An analysis and performance guide to Dominick Argento's To Be Sung Upon the Water: barcarolles and nocturnes for high voice, clarinet/bass clarinet, and piano

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Alabama Libraries

This document contributes significantly to the meager list of sources that discuss Dominick Argento’s cycle for high voice, clarinet, and piano, “To Be Sung Upon The Water.” Argento is well known for his song literature and a number of his vocal works have received much attention; the cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1975. Through theoretical analysis of the work as well as suggestions for performance practice, this document will provide both a practical and scholarly source that will expand our understanding of the cycle and promote more well-deserved study of this lesser performed work. Patrice Michaels, who made a professional recording of the cycle with pianist Bettie Buccheri and clarinetist Larry Combs in 1996, contributed an interview. Dominick Argento’s autobiographical work, Catalogue Raisonné As Memoir: A Composer’s Life contains behind-the-scenes information about his compositions. Dr. Kevin Chance gave insightful information and was very helpful in coaching this work by helping to coordinate tempi, influencing stylistic choices, and uncovering some wonderful nuances and the tributes to other composers, sometimes in the form of musical quotations, that Argento implied in the work. Further chapters provide insight into practical difficulties, which presented many obstacles in rehearsal. For instance, no singer cues are included in the clarinet edition of the score. Also, the singer’s edition of the score includes the untransposed clarinet parts which were helpful when I rehearsed alone, but in ensemble rehearsal left fewer ways to communicate about wrong notes or entrances. This document provides a resource for future performers of this work in the form of poetical and theoretical analyses, as well as helpful stylistic information. The poetic and musical richness within this lesser performed work by Dominick Argento can be discovered with the help of the sources interviewed and performance experience.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation