Thesis submission ID 949 | created | last updated

Molly Adams-Toomey, Communicating meaning in Petr Eben's Písne nelaskavé: a performance perspective
DMusPerf, Royal Irish Academy of Music, 2023

Volumes, pp.: 1 vol (vi, 133 pp.)  
Supervisor(s): Denise Neary
Repository (online):
Repository (hard copy): Royal Irish Academy of Music Library

General specialism: Musicology: Performance Studies
Key terms, concepts: Analysis; Performance interpretation
Key terms, persons: Petr Eben
Key terms, places: Czech Republic
Key terms, genres, instruments: Song cycles; Singing

Czech composer Petr Eben (1929-2007) was an important contributor to art music of the Czech Republic. He was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp during World War II and lived under an oppressive Communist government thereafter until 1989. Eben was Catholic, and his desire to express spiritual concepts in his music despite the government’s restriction on the expression of religion led to his belief that music must communicate a message.

Due to the past difficulty of musical exchange between Western countries and Eastern Europe as a result of Communist censorship, Eben as a composer is not as well-known in Western countries as he is in the Czech Republic. Much of the published material on Eben originates in the Czech Republic and is available in Czech or German. However, there is rising interest in Eben scholarship in Western countries, and several recent dissertations and articles have been written in English on his works. The majority of these focus on Eben’s compositions for organ, the instrument with which he is most associated. Of those that focus on his vocal works, only one analyses a composition by Eben for solo voice.

This dissertation addresses the lack of scholarship on Eben’s solo vocal works by discussing the communicative nature of Eben’s song cycle Písně nelaskavé (Loveless Songs). It does this by first describing the contextual circumstances in Eben’s life which shaped the composition of Písně nelaskavé and influenced the musical messages that can be found in the cycle. It then discusses Písně nelaskavé from a performance perspective and provides an analysis and performance interpretation of the song cycle. It demonstrates the way in which Eben’s musical style facilitates clarity in communicating meaning through a performance interpretation, promoting accessibility to varied audiences.
Thesis submission ID 949