June 13, 2024

Belmont Hosts Talk on Debt to the Musical Past

Gari Melchers Home and Studio hosts Musical Borrowings: Tribute or Plagiarism? a talk on the intriguing history of parodies, tributes, and highway robbery in music, presented by UMW Professor of Musicology Brooks Kuykendall, on Sunday, October 27 in the Pavilion at Belmont, 2 p.m. Admission is free of charge.

“Music is always about other music—perhaps sometimes too much so,” Kuykendall states, citing Handel, whose reputation is blighted because of his “indebtedness” to other composers. Kuykendall echoes T. S. Eliot in the contention that “good composers borrow; great composers steal,” adding that sometimes an allusion to other music is integral to a new artistic statement; sometimes it’s just funny.  Kuykendall will share imagery and audio examples in his exploration of “borrowings” from Handel to Pharrell, via Puccini and Peter Sellers.

Brooks Kuykendall is professor and chair of the UMW music department. He received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Cornell University, and his research has concentrated on British music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in particular Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Britten, Walton, and Gilbert & Sullivan. He blogs on musical textual issues at www.settlingscoresblog.net.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Virginia, a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge.