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Discovering Puerto Rican art song: a research project on four art song works by Héctor Campos Parsi

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Puerto Rico has produced many important composers who have contributed to the musical culture of the nation during the last 200 years. However, a considerable amount of their music has proven to be difficult to access and may contain numerous

Puerto Rico has produced many important composers who have contributed to the musical culture of the nation during the last 200 years. However, a considerable amount of their music has proven to be difficult to access and may contain numerous errors. This research project intends to contribute to the accessibility of such music and to encourage similar studies of Puerto Rican music. This study focuses on the music of Héctor Campos Parsi (1922-1998), one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century in Puerto Rico. After an overview of the historical background of music on the island and the biography of the composer, four works from his art song repertoire are given for detailed examination. A product of this study is the first corrected edition of his cycles Canciones de Cielo y Agua, Tres Poemas de Corretjer, Los Paréntesis, and the song Majestad Negra. These compositions date from 1947 to 1959, and reflect both the European and nationalistic writing styles of the composer during this time. Data for these corrections have been obtained from the composer's manuscripts, published and unpublished editions, and published recordings. The corrected scores are ready for publication and a compact disc of this repertoire, performed by soprano Melliangee Pérez and the author, has been recorded to bring to life these revisions. Despite the best intentions of the author, the various copyright issues have yet to be resolved. It is hoped that this document will provide the foundation for a resolution and that these important works will be available for public performance and study in the near future.

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Date Created
2013

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Writing through the body: Flesh narratives

Description

This project explores the cultivation of artistic methodologies centered in embodied movement practices. I worked in collaboration with dancers to inform the development of a movement vocabulary that is authentic to the individual as well as to the content of

This project explores the cultivation of artistic methodologies centered in embodied movement practices. I worked in collaboration with dancers to inform the development of a movement vocabulary that is authentic to the individual as well as to the content of the work. Through the interplay between movement and subconscious response to elements such as writing, imagery, and physical environments I created authentic kinesthetic experiences for both dancer and audience. I submerged dancers into a constructed environment by creating authentic mental and physical experiences that supported the development of embodied movement. This was the impetus to develop the evening length work, Flesh Narratives, which consisted of five vignettes, each containing its own distinctive creative process driven by the content of each section. This project was presented January 29- 31, 2016 in the Fine Arts Center room 122, an informal theatre space, that supplemented an immersive experience in an intimate environment for forty viewers. This project explored themes of transformation including cycles, concepts of life, death and reincarnation, and enlightenment. Through the art of storytelling, the crafting of embodied movers, and the theory of Hauntology, the viewer was taken on a journey of struggle, loss, and rebirth.

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Date Created
2016

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Kurt Weill's little masterpieces

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This study focuses on three songs from stage works of Kurt Weill (1900-1950): “September Song” from Knickerbocker Holiday (1938), “Speak Low” from One Touch of Venus (1943), and “Lost in the Stars” from Lost in the Stars (1949). All

This study focuses on three songs from stage works of Kurt Weill (1900-1950): “September Song” from Knickerbocker Holiday (1938), “Speak Low” from One Touch of Venus (1943), and “Lost in the Stars” from Lost in the Stars (1949). All from Weill’s time in the United States, these songs are adaptable as solos and have become American standards performed in various arrangements and styles of popular music by many different artists.

The first part of this study is a biographical sketch of Weill’s life and music. It is intended to provide context for the three songs by tracing his beginnings as a German composer of stage works with volatile political messages, to his flight to the United States and his emergence as a composer of Broadway successes.

The second part is a commentary on the composition of the three selected songs. The lyrics and musical content are examined to show how Weill’s settings convey the dramatic mood and meaning as well as the specific nuances of the words. Description of the context of these songs explains how they were textually and musically intended to advance the plot and the emotional arc of the dramatic characters. The popularity of these songs endures beyond their original shows, and so there is discussion of how other artists have adapted and performed them, and available recordings are cited.

Weill’s songs, his little masterpieces, have proven to be truly evocative and so attractive to American audiences that they have undergone myriad adaptations. This study seeks to provide the personal and historical background of Kurt Weill’s music and to demonstrate why these three songs in particular have proven to have such lasting appeal.

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2016