The songs of Violet Archer: tracing the evolution of one of Canada's most influential composers
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In this study, four sets of songs composed by Violet Archer are examined, all of which were written at different points in her career. Archer studied with Paul Hindemith in 1948 – 49, and his teachings had a tremendous impact on the young composer. The first set of songs to be analyzed, Moon Songs, was written before her time with Hindemith, and will provide a baseline from which her later, post-Hindemith, works can be compared. Following her studies with Hindemith, Archer wrote three songs, “Cradle Song,” “April Weather,” and “First Snow,” all of which show evidence of Hindemith’s influence. Her later, more mature works, Northern Landscape and Caleidoscopio Quatro, demonstrate a refined compositional technique; one in which Archer has created her own style, while maintaining aspects of the approach taught by Hindemith at Yale. This study will elaborate on the aspects of Archer’s music that evolved throughout her compositional career.