Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Helen Gifford’s Fable (1967) for solo harp: A multivalent analysis
    Dennett, Jacinta Irene ( 2021)
    My research presents performance and recordings of solo harp compositions by Australian composers. The following composers are included in my performance portfolio: Eve Duncan, Jennifer Fowler, Helen Gifford, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Alicia Grant, Miriam Hyde, Elena Kats-Chernin, and Johanna Selleck. There are three components to my research, the written dissertation, the performance portfolio, and a critical edition for publication. The focus of the written component of my portfolio is a comprehensive critical and analytical study of Helen Gifford’s "Fable," a significant work in the repertoire of Australian harp music that has not been studied before. I document Gifford’s compositional process in the creation of the harp solo and reveal her use of Walter Piston’s "Orchestration" as a guide. Study and performances of "Fable" have additionally created an original performance analysis that fuses Carlos Salzedo’s Instrumental Esthetics, and Rudolf Steiner’s eurythmy. A 60-minute audio recording of harp solos by eight Australian composers, including a new work I commissioned from Alicia Grant makes up my performance portfolio. Two of the compositions, have accompanying video recording (a total of 20-minutes), "Threaded Stars 2" (2006) by Jennifer Fowler and "Three pieces" (2017) by Alicia Grant. Two world-premiere public performances (and recording) of works for solo harp by Australian composers were also given: "Threaded Stars 2" (2006) by Jennifer Fowler, July 17, 2016, Brighton Town Hall, Brighton, VIC; and "Three Pieces" for harp (2017) by Alicia Grant, June 8, 2017, The Chapel, Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, Bunbury, WA. A further research outcome includes the creation of a new, annotated critical edition of Fable for publication. This undertaking has been supported by interviews and workshops with Gifford.