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Title: Music as drama in Janáček's Věc Makropulos
Author: Harris, J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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Using 'music as drama' as a starting point for a thesis on an operas by Janáček directly confronts two challenging issues. First, the literature on Janáček is very one-sided. The overwhelming majority of writers emphasise Janáček's realism, and a significant portion go so far as to question seriously the extent to which he is a 'good dramatist'. Second, the concept of 'music as drama' has been used as one of the central ways of canonising opera, especially since Wagner. The notion of an operatic canon is something of a critical anomaly, and is inherently biased not only in terms of the works it extols but also in the type of things it encourages us to look for in opera. As a composer who stands apart from the 'mainstream' as it is generally understood, and as a composer whose operas span the cusp of nineteenth and twentieth-century styles, analysts find it doubly difficult to approach Janáček's music. This thesis approaches Janáček's penultimate opera, Věc Makropulos, from the point of view of a multimedia model. Although it uses Nicholas Cook's work on this subject as a background, it is developed as a method of exploring this particular work and is self-consciously designed to be as specific to that work as possible. The intention is to redress the imbalance caused by the lacunae in Janáček criticism. Separate analysis of the different parameters that go together to make up the opera are presented, followed by an analysis of how they interact with one another. It becomes apparent that the different parameters have competing, contrasting and sometimes even conflicting claims on the attention. The multimedia model enables an analysis that follows the intermittent nature of each of the parameters involved, and is able to trace and to theorise the aesthetic effect of a theatrical presentation where the attention is continually transferred from one parameter to the next.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available