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The Influence of Renaissance Music in Ernst Krenek's Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae

Description: Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae, Opus 68, composed by Ernst Krenek in 1941, is a musical work that is difficult to analyze and classify due to its fusion of contrasting musical styles. The pervasive dissonance of the work shows its modern twelve-tone organization, yet other aspects more closely resemble the sacred music of the early Renaissance. Analysis of Lamentatio solely in terms of the atonal twelve-tone system belies the work's full complexity and range of expression. While the twelve-tone system is the basis for the organization of the work, Krenek radically modifies the system to allow for more possible combinations of tones through an innovative technique he calls "rotation." The primary objective of this study is to consider the influence of early Renaissance sacred music, particularly that of Johannes Ockeghem, on certain aspects of Lamentatio, including the text, pitch organization, form and structure, rhythm and meter, and expressive markings. The study reveals that though the pitch organization is based on the twelve-tone system, Krenek uses the increased flexibility granted by his rotation technique to create implications of the modal system of the Renaissance. In the other aspects considered, the music of Lamentatio also bears clear Renaissance influences. A thorough understanding of these earlier influences in Lamentatio will influence both future performances and written characterizations of this enigmatic work.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Wirths, Jeremy R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

John Harbison's The Flight into Egypt: An Analysis for Performance

Description: John Harbison's status as a significant contemporary American composer is confirmed by his numerous appointments, honorary degrees, and awards. He is the recipient of nearly every major composition award, with works performed by major orchestras and in important opera houses spanning the world. This paper examines in detail Harbison's most acclaimed choral work, the 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flight into Egypt. This study of the score is a "conductor's analysis," offering a musical guide for the conductor who seeks to perform this work. To provide a context for the discussion, Chapter 1 offers a brief biographical sketch of Harbison's life and career. Chapter 2 provides the analysis of the work and includes a history from commission to premier, a discussion of Harbison's selection of text, and an examination of the pitch organization which informs the piece. In Chapter 3, I present important rehearsal and performance implications to consider when undertaking a performance of the work. Interviews with two well-regarded conductors who have performed The Flight into Egypt, David Hoose and Patrick Gardner, and the composer himself, provide valuable insight into this discourse.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Galante, Brian Edward
Partner: UNT Libraries

Increasing glottal closure in an untrained male chorus by integrating historical, scientific, and clinical practice into choral voice building exercises

Description: An examination of the historical treatises of Manuel Garcia II and Giambattista Mancini, scientific studies pertaining to glottal closure, and Vocal Function Exercises used in clinical speech pathology led to an exploratory study that attempted to increase the glottal closure in an untrained university male chorus using only choral voice building exercises. The exploratory study used a single group, pre-test post-test design, and data was recorded using audio recordings of the entire chorus as well as electroglottograph measurements of individual subjects. The data show an increase in glottal closure as measured by closed quotient values, and an increase in energy in the upper partials of the recorded acoustic signal from the chorus.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Cottrell, Duane Coles
Partner: UNT Libraries

Minimalism, Exoticism, and Alternatim in Tarik O’Regan’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis and The Ecstasies Above

Description: Abstract British composer Tarik Hamilton O’Regan is a significant choral composer of the early twenty-first century. O’Regan’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis and The Ecstasies Above exhibit two notable compositional techniques: minimalism influenced by Steve Reich and exoticism representing Balinese gamelan and Andalusian music. Additionally, Reich joins the technique of minimalism with the Renaissance practice of alternatim. The examination of these works will demonstrate the application of these two compositional techniques and how he integrates them into a textural context to evoke specific historical and cultural practices. Furthermore, this study will provide guidelines for researching and performing O’Regan’s choral works by explaining O’Regan’s stylistic characteristics.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Choi, Sangyun
Partner: UNT Libraries

Alberto Grau: The Composer, Selected Works, and Influence upon the Venezuelan and International Choral Community

Description: Alberto Grau is arguably one of the most influential contemporary Venezuelan choral composers and conductors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This thesis explores the synthesis of Venezuelan nationalism with global internationalism found within his works. As a student of the nationalistic generation of composers (Vicente Emilio Sojo, Juan Bautista Plaza, and Ángel Sauce) Grau's works display the distinct characteristics found in Venezuelan music. His output also exhibits international influences, using texts associated with social and environmental events and concerns including literary and musical influences of other nations and cultures. The first section of the thesis traces the lineage of Venezuelan choral composers beginning with the colonial period and the Escuela de Chacao to the nationalistic composers from the Santa Capilla generation. The second section describes Alberto Grau's compositional style as exemplified in his work Kasar mie la gaji (The Earth is Tired). The final section of the document comprises interviews with Alberto Grau and his wife, the Venezuelan choral conductor, María Guinand. Guinand studied piano and conducting with Alberto Grau and was his assistant at the Orfeón Universitario Simón Bolívar and the Schola Cantorum de Caracas. She is the founding conductor of the Cantoría Alberto Grau and the editor of the Latin American division of Earthsongs Music. Through interviews and analysis this project informa the reader about the life and compositions of Venezuelan choral composer and conductor Alberto Grau.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Yu, Julie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ancient Musical Ideas Through a Twenty-First Century Lens: An Examination of Tarik O’Regan’s Scattered Rhymes and Its Relationship to Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Notre Dame

Description: British composer Tarik Hamilton O’Regan (b. 1978, London) is earning a reputation as an important composer of today. The innovative works of O’Regan are entering the spectrum of professional, educational, and community performing organizations across the United States and Europe. Scattered Rhymes’ intricate melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic relationships with Messe de Notre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300-1377) make an examination and comparison of the two works significant. Analyzing Scattered Rhymes by tracing its roots to Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Notre Dame, results in a renewed interest in this ancient work and brings prominence to Tarik O’Regan’s modern musical interpretation of ancient ideas. Understanding Scattered Rhymes as a work based on ideas from the fourteenth century in fusion with compositional concepts rooted in the modern era promotes Scattered Rhymes as one that is valuable in the current musical landscape.
Date: August 2011
Creator: LaBarr, Cameron Frederick
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Choral Works of Robert Ward: A View of His Compositional Approach to Text Settings and His Use of Symbols and Allusions

Description: Robert Eugene Ward's impressive body of work encompasses almost every genre of music. He has composed symphonies, operas, large orchestral pieces, chamber works, solo instrumental pieces, extended choral works, short choral pieces, ceremonial works, a ballet, theatre pieces, and even jazz and swing band pieces. Ward's name is recognized in most musical circles but usually only for his opera The Crucible, a work for which he earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1962. In fact, a survey of all the dissertations, articles, interviews, and books written about Robert Ward shows that the vast majority of these studies focus on his most famous opera. His choral works, though they comprise some of Ward's most expressive work, have received little attention. Ward's works show a deliberate use of symbols and allusions. While this use is far from an innovative concept in composition, Ward distinguishes himself with a consistent and purposeful application of these devices establishing an unmistakable interweaving of text, composition, and context. This study examines several of Ward's short choral compositions as they relate to the composer's use of symbols and allusions. Comparisons are made to Ward's use of these devices in his operatic works as a means of determining the consistency of their use throughout his vocal works. Chapter 1 looks at the composer's background, influence, and experience as to their impact on his approach to composition. Chapter 2 lays the groundwork for the discussion of symbols and allusions in music by establishing their basis and function in literary arts in general. The final chapter explores Ward's use of symbols and allusions in four of his choral works.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Tucker, Carlton S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Chen Yi and Her Choral Music: A Study of the Composer's Ideal of Fusing Chinese Music and Modern Western Choral Traditions

Description: Chen Yi's music is well accepted and recognized nationally and internationally through an increasing number of commissions and performances. Major symphony orchestras, choruses, institutions and companies request her compositions on many occasions in order to increase understanding and exploration of Chinese influences on western classical idioms. This study provides the first detailed discussion of her compositional mastery and her fusion of Chinese music with the language of western choral traditions. Chen Yi's reputation as a prominent orchestral composer does not restrain her passion to apply instrumental techniques and materials to her quality choral compositions. This study focuses on (1) how hardship and various life experiences during the ten-year Cultural Revolution shaped Chen Yi's musical inspirations; (2) how the influences of major musical genres, such as traditional Chinese folksong, jingju, model play, 19th-20th century nationalism, impressionism, and serialism are consolidated in her kaleidoscopic compositional techniques; and (3) the application of Chinese languages, pedagogical concepts, and extra-musical elements, such as Chinese poems, paintings, and calligraphies, revealed in her original, intelligent and resourceful choral creations.
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Date: December 2006
Creator: Yeung, Hin-Kei
Partner: UNT Libraries

Overview of America's Professional Choirs: Considerations for Establishing, Maintaining and Succeeding in the Creation of a Professional or Community Choir in the United States

Description: This document chronicles the history, development, process, and impact of three of the United States' first and most successful professional choirs. Representing the impact of these three choirs demonstrates a need for current professional or community choirs today. Four conductors of current professional and community choirs were interviewed and discussed elements for establishing, maintaining and succeeding in creating of a professional or community choir in the United States today. This document impresses the importance and considerations for a successful endeavor when establishing a professional or community choir.
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Date: December 2006
Creator: Oppenheim, Joshua J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Intertextualization: An historical and contextual study of the battle villancico, El más augusto campeón.

Description: This document addresses the cultural and significance of the battle villancico, El más augusto campeón, and its historical, social, and musical contexts within the villancico genre of the Latin American Baroque. This study focuses on the villancico, El más augusto campeón, and explores the possible origins of the text and its relevance to the political and social structure of Cuzco's San Antonio Abad Seminary. Other areas of investigation are the musical analysis of the score and performance practice issues that surface when making choices as a conductor. Considering the seminal position villancicos held in the catechization of the Incans, in part due to their popular nature, the study of a representative example of this significant genre lends further insight into how important the villancico was to the ordinary and feast services of Peruvian (and, by association, Latin American) churches. While within the villancico's textual and musical structure one reads the obvious reflection of peninsular Spanish Catholic culture, its application to the criollo subculture carries an even more striking relevance.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Farris, Daniel
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analysis of Selected Choral Works by Kirke Mechem: Music-Textual Relationships in Settings of Poetry of Sara Teasdale

Description: Kirke Mechem (b. 1925), American composer, has a musical output which includes a variety of genres, the most prolific being choral music. This document examines selected choral works by Mechem that are set to the poetry of Sara Teasdale (b. 1884, d. 1933). Included are biographical sketches of Mechem and Teasdale. Selected choral works examined include Christmas Carol (1969) SATB and guitar, The Winds of May, five movement choral cycle (1965) SATB, Birds at Dusk, from the choral cycle Winging Wildly (1998) SATB, and Barter (1995) SA, trumpet, piano 4-hands. Analysis of the poetry involved as well as musical attributes and compositional techniques, including meter, form, harmonic structures, wordpainting, rhythmic treatment and melodic characteristics are included in the discussion.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Bierschenk, Jerome Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Stabat Mater by Frank Ferko, A Mosaic of Mourning: The Universality of Mothers' Grief, Ancient Texts Made Relevant by the Addition of English Interpolations

Description: This document examines Frank Ferko's unique setting of the ancient Latin sequence, Stabat Mater that incorporates five English interpolations dealing with the subject of parental grief over the loss of a child. The twenty Latin stanzas and five English interpolations are examined harmonically and philosophically, as two separate works. The tonal architecture of the work, outlined in two large arches built on key relationships, is explored in the body of the paper in addition to a graphic depiction and table of key centers. The interrelationship between key centers and textual considerations is examined. An extensive interview with the composer provided invaluable information regarding the creative process as it relates to the choice of English texts, compositional techniques and influences, and the stylistic musical diversity that characterizes the work. Three prominent American conductors, who have conducted significant performances Stabat Mater discussed specific problems and solutions in preparing and performing the work. Data pertaining to Stabat Mater history and other settings was gathered from reference materials, periodicals, and internet sources.
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Date: May 2006
Creator: Wilson, Barbara Sue Johnston
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Performance Guide to Heejo Kim's Choral Arrangements Based on Traditional Korean Folk Tunes and Rhythmic Patterns

Description: Heejo Kim (1920-2001) is one of the most prominent Korean composers of the twentieth century. He is primarily known for his works that incorporate aspects of traditional Korean music. However, at the same time, his efforts in choral arrangements, especially of Korean folk tunes are highly acclaimed by professional choirs and conductors. The purpose of this study is to provide performance guidance on Heejo Kim's choral work, Bat-no-rae, by presenting his biographical background, discussing the use of traditional Korean rhythmic patterns (Jangdan) and modes, and the appropriate application of traditional ornamentations.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Yi, Chung-han
Partner: UNT Libraries

Mass for AILM by Geonyong Lee: The Composer and the Elements of Asian Music

Description: Geonyong Lee, the composer of Mass for AILM, is a well-known composer in Asia whose main interest lies in choral music. He has composed numerous choral works which are highly diverse in their nature. This study introduces the choral composer Geonyong Lee to the West. The significance of Geonyong Lee's Mass for AILM is the display of Asian inflection in a traditional setting of the mass ordinary. Lee's Mass for AILM employs melodic and rhythmic aspects of traditional Philippine folk songs, a Japanese mode, traditional Korean music, and various Asian percussion instruments. This study explicates these Asian influences and how Lee utilized them in his Mass for AILM.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Kim, Hong Soo
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Approach to the Critical Evaluation of Settings of the Poetry of Walt Whitman: Lowell Liebermann's Symphony No. 2

Description: Walt Whitman's poetry continues to inspire composers of choral music, and the growing collection of musical settings necessitates development of a standard evaluative tool. Critical evaluation of the musical settings of Whitman's work is difficult because the extensive body of verse is complex and of uneven quality, and lack of common text among compositions makes comparison problematical. The diversity of musical styles involved further complicates the issue. Previous studies have focused on either ideology or style, but none have united the two critical approaches, thus restricting potential for deeper understanding of the music. This study proposes an approach to critical evaluation of Whitman settings that applies hermeneutics, or a blend of analysis and criticism, to the process. The hermeneutic approach includes an examination of the interrelationship between musical form and style and the composer's ideology, which is revealed through his/her treatment of Whitman's poetry and analyzed in light of cultural influences. Lowell Liebermann (b. 1961) has composed a large scale choral/orchestral setting of Whitman texts in his Symphony No. 2, opus 67 (1999). The selection, placement, and treatment of poetry in Symphony No. 2 provide a window into the composer's mind and his place in the current musical climate. Liebermann's setting reveals his interest in Whitman's search for spirituality and the human spirit's transcendence over time and space. His understanding of Whitman is filtered through a postmodern cynicism, which he seeks to remedy with his nostalgic neo-Romantic style. Chapter One provides an introduction to Whitman's life and examination of his poetry's themes, style, and reception. Chapter Two outlines issues relevant to criticism of Whitman settings and proposes an approach to critical analysis. Chapter Three applies the critical method to Liebermann's Second Symphony, drawing conclusions about its place in contemporary culture.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Kenaston, Karen S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Then Svenska Messan by Johan Helmich Roman: A Study of Text Setting

Description: This document includes a brief biography of Johan Helmich Roman, a discussion about the two most important manuscripts of Then Svenska Messan, or The Swedish Mass, and a discussion concerning the circumstances of the first performance of this work. Roman was a prolific composer of instrumental works for various ensembles and solo instruments. He wrote a smaller amount of vocal music and even less choral music; however, most of his music for choirs, vocal ensembles, and vocal soloists featured the Swedish language. The composer advocated the establishment of uniform rules of Swedish spelling and grammar. He also sought to develop and expand the genre of Church music in the Swedish vernacular. This document focuses on the composer's attention to the nature of the Swedish language when setting the text.
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Date: December 2005
Creator: Lindström, G. Mikael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Choral Resonance: Re-Examining Concepts of Tone and Unification.

Description: Resonant singing creates possibilities with dynamic shading, subtlety of phrasing, and rich vibrant tone that astonishes listeners. Choral singing that employs resonance as a fundamental ensemble virtue yields impressive results that lend themselves well to the varying demands of any choral score. Fortunately, choruses of every level can benefit from an increased understanding of the basic principles of resonance in the singing voice. Research on issues of upper partial energy and the presence of the singer's formant in a choral ensemble has been limited in approach. Many published studies regarding upper partial energy in the choral ensemble are based on what the ensemble is already doing, which is linked to the teaching of that specific director and that specific choir. Research must include a wider range of aesthetic choices with regard to choral unification. Through examining spectrograms that represent the sound of some of the most renowned choirs, it is possible to see that many of these ensembles are producing tone that contains a high level of upper formant energy. Interviews with established conductors reveal approaches and teaching methodologies that reinforce this type of singing. It is possible to teach the individuals in a choir to increase the level of resonance in their voices, creating a collective sound containing a vibrancy that is easier to tune and unify. This paper explores resonance in choral singing by first explaining the basic principles of sound production, then defining a resonant tone as one containing the strong presence in the upper partials generally associated with classically trained singers, and finally discussing how this type of resonance is developed in choirs.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Quist, Amanda Renee
Partner: UNT Libraries

Britten’s Op 47, Five Flower Songs: Breaking Trends in Analysis

Description: Benjamin Britten’s life and music have been the subject of study from early in his musical career. Current trends in psychological analysis of Britten’s music tend to focus on common themes, such as homosexuality, pacifism, the sense of the outsider, and the loss of innocence. Similarly, theoretical analyses tend either to provide general categorizations of the technical elements in Britten’s music or to apply a singular preconceived concept as a tool for understanding his compositions. These approaches have yielded significant information but leave aspects of Britten’s personality and music unilluminated. Britten’s Op. 47, Five Flower Songs, are a collection of five part songs for a cappella chorus that are often included within the canon of 20th century choral literature. This paper examines a new perspective on Britten’s music by examining the relationship between Britten’s friendships and their influence on his compositions. Through the examination of these relationships information is revealed that allows for a new method of analysis that is particularly relevant to the Five Flower Songs. The opus was dedicated to two botanists for the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary. Contained within specific movements are extra-musical references to scientific characteristics of the flowers that are the subjects of the texts. By examining this work and important connections between other friendships and his compositional output this paper demonstrates the validity of this perspective in analyzing Britten’s life and music.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Jackson, Christopher Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

James Macmillan’s St John Passion: the Role of Celtic Folk Idioms and the Reproaches

Description: In 1829, Passion settings entered the secular concert hall with Felix Mendelssohn’s revival of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Berlin. The genre has fallen in and out of favor with composers because of the subject matter and Bach’s prominence in the setting. James MacMillan’s St. John Passion has established itself as one of the preeminent modern passion settings by manipulating past idioms such as chant, chorales, and other popular passion conventions in concert with his use of Celtic folk idioms. He creates a passion experience that strives for a spiritually Catholic influence. This approach has earned praise and harsh criticism. MacMillan’s unique use of keening and the drone offers a uniquely Scottish passion that allows for Jesus’ crucifixion to be more poignant to the intended initial audience. In addition to his use of Celtic folk idioms, MacMillan uses added text; most central to this paper is The Reproaches. Movement eight (The Reproaches) is the emotional and musical climax of the work. This inclusion of text has shifted the climax, namely Jesus’s death and burial, to moments before his death. In addition, the value of the work as a liturgical work is lost by the inclusion of these texts, but a religious and spiritual essence remain.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Frank, Nathan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Music of the Spheres: Astronomy and Shamanism in the Music of Urmas Sisask

Description: In 1619, Johannes Kepler published his magnum opus Harmonices mundi in which the astronomer derived distinct pitches and scales for each known planet in the solar system from calculations of various aspects of their orbital motions. This was the first theoretical realization of the ancient tradition of musica universalis (also called musica mundana), or music of the celestial bodies. It was not until the Estonian composer Urmas Sisask (b. 1960) began his compositional career by deriving his own “planetary scale,” however, that the theoretical musica universalis came into audible existence. Sisask’s work represents a distinctive musical voice among today’s choral composers, and although he is steadily gaining attention for his unique compositional style, only limited information exists about the specifics of his background, his interest in astronomy and shamanism, and the subsequent influence these interests have had on his choral music. At once traditional and modern, he bridges the gap between ancient Estonian folk song and the present. Through an application of exotic techniques including extreme repetition, ritualistically driving rhythms and sudden changes in timbre and texture; coupled with his own peculiarly crafted “planetary scale,” Urmas Sisask has created a completely unique body of work which is examined in this study by looking at representative works from his choral oeuvre including Gloria Patri…24 hymns for mixed choir, Magnificat, Ave Sol, and Benedictio.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Edmonds, David Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

From Ritual to Art in the Puritan Music of Colonial New England: the Anthems of William Billings

Description: The manner in which Billings’s music contrasts with the Puritan musical ideal clearly demonstrates his role in the transition from ritual to art in the music of eighteenth-century New England. The tenets of Puritan worship included the restriction that music should serve primarily as a form of communal prayer for the congregation and in a secondary capacity to assist in biblical instruction. Billings’s stylistic independence from Puritan orthodoxy began with a differing ideology concerning the purpose of music: whereas Calvin believed music merely provided a means for the communal deliverance of biblical text, Billings recognized music for its inherent aesthetic worth. Billings’s shift away from the Puritan musical heritage occurred simultaneously with considerable change in New England in the last three decades of the eighteenth century. A number of Billings’s works depict the events of the Revolutionary War, frequently adapting scriptural texts for nationalistic purposes. The composition of occasional works to commemorate religious and civic events reflects both the increase in society’s approval of choral music beyond its nominal use in worship, both in singing schools and in choirs. With his newfound independence from Puritan ritual, Billings seems to have declared himself one of the United States of America’s first musical artists.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Dill, Patrick W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Korean Traditional Elements and Contemporary Compositional Techniques in Hyowon Woo’s Choral Music As Reflected in Gloria

Description: Among native Korean choral composers, Hyowon Woo has emerged as one of the most significant representatives of choral genre, both in Korea and internationally. She has created a new style of choral music that combines traditional Korean musical elements with contemporary Western compositional techniques, in a synthesis that generates new sonorities and effects. Her choral music falls into three basic categories: music employing direct quotation of Korean folk tunes or other elements, which produce typical Korean sonorities; music using Western practices, which produce modern and Western flavors; and music combining Korean traditional methods with modern Western concepts. Hyowon Woo’s unique contribution to contemporary Korean choral music is ideally represented by her Gloria, which will form the basis for this study. Because traditional Korean music culture has such a strong presence and influence on her choral compositions, detailed knowledge of these elements are essential for the study and performance of her work. The combination of traditional Korean music and Western contemporary techniques lies at the core of her compositional style, and is the principal focus of this study. A detailed understanding of these stylistic elements, both Korean and Western, and how they work together to achieve the composer’s purpose and vision, is vital to achieving an informed performance of this work. This study is intended to supply the conductor these needed tools and to add to the small but growing body of literature related to the performance practice not only of Woo’s significant body of choral compositions, but of Korean choral music in general.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Chang, Yoonchung
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Choral Music of Ola Gjeilo: a New Vision of the Choral Instrument in the 21St Century

Description: The choral music of Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo (pronounced “yay-loh”) is gaining international acclaim and is widely performed and commissioned by prominent high school, university, and professional choirs. It represents a philosophical approach and vision of the choral instrument for which the conductor must have a clear understanding in order to prepare a meaningful performance. in particular, his music merges diverse musical influences, which results in a product of unique character among choral compositions in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Gjeilo draws inspiration from a text but then uses its sonic qualities (the sounds of vowels and consonants) to create an atmosphere of sound instead of following the traditions in choral and vocal music of using musical mechanisms (melody, rhythm, and harmony) to reinforce the text poetically. This study provides an overview of Gjeilo’s background, in Chapter 1, and discusses its influence on his compositional philosophy. Chapter 2 contains musical examples from selected works, which are used to illuminate unique attributes found in Gjeilo’s music. Chapter 3 presents important implications to consider aiding choral conductors in their preparation of future performances of Gjeilo’s music.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Schmidt, Brian A.
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