Type of Document Treatise Author Cracchiolo, Margaret Anna URN etd-05072009-015316 Title A Comprehensive Case Study on the Ten Blake Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams: From "Infant Joy" to "London" Degree Doctor of Musical Arts Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Eric Ohlsson Committee Chair Deborah Bish Committee Member Eva Amsler Committee Member Evan Jones Outside Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2009-05-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe Ten Blake Songs helped to establish the unique ensemble combination of voice and oboe and has become a major staple in the chamber music repertoire for both oboists and singers. Vaughan Williams wrote the work in 1958—the last year of his life—for the documentary film The Vision of William Blake, written and directed by Guy Brenton. The film, which commemorated the bicentennial of Blake’s birth, explores Blake’s personal philosophy as expressed through his poetry and artwork. When Vaughan Williams added music to Blake’s Illuminated poetry, almost two centuries after its creation, he broadened the scope of its artistic gesture. In addition, as Vaughan Williams wrote the piece for a film that presented the visionary art, poetry, and philosophy of Blake, the complete effort culminated in a kaleidoscope of artistic perspective.
This treatise is a comprehensive case study of the first four songs from the Ten Blake Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The first two chapters address pertinent background information and the next four chapters provide an exploration of each specific poem followed by an analysis of the music. The musical analysis focuses on the techniques Vaughan Williams used to enhance the meaning of the poetry.
This case study will provide a resource for performers and scholars who are seeking an in-depth knowledge of Vaughan Williams’s Ten Blake Songs for the purpose of attaining insight into all its artistic facets. Vaughan Williams’s influences in composing the piece are explored, including William Blake and his poetry (the Songs of Innocence and of Experience), and the film, The Vision of William Blake, for which the Ten Blake Songs were written.
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