Sounding Authentic: The Rural Miniature and Musical Modernism
Sounding Authentic considers the intersecting influences of nationalism, modernism, and technological innovation on representations of ethnic and national identities in twentieth-century art music. Author Joshua S. Walden discusses these forces through the prism of what he terms the rural miniature: short violin and piano pieces based on folk song and dance styles. This genre, mostly inspired by the folk music of Hungary, the Jewish diaspora, and Spain, was featured frequently on recordings and performance programs in the early twentieth century. Furthermore, Sounding Authentic shows how the music of urban Romany ensembles developed into nineteenth-century repertoire of virtuosic works in the style hongrois before ultimately influencing composers of rural miniatures. Walden persuasively demonstrates how rural miniatures represented folk and rural cultures in a manner that was perceived as authentic, even while they involved significant modification of the original sources. He also links them to the impulse toward realism in developing technologies of photography, film, and sound recording. Sounding Authentic examines the complex ways the rural miniature was used by makers of nationalist agendas, who sought folkloric authenticity as a basis for the construction of ethnic and national identities. The book also considers the genre's reception in European diaspora communities in America where it evoked and transformed memories of life before immigration, and traces how many rural miniatures were assimilated to the styles of American popular song and swing. Scholars interested in musicology, ethnography, the history of violin performance, twentieth-century European art music, the culture of the Jewish Diaspora and more will find Sounding Authentic an essential addition to their library.