Art Mimics Art: Anthony Burgess’s Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements

By: Kendra Leonard (Humble, TX) // “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” —Napoleon Bonaparte Ludwig van Beethoven greatly admired the young Napoleon Bonaparte while the latter was serving as First Consul of France. The composer thought that Napoleon represented the three ideals of the French Revolution—liberty, equality, … Continue reading Art Mimics Art: Anthony Burgess’s Napoleon Symphony: A Novel in Four Movements

American Folk Rock Cattle Raid: The Decemberists’s The Tain

By: Kendra Leonard (Humble, TX) // The Decemberists’s The Tain is a five-part, 18-minute audiovisual piece in which the music and lyrics obliquely comment on the story, crafted in stop-motion animation using paper silhouettes. In this confluence of music and literature, we hear and see an ancient Irish epic become a twentieth-century folk rock narrative. The … Continue reading American Folk Rock Cattle Raid: The Decemberists’s The Tain

Survival Through Song

By: Kendra Leonard (Humble, TX) // If you lived in the future world of Canadian writer Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy, you might learn about the properties of plants through song rather than in a biology class: “The Dandelion shoots, for spring, / Before their flowers burst; / The Burdock root is best in June / When … Continue reading Survival Through Song

Heavy Metal Elves

By: Kendra Leonard (Humble, TX) // Long before Howard Shore composed the music for the live-action Lord of the Rings movies, readers were fascinated by J. R. R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy and its music. The trilogy of books, a fantasy set in an Earth-like world called Middle Earth, was written between 1927 and 1949 and published … Continue reading Heavy Metal Elves

The Popular Songwriter

By: Travis D. Stimeling (West Virginia University) // In November 1975, Barry Manilow hit the top of the Billboard “Top 40” chart with “I Write the Songs.” Singing from the perspective of Music itself, the song’s protagonist “write[s] the songs that make the whole world sing.” Although that line has made headline writers happy for the past four … Continue reading The Popular Songwriter

Hearing Gender in George Lucas’s Galaxy

By: Kendra Leonard (Loveland, OH) // George Lucas’s Star Wars IV: A New Hope was the movie hit of 1977. Its score, composed by John Williams, was equally popular, winning the Oscar for Best Film Score and three Grammy awards; the American Film Institute even declared it the greatest American movie score of all time. … Continue reading Hearing Gender in George Lucas’s Galaxy

Women Can’t Do That: Delia Derbyshire and Electronic Music

By: Kendra Leonard (Loveland, OH) // British composer Delia Derbyshire (1937–2001) was probably one of the most influential composers of the twentieth century, but most people—including professional musicians—have never heard of her. Derbyshire’s best-known work was the theme music for the original Doctor Who, as well as the sound effects for the TARDIS, the title … Continue reading Women Can’t Do That: Delia Derbyshire and Electronic Music