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Conversations with Silence Butler, Jennifer Anne Elizabeth


Conversations with Silence is a collage theatre work of approximately 50 minutes in length. It is scored for mezzo-soprano, flute/piccolo/alto flute, clarinet/bass clarinet, cello, piano, percussion, and electroacoustics. The broad subject of the work is an exploration of female creativity and how gender plays a role in creating art. Although Conversations with Silence is an abstract examination of this topic, my inspiration began with four theoretical readings: Eva Rieger’s article "'I Recycle Sounds': Do Women Compose Differently?", Linda Catlin Smith’s essay “Composing Identity: What is a woman composer?”; Susan McClary’s book Feminine Endings; and Sally Macarthur’s book Feminist Aesthetics. In Conversations with Silence I emphasize many of the qualities of “feminist aesthetics” that were already present in my previous compositions in order to explore these musical ideas even further. The work consists of seventeen movements divided into five separate scenes. Each scene includes two to four movements and is centred around a different dramatic character. There is no linear narrative to connect the scenes and characters. In place of one story, Conversations with Silence offers an amalgamation of stories, characters, and ideas. Each scene has a different thematic focus, which relates to the central ideas of female creativity and feminist aesthetics.

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Attribution 3.0 Unported