Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    The Figure of Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745) in the History of Emotions
    Kiernan, Frederic Murray ( 2019)
    The music of Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745) was not well known until the late twentieth century. In academic and public discourse alike, Zelenka has often been described as having led a miserable life, as a melancholic, hypochondriac misanthrope. While the accuracy of these claims has sometimes been questioned, no scholar has undertaken a genealogy of this construction of Zelenka. This thesis offers such a genealogy, arguing that the influence of stereotypes from Zelenka’s biography has accrued over time, while demonstrating that eighteenth-century source materials shed little light on Zelenka’s personality. The thesis also explores the question of why understanding who Zelenka was "as a person" has become such a point of concern in modern Zelenka reception. The thesis takes the figure of the composer-as-a-person as one part of a bipartite construction, the other being the metonymical composer-as-creative-unity (represented by a body of compositions), and it shows how these two parts have mutated and shifted in relation to one another since the eighteenth century, and have thus constituted a changing historical figure of Zelenka. However, this thesis constructs this history on a theoretical apparatus situated within the overlap of reception study and the history of emotions, an overlap which emphasises the close relationship between histories of interpretation and histories of feeling. This helps to explain how emotions have played a role in the historical development of the figure of Zelenka, and also how this inter-subjective entity has become part of the emotional conditions in which Zelenka’s music has been received. This thesis draws on extensive archival research, statistical approaches from music psychology, semi-structured interviews with scholars and musicians (or scholar/musicians), and it also proposes an innovative historical application of the BRECVEMAC model from music psychology to analyse reviews of recordings. This mixed-methodological approach helps to demonstrate that historical constructions of Zelenka-as-a-person influence the emotions of scholars, musicians and listeners in the present day, while also providing new ways of studying responses to music from within the history of emotions. By doing this, the thesis refreshes our historical view of Zelenka, and shows how “figures” of composers from the past can exert a coercive emotional influence over present-day musical, pedagogical and historiographical practices.
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    Six Ave regina coelorum settings (1737) by Jan Dismas Zelenka (ZWV 128): context and critical edition
    Kiernan, Frederic Murray ( 2013)
    Bohemian composer Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679–1745) is now regarded as one of the Baroque period’s leading musical figures, yet five of his six settings of the Marian antiphon Ave regina coelorum (ZWV 128), composed in 1737, remain unedited and unpublished. Furthermore, very little is known about the context in which these works were composed, or the people who would have performed them. This thesis addresses these issues by providing a context to, and critical edition of, Zelenka’s Ave regina coelorum settings (ZWV 128). Part I gives background information on the composer and the court of Dresden where he worked, and discusses the influence of Viennese liturgico-musical practices in that city. This is followed by an examination and description of the style of each work, and, using the Viennese model, allocation to the categories A Cappella, Ordinary or Solemn. This categorisation strongly suggests that the court Kapellknaben would have performed these works, and a study of this ensemble then follows, based on primary source reports, along with a proposed list of members in 1737 and 1738. Part I thus shows that an understanding of the context of these works has significant implications for our understanding of their style, and presents new information about the lives and activities of the people who were almost certainly responsible for the performance of these antiphons. Part II of the thesis presents a critical edition of the six settings, which, with one exception, is the first edition of these works. A catalogue of the known repertoire of Marian antiphons associated with the Dresden Catholic court church during the period ca. 1708–65 is given in the appendix, along with information on the former and current locations of performance materials, and facsimile copies of ZWV 128.