Oral Presentations - Session 2E: UC 332
|Friday, April 12th|
A Comparison in Classical Music: The Operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Joseph Haydn
Joseph Licitra II, University of Montana - Missoula
1:40 PM - 2:00 PM
Alan Rich (1924-2010), an American music critic, once wrote that “no composer -not Giuseppe Verdi, not even Richard Wagner, for all their greatness- had Amadeus Mozart’s gift for devising music so close to his characters, or for using music in its greatest variety to underscore the high points in his dramatic works.” Despite this assessment and many similar ones, surprisingly little has been said to explain exactly why Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s operatic works are considered by music scholars and critics to be more profound than operas by his peers, in particular Joseph Haydn, who also wrote many operas. Through detailed analysis of selected scenes and arias from Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Joseph Haydn’s Il Mondo Della Luna. I hope to discover some of the important similarities and differences between Mozart and Haydn’s approach to writing dramatic music for the stage. My four major areas of comparison are the creation of dramatic situation, orchestration, the development of character in the music, and the approach to combining musical elements of opera seria and opera buffa. Through my own analysis and the support of secondary sources, I will identify which aspects of operatic writing Haydn and Mozart share in common, and which aspects represent important contrasts. I am hopeful this will contribute to a better understanding of both composers’ contributions to the genre.
Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Practice: Interpreting Beethoven's Sonata No. 17, "The Tempest"
Allyson Carroll, University of Montana - Missoula
2:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Classical musicians generally believe that that an interpretation informed by theoretical analysis will result in a deeper understanding of the work and therefore a more moving performance. Many theoretical models however, use highly specialized and abstract terminology, and few musicians learn them to the degree that they may prove useful in a performer’s interpretation of a work. Thus there is a gap between theory and practice. The purpose of this research is to provide a straightforward method of analysis that aids a performer first in understanding how a piece of music ‘works’ structurally and then offers a practical way of attaching meaning to the analysis so as to fully realize a work’s affective potential in performance. Drawing upon theoretical models developed by Leonard B. Meyer, Edward T. Cone, and Gregory Karl, I analyze Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 (The Tempest,” so named for its dramatic similarities to Shakespeare’s play). Then, through a discussion of listener expectations and musicological components such as the historical setting of the work’s composition, I show expressive possibilities for a performer to apply this analysis. I hope this will provide a pedagogical model for how teachers might explore and deal with theoretical musical elements in plain language with reference to real human experience so that performers might arrive at a meaningful, communicative realization of a work.
Daniel Nelson, University of Montana - Missoula
2:20 PM - 2:40 PM
Man’s connection to nature has long been a subject in literature throughout the world. Whether being depicted as a place of spirituality, where man can find himself or discover some truth about the universe, or as a powerful merciless entity, nature has had a profound effect on humanity and the stories we tell each other. And the Rocky Mountains, running from one end of the North American continent to the other, are one of the most tremendous displays of nature’s splendor. My project, titled In the Woods We Return, is an expression of the writing skills I have acquired throughout my college career inspired by the various styles of authors I have studied. Using nature as the setting and as a primary influence for the characters, much like Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It and Thomas McGuane’s essay “The Heart of the Game”, In the Woods We Return is a story of two men on a moose hunt deep in the Gros Ventre Wilderness in northwestern Wyoming where they come to terms with the events of their life and commune with the primal forces deep within the mountains. During my presentation I will briefly explain my influences and the creative process I took to create this work, and then share with the audience a segment from the story itself.
The Willamette: A Story of Oregon's Green River
Erin Axelrod, University of Montana - Missoula
2:40 PM - 3:00 PM
The Willamette River flows from its origins in the mountains outside Eugene, Oregon, north to its confluence with the great Columbia. For thousands of years, the river has nourished the Willamette Valley and her people; my family has lived in the valley since the first missionaries settled in the region around 1840, deeply rooted in the land and its story. This essay delves into the changing nature of our relationship with the river, particularly in regards to the decline in river transport, the centrality of the port of Portland in the global market, and the century-long environmental cleanup efforts that extend to present day.
My multi-faceted approach to the history of the river relies on various research methods, including: reading of historical and environmental documents; personal experience; and interviews with family members. Through my analysis of historical, ecological, and spiritual aspects of the Willamette, I have found that the river is a symbol of continuity and beauty in the Pacific Northwest, as well as a call to action for my generation and those that follow to consciously mold a gentler way of living with the land. In the presentation, I will read selections from the essay and speak to the purpose of this project - to better understand the river I love and our relationship to it.
Nightmare Imagery and the Ethical Aim of De Rerum Natura
Ellen Boland, University of Montana - Missoula
3:00 PM - 3:20 PM
In the context of the ethical aims of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, nightmare imagery can explain some of the difficulties presented to modern readers of didactic poetry. Lucretius' unique style has caused much debate regarding his vehement argumentation in favor of Epicureanism. His vivid treatment of dreams in both an ethical and scientific context can account for several rhetorical and didactic strategies, namely nightmares as a scare-tactic. A large part of Lucretius' work is devoted to convincing Romans to adopt his teachings, which he accomplishes using, among other tools, a wide array of threatening description. While researching this aspect of the poem, I examined Lucretius' explanation of dreaming in Book 4 particularly as well as relevant areas of Books 1-3. I used regular philological methodology and based my conclusions on close examination of the text while citing modern researchers. Charles Segal's article Dreams and Poets in Lucretius argues for the significance of dreaming in the poem and was influential in this paper. It is important when reading Lucretius to establish some historical context for his work while remaining true to textual evidence. The personae for teacher and student perform a key function in the poem, as do the precepts the author wishes to communicate.
Although Lucretius has less to offer us now in the field of science, his poem is the precursor for many of the principles we take for granted, particularly atomic theory. The work is important to scientists who wish to understand the origins of their studies in addition to students of the humanities. The poem contributes much to philosophy, ethics, poetry, and history. Nightmare imagery plays a key role in Lucretius' strategy for converting Romans to Epicureanism, and it can account for aspects of the poem which may pose a problem to a modern audience.
The Figuration of Phantoms: Helens from Homer to Walcott
Claire Mikeson, University of Montana - Missoula
3:20 PM - 3:40 PM
Since her introduction in Homer’s Iliad, Helen of Troy has remained an endlessly captivating figure, shrouded in contradiction and serving, as Classicist Robert Meagher states, as the ultimate symbol of woman. Her infamous character has endured throughout history, recreated in a thousand books, poems, and films that trail in her wake. What these multifarious recreations share is Helen’s troubling silence through a singularly masculine perspective. Perhaps the most significant contemporary conjuring of Helen is that of Caribbean poet and Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott, whose epic Omeros echoes the Classical tradition in its form as well as its Greek-named characters. Unlike former representations of Helen, however, Omeros addresses an additional, complex component: the poet’s awareness of the ethical dilemma of aesthetic representation. Through a close reading of Omeros informed by feminist and postcolonial criticism and research on ancient portrayals of Helen of Troy and her mythological counterparts, I examine the influence of the Classical tradition on Walcott’s Caribbean woman. Drawing parallels between Helen of the West Indies and the women of Homer, Hesiod, and Euripides, I explore Walcott’s adoption of the Greek eidōlon, a phantom image of a human form, and the ways in which this particular portrayal of Helen works surprisingly to break the mold of her namesake. The paper affirms Walcott’s creation of a character who subverts the poet’s representation and her inherited boundaries, giving a voice to both the silenced woman and the emerging culture of the Caribbean.
Critical Legal Studies: Challenging Traditional Legal Thought
Emily Cross, University of Montana - Missoula
3:40 PM - 4:00 PM
The Critical Legal Studies (CLS) Movement emerged approximately thirty-five years ago in tandem with the Civil Rights Movement and the second wave of feminism. Generally, CLS aims to reveal the underlying subordinating aspects of legal doctrine that tend to legitimize and sustain social hierarchies based on historically and culturally instilled stereotypes. CLS has proved especially useful in the areas of gender and race discrimination with the rise of feminist legal theory and critical race theory through thinkers like Patricia Williams, Catharine MacKinnon, and Mari Matsuda. This project will first examine feminist legal theory and critical race theory to explicate how CLS has influenced legal thought thus far. Then, the project will explore new ways in which CLS may be useful, particularly in the area of sexual orientation. In order to accomplish this it will look to ways in which CLS has already been applied to issues of sexual orientation, such as the relatively new development of Queer Theory. Finally, the project will suggest how these applications of CLS can be helpful to contemporary cases, specifically to issues raised by the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.