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OPERA 15-18 OF ANTON WEBERN: MUSICAL CHOICES INSPIRED BY TEXT

by YORKE, SARAH KATHRYN

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis approaches the works of Anton Webern's middle period, specifically Opera 15-18, by discussing the influence of text upon musical factors: a theoretical discourse on musical developments is not intended. Chapter I, "The Inspiring Text, begins this study by reconciling the seeming incompatibility of textual content with musical language. By linking Webern's preoccupation with nature and religious elements to his compositional inspiration, a case is made for the predominant position of these seemingly "kitschy" texts in Webern's compositional process. Cyclical connections within the opera are also argued for by examining the arrangement and content of these texts and by comparing the opera to historical precedents. Chapter II, entitled The Setting of Text, extends the claim of textual centrality by scrutinizing not only how Webern treated these texts but also by proving that he respected the natural rhythm of the words and sentence structure in his musical setting. Issues such as text declamation, word stress, tenuto, and dynamics are considered in this discourse. Further elaboration of this discussion is carried over into Chapter III, "Vocal Writing." Such topics as tessitura, intervallic associations, and the shape or "contour" of the vocal lines are all used as arguments to support the hypothesis that text was an influence upon musical choices rather than merely a servant of musical innovation. The seeming wash of sound of the instrumental lines is addressed in Chapter IV. By discussing matters of instrumentation, tessitura, imitation, and articulation, the author attempts to show a connection between the vocal line (text) and the creation of the instrumental parts. Rather than existing as a separate entity from the vocal line, the instrumental parts were shaped out of the sentiments of the text and often audibly relate to the vocal line. The fifth chapter, entitled Textual Influence upon Musical Structure, seeks to find and pinpoint any influence that the poetry exerts on musica l form. Such concerns as canonic structure, the cadential phrase, meter, ritardando, tempo markings, and the use of rests as articulators of form are discussed in relationship to textual inspiration.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:anton weberns lieder folktexts as opera 15 18 of webern

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2003

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