To begin with, and apart the English language, their songs are extremely melodic. I find a similar improvisational and theatrical quality in both, and, most prominently, both of them make use of very free rhythms. It is always important to find common ground in performing works from different periods — using newer and older music to show that one developed out of the other. There is a long history to this CD. Eric and I have often juxtaposed songs by Crumb and Purcell in our recital programmes. But by interspersing the songs in a certain way a story emerges.

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No downtime is expected, but site performance may be temporarily impacted. Refworks Account Login. Open Collections. UBC Theses and Dissertations. Featured Collection. Szutor, In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of therequirements for an advanced degree at the University of BritishColumbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely availablefor reference and study.

I further agree that permission forextensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may begranted by the head of my department or by his or herrepresentatives. It is understood that copying or publication ofthis thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without mywritten permission. Greenwich Village, yeah,man, go-go-go Those on the second half of the program, on the other hand, were either written withanother instrument in mind such as the fortepiano or else imply and include othermediums altogether, such as percussion ensemble and electroacoustics, While the firstgroup can be characterized as primarily harmonic and subjective in content, the secondgroup can be heard as more linear and objective.

The screws and boltsinserted between the strings inside the piano completely transform the sound of theinstrument and, in effect, place an entire percussion ensemble ttnder the control of a singleplayer. The full cycle consists of sixteen sonatas and four interludes,and is an explicit attempt to represent, in music, a gamut of stylized emotions derived fromIndian aesthetics.

Cage was introduced to the subject through his reading of the works ofthe art historian Ananda Coomaraswamy. There is, however, no indication as to how the various parts of thecycle relate specifically to these emotions. That is up to the listener to determine. Postcards was written at the request of my sister Barbara Pritchard. Originally, shehad asked for a solo piano work, but as I began writing the piece I realized that I wanted tomake use of electroacoustic timbres as well.

At the time of writing, the title referred to cities which lay in my future -- cities whichI had not yet visited. I viewed these cities in the same way in which I viewed works ofmusic written in the past -- I hoped and expected to become familiar with them sometime inmy future.

In one sense, music from the past is a snapshot of a specific musical time orera. However, cities change, and their past becomes elusive. The three movements - and their subtitles - are meant to convey the artificial ideas andimages often found in postcards. The first movement refers to the garish shopping districtsof Tokyo, and mixes vertical and horizontal presentations of limited pitch material.

An understanding of this poem istherefore vital to an appreciation of the song cycle. Chapter Two provides a detailed analysis of each movement, taking intoaccount form, motivic content, compositional procedures, musico-poetic relationsand the function of each movement within the cycle as a whole.

The analysisreveals a highly unified cycle which derives most of its musical materials fromthose presented in the first movement. The work takes as its central informingprinciple, the idea of the cyclic nature of life and death. Approach Strong Deliveress! The five principal motives 15Example 2. Crumb, nature sounds in Vocalise 1 21Example 4b. Creature noise type [] in Vocalise 1 22Example 5b.

Creature noise type [] in Vocalise 1 22Example 5c. Creature noise type [] in Vocalise 1 22Example 6. Descending minor thirds in Vocalise 2 38Example 9a. Declamatory vocalisations in Vocalise 2 43Example 9b. The reiterated use of one note 43Example Shared pitch and contours in vocal lines 46Example Reference to Mvmt. I minor chords in Mvmt. IV 47Example 12a. Reference to motives a and b as heard in Mvmt. I 54Example 12b.

The same figure echoing the rhythmic fall of words in Mvmt. I 54Example Passage in Mvmt. V modeled on one in Vocalise 2 56Example Beethoven Op.

Integers designate intervals asmeasured in semitones whereby 1 corresponds to a minor second, 6 to a tritone, etc. Rehearsal numbers in the score of Apparition will be designated by Rx, and linenumbers of the poem are given in parentheses.

Musical examples from Apparition appear by kind permission of C. PetersCorporation, Copyright by C. All Rights Reserved. I wish to express my sincerest thanks to Dr. John Roeder for his patience andinsightful guidance in the preparation of this document, and to Dr. RobertSilverman for his unflagging support and friendship throughout our many years ofassociation. Inview of this fact, the lack of critical appraisal that has attended the work is puzzling.

The workreceived its premiere on January 13, by its dedicatees, DeGaetani and pianist,Gilbert Kalish. Little in Apparition is innovative compared to the works in the Lorca cycle,which made extraordinary use of conventional instruments, and ordinary use ofunconventional and exotic instruments. In terms of his personal stylistic evolution as well,Crumb comes to Apparition with his musical vocabulary already fully formed:there is nothing in the harmonic, melodic or rhythmic content of the work thatdoes not have an earlier precedent.

Rather, the focus is on the musical materials themselves—their coherence, theirdevelopment, and their relationship to the text. The following study will seek to uncover the means by which musicalcoherence is achieved in Apparition as well as to explore the relations it sets upbetween music and text. One view of the problem is expressed by LawrenceKramer:A piece of vocal music based on a well-known poem necessarilyrisks a comparison that may make it seem expressively inferior An important text will be known in its own right, and manylisteners will have internalised it through various acts ofinterpretation..

Thecomposer, instead of being forced to clarify the content of an obscure text, is free toplay upon the common knowledge of that text and to elaborate on various aspects ofit. This is what Crumb does in Apparition. On one hand, the text that is already veryfragmentary, is subjected to additional alterations.

Crumb omits lines from certainstanzas, reorders them, and even alters the form within various stanzas when itsuits his musical purposes. On the other hand, the vital aspects of the poem-itsprincipal images and its central philosophic viewpoint—are those which informApparition as well. We shall explore some possible reasons for his selectivealterations of the text in the course of the following analysis. He expressed his own personalattitudes indirectly through a consistent set of symbols andmodulated his music in conformity to a symphonic structure.

All subsequent citations of this poemrefer to this edition and will be indicated by line numbers. My Captain! Against this emotionally turbulent backdrop,he interpreted as an omen, the appearance, throughout several nights in March, ofan unusually brilliant evening star.

While he hoped that it might be a signheralding an end to the war, he had negative presentiments about it as well, Thesewere strengthened by the fact that the star seemed to droop in the night sky before itdisappeared.

By one of thosecaprices that enter and give tinge to events without being at all apart of them, I find myself always reminded of the great tragedy of16 Ibid. It never fails. The lilac therefore embodies a contradiction: while it is a symbol ofspring and the time of birth, it also triggers memories of grief and the thought ofdeath. Aria-like sections, which expound on a particular emotion raised during thecourse of recitative-like sections which are more discursive, occur throughout thepoem.

Whitman was quite an opera enthusiast by all accounts. The overpowering grief expressed here leavesthe speaker feeling helpless and brings Section 2 to an emotional dead-end. At this point, the poet attempts to find a way out of the stalemate by abruptlyshifting his mental focus.

Section 2, where the herogrieves for the star, and Section 3, where he turns to the lilac in quietcelebration, are joined not by rational lines but by implication, thespecial logic of emotion and metaphor. Despite its delayed introduction,its function is crucial to the dramatic development of the poem. Bird images figure prominently inseveral works by Whitman. The bird makesfour appearances throughout the course of the poem, and each time it appears itspresence becomes more insistent and compelling.

In their first encounter, for example, the speaker is consumedin mourning, and although he hears the bird singing, he is not as yet aware that thebird will have something important to convey to him through its song. When headdresses the bird, he does so indirectly in an aside which attests to their distantrelations. Although itsobvious associations are with death and loss, there is little or no sense of darkness oranguish in section five, where the coffin is described travelling across the land.

Instead, we read descriptions of nature burgeoning alongside its path—one that will22 A. This characterizes the philosophic viewof death towards which the speaker is struggling to move. The dramatic structure of the poem begins to reveal itself now through theinteraction of the images which have thus far been explored in isolation. Thisprocedure pertains to Apparition as well, where the fragments of musical imageryintroduced in its first few movements begin to interact and coalesce in the latermovements.

Here, for the first time, the symbols areplaced in relation to one another and the speaker, by his gesture—the offering of lifeto the memory of the dead man-takes an initial step towards defining his ownphilosophical relation to them both. The conclusion that he reaches at this point isan interim one: it must still undergo development and change through the centralconflict of the work, which is about to emerge.

This conflict is enacted between thebird, symbolizing the philosophical acceptance of death, and the star, symbolizingpersonal attachment to grief. As noted earlier, the bird makes four appearances in the poem with less timeintervening between each entry. This foreshortening in the rhythm of the entriesserves to underscore the mounting tension in the poem.

The sheer fact that the birdis required to reappear as often as it does, shows that the experience represented byits song is not one towards which the poet can move easily. He has a great deal ofresistance to it, in the form of his attachment to his grief, but this is gradually brokendown through his experiences until he finds that he is receptive to what the bird11has to say.


Crumb, Whitman and the journey of grief

Aside from his Early Songs written in Apparition was the first of his compositions for solo voice and piano, and the first in English. The text is from Walt Whitman 's well-known poem "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," for the most part the section called "the Death Carol," in which the poet interrupts his specific mourning for the recently assassinated Abraham Lincoln to address the nature of Death. Crumb 's music is, as always oriented towards sheer sound. The idiom of the work is modern, even avant-garde, but the achingly beautiful melody line and the nimbus of shimmering, ravishing piano colors makes it a remarkably easy work to listen to. Amplification of the piano permits strange and haunting new sonorities. The opening song, "The Night in Silence Under Many a Star" begins with the player brushing across the instrument's strings, first producing a bass-heavy sound, then a strumming effect across several strings, with the dampers on some of them held up by the pedals. The sound suggests a kind of super auto-harp.


Apparition, for soprano & amplified piano

Skip to Content. And if even a musician can get a little nervous at the thought of analyzing chromatic harmony or melodic structure, think about how the casual listener might feel. At the end of the day, those are the very elements that make any piece of music enjoyable at some level to any of us. Crumb was first inspired by the profound piece when he was growing up in West Virginia. Even when he returned to the poem in his fifties, his sketches show that he struggled to find the ideal musical expression. Guiding that journey is a hermit thrush—a small songbird that Bruns says serves as an oracle throughout.



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