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Title: Britten'S Fixed Triads: Tonal Stasis And Arpeggiation In Three Of His Operas
Authors: Wadsworth, Zachary
Keywords: Benjamin Britten
Arvo Pxc3xa4rt
Tonal Stasis
Fixed Triads
Issue Date: 31-Jan-2012
Abstract: The four works included in this portfolio employ various instrumental forces, surface styles, and formal designs, all of them examining the interaction between 'text' (in all its meanings) and music. But each work approaches this broad topic in slightly different ways. Sleeping at Last is a straightforward setting of Christina Rossetti's poem of the same title. The text's air of silent repose is represented by gently undulating chromatically-in ected chords in the lower voices built over an unchanging bass note. A soprano melody, wide-ranging and expressive, oats above, eerily disconnected from the harmony below. In Pictures of the Floating World, several independent poems by Amy Lowell are formed into a cycle that examines aging, powerlessness, and loss. Thematic connections reach across the disparate texts, providing cross-movement relationships and large-scale narratives absent in the original texts. The 'texts' explored in The Muses are those of philosophical and musical history. Each movement, written as an oblation to one of the nine classical Muses, elaborates on the given Muse's domain. The musical surface of these wordless movements both embraces and confronts the 'texts' of Baroque compositional style and (modern) historically-informed performance practice. A Symphony of Glances also engages musical and poetic 'texts,' this time by layering a web of referential fragments ("glances") onto the traditionally 'absolute' fourmovement symphonic form. The movement titles are taken from poetic fragments by T. E. Hulme, whose life was tragically shortened by the First World War. These brief but elegant fragments provide a uniquely subjective frame of reference through which traditional symphonic structure can be explored. The piece also includes fragments of older symphonic works by Beethoven, Bruckner, Debussy, Respighi, Sibelius, and LutosÅ‚awski. Far from pastiche, the work incorporates these fragments into its musical fabric, utilizing them to express nostalgia for a musical form that had already begun its decline as T. E. Hulme lay dying in Flanders.
Committee Chair: Stucky, Steven Edward
Committee Member: Richards, Annette
Sierra, Roberto
Discipline: Music
Degree Name: D.M.A. of Music
Degree Level: Doctor of Musical Arts
Degree Grantor: Cornell University
No Access Until: 2017-06-01
Appears in Collections:Cornell Theses and Dissertations

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