Dissertation Index

Author: Heap, Matthew

Title: Keep Going: Narrative Continuity in Luciano Berio\'s Sinfonia AND Dillinger: An American Oratorio

Institution: University of Pittsburgh

Begun: October 2010

Completed: April 2012


The analysis component of this dissertation provides a discussion of a continuous narrative that develops during the course of Luciano Berio’s 1969 masterwork, Sinfonia.

Herein, I propose two narrative readings of Sinfonia. The first involves the conflict between music or text that is a signifier of one of three important elements: blood, fire, and water. The piece is defined structurally by the interplay of these elements, especially between referents to
water and fire. As the work ends, it becomes clear that the elements of blood and death (which are present implicitly throughout) are closely linked. Secondly, I propose a programmatic narrative along the lines of the Heldenleben
program, in which our hero-composer tries to start a piece, fails, and so looks for inspiration and enlightenment, first from a recent work, then from the masterpieces of the past. Finally, he continues his piece from where he ended in the first movement, and finishes it in a satisfying way, synthesizing materials from the previous movements. The two narratives come together in this last movement, and, as a result, the movement, and the piece, could be seen as an answer to the question of “What is the point of art?”

I provide evidence for these narratives through a combination of analytical techniques. I also examine the context of many of the textual fragments that Berio uses to show patterns and relationships between disparate sources.

Keywords: Berio, Sinfonia, Narrative, Levi-Strauss, semiotic, elements, creative process


1.0 Introduction
1.1 History and Brief Survey of Previous Analyses
1.2 Methodology
1.3 The Narrative Arc
2.0 First Movement - Beginnings
2.1 Text Analysis
2.2 Music Analysis
2.3 Conclusions
3.0 Second Movement - Reminiscence and Embellishment
3.1 Connections
3.2 Embellishments
3.3 Conclusions
4.0 Third Movement - Looking to the Past
4.1 Previous Analyses
4.2 Musical Quotations
4.3 The Narration
4.4 Conclusions
5.0 Fourth Movement - Attempts At Synthesis
5.1 Musical and Textual Analysis
5.2 Conclusions
6.0 Fifth Movement - Finishing the Piece
6.1 Text Analysis
6.2 Musical Analysis
6.3 Conclusions
7.0 I Feel The Moment Has Come For Us To Look Back
Appendix A
8.0 Dillinger: An American Oratorio



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