Illuminating the mediating function of mythology in twentieth- and twenty-first-century British art music through spatial form analysis. / Williams, Jessica.

2015. 403 p.

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@phdthesis{49f69937d9c640ca81061de8364510cc,
title = "Illuminating the mediating function of mythology in twentieth- and twenty-first-century British art music through spatial form analysis",
abstract = "Mythic opera became an exemplary site of ideology with Wagner, bequeathing an important legacy for twentieth-century British composers that is not yet fully appreciated. This thesis investigates the role of mythology in mediating aspects of the {\textquoteleft}universal{\textquoteright} as expressed in twentieth- and twenty-first-century British art music, and individual subjectivity, focusing specifically on three case studies: Tippett{\textquoteright}s King Priam (1958-62), Vaughan Williams{\textquoteright}s Job: A Masque for Dancing (1931), and Maxwell Davies{\textquoteright}s Sea Orpheus (2009). The central contention of the thesis is that inherent in mythological materials is the potential for mediation not only of ideological constructs and the realities of life in British society, but also of aspects of human experience which we are ordinarily unable to rationalize and comprehend; further that the foundational mythology of these three works is vital to their comprehensive understanding by contemporary and more modern readers. The methodological approach is predicated on the hypothesis that spatial interpretation, formulated on the basis of the spatial form model of modernist literary theorist Joseph Frank, opens up a vital perspective on the reader{\textquoteright}s individual, active engagement with myth, which illuminates its mediating function. The contrasting parameters of the sources for each work{\textquoteright}s mythology – Greek epic, visual illustrations, and modern folk-poetry – are compared, as are the strikingly different musical language and compositional techniques of the composers, and various paratextual sources for the works, both musical and non-musical. The thesis concludes by demonstrating that despite the striking contrasts between the three works, they may be interpreted in complement to one other by expanding the horizon of analysis to encompass a revision of our concept of the ideological space their composers inhabit within British musical modernism; and further reinforce the case for musicological study in which technical analysis and contextual history mediate one another, not only by design, but by their very definition.",
keywords = "Music, Music Analysis, musicology, spatial form, Tippett, Maxwell Davies, Vaughan Williams, Myth, narrative, mythology, iliad, Blake, Orpheus, drama",
author = "Jessica Williams",
year = "2015",
language = "English",
school = "Royal Holloway, University of London",

}

RIS

TY - THES

T1 - Illuminating the mediating function of mythology in twentieth- and twenty-first-century British art music through spatial form analysis

AU - Williams, Jessica

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Mythic opera became an exemplary site of ideology with Wagner, bequeathing an important legacy for twentieth-century British composers that is not yet fully appreciated. This thesis investigates the role of mythology in mediating aspects of the ‘universal’ as expressed in twentieth- and twenty-first-century British art music, and individual subjectivity, focusing specifically on three case studies: Tippett’s King Priam (1958-62), Vaughan Williams’s Job: A Masque for Dancing (1931), and Maxwell Davies’s Sea Orpheus (2009). The central contention of the thesis is that inherent in mythological materials is the potential for mediation not only of ideological constructs and the realities of life in British society, but also of aspects of human experience which we are ordinarily unable to rationalize and comprehend; further that the foundational mythology of these three works is vital to their comprehensive understanding by contemporary and more modern readers. The methodological approach is predicated on the hypothesis that spatial interpretation, formulated on the basis of the spatial form model of modernist literary theorist Joseph Frank, opens up a vital perspective on the reader’s individual, active engagement with myth, which illuminates its mediating function. The contrasting parameters of the sources for each work’s mythology – Greek epic, visual illustrations, and modern folk-poetry – are compared, as are the strikingly different musical language and compositional techniques of the composers, and various paratextual sources for the works, both musical and non-musical. The thesis concludes by demonstrating that despite the striking contrasts between the three works, they may be interpreted in complement to one other by expanding the horizon of analysis to encompass a revision of our concept of the ideological space their composers inhabit within British musical modernism; and further reinforce the case for musicological study in which technical analysis and contextual history mediate one another, not only by design, but by their very definition.

AB - Mythic opera became an exemplary site of ideology with Wagner, bequeathing an important legacy for twentieth-century British composers that is not yet fully appreciated. This thesis investigates the role of mythology in mediating aspects of the ‘universal’ as expressed in twentieth- and twenty-first-century British art music, and individual subjectivity, focusing specifically on three case studies: Tippett’s King Priam (1958-62), Vaughan Williams’s Job: A Masque for Dancing (1931), and Maxwell Davies’s Sea Orpheus (2009). The central contention of the thesis is that inherent in mythological materials is the potential for mediation not only of ideological constructs and the realities of life in British society, but also of aspects of human experience which we are ordinarily unable to rationalize and comprehend; further that the foundational mythology of these three works is vital to their comprehensive understanding by contemporary and more modern readers. The methodological approach is predicated on the hypothesis that spatial interpretation, formulated on the basis of the spatial form model of modernist literary theorist Joseph Frank, opens up a vital perspective on the reader’s individual, active engagement with myth, which illuminates its mediating function. The contrasting parameters of the sources for each work’s mythology – Greek epic, visual illustrations, and modern folk-poetry – are compared, as are the strikingly different musical language and compositional techniques of the composers, and various paratextual sources for the works, both musical and non-musical. The thesis concludes by demonstrating that despite the striking contrasts between the three works, they may be interpreted in complement to one other by expanding the horizon of analysis to encompass a revision of our concept of the ideological space their composers inhabit within British musical modernism; and further reinforce the case for musicological study in which technical analysis and contextual history mediate one another, not only by design, but by their very definition.

KW - Music

KW - Music Analysis

KW - musicology

KW - spatial form

KW - Tippett

KW - Maxwell Davies

KW - Vaughan Williams

KW - Myth

KW - narrative

KW - mythology

KW - iliad

KW - Blake

KW - Orpheus

KW - drama

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -