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Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis.

Description: Robert Schumann's dramatic music remains, for the most part, undiscovered and therefore performed infrequently. Genoveva, Das Paradies und die Peri, Manfred, and Scenen aus Goethes Faust are comprised of some of Schumann's most beautiful music from his last stylistic period. Schumann envisioned a national German opera that had a complete union of text and music and a plot based upon the supernatural and mythical German legends. His lofty aspiration was to raise the dramatic music of his time to the high standards of the literary culture. Composing dramatic music for Goethe's Faust was a challenging endeavor for Schumann. Scenen aus Goethes Faust was a project that he struggled with from 1844-1853 because of both the text and the grand scale of the piece. One purpose of an analysis of the structure and content of Schumann's Scenen aus Goethes Faust and Goethe's poetry is to facilitate the solo vocal performer's interpretation. Utilizing selected scenes from Scenen aus Goethes Faust; "Scene im Garten" from Part I, "Sonnenaufgang," and "Mitternacht" from Part II and "Hier ist die Aussicht frei" from Part III, this research paper will define important recurring musical motives, assess Schumann's usage of contrasting vocal genres and their relationship to the unfolding drama, explore important vocal performance issues for the baritone and soprano soloists and investigate the manner in which Schumann uses the orchestra to depict and communicate the meaning of Goethe's text. Schumann's method of setting Goethe's text will also be examined, as the ability to comprehend the poetic text was of primary importance.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Paoletti Jr., Karl
Partner: UNT Libraries

Revisioning a Masterpiece: Jon Magnussen’s “Psalm”

Description: In 2001, composer Jon Magnussen met the unusual challenge of unifying his new score for Psalm, an already-existing dance work from 1967, with the original artistic conceit of the choreographer, José Limón, who died in 1972. Limón was inspired directly by his reading of André Schwartz-Bart’s Holocaust novel, The Last of the Just, and had initially desired to use Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms as the score for the dance. Faced with cost-preclusive licensing fees for the Stravinksy, Limón engaged Eugene Lester to compose a score for Psalm. The Lester score, now lost, served the work for only a brief time, when the piece fell out of the repertory. When approached to create a new score for the extant dance work, Magnussen chose to draw his own influence from three works: the dance itself, Schwartz-Bart’s novel, and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. In addition, Limón Company Artistic Director Carla Maxwell served as Magnussen’s collaborator in reworking Psalm to resemble the work she believed Limón had desired all along. Magnussen’s influence from Stravinsky and Schwartz-Bart are revealed in the choices of text, the scored forces, and melodic ideas generated by the composer by mapping the names of significant Holocaust sites onto scalar patterns. Limón’s memoir, personal articles, and sketches of artistic ideas along with personal interviews with Magnussen and Maxwell will inform my research. These sources easily establish Magnussen as a significant composer, and Psalm as a significant work of art; its value is reflected in the careful confluence of the artistic contributions of three significant artists, Limón, Schwartz-Bart, and Magnussen.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Burnett, Jason
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Influence of Indigenous Bushmen Musical Elements and Significant Compositional Traits on Niel Van Der Watt’s Song Cycle, Die Wind Dreun Soos ‘N Ghoera, ‘N Siklus Boesman-mites

Description: In Ghoera, Afrika-verse vir kinders, poet Hennie Aucamp demonstrates an affiliation with and reflection of his surroundings, such as the tribal communities he experienced as a child. This group of African children’s poems, published by Protea Boekhuis in 2011, became the source of inspiration for composer Niel van der Watt’s song cycle Die wind dreun soos ‘n ghoera, ‘n Siklus Boesman-mites. This study investigates and identifies significant compositional traits that contributed to van der Watt’s song cycle. To explore and understand the nature of such influences, the second chapter considers the composer’s early childhood; religious world views; student life; social, environmental, and political ideas; personal tonal language; and western musical elements. To ascertain possible indigenous Bushmen musical elements in van der Watt’s song cycle, the third chapter traces the history of the Bushmen and their marginalization, followed by a brief survey of historical writings on Bushmen music, and an identification process utilizing musicologist Percival R. Kirby’s research on Bushmen music as a foundation. The fourth chapter explores the origins of the cycle and other significant compositional influences. This study suggests that Hennie Aucamp’s poetry and Niel van der Watt’s song cycle represent a reconciling vehicle for cross-cultural understanding generating awareness and greater appreciation of the life, myths, oral traditions, and the music of the Bushmen.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Bester, Christiaan
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Performer's Analysis of Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Wedding Night

Description: Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Wedding Night is the least explored of his artistic output. A monodrama in one act for soprano, Miss Havisham's Wedding Night contains some of Argento's most beautiful and challenging music of his compositional output. The purpose of a detailed analysis of the structure and content of Argento's Miss Havisham's Wedding Night is to facilitate the solo vocal performer's interpretation. Argento's setting of Miss Havisham's Wedding Night is unique in that he musically translates the manic psychological state of the literary character. Argento structured the one act opera in such a manner that the music would illuminate the text and the audience might connect with the unstable psychological episodes and outbursts demonstrated by Miss Havisham. To that end, each section and phrase has its own psychological motivation, which in turn demands a varied musical and dramatic interpretation. Utilizing selected scenes from Miss Havisham's Wedding Night, the researcher will analyze Argento's musical manifestation of Dickens's literary work. This research will include an investigation into the manner in which Argento uses the shape of melody and the musical phrase along with the harmonic materials to enhance the text and dramatic content. The author will explore the musical nuances Argento incorporates in an effort to develop and portray Miss Havisham's psychological state. Through an analysis of the orchestral writing the author will show how Argento's aesthetic balance between the music and text represents the emotional and psychological implications of the monodrama.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Mott, Jammieca D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Wedding Ceremony: Processional, Kyrie, Alleluia!, Hosanna!, Recessional

Description: A Wedding Ceremony is a composition of approximately 17 minutes in duration and is scored for horn in F, two trumpets in B-flat, trombone, two percussionists (timpani, roto toms, chimes, snare, triangle, suspended cymbal), 2-part boys choir, female soprano, and organ. The work consists of five parts of a mass, the Processional, Kyrie, Alleluia!, Hosanna!, and Recessional, with texted sections being taken from the Latin mass. The work is intended for a sacred wedding service of any denomination. The work was composed with the traditional aspects of the Latin mass in combination with a contemporary setting.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Cieminski, Theresa
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Performer's Analysis of Maurice Ravel's Chansons madécasses: A Lecture Recital, Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of B. Britten, R. Schumann, S. Barber, T. Pasatieri, F. Poulenc, G. Verdi, T. Arne, and Others

Description: In his song cycle, Chansons madécasses (1926), a chamber work for voice, piano, flute, and cello, Maurice Ravel combines twentieth-century musical experimentation and exoticism with the late nineteenth-century style characteristics present in the vocal elements and instrumentation. Because early twentieth-century music appears to be closely connected to modern concerns, performers may tend to dismiss the style and technique of the early twentieth century as simply "old-fashioned" rather than examine and consider those elements as resources and valuable tools for interpreting and presenting authentic performances. The focus of this research includes a discussion of the historical, social, and textual implications of the music and poetry; a formal musical analysis of the work, including comparisons of an early twentieth-century, mid-century, and late twentieth-century recordings with regard to the use of vibrato and portamento in the voice, cello, and flute; and an examination of Chansons madécasses for elements of authentic Malagasy music and poetry. The paper also suggests methodologies for performance practice which reflect the results of these analyses. The beginnings of the rejection of traditional form - harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic structures - found in the early part of the century began to free composers and performers to explore musical presentations that gain their power not only from startling and unexpected elements of exoticism and interpretation but also from their romantic roots, which spurred the desire for a raw, even melodramatic, emotionalism. Ravel, without sacrificing the integrity of his native language, is able to blend his text with his accompaniment in a way that uses both the poem and the music to advance the "plot" and emotion of the narration, producing what might be described as a near perfect union of form and theme, structure and idea.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Ellis, Diana Lea
Partner: UNT Libraries