The Influence of Poetry Upon James Mulholland's Compositional Process and Musical Style
Committee ChairChamberlain, Bruce
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAccording to James Mulholland, choral works in which the composer begins by using the text to inspire creativity evolve in three stages. First, the poet carefully chooses words and expressions as a vehicle for thoughts and emotions. The composer, in the second stage, enhances the artistic impact of the poem by setting it to music. In the final stage, conductor and performers give voice to the poet's work and to the composer's musical expression of it in a live performance.Choral conductors serve two art forms, language and music. In this study, I will investigate the compositional process and musical style of James Mulholland in five of his choral works, focusing on the composer's use of scansion (measurement of metrical patterns in each line of poetry), vocalization, imagery, and Leitmotif to express the text. The choral works to be studied include Heart, we will forget him! (Emily Dickinson), Fulfillment (Anonymous), The Wild Honeysuckle (Philip Freneau), What lips my lips have kissed (Edna St. Vincent Millay), and If love should count you worthy (attributed to Sidney Royse Lysaght). These pieces were chosen in consultation with the composer to represent his general style. My desire to survey a variety of poets was an additional consideration.Although the focus of my study lies in the second stage of the evolution of a choral work (the setting of the text by the composer), I suggest rehearsal considerations based upon my research. To provide historical context highlighting the circumstances under which each poem was written, poets' biographies (where applicable) are included. Additionally, a synopsis of each poem will provide a cursory understanding of its meaning. Familiarity with the poem's historical context and basic vocabulary is essential to the performance in order to clearly communicate the emotion of the text to a live audience.