Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses
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ItemEchoes of the gothic in early twentieth-century spanish musicHanna, Jennifer Lillian ( 2020)This thesis explores traces of the Gothic in music and related artforms concerning Spain in the early twentieth century, drawing together a number of case studies with varied proximity to Manuel de Falla and his artistic milieu. A range of Gothic perspectives are applied to a series of musical works, repertories, constructions of race, modes of performance and stage personae, and this examination is preceded by an overview of Gothic elements in their nineteenth-century precursors. The connection between Granada’s Alhambra and the Gothic is based not only on architectural style, but also nocturnal and supernatural themes that can be traced back to the writings of Washington Irving. The idea of Alhambrism and Romantic impressions of the Spanish Gypsy, both of which are associated with the magical, primitive, mystic and nocturnal elements of the Gothic, are also related to constructions of flamenco and cante jondo. The Romantic idea of the Spanish gypsy evolved into primitivism, and attitudes that considered their culture archaic can be placed in a Gothic frame. Flamenco and the notion of duende can also be placed in this frame, and this idea is explored through the poetry and writings of Federico Garcia Lorca and in his interaction with Falla in conceiving the Cante jondo competition of 1922. The rediscovery of Spanish painters Francisco de Goya and El Greco around 1900 was also in part linked with Gothic attributes. The performer Raquel Meller adopted a Goyesque visual style in her singing career, but was characterised as a ‘vamp’ when she became a movie star, notably in the 1926 silent film Carmen, in which she develops the idea of the Romantic gypsy; both phases are interpreted through the Gothic lens. Post-World War I ballets such as The Three-Cornered Hat and El Greco ballet were inspired by these artists respectively, and their Gothic elements were heightened in their modernist recasting and evocation by Pablo Picasso, Falla and other musicians, choreographers and artists. The thesis returns to the idea of Granada and concludes with a consideration of two compositions rich in Gothic allusions, from the arabesque and the nocturnal in Claude Debussy’s ‘La soiree dans Grenade’ to medieval architecture and religious practices in Falla’s Concerto for Harpsichord, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin and Cello.
ItemThe influence of neoclassicism in selected guitar works by Joaquín Rodrigo: implications for performanceVelasco-Svoboda, Alexandra ( 2017)This thesis argues that the context within which prominent Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) composed for the guitar was largely affected by the role of neoclassicism between the late-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. This will be traced through an examination of the events and figures that contributed to the development of Spanish neoclassicism during the period. While a substantial body of literature exists regarding the engagement of French and Spanish musical nationalism with Stravinsky’s neoclassicism, little has been written about how these events came to affect composers of the classical guitar after the Spanish Silver Age in the 1920s. A key composer in linking the neoclassicism of Stravinsky and the French with the development of Spain’s musical landscape was Manuel de Falla (1876-1976). His works, now studied in the sphere of prominent neoclassical composers of the time, inspired a generation of composers prior to and following the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to utilize the classical guitar in their neoclassical compositions removed of Andalusian cliché. The instrument itself came to represent the neoclassical movement with its combining of modernist elements and ties to Spain’s rich musical past. In the Spanish Silver Age, the affect of Falla’s music was substantial. His explorations of using the guitar and other historical instruments from La Vida Breve (1904), El Corregidor y la Molinera (1919), through to El Retablo de Maese Pedro (1923) and The Harpsichord Concerto (1926) affected how audiences internationally and locally received the new identity of Spanish music. Rodrigo’s compositions were greatly affected by Falla’s output. Combined with the recognition and popularity of the classical guitar through the concerts of Andrés Segovia, Rodrigo’s guitar works launched the neoclassical aesthetic on the classical guitar to an international scale. He remains the composer of hugely important works of the classical guitar repertoire.
ItemAspects of the creative process in Manuel de Falla's El retablo Maese Pedro and ConcertoCHRISTOFORIDIS, MICHAEL ( 1997)Manuel de Falla's output during the 1920s was a product of his conscious identification with elements of the Parisian avant-garde in order to create universal manifestations of Spanish musical nationalism. These ideals were pursued in El retablo de Maese Pedro (1918-23) and the Concerto (1923-26), works which were enthusiastically received in certain modernist circles despite their more limited appeal with the broader public. The extended period of gestation for both works allowed Falla to explore an ever increasing range of contemporary, historical and folk musical models, literary and historical sources, and religious, philosophical and aesthetic considerations, in an attempt to realise his aims. To a greater extent than in his earlier works, El retablo and the Concerto reflect Falla's preoccupation with innovation and resulted from a more pronounced interdependence of poetic, evocative, structural and technical parameters. His attempts to theorise his procedures at this time, however, unsystematic, were also symptomatic of an increasingly conscious, analytical, synthetic and at times articulated approach to composition. Through a detailed study of the material held at the Archivo Manuel de Falla, this dissertation examines the ideas that Falla explored and brought to the composition of El retablo and the Concerto, and attempts to contextualise them within his aesthetic, cultural and personal framework. The conception and evolution of these works is outlined and this discussion is informed by an examination of the musical and extra-musical sources studied by Falla, biographical documentation of the composer and his works, and reference to compositional sketch material. While El retablo and the Concerto formed the principal focus of his creative activity between 1919 and 1926, his overall literary and compositional activity throughout this period is taken into consideration as it relates to the two works in question. The evolution of his musical language during this period is also examined in relation to contemporary developments within his artistic milieu, and through an overview of stylistic precursors to this new style in Falla's own output to 1919.