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Title: Narrativities in the music of Thomas Adès
Author: Gallon, Emma Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2728 5691
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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The music of Thomas Ades (b.1971) is by turns captivating, scintillating, dramatic and enigmatic, its musical vocabulary poised teasingly between the traditionally familiar and the ruggedly contemporary. The intricate ways in which disparate musical and extramusical threads entwine in Ades's music belie the deceptively attractive musical surface. This study proposes that a narrative approach is able to draw together the structural and signifying elements of Ades's music in order to understand better his unique compositional voice. More specifically, it considers the possibility of narrativities in which the equally vital aspects of temporal organisation (what is narrated) and agency (the act of narration) interact on many levels of a musical text, a method of interpretation particularly pertinent to the multilayered expressive effects of Ades's music. Current perspectives on narrative are synthesised ranging from the structural to the broadly hermeneutic in an attempt to build not only on the common ground between their theories but also the thought-provoking differences. This study will focus on Ades's music from Powder Her Face (1995) to The Tempest (2004). The narrative intricacy within these multimedia operas draws together many of the multiple narrative strategies that can be discerned separately across the whole group of pieces. Examples include the programmatic narrative in Asyfa, subversion and irony between words and music in America: A Prophecy, and the play with musical and historical temporality in the Piano Quintet. A narrative approach will prove ideal to interrogate the complexities of contemporary music that are less successfully explained by traditional analytical methods. Furthermore, given Ades's international reputation as a leading composer and performer, the absence to date of sustained critical commentary on his music points to a significant gap in our understanding of contemporary composition and the way it works; a gap which this thesis proposes to rectify.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available