Type of Document Dissertation Author Cho, Soo Jin Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-12182007-153633 Title Road to Damascus for Piano and Orchestra Degree Doctor of Musical Arts Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Carolyn Bridger Committee Member Evan Jones Committee Member James Mathes Committee Member Ladilav Kubik Committee Member Keywords
- Religious Music
- Paul's Conversion
Date of Defense 2007-12-04 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
Road to Damascus for Piano and Orchestra is based on the story of the Apostle Paulís repentance and conversion to Christianity. This dramatic event is one of the most inspirational in the New Testament. Also, through this momentous story, Paul is admired by many artists in various genres of art. Road to Damascus is a programmatic work, divided into three sections according to the story development. The three sections reflect specific scenes from the Bible: Acts 6:8-60, Acts 9:1-9, and Acts 9:10-31, respectively. The story starts from the scene of St. Stephenís tragic yet divine martyrdom after his last sermon, in which Saul (later known as Paul) was present as a persecutor. The second section narrates Saulís journey to Damascus to further oppress Christians, during which he meets God in the light and turns blind. The last section is about the three days of prayer of repentance after the blinding event, followed by Paulís regained sight and subsequent discipleship.
The first section, Lamentoso, can be described as an elegy for St. Stephen. It begins in an intense pathos created by dotted rhythms and lamenting melody. This rhythmic motive is a dominant musical ingredient in all sections, but its character varies according to each sectionís mood. The piano writing is narrative in style, as though it is implying a certain kind of message. The opening of the second section is dramatically articulated with brass and percussion instruments. In this section, the pianoís narrative style is displayed to back up the orchestra, and the tempo is altered to progress the story. The first climax is reached with an orchestral tutti in dotted rhythm, as if recollecting the first section. An introspective and meditative piano solo then enters to begin the last section. The new theme is accompanied by violin and bassoon. Its melodic fragments (D Eb G D C#) are reused and developed through manipulation between and among the instrumental groups. The finale is articulated by chimes while the orchestra outlines refined harmony through dotted rhythms in an optimistic character.
Overall, the piece is composed by the adaptation of free atonal practice, though some parts are intended to create a hierarchy of pitches so that some pitches are more significant than others. Certain parts are based on pre-determined plans for specific harmonic progressions. I have composed several chamber pieces over the past few years that reflect a particular story. Road to Damascus for Piano and Orchestra was my attempt to experience this kind of compositional process with an extended formal structure, all in an orchestral setting with solo instrument. The score is transposed and the duration is approximately twelve minutes.
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