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Type: Thesis
Title: Portfolio of compositions [music] : Rothko's red (orchestral tone poem) ; The portrait : a musical tribute to Stella Bowen (music theatre work) / Becky Llewellyn
Author: Llewellyn, Rebecca Ann
Issue Date: 2007
School/Discipline: Elder Conservatorium of Music
Abstract: The portfolio contains two of Becky Llewellyn’s music compositions: an orchestral tone poem and a chamber opera score and libretto created to explore the process of producing a major work of music theatre from conception to performance. In both works, Llewellyn’s research has concentrated on her interest in structure and form between ideas, music and visual art and their relationship to each other. Rothko’s Red The first composition in her submission is her orchestral tone poem, Rothko’s Red, a tribute to US artist Mark Rothko, whose painting techniques questioned traditional forms of narrative and structure. The topographical matrix of Rothko’s Red contains vertical aural space introduced in a ‘keyed up’ range suggesting ‘redness’, gradually deepening until the bass predominates, retaining a widened spaciality at the peak moment. Horizontally, the piece is a long crescendo of extended phrases, at first lightweight, then filling out with each repetition, moving to a full expression of orchestral magnitude, then gradually subsiding. The tone poem passes limited melodies and harmonies around to and within the orchestral families, as if in one colour. Llewellyn’s use of individual dynamics for orchestral players is an experiment in aural equivalence of Rothko techniques, using ‘heard’, not ‘seen’ tone colours. The Portrait: a musical tribute to Stella Bowen Llewellyn’s chamber opera is based on books, letters, diaries and family history research into the life of Adelaide-born writer and painter, Stella Bowen and three other writers. The opera’s libretto is structured as a series of songs reflecting Bowen’s paintings and life story. The chamber opera opens and closes in 1944, with Bowen as a WWII Australian war artist. The opera spans from 1917, when as a London art student, Bowen is introduced to editor/writer, Ford Madox Ford with whom she falls in love. The opera moves through to Paris and Ford’s subsequent love affair with writer Jean Rhys and his death in 1939. The Portrait is an exploration of how we know who we are and how, as artists, we choose to represent those insights. As the four main characters each wrote about themselves and each other, Llewellyn used their distinct content, style and aesthetic concerns to invent their musical and dramatic personae. The Portrait plays with ideas these four artists explored of extended metaphors, a shifting ambiguity in ‘artifice as a real story’, in an imagined dramatic musical work about real artists and writers; life as art and art as life. Among other themes in The Portrait; thanatos and eros, culture and morality, war and peace, fate and choice and opera as portraiture, is an underlying structural theme of time itself. Mythic time is explored as fairytale. Historical time ranges from 1920s chordal and dance motifs back to associations of medieval castles, where western-style Romantic love began. Personal, subjective experience of time is explored by most characters, as is the lack of artistic time given domestic commitments. Objective ‘time as limited’ is explored with Ford’s death and the impending death of the Australian bomber crew. Llewellyn focuses on the timebased art-form of music, while incorporating words, Bowen’s paintings and archival photographs in a chamber opera that explores the potential each art-form carries for revelation.
Advisor: Koehne, Graeme
Coaldrake, Kimi
Dissertation Note: Thesis (M.Mus.) -- University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, 2007
Subject: Bowen Stella Songs and music.
Symphonic poems
Keywords: orchestral tone poem - Rothko's Red; music theatre work - The Portrait - a musical tribute to Stella Bowen
Provenance: CD: Rothko’s Red; DVD: The Portrait: a musical tribute to Stella Brown (compatible with flash video player is required to play this file)
RMID: 99947461
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
01front.pdfFront matter86.18 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
02rothko_red.pdfRothkos Red2.85 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
03portrait_prog.pdfPortrait Program109.85 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
04portrait_prologue_act1.pdfPortrait Prologue & Act 15.3 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
05portrait_act2.pdfPortrait Act 27.91 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
06portrait_libretto.pdfPortrait Libretto206.98 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
07append_bib.pdfAppendix & Bibliography1.82 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
1 - 01 - Rothko's - Red.mp3Rothko's Red CD7.09 MBmp3View/Open
ThePortrait.flvUnknown302.32 MBUnknownView/Open

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