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Title: Forging the 'lady's hammer' : a profile of influence in the life and music of Galina Ustvolskaya
Author: Jeremiah-Foulds, Rachel Claire
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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The compositional oeuvre of Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006) was very largely unknown outside the Soviet Union before the state’s collapse around 1991. There are still very few studies dedicated to her work in any language. This thesis’ original contribution is to fill this critical void, presenting a detailed biography based on unpublished materials, addressing the philosophical and religious aesthetics of Ustvolskaya’s music, and discussing the theoretical and technical issues involved in the music’s creation. The thesis will argue that Ustvolskaya was one of the most important composers to emerge in Soviet Russia after Shostakovich, and her music opened new dimensions for Russian music by cultivating an original style in the midst of cultural and political calamity. The striking drama of the music in her official catalogue does nothing but reinforce her reputation – long-present in Russia and now growing in the West – as an uncompromising composer who never failed to uphold her own individuality. Yet an examination of the tumultuous socio-political climate of Soviet Russia, and the ideological control that the authorities attempted to impose on Soviet artists during the period when Ustvolskaya was most active as a composer, conveys the near-impossible situation with which she was faced. Although some early works that were applauded by the regime were not included in her personal catalogue, this study scrutinises these works alongside that catalogue in order to achieve a deeper understanding of her entire compositional output. By identifying the main artistic pursuits that were profoundly to influence Ustvolskaya’s compositional output at its genesis, this thesis draws parallels between her life’s work and other artistic traditions from both Russia and the West. An analytical approach that combines social, historical, theological and political factors with musical analysis here presents unexplored territories that enable a sound evaluation of the extramusical content of Ustvolskaya’s musical language. An understanding of these forces ultimately serves to locate her music in the wider context of her life and times, and aids a deeper comprehension of exactly how The Lady’s Hammer was forged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available