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Matthew W. Tommasini
Title & Author
Songs Lost and ForgottenMatthew W. Tommasini
University of Michigan
Songs Lost and Forgotten is a fifteen minute work in three movements for orchestra that explores the experience of musical memory. The piece deals with my memories of being sung to and evokes the act of remembering by distorting elements of recognizable musical materials associated with my own memories. The first movement, Children's Song, was inspired by the death of my grandmother. It is based on the tune of the old French song Sur le pont d'Avignon, which she often sang. The movement deals with the memory of her voice, portraying a sense of distance between the present and my early experiences. To this end, the tune is never stated directly. Rather, the technique of thematic manipulation from the Renaissance paraphrase mass genre is employed to create a melody based on altered versions of the children's song. Like juxtaposed photographs, the altered versions are organized into a series of musical tableaux of varying musical affect to create a metaphor for memories that aren't completely realized. The second movement, Chant Fragments, is based on musical memories from my early childhood living in the United Arab Emirates. The movement was inspired by memories of hearing many different musical influences on television during that time, specifically fragments of sacred and popular music from throughout the Middle East. The movement opens with an explosion of impressions of this music which is contrasted by a calmer second section using canons based on descending scales from the opening section. The final movement, Basslines, evokes a musical memory from my more recent past: listening to pop music as a teenager in the early nineties. The movement's musical material springs from stylized pop music melodies played by the bass instruments of the orchestra. Structured in a loose rondo form, the two sections of the movement are separated by the same "chorus" material of sustained chords played by the entire orchestra. The movement ends with the material from the two halves of the movement converging on the pitch A, representing a metaphoric fading of these memories back into the past.
Communication and the arts; Orchestra; Original composition; Songs Lost and Forgotten; Music; 0413:Music
E. K. S. Chambers, Erik R.
University of Michigan
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