Note:This scholarly essay is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of two lecture recitals related to the essay topic.

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Title:A performance guide to four pieces with Jewish and Gypsy themes by Sylvie Bodorová
Author(s):Renner, Timothy Michael Jr.
Advisor(s):Siena, Jerold
Contributor(s):Siena, Jerold; Parisi, Susan; Redman, Yvonne; Gunn, Julie
Department / Program:School of Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Czech music
Jewish music
Gypsy music
String quartet
Abstract:About thirty years into her professional career, Czech composer Sylvie Bodorová (b. 1954) turned her focus specifically toward Jewish themes for compositional inspiration. Beginning with the Terezín Ghetto Requiem, which is now perhaps her best known work, she went on to write four pieces over the next five years centered around some aspect of Jewish culture, history, liturgy, or tradition. The present essay discusses this group of compositions, with particular attention to compositional aspects and performance issues in the individual works. Chapter 1 begins with a brief biography of Sylvie Bodorová and an introduction to her compositional interests in the period 1997-2002. Chapter 2 examines the Terezín Ghetto Requiem (1997), scored for string quartet and baritone soloist, which was inspired specifically by the courage of Jews and other persecuted people who suffered in the Holocaust. At the concentration camp at Terezín (Theresienstadt), many prisoners had continued artistic pursuits while interned, some involving themselves in musical composition and staging theatrical works and concerts. One of their culminating achievements was the mounting of some twenty complete performances of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, a masterwork the Bodorová Requiem references. Chapter 3 focuses on the Bodorová song cycle for baritone entitled Ama me (1999), which celebrates maternal love. While no Jewish themes are present in its three songs, the influence of Gypsy music, which bears much in common with Jewish music, affects Bodorová’s style in this work. Chapter 4 discusses another string quartet, Shofarot (2000), in which Bodorová revisited elements of Jewish liturgy. In its three movements, the composer reimagines the various calls of the shofar through the medium of stringed instruments. Chapter 5 considers the piano trio Megiddo (2001), a composition of a very programmatic nature, with each movement evoking images of Israeli geography or Jewish tradition relating to the Jezreel Valley. Finally, the Conclusion places these compositions in a larger perspective, drawing in part on Bodorová’s own statements about the influence of Jewish and Gypsy themes in her music.
Issue Date:2018
Publisher:School of Music, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Timothy Michael Renner Jr.
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-22

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