El Transparente

by Dolan, Drew Forbes

Abstract (Summary)
The city of Toledo, Spain is famous throughout the world as a place where Christian, Arab, and Jewish cultures have coexisted in peace for many centuries. In the Cathedral of Toledo, there exists an altar known as "El Transparente." The altar, built in 1732, four stories in height, and bearing countless intricate sculptures and icons, is an overwhelming object of beauty and brilliant artistry; it has a skylight in the ceiling above it. As the sun passes over the altar, it becomes illuminated, magnifying the beauty of each detail and enhancing the splendor of the entire creation. As partial fulfillment of my Masters thesis in composition, I composed a single movement piece for orchestra, lasting approximately eight minutes, that is based on the structure and the impact of light on El Transparente; the instrumentation will be that of a standard orchestra: two flutes, two oboes, English Horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, harp, timpani, three percussionists, and strings. Its title is "El Transparente." The musical style could be described as neo-Romantic and polystylistic. I constructed music that reflects the multi-cultural nature of Toledo, Spain by combining, quoting, and interpreting Christian, Jewish, and Arab styles. The overall effect of this piece is intended to represent and portray the beauty of the altar. Also, through musical symbolism, the piece embodies physical aspects of El Transparente. For instance, I attempted to portray to the listener the experience that would come from standing in a cathedral and gazing upwards at the top of this altar by ending the music with gestures that reflect elevation and ascension. It has been orchestrated in a manner that creates an atmosphere of large, open spaces with images of light and illumination. El Transparente has captured my imagination from the moment I first learned about it. Even more personal to me is the significance that its symbolism portrays. One of my interests is to attempt to realize the metaphor coming from the coexistence of religious cultures, and in so doing, honor the immense beauty of this structure.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:spain religion


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.