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Entitling early modern women writers

By Andrew Zurcher
As Women’s History Month draws to a close in the United Kingdom, it is a good moment to reflect on the history of women’s writing in Oxford’s scholarly editions. In particular, as one of the two editors responsible for early modern writers in the sprawling collections of Oxford Scholarly Editions Online (OSEO), I have been going through the edited texts of women writers included in the OSEO project.

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Breaking Bad’s Faustian Cast

By Jessica Barbour
In a Reddit AMA session a few months ago, Bryan Cranston was asked when he thought his character on Breaking Bad broke bad. His response: “My feeling is that Walt broke bad in the very first episode. It was very subtle but he did because that’s when he decided to become someone that he’s not in order to gain financially. He made the Faustian deal at that point and everything else was a slippery slope.”

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The 1812 Overture: an attempted narration

By Jessica Barbour
I was a sophomore in college, sitting in my morning music history course on the Romantic period, and my professor was discussing the concept of program music, which Grove Music Online defines as “Music of a narrative or descriptive kind; the term is often extended to all music that attempts to represent extra-musical concepts without resort to sung words.”

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Baseball scoring

By Jessica Barbour
What is it about the sounds of baseball that make them musical, and so easily romanticized? In Ken Burns’ documentary Baseball, George Plimpton says that “Baseball has these absolutely unique sounds. The sounds of spring and summer….The sound of the ball against the bat is absolutely extraordinary. I don’t know any American male that doesn’t hear that in the springtime and get called back to some moment in the past.” These sounds are especially vivid in a game that’s often so quiet.

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April Fools! And the winner is…

By Anna-Lise Santella
This is no April fool. The results of the contest to write the best spoof of a Grove Music article are really in! We received many excellent submissions and thank all contributors for providing us with entertainment, hysterical laughter, and frequent groans of recognition. Our choice was extremely difficult.

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Valentine’s Day serenades

By Alyssa Bender
Love is in the air at Oxford University Press! As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve asked staff members from our offices in New York, Oxford, and Cary, NC, to share their favorite love songs. Read on for their selections, and be sure to tell us what your favorites are too. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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C is for Coloratura

By Jessica Barbour
Marilyn Horne, world-renowned opera singer and recitalist, celebrated her 84th birthday on Wednesday. To acknowledge her work, not only as one of the finest singers in the world but as a mentor for young artists, I give you one of my favorite performances of hers:

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Foil thy Foes with Joy

By Jessica Barbour
One of Benjamin Britten’s strengths as a composer was writing music for children. Not just music for children to enjoy — many of his works, particularly his operas, are not really kid-friendly affairs — but for them to perform. I’m thinking particularly of choral music, where he excelled at writing songs that I found both beautiful and really fun to sing when I was very young.

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Music we’re thankful for

By Alyssa Bender
Thanksgiving is upon us in the US. Before the OUP Music team headed home for some turkey and stuffing, we compiled a list of what we are most thankful for, musically speaking. Read on for our thoughts, and leave your own in the comments. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Dances of Death

By Jessica Barbour
An eerie image emerged from Europe’s 14th-century bubonic plague epidemics into popular imagination: Death, in skeleton form, leading living souls in a processional dance to the grave. This idea, the danse macabre, was evoked by artists and writers across the continent, a cultural reaction to daily lives spent surrounded by death. I was introduced to the genre in school when I first heard Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre, a boisterous seven-minute work for orchestra written in the 1870s.

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Glissandos and glissandon’ts

As a musician, I found this absolutely shocking — here I thought I’d been hearing the glissando (the effect created when, for example, a pianist runs his finger up or down the keyboard), all my life, and suddenly it turned out that the very legitimacy of the word had been dismissed by Blom, a prominent music-writer linguist, more than 30 years before I was even born.

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Five things you should know about Grove

By Jessica Barbour
There is a reference work on the subject of music to which English-speaking music students are referred every day. It has been around, in various editions, for over 130 years, and in its current online form it includes more than 40,000 full articles. As a 1955 article in Time put it, “For three-quarters of a century, the sun never set on Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians.”

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Wedding Music

By Jessica Barbour
The summer wedding season is in full swing and many of us will have attended a ceremony or two by the time it’s over. My little sister was married on July 15, and the months leading up to the event were very busy ones for my family members, who planned and prepared the entire event themselves.

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Clair de supermoon

By Jessica Barbour
May 12th, which falls exactly one week after last Saturday’s Supermoon, marks the 167th birthday of Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924), a composer whose best-known song was inspired by the moon. Fauré is known today as the paramount composer of the French mélodie, and his setting of the poem Clair de lune (“Moonlight”) by Paul Verlaine (1844–1896) demonstrates why his works are beloved by pianists and singers alike.

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Remembering Joe Muranyi

Joe Muranyi, the American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, and singer — perhaps best known as the last clarinetist to perform with Louis Armstrong and his All Stars — passed away on April 20th at the age of 84. Muranyi was a working musician for over 60 years, from his time as a teenager playing in an Air Force band to his recordings with the Orient Dixieland Jazz Band in the 1990s and for years afterward. He toured with the All Stars in the heart of his career, from 1967 until 1971, the year of the eponymous bandleader’s death.

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