Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
This dissertation divides into two parts. The first part illustrates certain traits of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's neo-Romantic style by analyzing a single piece, Intrada (1983) for five players. The analysis is in three main sections. The first section discusses how Zwilich's background might have influenced her post-1979 writing, particularly her interest in continuous variation through the writings of Schoenberg and her studies with Sessions, and Carter. The second section focuses on Intrada and Zwilich's use of continuous variation. This section also analyzes cyclical elements and considers various older principles of melodic and pitch recurrence while determining the form of this piece. The second section divides into three subsections that discuss the work's basic building blocks, its main divisions, and its overall formal properties. The third section briefly reflects on other striking features of the score, especially Zwilich's characteristic use of instrumentation. This last section ends by summarizing some of the ways these techniques follow the goals of neo-Romanticism. The second part is an original composition by the author for soprano, tenor, and orchestra entitled Generations. Based on a self-written text, the work is in six movements--Daybreak, Grandfather, Father, Son, Child, and Nightfall--that tells the story of four generations. The account is a loose autobiography of the writer's life. The use of individual motives for the various characters in the work forms the underlying thread that connects each movement to one another. The work has many tonal allusions and places great emphasis on emotional and programmatic themes. The thematic material also draws on various folk and hymn sources. Although not limited to one hymn quotation during each of the character movements, there is the realization of a different hymn tune in its entirety for each of these movements. These hymn quotations also serve as a connecting element.
Benner, Gerorge Albert, "Continuous Variation in Ellen Taaffe Zwilich's "Intrada", and "Generations", an Original Composition for Soprano, Tenor, and Orchestra." (1994). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 5854.