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David Fallows

(It.: ‘hurrying’, ‘quickening’; gerund of affrettare)

An instruction to increase the tempo, with the implication of increased nervous energy. The distinction between affrettando and accelerando or stringendo is largely academic but is suggested by Verdi's marking at the end of the ‘Lux aeterna’ in his Requiem over some woodwind arpeggiated semiquaver figuration, dolciss. con calma senza affrettare...


Steven Huebner

(‘The African Maid’)

Grand opera in five acts by Giacomo Meyerbeer to a libretto by Eugène Scribe ; Paris, Opéra, 28 April 1865.

The genesis of L’Africaine is more complex than that of any other Meyerbeer opera. A first contract between Meyerbeer and Scribe for the production of the libretto was signed in May 1837; the point of departure for the plot seems to have been ‘Le mancenillier’, a poem by Millevoye about a young girl who sits under a tree that emits poisonous fragrances and is rescued by her lover. Doubts about the viability of the libretto, and the illness of Cornélie Falcon, for whom the title role was intended, caused Meyerbeer to abandon the project in favour of Le prophète in summer 1838. He returned to L’Africaine at the end of 1841, when the draft of Le prophète was almost complete. L’Africaine was set aside when Meyerbeer completed a draft in 1843...


Guthrie P. Ramsey

A term applied to distinct configurations of sound organization linked historically and socially to people of African descent living within the United States. While scholarship has identified a shared body of conceptual approaches to sound among the numerous idioms of African American music, musicians have employed them across various functional divides in American culture such as written and oral, sacred and secular, art and popular. Although African American people have been the primary innovators among these idioms, due to mass mediation, the contiguous nature of culture sharing among American ethnic groups, an ever developing and sophisticated global market system, technological advances, and music’s ability to absorb the different meanings ascribed to it, people of all backgrounds have shaped, contributed to, and excelled in this fluid yet distinct body of music making. In addition, many historians of African American music have included the activities of blacks that participated as performers and composers in the Eurological concert tradition under this rubric....



Birgitta J. Johnson

The oldest and largest black Methodist denomination in the world, with approximately four million members in the United States and abroad. The first independent African American Christian denomination, it was founded by Richard Allen and other former members of St. George’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Allen and Absalom Jones had formed the Free African Society in 1787 to protest the rise in discriminatory treatment faced by growing numbers of blacks in the white church. They and other African American ministers were being denied advancement to pastorate positions, and after white church officials tried to physically remove blacks from the gallery during prayer, Allen and other black members walked out of worship. Efforts toward gaining equal treatment and representation in Methodist congregations were ignored or denied, and in 1794 Allen and Jones organized a separate congregation under the Protestant Episcopal Church. Jones was appointed as its first bishop. Allen, however, wanted to remain in the Methodist tradition, so he and part of the group who had left St. George’s founded Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church during that same year....



The second-largest black Methodist denomination, with 1.4 million members in the United States and abroad. The first AMEZ congregation was organized in New York in 1796. Its members were African Americans who left the John Street Methodist Episcopal Church due to rising racial discrimination, especially in worship, from the predominantly white members of the congregation. Similar circumstances had previously led Richard Allen and the black Methodists in Philadelphia to found the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1794. In 1801 the AMEZ denominational charter was established, and in 1821 James Varick was appointed the first bishop. In order to distinguish themselves from the AME Church, the New York group officially added “Zion” to their name in 1848. The Zion Church became known as the “Freedom Church,” with abolitionist members such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass, and missionary efforts that emphasized social service and education.

Hymnody was very important in English Methodism and was the main music tradition in Methodist churches of the northern United States in the late 18th century. In ...


Val Wilmer

(Peter )

(b Cape Town, Oct 18, 1950). South African pianist, composer, and arranger. He grew up in the District Six area of Cape Town with the guitarist Russell Herman, studied music at the University of Cape Town, and played in various groups with Herman, including Oswietie, with which they toured South Africa and Angola. After joining Sipho Gumede in the funk-jazz group Spirits Rejoice he traveled along Africa’s west coast as far as Gabon, then in 1979 he settled in London. There he worked with Julian Bahula’s Jazz Africa and with Dudu Pukwana, and in 1981 he founded the trio (later, sextet) District Six with Herman and Brian Abrahams, the latter serving as the group’s leader. In 1984 Afrika performed in the USA as a member of Hugh Masekela’s group, and in 1986 he recorded with Pukwana. He led his own quartets and quintets and accompanied the singer Carmel, and during the same period he collaborated with Masekela, Courtney Pine, and the reed player David Jean-Baptiste and performed frequently as an unaccompanied soloist. In ...


Peter Manuel

The field of Afro-Caribbean music comprises a vast and heterogeneous corpus of genres and practices, with most forms of Caribbean music evolving as syncretic products of diverse African- and European-derived elements. Many of these genres have established substantial presences in or influences on music culture in the mainland United States, whether through the activities of diasporic communities or via cross-cultural interactions.

Afro-Caribbean musics may be regarded as spanning a gamut of styles. On one end would lie various neo-African traditional genres that bear close affinities to counterparts or predecessors in Africa and may even embody marginal survivals of entities now obscure in that continent. Particularly prominent in the neo-African category are the many Afro-Caribbean genres – both recreational as well as religious – that feature a West African-derived format of three drums playing ostinato-based rhythms, accompanying call-and-response singing and dancing by groups, couples, or an individual.

The 20th century saw the emergence of a rich and dynamic variety of creole commercial popular music genres whose styles evolved in connection with the new mass media of records and, from the 1920s, radio. Most of these genres were distinctively Afro-Caribbean both in stylistic features as well as the social milieus that generated them and the personnel that performed them. Several came to enjoy considerable popularity in the USA, and especially in New York City, whose mass media infrastructure, immigrant enclaves, and receptive non-Caribbean audiences enabled it to become a dynamic secondary center of Caribbean popular music. At the same time, African American popular musics, from rock to rap, exerted their own sorts of influences on Caribbean popular music scenes, resulting in a dynamic and ongoing process of mutual inspiration and cross-fertilization....


Gunther Schuller


A jazz style. It was created from a fusion of bop with traditional Cuban elements, that arose in the 1940s, primarily in the work of Dizzy Gillespie; it is distinguished from the more general Latin jazz by the specific influence of Cuban dance, folk and popular idioms. Although a Latin-American or Caribbean influence (Jelly Roll Morton called it the ‘Latin tinge’) is discernible in jazz from the late 19th century, the earliest use of Cuban elements is traceable only to Alberto Socarras and Mario Bauzá in the late 1930s. Afro-Cuban jazz became a clearly defined style and acquired an international following only when Gillespie, who had been influenced by Bauzá, began to collaborate with the outstanding Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo. For Gillespie, Bauzá, and others, the main impulse for the Afro-Cuban movements came from their feeling that American jazz of the 1930s and 1940s, being essentially monorhythmic, needed the kind of enrichment that an infusion of Afro-Cuban polyrhythms would provide....


Wolfgang Bender

A style of African popular music. The term was coined in 1967 by Fela Kuti, who was known as ‘the king of Afrobeat’. Fela played Highlife music while studying music at Trinity College of Music, London (1958–63). Upon his return to Nigeria he referred to the style as ‘highlife jazz’. Geraldo Pino from Sierra Leone visited Lagos around 1966, playing a style referred to as Afro-soul. Pino's success encouraged Fela to develop an individual style.

Fela toured the USA in 1969 and was exposed to that country's Black Power movement. He also heard free jazz and rhythm and blues. His awareness of the political power of music is reflected in his subsequent development of Afrobeat, a fusion of jazz, soul and African musics with lyrics in Pidgin and Yoruba. He consciously highlighted the Africanness of his own music, claiming that he played African music since jazz was originally an African form of music....



Howard Rye

[Armed Forces Radio Service]

Broadcasting and recording organization and record label. The organization was established in 1942 as the Radio Section of the Special Service Division of the US War Department; this title appears in full on the earliest discs issued on the label, made before the name AFRS was adopted late in 1943. The service was formed to broadcast to American military bases abroad; the recording department provided fully produced radio programs for this purpose, at first on 16-inch transcription discs, later (from the mid-1950s) on tape. The AFRS became the largest recording enterprise in history. In 1953 it was renamed the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFR&TS); it remained in operation through the 1990s.

Much of the organization’s material has consisted of copies of commercially issued recordings, which are released in such series as the Basic Music Library and the Gold Label Library. Nevertheless, some series have contained recordings of broadcasts made first on commercial radio stations or of live performances specially commissioned by the AFRS. These were particularly prevalent in the 1940s, when demand was at its peak (during World War II) and the supply of commercial material was restricted because of recording bans. Such series as Spotlight Bands, One Night Stand, GI Jive, and Command Performance embrace recordings of hundreds of live performances by jazz and big bands which form an extensive documentation of great value. Especially notable is the Jubilee series, started in ...




Thérèse Radic

Opera in one act by Felix Werder to his own libretto after Aeschylus’ play, translated by Gilbert Murray; Melbourne, Grant Street Theatre, 1 June 1977 (broadcast of earlier version, The Agamemnon of Aeschylus, ABC, 1967).

The plot follows precisely the words of Gilbert Murray’s translation of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. On his return from the Trojan wars, King Agamemnon of Mycenae (bass) is greeted by his wife Clytemnestra (soprano) and her lover, Aegisthus (countertenor), who together plot the king’s murder. Warned of the plot against him by the prophetess Cassandra (soprano), a princess of Troy and concubine of Agamemnon, the king ignores all advice. The lovers kill him, fulfilling the destiny predicted not only for themselves but for their doomed House of Atreus.

Composed in 1967, the opera, then titled The Agamemnon of Aeschylus, was performed for a radio broadcast in the same year; the composer reworked and retitled the piece shortly thereafter. Through-composed in 25 sections and serially constructed, with the first 12-note row having strong tonal implications, ...


Samuel S. Brylawski

(b Chicago, Oct 6, 1893; d Los Angeles, May 6, 1979). American composer. He began his career as a song plugger and arranger for the publishing companies of George M. Cohan and Irving Berlin, and had his first success as a songwriter (in collaboration with the composer George W. Meyer) with Everything's peaches down in Georgia (G. Clarke, 1918), introduced by Al Jolson. He wrote many songs to lyrics by Jack Yellen (with whom he founded the publishing firm Ager, Yellen & Bornstein in 1922), including I wonder what's become of Sally (1924), Ain't she sweet? (1927) and Happy days are here again (1930); the last became closely associated with the presidential campaigns of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Other well-known songs by Ager are I'm nobody's baby (lyrics by B. Davis; 1921), Auf Wiedersehen, my dear (A. Hoffman, E.G. Nelson, A. Goodhart; ...


Marita P. McClymonds

(‘Agesilaus, King of Sparta’)

Opera seria in three acts by Gaetano Andreozzi to a libretto by Francesco Ballani; Venice, Teatro S Benedetto, Carnival 1788.

Leucade [Leotychidas] (soprano castrato) is taken prisoner in an uprising against Agesilaus (soprano castrato), initiated by the Congiutati under the leadership of Leotychidas’ father, Lisandro [Lysander] (tenor), a military hero and supposed friend of the king. Outraged by his perfidy, Erissa (soprano), Queen of Paphlagonia and Leotychidas’ betrothed, condemns him to death and offers her hand to the king, much to the dismay of Lysander’s daughter, Aglatide (soprano), who loves the king. When Lysander attempts to take power Leotychidas interposes himself between his father’s sword and the king, thereby earning clemency for both of them. Based on a new libretto by the young Roman author Ballani, the opera enjoyed half a dozen revivals in the years before the Republic. Though still an ‘aria’ opera, with ensembles to end Acts 1 and 2 and a chorus in each act, it contains a few novelties: an aria interrupted by a second character, and a short quartet (‘cavatina a quattro’) when the captured Leotychidas is brought in. When it was revised for Florence in the autumn of ...



David Fallows

(It.: ‘agitated’, ‘restless’; past participle of agitare, ‘to agitate’, ‘excite’, ‘urge forward’).

A tempo (and mood) designation found particularly as a qualification of allegro or presto: Verdi's Otello opens allegro agitato. It was little used before the 19th century, though Koch (Musikalisches Lexikon, 1802) gave it a substantial article, noting its use as an independent designation and as a qualification; he also drew attention to its occasionally being wrongly understood to denote an increase in tempo....


Anselm Gerhard

Grosse historisch-romantische Oper in three acts by Gaspare Spontini to a libretto by Ernst Raupach; Berlin, Königliches Opernhaus, 12 June 1829.

Although banished by Emperor Henry VI (baritone), Heinrich (tenor), son of the Emperor’s Guelph opponent Henry the Lion, is in Mainz incognito in the year 1194 to win his beloved Agnes (soprano), a cousin of the Emperor. He is arrested; however, he not only escapes from prison but also secretly marries Agnes and triumphs over his rival, King Philip of France (baritone). The angry Emperor is finally persuaded by the imperial knights and the intercession of his brother Philip (tenor) and Agnes’s mother Irmengard (soprano) to bow to the triumph of love.

Spontini worked for many years on this, his last opera, which he considered his major work. Only the first act was ready for performance at the scheduled première on 28 May 1827. After extensive revisions of the completed work, which was first performed on ...



Scott L. Balthazar

Dramma semiserio per musica in two acts by Ferdinando Paer to a libretto by Luigi Buonavoglia after Filippo Casari’s play Agnese di Fizendry; Parma, Villa Scotti, Teatro Ponte d’Attaro, October 1809.

Seven years before the opera takes place, Agnese (soprano) has driven her father Uberto (bass) to madness by marrying Ernesto (tenor), whom Uberto despises. Confined to an asylum and believing Agnese to be dead, Uberto has been ignored by his daughter until Ernesto’s infidelity causes her to seek him out again. With the help of Don Pasquale (bass), superintendent of the asylum, and Don Girolamo (tenor), her father’s caretaker, she gradually convinces him that she is still alive. Uberto finally recognizes her, and he recovers his sanity completely when she performs a song that she often sang to him before their estrangement; Agnese forgives Ernesto after he repents of his indiscretions. The kindly Don Pasquale, himself a contented father, and his loyal daughter Carlotta (soprano) serve as dramatic foils to Uberto and Agnese and provide comic relief....


Elizabeth Forbes

[Agniez, Louis-Ferdinand-Léopold]

(b Erpent, Namur, July 17, 1833; d London, Feb 2, 1875). Belgian bass and composer. He studied in Brussels where his opera Hermold le Normand was performed at the Théâtre de la Monnaie on 16 March 1858. After a period of study in Paris he toured Germany and the Netherlands with Merelli’s Italian company, then in ...