SONGS OF THE NIGHT SKY: THREE POEMS OF QUENTIN SMITH
Abstract (Summary)Songs of the Night Sky: Three Poems of Quentin Smith is a setting for soprano and small chamber ensemble consisting of clarinet, cello, and piano. The poet’s philosophy concerns cosmology, time, and the meaning of the universe’s existence. His basic view toward these subjects is best described as scientific, naturalistic, and Humanistic. His poetry reflects this viewpoint by capturing the wonder and awe experienced when encountering the magnitude and vastness of the universe via the night sky. Songs of the Night Sky: Three Poems of Quentin Smith complements Smith’s poetry by musically portraying its emotional and intellectual states as well as painting the text to further illuminate its meaning. The three poems form a distinct narrative and dramatic progression. The overall form of the piece is analogous to this dramatic shape. The piece draws on well-known twentieth century vocal/small ensemble literature. The instrumentation loosely models that of Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot lunaire, Op. 21. Pierre Boulez’s Le marteau sans maítre impacts this work through its abstraction of the text and relation of instrumental accompaniment to the text. George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children and Lux Aeterna are manifest through the use of extended techniques and complex, evocative timbres. The influence of Luciano Berio is evident in the treatment of text as seen in Thema: Omaggio a Joyce, Visage, and Circles. The final poem presents the emotions the author experienced when listening to Bruckner’s Symphony no. 4. The third movement’s finale quotes extensively from this piece. Songs of the Night Sky: Three Poems of Quentin Smith is intended as a musical component of and counterpart to the Humanistic philosophy and world view embodied in Smith’s philosophy and poetry. It is also intended as a contribution to and extension of the twentieth century vocal/small chamber ensemble tradition.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:songs voice chamber ensemble
Date of Publication:01/01/2005