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Foreignizing Mahler: Uri Caine’s Mahler Project As Intertraditional Musical Translation

Description: The customary way to create jazz arrangements of the Western classical canon—informally called swingin’-the-classics—adapts the original composition to jazz conventions. Uri Caine (b.1956) has devised an alternative approach, most notably in his work with compositions by Gustav Mahler. He refracts Mahler’s compositions through an eclectic array of musical performance styles while also eschewing the use of traditional jazz structures in favor of stricter adherence to formal ideas in the original score than is usual in a jazz arrangement. These elements and the manner in which Caine incorporates them in his Mahler arrangements closely parallel the practices of a translator who chooses to create a “foreignizing” literary translation. The 19th-century philosopher and translation theorist Friedrich Schleiermacher explained that in a foreignizing translation “the translator leaves the writer alone as much as possible and moves the reader toward the writer.” Foreignizing translations accentuate the otherness of the original work, approximating the foreign text’s form and syntax in the receiving language and using an uncommon, heterogeneous vocabulary. The resulting translations, which challenge readers with their frequent defiance of the conventions of the receiving linguistic culture, create literal, exaggerated readings that better convey authors’ characteristic use of their own languages for a new audience. My study of Caine’s music—which includes a survey of previously unavailable manuscripts and an exploration of selected arrangements using an analytical method designed to address the qualities in music that parallel foreignizing translation-contextualizes Caine’s modifications to Mahler’s compositions to generate intertextual readings that simultaneously highlight the ways that Mahler was innovative within his own tradition.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Ritchie, J. Cole

Polyphonic Harmony in Three of Ferruccio Busoni’s Orchestral Elegies

Description: This dissertation focuses on three of Busoni’s late orchestral works known as “orchestral elegies”: Berceuse élégiaque (Elegie no. 1, 1909), Gesang vom Reigen der Geister (Elegie no. 4, 1915), and Sarabande (Elegie no. 5, 1918-19). The study seeks to provide a better understanding of Busoni’s late style as a crucial bridge from late nineteenth-century chromaticism in the works of Liszt, Wagner, and others to the post-tonal languages of the twentieth century. At the heart of this study lies a particular concept that forms the basis of many characteristic features of Busoni’s late style, namely the concept of polyphonic harmony, or harmony as a cumulative result of independent melodic lines. This concept is also related to a technique of orchestration in which the collective harmony is sounded in such a way that the individual voices are distinct. In the highly personal tonal language of Busoni’s late works, passages often consist of a web of motives weaved throughout the voices at the surface level of the music. Linear analysis provides a means of unravelling the dense fabric of voices and illustrating the underlying harmonic progressions, which most often consist of parallel, primarily semitonal, progressions of tertian sonorities. Chapter 1 provides a backdrop for this study, including a brief summary of Busoni’s ideas on the aesthetics of music and a summary of his influence and development as a composer. Chapter 2 addresses the concept of polyphonic harmony in more detail, some theoretical ideas related to it, and characteristics of Busoni’s late style that reflect this concept. Chapter 3 is dedicated to analytical methodology, addressing concepts which emerge from various linear approaches to the analysis of some twentieth-century music. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are each dedicated to a specific work, the purpose being to illuminate through linear analysis compositional characteristics and techniques related ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Davis, Colin

Sensitivity, Inspiration, and Rational Aesthetics: Experiencing Music in the North German Enlightenment

Description: This dissertation examines pre-Kantian rational philosophy and the development of the discipline of aesthetics in the North German Enlightenment. With emphasis on the historical conception of the physiological and psychological experience of music, this project determines the function of music both privately and socially in the eighteenth century. As a result, I identify the era of rational aesthetics (ca.1750-1800) as a music-historical period unified by the aesthetic function and metaphysical experience of music, which inform the underlying motivation for musical styles, genres, and means of expression, leading to a more meaningful and compelling historical periodization. The philosophy of Alexander Baumgarten, Johann Georg Sulzer, and others enable definitions of the experience of beautiful objects and those concepts related to music composition, listening, and taste, and determine how rational aesthetics impacted the practice, function, and ultimately the prevailing style of music in the era. The construction, style, and performance means of the free fantasia, the most personal and expressive genre of the era, identify its function as the private act of solitude, or a musical meditation. An examination of pleasure societies establishes the role of music in performance and discussion in both social gatherings and learned musical clubs for conveying the morally good, which results in the spread of good taste. Taken together, the complimentary practices of private and social music played a significant role in eighteenth-century life for developing the self, through personal taste, and society, through a morally good culture.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Fick, Kimary E.