Reverend Stormfield Goes to Heaven is an operetta in six scenes for seven vocalists and
flute, clarinet, horn, percussion, piano, violin, cello, and double bass. The work’s approximate length is 40 minutes. The libretto is written by the composer and based on the short story by Mark Twain titled “Captain Stormfield Goes to Heaven.” The short story features the typical biting sarcasm of Mark Twain. The libretto combines part of the original text with alterations to satirize modern day Christianity and religious values in general. The story follows Reverend Stormfield as she arrives in Heaven and quickly learns that the locations and people she expected to see and meet are shockingly different. The journey takes her through comical scenarios and deeper philosophical dilemmas, and in the end she is left to confront her own disturbing past.
The musical elements of the operetta include traditional and octatonic scales, twelve- tone rows and set theory based on the overriding intervallic relationship of the perfect fourth. The sets implemented as motivic ideas: 0-1-4-5, 0-1-6-7, and 0-2-5-7 are based on the perfect fourth and serve as the framework for many of the melodic ideas. The instruments provide an accompanimental role often incorporating melodic fragmentation and contrapuntal textures and techniques. Instrumental solos are featured prominently in arias and the instrumental interludes between scenes.
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