Author: Ratay, Elizabeth L
Title: To Be Reflected
Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz
Begun: September 2008
Completed: December 2013
Zrcadlit se (To Be Reflected) Spiegeln was composed in 2013 in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Musical Arts. The work is a dual song cycle with connecting interludes. The first cycle is a setting of three poems in German by Rainer Maria Rilke and the second cycle is a setting of three Czech poems by different poets. The title, Zrcadlit se (To Be Reflected) Spiegeln, is the same in all three languages, representing the two sung languages and the language of the composer. The title refers to themes of reflection found in both the Czech and German poems, as well as the way in which the two cycles create a reflective dialogue between them.
The purpose of the dual cycle is to highlight the differences and similarities, such as language and poetic themes, between the two cycles, to allow them to comment on and interact with each other. There is also a theatrical component where the different ensembles change seating for each type of movement (Czech song, German song or interlude), highlighting the similarities and differences in ensembles. Many aspects of this work were suggested to me by the music of Harrison Birtwistle. For example, the idea of a dual cycle was suggested by Pulse Shadowswhich is a dual cycle combining *9 Movements for String Quartet and 9 Settings of Celan.
The accompanying paper shows how Birtwistle used the complete chromatic beginning on E, divided into symmetrical sets, as the source of all pitch material for “Todtnauberg,” a movement from Pulse Shadows. This source material was revealed through a study of pitches emphasized in different registers of the clarinet and soprano parts, as well as through length, repetition and timbre.
Keywords: ritual, Harrison Birtwistle, Czech, song cycle, Rainer Maria Rilke, Pulse Shadows, Jiří Karasek ze Lvovic, Otokar Březina, František Hrubín
Part I: Essay
Pitch-Focus and Line in Harrison Birtwistle’s “Todtnauberg”
Part II: Composition
Zrcadlit se (To Be Reflected) Spiegeln
Poems and Translations
I. Die Gazelle (The Gazelle)
II. Tíha věčností (The Weight of Eternity)
III. Die Flamingos (The Flamingos)
IV. Jarní noc (Spring Night)
V. Der Schwann (The Swan)
VI. Jednou po západu slunce (Once After Sunset)