Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Song Cycles: Analytical Pathways Toward Performance presents analyses of fourteen song cycles composed after the turn of the twentieth century, with a focus on offering ways into the musical and poetic structure of each cycle to performers, scholars, and students alike. Ranging from familiar works of twentieth-century music by composers such as Schoenberg, Britten, Poulenc, and Shostakovich to lesser-known works by Van Wyk, Sviridov, Wheeler, and Sánchez, this collection of essays captures the diversity of the song cycle repertoire in contemporary classical music. The contributors bring their own analytical perspectives and methods, considering musical structures, the composers' selection of texts, how poetic narratives are expressed, and historical context.
Informed by music history, music theory, and performance, Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Song Cycles offers an essential guide into the contemporary art-music song cycle for performers, scholars, students, and anyone seeking to understand this unique genre.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: "As if with lightning bolts": The Ombra and Tempesta in Schoenberg’s Das Buch der hängenden Gärten (Jessica Narum) / Chapter 2: Georgy Sviridov’s Pushkin Romances: Approaches to Interpretation (Lisa Feurzeig and Rachael Gates) / Chapter 3: Poetry, Voice and Resistance in Poulenc’s Tel jour telle nuit (Peter Kaminsky) / Chapter 4: Guilt, Deliberation, Affirmation: Britten’s The Holy Sonnets of John Donne as Catharsis (Gordon Sly) / Chapter 5: Arnold van Wyk’s Van Liefde en Verlatenheid (‘Of Love and Forsakenness’): Love and Others in 1950s South Africa (Matildie Thom Wium) / Chapter 6: The Queer Context and Composition of Samuel Barber’s Despite and Still (James Sullivan) / Chapter 7: Four Verses of Captain Lebyadkin: Nihilism and Transcendence in Late Shostakovich (Michael Chikinda) / Chapter 8: Perceiving Imaginative and Intellectual Oscillation in George Crumb’s Apparition (Peter Lea and Julia Bentley) / Chapter 9: Modern and Sentimental Voices in Scott Wheeler’s Wasting the Night (Benjamin Binder) / Chapter 10: "Let Me Count the Ways": Nostalgia and Repetition in Libby Larsen’s Sonnets from the Portuguese (Cara Stroud) / Chapter 11: Climbing the Mountain: Thoughts on Robert Morris’s Cold Mountain Songs (Brian Alegant) / Chapter 12: Portrayals of Incongruity in William Bolcom and Sandra Seaton’s From the Diary of Sally Hemings (Michael R. Callahan) / Chapter 13: Longing for a Fragment: Sappho as a Figure of Hope in Paul Sánchez’s ὁδοιπορία (Mike Morey) / Chapter 14: There and Then, Here and Now: Higdon’s Civil Words (Laura Dallman)
Gordon Sly is Associate Professor of Music Theory at Michigan State University.
Michael R. Callahan is Associate Professor of Music Theory and Chairperson of the Music Theory Area at Michigan State University.