of genre but also in the growth of an historical perspective. This period also saw a significant and related expansion in the audience for music. All three of these factors: formal and generic musical innovation, the establishment of an historical canon in performance, and the impact of sociological changes on the growth of audiences for music, led to an important shift in the kind of book written for music lovers. Using selected texts published in England during these two centuries preserved in the Frederic Louis Ritter Collection at Tufts University, I will look at how writing about music for amateurs during these 200 years shifted from practical manuals to historical and critical commentary and discuss some of what I see as the underlying causes for this change.

Ellen T. Harris (Ph.D., Chicago, 1976), Class of 1949 Professor of Music at MIT, is a musicolgist whose work focuses on the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, especially the music of Handel and Purcell, opera and vocal performance practice. The author of numerous books and articles, she most recently published Handel as Orpheus: Voice and Desire in the Chamber Cantatas (Harvard, 2001), winner of the 2002 Otto Kindeldey Award from the American Musicological Society and the 2002-03 Louis Gottschalk Prize from the Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Professor Harris is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and this spring will be in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where she will be working on a study of Handel's London.

Friday, October 17, 2003: Bruce Brown
Topic: The Production, Promulgation, and Politics of Opera in France During the Enlightenment

The Frédéric Louis Ritter Collection at Tufts University includes a rich array of primary source materials for the study of French opera, from the era of Lully through the Empire period and beyond. In this lecture I will use these scores to illustrate developments both in the spectacle itself and in the printing and marketing techniques that put it before the public, emphasizing also its status as a site of struggle between the monarchy and emerging, more "Enlightened" segments of society.

Bruce Alan Brown, a specialist in 18th-century opera and ballet, has been on the Musicology faculty of the University of Southern California since 1985. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. 1977, Ph.D. 1986), Prof. Brown is the author of Gluck and the French Theatre in Vienna (Oxford, 1991), W. A. Mozart: Così fan tutte (Cambridge, 1995), and editor (with Rebecca Harris-Warrick) of The Grotesque Dancer on the Eighteenth-Century Stage: Gennaro Magri and his World (in press). He edited the opera Le Diable à quatre for the Gluck-Gesamtausgabe (1992), and serves on its editorial board; from April 2004 he will be serving as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Musicological Society. He has received grants from the Zumberge Faculty Research and Innovation Fund and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 1999 was elected to the Zentralinstitut für Mozart-Forschung (Salzburg).

Wednesday, November 19, 2003: Susan Youens
Topic: Translating a Winter’s Journey: Winterreise en français

One of the rarities in the Ritter Collection at Tufts University is what may well be the first complete edition of Franz Schubert’s great song cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey), op. 89, in French translation. Individual songs from the cycle had been printed in France by French music publishers as early as 1834, but this volume issues from the Viennese firm of Tobias Haslinger, the publisher for the first edition of this masterpiece in 1827. Why he did so is an intriguing matter for speculation, while the translation is fascinating for its conversion of Wilhelm Mueller’s German wanderer into a quasi-French mixture of Voltaire and Hugo.

Susan Youens received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1975 and is a scholar of French art-song and the German Lied. She has written eight books on the songs of Franz Schubert and Hugo Wolf, most recently Schubert’s Late Lieder: Beyond the Song Cycles (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and is currently working on two book-projects: “Heine and the Lied” and “A Social History of the Lied.”

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