Ned Rorem’s Poems of Love and the Rain and Paul Hindemith’s Hin und züruck: An Analysis of Two Twentieth-Century Vocal Works With an Emphasis On the Use of Mirror Form

by Maurer, Kathleen M.

Abstract (Summary)
Ned Rorem’s Poems of Love and the Rain and Paul Hindemith’s Hin und zurück: an Analysis of Two Twentieth-century Vocal Works With an Emphasis On the Use of Mirror Form by Kathleen M. Maurer This study centers on the use of mirror form in two twentieth-century vocal works—Ned Rorem’s song cycle Poems of Love and the Rain and Paul Hindemith’s chamber opera Hin und zurück. An historical introduction (Chapter I) discusses the use of mirror form in vocal, instrumental, and piano works from the fourteenth century to the present. The study includes biographies of Rorem, Hindemith, and librettist Marcellus Schiffer, and it presents background information about both works with reference to performers, performances, and recordings. Rorem chose mirror form—sometimes called an arch form or a palindrome—in order to present two contrasting settings of the same poems within a single work; Hindemith’s choice reflects his interest in creating a comedy based on silent film techniques of 1920s Germany. Compositional elements specific to Rorem’s song cycle examined in this study (Chapter II) include the poetry and authors, rain imagery, and pacing. The discussion of Hindemith’s opera (Chapter III) includes the influence of Expressionism and various comic elements, including characters, text, stage directions, and instrumentation. Chapters II and III present a comparison of the halves of each composition and analyze the overall structure, use of unifying motives, and tonal organization in both works. Chapter IV draws conclusions by comparing and contrasting Rorem’s and Hindemith’s implementation of mirror form and their compositional techniques. Appendices A–D contain photos of and letters from Ned Rorem, lists of Rorem’s song cycles and Hindemith’s stage works, and a list of performances of Hin und zurück. Author Kathleen Maurer provides a complete literal translation of Hindemith’s opera, including stage directions (Appendix E), to assist the reader in understanding the nuances of the German language, including the comedy inherent in the libretto. The importance of the mirror form from the performer’s standpoint is examined, and its effect upon the performance. Maurer concludes that both Rorem and Hindemith were successful in achieving their compositional goals.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:mirror form palindrome arch ned rorem poems of love and the rain paul hindemith hin und zurück


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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