Research

cropped-bodl_lat-liturg-d-20_master_24v.jpgI’m not active in academic research now, but this list of publications and projects will give you some idea of the things I have been interested in over the years: .

Books

The Best Concords: Polyphonic Music in Thirteenth-Century England. New York: Garland, 1994.

This was my PhD thesis, about medieval English music. The Worcester Fragments, the most famous collection of English medieval manuscripts, featured largely, and later my editions of this music would be recorded by Trio Mediaeval on their CD A Worcester Ladymass. and sung live by them in many different concerts.a-worcester-ladymass

 

Silence, Music, Silent Music. Ed. Nicky Losseff and Jenny Doctor. Ashgate, 2007.

Jenny and I hoped to provide a deeper understanding of the elemental places both music and silence hold within world philosophies and fundamental states of being in this book. The chapters looked at the ways in which silence and music relate, contemplate each other, and provide new ways of thinking about different realms of human endeavour: the idea of ‘silent music’ in the work of English philosopher Peter Sterry and Spanish Jesuit St John of the Cross; the apparently paradoxical contemplation of silence through the medium of music by Messiaen and the relationship between silence and faith; the aesthetics of Susan Sontag applied to Cage’s idea of silence; silence as a different means of understanding musical texture; ways of thinking about silences in music therapy sessions as a form of communication; music and silence in film, including the idea that music can function as silence; and the function of silence in early chant.

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The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction. Ed. Sophie Fuller and Nicky Losseff. Ashgate, 2004.

In this book, really more cultural history than musicology, Sophie and I wanted to think about the function, meaning and understanding of music in nineteenth-century culture and society, as mediated through works of fiction. The eleven essays here, written by musicologists and literary scholars, looked at the function of music in novels by Jane Austen, E F Benson, Thomas Carlyle, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Gissing, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, George du Maurier, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Hudson and Elizabeth Sara Sheppard. Each of the essays explores different strategies for interpreting the idea of music in the Victorian novel. Some focus on the degree to which scenes involving music illuminate what music meant to the writer and contemporary performers and listeners, and signify musical tastes of the time and the reception of particular composers. Others examine aspects of gender, race, sexuality and class that are illuminated by the deployment of music by the novelist.

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Book chapters and articles in academic journals

‘Curiosity, Apathy, Creativity and Deference in the Musical Subject–Object Relationship’. In Creative Teaching for Creative Learning in Higher Music Education. Ed. Elizabeth Haddon and Pamela Burnard. Routledge, 2016.

This chapter looked at the problems of students being urged to find their own space in pieces of music from the western art repertoires that are already overladen with interpretation and whose cultural situation place knowledge-based demands on them too. But I argue here that when someone processes a piece of music through their own experience, they are ipso facto in a creative relationship to it because it has become part of their internal world. 

‘Projective Identification, Musical Interpretation and the Self’, in Music Performance Research, 2011.

I became interested in the psychoanalytic concept of Projective Identification as a way of defining the relationship that some listeners and players may develop between themselves and the musical works of the classical repertoires they are interpreting. Basically I proposed here that we essentially create objects of fantasy through our engagement with musical texts to which we bring a deep sense of self. Eero Tarasti calls this “actoriality”, and considers it to represent “all that by which listeners project themselves into”. Anthony Storr called it Projective Identification – where a person “imagines himself to be inside some object external to himself” – because “over and above a passive enjoyment of sounds, music makes us participate actively in the working of a creative mind”. Projective identification usually describes aspects of the relationship between two people (that is, it describes the dynamics of their relatedness), but it could offer other ways of understanding relationships between musical interpreters and works: in terms of 1) the evacuation of feelings; 2) the music being about those feelings; and 3) the music being a container for feelings. Given the deep sense of self brought to the interpretative process, we could perhaps also suggest that 4) the developing processes of music cause aspects of the self to change as well. You can read the whole chapter here.

‘“No delicacies of tone”: Bells and identity in Gissing’s London.’ In Writing Otherness: The Pathways of George Gissing’s Imagination, ed. Christine Huguet. Equilibris, 2011.

I love George Gissing’s books, not least because he brought such a musical ear to his fictional worlds. This chapter was about the place of bell sounds in his earlier London novels. He clearly hated them, and uses their jangling to bring home particularly distressing experiences of his characters. I also have a bit of a thing about bells and play the carillon at York Minster on a Tuesday.

‘Silent music and the eternal silence’, in Silence, Music, Silent Music, ed. Nicky Losseff and Jenny Doctor. Ashgate, 2007.

My own chapter in Silent Music was about St John of the Cross, who spoke about a form of music that was experienced as silence. I’m not sure whether this chapter got any closer to what that might have meant, but I got quite obsessed with the question after having a strange experience in a meditation group in Crete. 

‘Mary Losseff and Richard Tauber’, in Record Collector 51 (2006), 305-314.

My grandmother Mary Losseff was a singer of cabaret and operetta in Berlin and Vienna between about 1929 and 1934, when the ravages of her alcoholism became too apparent for her career to continue. She was the companion and close friend of the Austrian tenor Richard Tauber between 1929 and his death. He wrote her scores of letters during that time which spoke of a deep and intimate relationship. There were also interesting snippets of information in them about his own attitude to singing and performance.

‘Casting beams of darkness into Bartók’s Cantata Profana.’ Twentieth-Century Music 3 (2006), 221-254 .  Abstract

‘The Voice, the Breath, the Soul: Song and Poverty in Victorian Fiction,’ in The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction, ed. Sophie Fuller and Nicky Losseff. Ashgate, 2004.

‘The Piano Concertos and the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion,’ in The Cambridge Companion to Bartók, ed. Amanda Bayley. Cambridge University Press, 2000, 118-132.

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‘Absent Melody and The Woman in White,’ Music and Letters 81 (2000), 532-550. Abstract

‘Cathy’s Homecoming and the other World: Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights,”‘ Popular Music 18 (1999), 227-240. Reprinted in Critical Essays in Popular Musicology, ed. Allan Moore. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

‘The Music-Theatre of Erika Fox,’ in Reclaiming the Muse, ed. Nicola LeFanu and Sophie Fuller. Contemporary Music Review 11 (1994), 109-122.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias contributions

Medieval England: An Encyclopedia. Garland Encyclopedias of Medieval Europe (New York: Garland, 1998)

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 7th edition, ed. Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 2000)

The New DNB (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)

Contemporary Composers, ed. B. Morton and P. Collins (London: St James Press, 1992)

Medieval music

I was the musicologist and editor for the ensemble trio mediaeval, providing them with editions of 12th and 13th-century music from England and France which were recorded on the CDs Stella Maris (ECM, 2005), and A Worcester Ladymass (ECM, 2011). I also provided the Hilliard Ensemble the editions for their recording Guillaume de Machaut: Motets (ECM, 2004).

Contemporary piano music

It’s not all classical and cocktail; in 2007, I recorded seven contemporary piano pieces, Pianthology, which was issued on the NMC label.

Reviews

In the academic journals Early Music, Journal of the American Musicological Society, NotesMusic & Letters, etc.