Dr. Matthew Franke joined the Department of Music in 2015. Prior to coming to Howard, he taught music history at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2014).
He teaches courses in music history. Dr. Franke is responsible for the music history sequence for majors and minors (MUSC 010, 011, and 012), as well as advanced courses for music history majors. The chief general education courses he teaches are Introduction to Music (MUSC 100) and Global Popular Music (MUSC 110). In Spring 2022, he received an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
Much of his research focuses on nineteenth-century French opera, especially the music of Jules Massenet and Georges Bizet. He has published articles in a number of scholarly journals, and contributed to the award-winning volume and companion website Carmen Abroad. Currently, he is working on a new project focused on the music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
He curates of the List of Open-Access Music Journals, which is the single largest online collection of freely-accessible scholarship on music. You can find the database on his personal site.
Dr. Franke is active participant in conferences and colloquia. He has presented research papers at national meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, the International Congress on Medieval Studies, and the Biennial Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music, as well as at international conferences in Italy, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
"Rewriting Carmen through Two Songs by Tosti and Tirindelli," Acta Musicologica 94 no. 2 (2022), 210 - 226.
Bizet’s Carmen continues to provoke and disturb audiences for its frank depiction of
a crime of passion. Yet it shocked operagoers in the 1880s and 1890s for a different
reason: Carmen’s continued defiance of Don José, even up to the point at which he
murders her. Enrico Panzacchi’s poem, which depicts a penitent Carmen who begs
Don José’s forgiveness for her mistreatment of him, directly speaks to audiences’
frustration with the opera. Musical settings by Francesco Paolo Tosti and Pier Adolfo
Tirindelli refer directly to Carmen’s music from the opera, including the famous
“Habanera,” and attempt to purge it of its sensual appeal. Both Tosti’s and Tirindelli’s
songs seem to have enjoyed some success with amateur audiences, suggesting that
this music, by enacting her repentance in the salon, provided a way for middle-class
people to safely enjoy Carmen’s transgression of bourgeois values on the stage.
Thus these songs document a way in which middle-class audiences re-interpreted
Carmen to fit their worldview.
"Open-Access Music Journals and the Possibility of Global Dialogue," College Music Symposium 61 no. 2 (2021), 24–40.
Musicians increasingly operate in a global community connected by the internet that has affected performance, composition, and listening habits. Similarly, there is a growing trend of publishing scholarly research “open access,” meaning it is online for anyone to read at no cost. Open-access advocates have argued that open access makes possible a global community of scholarship. However, few studies have measured the impact of open-access scholarship and whether it has actually realized the dream of a truly global discourse. To answer this question, this article presents a comprehensive survey of trends in open-access music scholarship by examining 189 open-access music journals. Ultimately, the data suggests that although open-access music journals have made a great deal of research available to a global audience, the journals themselves reflect economic and cultural power imbalances in global academic culture; a majority of open-access music journals are based in either Europe or the United States. Consequently, open-access journals have created an echo chamber in which largely Western perspectives dominate, and in which other perspectives are muted. The article closes with recommendations about how open-access music journals can help realize their potential for global discourse.
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“The Harp, the Lied and Ossianic Narratives in Massenet’s Werther.” Nineteenth-Century Music Review 18 no. 3 (2021), 455–74.
The climactic scene in Massenet's opera Werther – as in Goethe's novella – occurs when Werther reads a poem by Ossian. The air resembles a German lied, with a rippling harp accompaniment that may be a reference to other Ossianic settings. Steven Huebner has suggested that the lied reference is meant to create a sense of German local colour in the opera. However, little work has been done to explain why Massenet would have chosen to set an Ossianic text in the style of a German lied.
The current article addresses this question by considering the references to specific German lieder by Schumann and Schubert heard by early critics in the Ossian reading. The subsequent discussion explores the French reception of German lieder and Massenet's personal knowledge of Schubert and Schumann's music. These references to Schumann, Schubert and Ossian expose a complex set of intertextual relationships between Massenet's opera and other Ossianic music, the characters in Massenet's opera and their milieu, and Massenet's depiction of German music and culture.
Despite Huebner's well-chosen criticisms of Massenet's depiction of the German setting, I argue that the lied and its harp accompaniment are dramatically meaningful gestures that highlight Werther's Ossianic character arc throughout the opera, hinting at his sentimentality, weakness, and non-normative masculinity in relation to nineteenth-century gender stereotypes. This interpretation, following Massenet's own account of the opera's genesis, prioritizes the Ossian reading as the crux of the drama. The resulting analysis demonstrates the audible influence of Schumann and Schubert on Werther, and Massenet's musical approach to the Ossianic tropes of nature, decay and fate.
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