Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
This dissertation consists of two parts. The first part is an original composition by the author entitled "Brothers and Sisters." The orchestra piece is an expressive program symphony in three movements. The first movement features sections of driving rhythms and fluctuating meters. Two new sections, more reflective and stable in nature, offset the more volatile sections. Herein lie moments of steady and unchanging rhythms and a sense of constancy. The movement ends with a return of the furious instability heard in the previous sections. Unlike the first movement, the second begins with a more somber mood. The introduction exposes the lower registers of the orchestra, providing more solo passages and instrumental pairings. Toward the end of the movement, a poignant quote of the first movement reminds the listener of the instability previously heard in the piece, and the final section exposes the upper registers in the orchestra. The third movement contains a highly rhythmic introduction in the percussion. Pensive sections echo motives in the first and second movements. The finale alludes to the instability heard in the first movement. The driving rhythms finally give way to melancholy and apathy. Still, an echo of the second movement gives the listener a hopeful ending rather than a sorrowful one. The second part of the dissertation explores Libby Larsen’s Songs from Letters: Calamity Jane to her daughter Janey, 1880-1902. Before discussing the original version of the piece, a brief history of Calamity Jane’s life and legend is described. Additionally, the text, which Larsen fashions from an edited compilation of Calamity’s letters, provides much explanation about Calamity Jane as a person. The analysis portion describes how Larsen reuses motives. She combines portions of motives and transforms them to present new motives where she redefines their function. In the orchestrated version of Songs from Letters, Larsen enhances the narrative further. She uses several orchestral techniques and colors to enhance the beauty and sadness of Calamity’s words. Through the use of characterization, the flute and clarinet provide a representation of Calamity and Bill, respectively. The characterization offers a subconscious view of Calamity’s nature.
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Mitternight, Andrea J., "An original work: "Brothers and Sisters" and Songs from Letters by Libby Larsen : an analysis" (2004). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 3738.
Stephen David Beck