The Place at One Remove: Locating an Opera

Alan Lawrence (2011). The Place at One Remove: Locating an Opera PhD Thesis, School of Music, The University of Queensland.

       
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Hoop.mp3 Hoop.mp3 Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/mpeg 50.45MB 2
Marteaux_suspendus.mp3 Marteaux_suspendus.mp3 Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/mpeg 8.01MB 1
Score1_The_Hoop_of_the_World.pdf The Hoop of the World (score) Click to show the corresponding preview/stream application/pdf 2.69MB 4
Score2_Marteaux_suspendus.pdf Marteaux suspendus (score) Click to show the corresponding preview/stream application/pdf 426.86KB 4
Score3_xy.pdf "x,y" (score) Click to show the corresponding preview/stream application/pdf 686.74KB 2
s40918950_phd_finalthesis.pdf s40918950_phd_finalthesis.pdf Click to show the corresponding preview/stream application/pdf 5.15MB 10
s4091895_PhD_Submission_Abstract.pdf s4091895_PhD_Submission_Abstract.pdf Click to show the corresponding preview/stream application/pdf 80.25KB 1
xy_threemovements.mp3 xy_threemovements.mp3 Click to show the corresponding preview/stream audio/mpeg 15.25MB 1
Author Alan Lawrence
Thesis Title The Place at One Remove: Locating an Opera
School, Centre or Institute School of Music
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-04
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Philip Bracanin
Total pages 99
Total colour pages 1
Total black and white pages 98
Subjects 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Abstract/Summary Many people love opera. Far many more find it utterly absurd. For the latter, the idea that there exists a form of dramatic entertainment that utilizes all the trappings of the theatre – the sets and costumes, the make-up and lighting – but in which all the dialogue is sung, beggars belief. The purpose of this commentary is to set down the contemplations of a composer who, no less bemused than most by the matter, has attempted better to understand the operatic proposition by writing one for himself. As varied as such contemplations have been, a systematic approach has been adopted in the present document, categorizing identifiably discrete areas for consideration, but moving always towards the alliance of all such elements in the multidisciplinary form under scrutiny. Reference is made throughout, to a wide range of works from many disciplines in the hope both of clarifying and invigorating the account. It was, however, considered indispensable to an honest appraisal of the subject at hand, that two areas of concern to the author be aired at the outset. The first of these relates to questions regarding the utility of music and the belief, expressed herein, that such evaluation is quite inappropriate. The second relates to the belief, equally strongly held, that a good deal of musical critique is deleterious to the understanding and enjoyment of music. The commentary proper gets under way with a discussion of the nature of music itself – whether it is a language, and if not, then what? – whether it has meaning, and if so, then by what means? The discussion then moves on to the world of words and the consideration of language in everyday usage, and then in the area of linguistic art. The focus of this passage moves from the general, to the specifics of language as drama, this area seeming to offer the most advantageous comparison with music. Poetry is touched upon lightly. The field of incidental music is taken up as the first meeting point between words and music by reason of the fact that for a majority of people in the developed world it represents the place of most common encounter with words and music combined. It is also an area in which music is clearly understood to be subservient to language and it therefore provides a starting point for a journey from one condition of relative value to another. The next area for examination is that of song; first the popular song (and in particular “Les feuilles mortes” by Kosma and Prévert) along with some discussion of translation and appropriation, and then the art song, through a brief account of Schubert’s Der Erlkönig. There is then a consideration of opera itself and an attempt to draw some conclusions, based on the previous discussions, concerning the extent to which libretto and music can be truly and beneficially alloyed in a dramatic work. The decline and final disappearance of spoken dialogue is cited as evidence of the progressive musical domination of the genre. But, in turn, questions arise as to the viability of the sung dramatic discourse. Matters of mutual responsibility between collaborators are also discussed. Finally, there is a brief account of how these contemplations informed the composition of The Hoop of the World, along with a few of the measures that were adopted in response to certain perceived difficulties inherent in the operatic form. The composer is not yet clear as to whether or not a true personal reconciliation with the genre as a whole has been achieved but there is a deeper sense of engagement with the proposition that may well lead to further creative exploits. The folio of works includes two instrumental works, Marteaux suspendus, for solo piano, and “x,y” for percussion ensemble. There is no mention of these works in the critical commentary, as such relationships as they bear to the operatic work are of a purely technical nature and of no relevance to the principal chosen topic of discussion.
Keyword music, language, drama, opera, song, authenticity, art
Additional Notes 85

 
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Created: Tue, 02 Aug 2011, 15:24:18 EST by Mr Alan Lawrence on behalf of Library - Information Access Service