Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

A choice of St. John Passions

This is the time of year at which you are most likely to hear J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion, which tends to be performed in accordance with the Christian liturgical calendar even when it is programmed in a secular concert.

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Congregational singing in works written for Holy Week

Congregations have historically been limited to singing hymns and worship songs, with supplementary music performed by the choir. In light of this, it is interesting to compare choral works suitable for Holy Week that specifically include music for the congregation.

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Ten facts about the harp

The harp is an ancient instrument found in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and tunings in musical cultures throughout the world. In the West, the harp has been used to accompany singing in religious rituals and court music.

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To ‘Ave’ or to hold: why certain music is banned from the civil marriage ceremony

Why isn’t religious music allowed at a civil marriage ceremony, and what advice is there for couples wanting a choir at their Registry Office ceremony where only non-religious music is permitted? Before civil marriage was introduced on 17 August 1836, couples could only marry legally in a Church of England ceremony. The revolutionary new ‘Act for Marriages in England’ meant that a marriage could take place in any licensed venue (religious or not) with no restrictions on the choice of music.

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A conversation with clarinetist and author Albert Rice

Albert Rice, author of the recently released Notes for Clarinetists sat down with Oxford University Press to answer a few questions about his love for music from an early age, musical influences, and his dedication to research on the history of the clarinet.

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Celebrating Samuel Barber and his Adagio for Strings

Today we celebrate what would have been American composer Samuel Barber’s 107th birthday. Upon the composer’s death in 1981, New York Times music critic Donal Henahan, penned an obituary that asserted “probably no other American composer has ever enjoyed such early, such persistent and such long-lasting acclaim.”

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Bob Dylan’s complicated relationship with fame [excerpt]

Bob Dylan’s playful and at times antagonistic relationship with the press dates back to his early years on the folk scene in New York. When asked about his identity by straight- laced reporters with buzz cuts and sport coats, he frequently answered sarcastically: “a trapeze artist,” “a song and dance man,” “an ashtray bender,” and “a rabbit catcher.”

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Getting to know Antonina in music marketing

Our Cary office has welcomed a new assistant. Antonina Javier joined the marketing team in November 2016 after moving to North Carolina from Hawaii. We sat down with her to talk about publishing, books, and the outdoors. She is always ready for an adventure and is eager to share what she has seen.

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In praise of teaching with Skype

For the past six or seven years I’ve been giving music lessons online, using Skype or FaceTime (Apple’s proprietary alternative to Skype). My students include children, college students, adult amateurs, and concert artists. Some of them take occasional lessons, others hew to the traditional once-a-week lesson schedule. I’ve had face-to-face encounters with some of them, but not all of them.

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La La Land and the Hollywood film musical

Say what you will about the strong fan base of La La Land and its probable domination of the upcoming Oscars after sweeping so many of the guild awards, not to mention the critical backlash against it that I have seen in the press and among scholars on Facebook, but Damien Chazelle certainly knows the history of the Hollywood film musical!

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Preparing your choir to sing

Chris Rowbury reflects on why time spent on developing the voice, body and mind through fun and imaginative warm-up exercises will result in a relaxed, centred, focused, and engaged choir and a more effective and productive rehearsal.

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