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Messiaen’s Musical Language: Technique and Theological Symbolism in Les Corps Glorieux, “Combat De La Mort Et De La Vie”

Description: One of the most important ways to understand Olivier Messiaen’s musical language is through the lens of the theological ideas that many of his works convey. He considers expressing his Christian faith to be the primary purpose in his music. Through his idiosyncratic technique, Messiaen gives power and life to his religious music that he combines with his interest in literature, musical analysis, poetic imagery and symbolism, his love for theatre, and his compositional and organ abilities. The abundant studies of Messiaen’s works deal with the intricacies of his musical language, yet most of these studies barely discuss his theological ideas. Nevertheless, technical analysis of his music poses immense challenges, especially in the domains of melody and harmony. Although my approach is unconventional and do not follow any existing system, I base my technical and theological analyses mainly from Messiaen's technique, his commentaries and his references to the Scriptures. The “Combat de la mort et de la vie” is the heart of Les Corps glorieux in both technical and theological aspects. It is an intricate musical artwork where Messiaen demonstrates his melodic and harmonic developments using his idiosyncratic language, and through symbolism portrays the most complex of all drama according to Christian theology—the story of Jesus Christ's Passion and Resurrection. My research can relate directly to a more informed and convincing performance of the work, and can contribute a different perspective to the study, understanding, and appreciation of Messiaen's theologically inspired works.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Dellosa, Lerie Grace
Partner: UNT Libraries

Alexander Johnson's Ni' Concerto (1994) - Concerto no. 1 for Piano and Orchestra: a Discussion of Influences from Africa, Eastern and Western Europe

Description: In the new generation of artists emerging in South Africa, Alexander Johnson is considered the most prolific young composer of his day. In a recent review in the Pretoria News, Johnson has been praised by eminent critic Paul Boekkooi as a composer who has “an ear for the exotic and knows exactly how to bring it off....” He continued by noting that his music is “mentally engrossing, pleasurable to the senses and seems refreshingly free from dogmatic formulas." Johnson writes for musicians and the general public to equal satisfaction. His accessible compositions and catching use of melodic materials have made his writings very popular both in South Africa and abroad. During his residency in Belgrade in 1993-94, Johnson met Croatian pianist Dorian Leljak. Impressed with Johnson's compositional ideas and output, Leljak commissioned a work from Johnson for piano and orchestra. The result was the Niš Concerto, which Johnson completed in April 1994. The world premiere took place on June 23, 1994 with the Niš Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Anatoli Nowiestski with Dorian Leljak as soloist. The Niš Concerto received its South African premiere in 1995 during a simultaneous celebration for “Europe Day” and the new democracy of the Republic of South Africa. The Delegation of the European Commission of South Africa sponsored the celebration, which took place in the Aula Auditorium on the campus of the University of Pretoria. The performers included the Artium Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dutch-born Prof. Henk Temmingh and Johnson himself as piano soloist.
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Date: August 2001
Creator: Malan, Petronel
Partner: UNT Libraries

The School Fugue: Its Place in the Organ Repertoire of the French Symphonic School, a Lecture Recital, Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of J.S. Bach, D. Buxtehude, C. Franck, P. Eben, F. Mendelssohn, R. Schumann, M. Reger and Others

Description: This study focuses on the central role which fugue d'ecole, as defined and taught by the post-revolutionary Conservatoire de Paris, played in re-establishing standards of excellence in organ composition and aiding the development of the French Symphonic Organ School. An examination of counterpoint and fugue treatises by Cherubini, Dubois, and Gedalge reveals the emergence of a specific school fugue form, intended for academic purposes only, as a means to instilling discipline and honing the technical skills required in all forms of musical composition.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Mulvey, Margaret N.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Study of Idiomatic Piano Compositions During the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China

Description: This study demonstrated that the piano, a typical Western instrument, became the Chinese composer's tool for expressing the sound ideals and tone qualities that are intrinsic to Chinese music. A new musical idiom was created in these piano compositions, an idiom that combined Western compositional techniques and traditionally-based Chinese ideals.
Date: August 1991
Creator: Fan-Long, Grace (Chun Grace)
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Stylistic Evaluation of Charles Valentin Alkan's Piano Music: a Lecture Recital, together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Liszt, Schumann, and Villa-Lobos

Description: Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888), one of the great genii in music history, was widely misunderstood by his contemporaries because of his highly idiosyncratic ideas. From the perspective of the late twentieth century, his innovations can be better understood, and his music is now gaining wider appreciation. Yet, today many musicians still do not know even his name, much less his achievements. The year 1988 marks the one hundredth year since his death. In commemoration of this centennial anniversary, this thesis is presented as a plea for a greater awareness of the achievements of this important figure in the development of piano music.
Date: December 1988
Creator: Ahn, Joel, 1957-
Partner: UNT Libraries