Rocky Mount, N.C.
Project title: "The Real Father of Modern Music:” Death and the Diabolical in the Music of Franz Liszt
Mentor: Victoria Fischer Faw
My last semester as a Lumen scholar was partly about synthesis, in the sense of tying many threads together to create bigger picture results and a project narrative. I achieved that side of the work after delivering a comprehensive presentation on Elon’s campus on February 11 during the Departmental Recital hour in Whitley Auditorium for the Department of Music. It addressed how symbolizing death and demonic characters was the main fuel for Liszt’s innovations from his earliest works until the last music he wrote. I made connections among all of the compositions previously studied, and more, following Liszt’s systematic use of specific musical motives and compositional techniques. The presentation was my greatest Lumen-related success on campus, and I could not be more grateful to have had that opportunity.
The short piano piece Unstern! Sinistre, Disastro was the subject of a more specific focus during this past semester. One of Liszt’s most innovative works, it was the main topic of a presentation and paper (still in draft) for NCUR 2014 and SURF 2014. Dr. Fischer and I chose Unstern because of its representative, summarizing character – embodying Liszt’s innovative mindset in conjunction with his desire to symbolize death and the demonic. Although the piece is only five minutes in duration and one of over a thousand Liszt composed, it represented for my project a culmination of the trends I traced from Liszt’s earliest compositions of the 1830s all the way through to the 1880s.
Lastly, this semester was the decision-making side of planning for the future. I was offered admission into seven of eight graduate music programs to which I applied and accepted an offer from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music to enroll in the Musicology Ph.D. program in the fall of 2014. When I traveled to Bloomington, Indiana for the interview/audition weekend, the interview committee chair mentioned that my application stood out because of a master’s level research project. I had the chance to explain the tremendous support for undergraduate research, focusing on the Lumen Prize at Elon. If not for this project, I may not have applied for graduate study in music at all.
Dr. Ann J. Cahill
Professor of Philosophy
Spence Pavilion 111
2340 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
Phone: (336) 278-5703
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