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Title:Textual-musical relationships in three choral works by Dominick Argento: Walden Pond, The Vision and Sonnet LXIV (In Memoriam 9/11/01)
Author(s):Hughes, Richard Daniel, Jr.
Director of Research:Stoltzfus, Fred
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Stoltzfus, Fred
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Coleman, Barrington; Taylor, Stephen A.; Ward, Thomas R.
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Dominick Argento
Textual-Musical Relationships
Choral Music
Walden Pond
The Vision
Sonnet LXIV
Abstract:Dominick Argento was born on October 27, 1927 in York, Pennsylvania. His oeuvre consists of works in every significant twentieth-century genre, but he is best known for his vocal compositions, in particular for his operas and song cycles. Though Argento’s renown can be attributed chiefly to his work in the two aforementioned genres, his twenty-seven choral works comprise the largest portion of his output. These works, both acappella and accompanied, vary in length from short motets and secular pieces to longer, multi-movement works for chorus and orchestra. In fact, since composing his last opera in 1993, The Dream of Valentino, Argento has composed fifteen choral works, more than half of his total output in that genre. Argento’s affinity for the voice and for the texts he chooses to set relate fundamentally to his compositional philosophy and process. One fact is clear: Argento sees the text as paramount, and his role as a composer is to interpret its meaning and subtext. Most aspects of Argento’s compositional style are aimed toward clearly and effectively communicating the text and subtext. This document focuses on textual-musical relationships in three later choral works, Walden Pond, The Vision and Sonnet No. LXIV (In memoriam 9/11/01), exploring the musical elements of form, melody and harmony in order to better understand how Argento’s different approaches to the “matter” of text in each piece are reflected in the “manner” of his compositional solutions. Chapters two, eight and ten present details surrounding the historical background and textual material for each of the three choral works featured in this document. The remaining chapters focus on Argento’s music, particularly in regard to his approach to pitch, through exploration of his melodic and harmonic language. Chapters three through seven examine the language of pitch in the five movements of Walden Pond,while chapters nine and eleven address the same in The Vision and Sonnet No. LXIV (In Memoriam 9/11/01). These chapters also discuss the composer’s approach to form, in particular as it relates to these parameters of pitch. All analysis and related discussion serves to illuminate the textual-musical relationships inherent in each work, and to show how all the musical materials that constitute each selection are reconciled through their relationships to the selected texts. The appendixes, in addition to providing the bibliography, complete works list and material which supplement the different chapters, feature several interviews with the individuals closely associated with these three specific works, including Dominick Argento, Dale Warland, Elizabeth Patterson and Philip Brunelle.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Richard Daniel Hughes, Jr., musical examples from Walden Pond, The Vision and Sonnet LXIV are copywright by Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. and reprinted by permission.
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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