UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Compositions Borugian, Thomas Jordan

Abstract

Psalm 143 and Psalm 116, both for SATB choir, form a pair textually though they are unrelated musically; the former is the 'call', and the latter the 'answer'. In Psalm 143, the musical material was patterned on Arvo Part's technique of tintinnabulation, involving drones and a counterpoint of'bell tones'. Psalm 116, on the other hand, is an exuberant piece featuring rapid shifts of mode, canonical imitation, and constant rhythmic dynamism. Moons of Jupiter is a set of Etudes for piano. Although the pieces are not overtly pictorial or programmatic, they were in each instance initially inspired by the striking terrain of the "Galilean" satellites: lo, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. In many ways, Stanzas for Music, for soprano, string quartet, and harp, is an impressionistic work. The text (by Byron) evokes images of light and dark, water, and sound. This is mirrored in the music by a fluid and graceful atmosphere. Both movements of Doppelgdnger (for horn solo) are guided by the idea of a "shadowy double". Dualism is expressed through contrasts of dynamics, register, articulation, and harmony. The title for the orchestral work Faintly White came from a Basho haiku: "As the sea darkens/the cries of the mallards/grow faintly white". With its emphasis on the 'pure' sounds of individual instrumental groups (brass in particular) and soloists, Faintly White attempts to convey the austere, mysterious vastness of the ocean. Elegy, for SATB choir, is a setting of the Leonard Cohen poem of the same name. Images of water pervade this solemn work. The music grows organically from germinal ideas presented in the work's opening, and by its conclusion several seemingly disparate elements are reconciled. Finally, in Offertory and Creation's Knot we find two strongly dissimilar approaches to writing for violin and piano. Offertory, with its continuous ostinato in the left hand of the piano and simple melody, is a work o f serene elegance. By comparison, Creation's Knot is a much more intense and serious work which, musically, deals with the perplexing nature o f human existence - the constant superimposition o f beauty and suffering.

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