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Title:Ralph Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony: formal structures and analyses informed by poetry
Author(s):Luethi, Dean
Director of Research:Alwes, Chester L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Alwes, Chester L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ward, Thomas R.; Coleman, Barrington; Blume, Philipp
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sea Symphony
Vaughan Williams
Choral Orchestral Repertoire
Walt Whitman
Choral Symphony
Abstract:Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony has become standard choral/orchestral repertoire. Written between 1903-1910, the premier of this work occurred during the Leeds Festival on October 12, 1910. This was largest work Vaughan Williams had composed at that time. For the text of this large work, Vaughan Williams used poetry from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Although he uses Whitman’s poetry, the selection of specific poems and omissions were decided upon by Vaughan Williams and the subject was the sea. This missive is written by a choral conductor, for the choral conductor. The aim of this paper is to provide the choral conductor with the necessary information to better prepare their chorus. Chapter one details the life of Vaughan Williams through 1910 (the year of the premier). Chapter two discusses Leaves of Grass and how it may have influenced Vaughan Williams enough to seek out text from this prolific poet. Chapters three through six discuss the four movements of the symphony in turn. Rather than analytical or historical conclusions, I discuss the form of the movements and conclude each chapter with rehearsal strategies to better able the conductor to prepare their chorus. Chapter seven includes my conclusions and appendix A lists useful warm-ups designed to extend the range of the chorus to meet the needs of Vaughan Williams’ work.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Dean Luethi
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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