Beebe, Samuel Roberts
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Misery Island is a monologue for high soprano and string quartet. The libretto, written by Nerissa Cooney, includes original verse as well as fragments from Henry David Thoreau's Walden Collaboration during the production of the libretto offered an opportunity to pian the emphasis and phrasing of the text; in particular, via our voices, we could each express our own "reading" of the text to each other This process often revealed dynamics and stresses embedded in the text. Being able to volley ideas and rewrite the text established many themes that would be explored as music later on. I refer to the five movements in the piece as a monologue because it is intended as a single dramatic statement. The libretto offered a bounty of opportunities to compose music with the intention of adding a particular perspective to a given text. I specifically tried to keep the performance in mind while composing, attempting to support the vocalist dramatically with the quartet material, in general, I tried to make a piece in which the text and the music are mutually supportive. In a sense, a major goal of mine was to let the text drive the music to places it would otherwise not have gone. The challenge of experimenting with new ideas in composition while striving to best represent a desired dramatic effect or scenario has proved itself to be a fruitful way of finding fresh material with purpose and character Misery Island was premiered at the Boston University Concert Hall on April 8, 2013, with Katrina Galka singing, Nelli Jabotinsky and Hyunji Kim on violin, Evan Perry on viola, Robert Mayes on violoncello, and the composer conducting.
Thesis (M.M.)--Boston University