To be melodramatic: Writing a text to music according to the melodramatic tradition
author(s): Yotam Gaton
published in: KC Research Portal
Name: Yotam Gaton
Main Subject: Baroque Violin
Research Supervisor: Bart van Oort
Title of Research: Writing a text to music to be performed as done in Melodramas
Research Question: What are the different ways in which text and music are put together in the Romantic Melodramas?
Summary of Results:
I use examples from compositions of the early Romantics until those of the end of the 19th century. Ways to treat the fusion of text and music, as can be seen from the literature, are presented in the story that I wrote, a story that is meant to be narrated with early Romantic music. The Melodrama that developed in the 70s' of the 18th century, although disregarded by some critics, became - mostly in the Germanic countries, a popular genre, used by composers from Benda through Mozart and Beethoven, to Liszt and Humperdinck.
In a world that constantly looked for musical innovations, melodrama gave a new meaning for that primary connection of music and text. So how is this text-music relation kept? Are there clear principals in composing music to recited text as can be learned from Melodramas in the Romantic period?
Representative melodramas by early and late romantic composers are discussed.
The Melodrama developed due to changes in the artistic approach to the fusion of music and text. From its early days of Rousseau and Benda and the autonomy they sought to give to each art, to the complete immersion and fusion of the two in the Melodramas of Schuman, Liszt and Humperdinck, highlighting the qualities of both arts.
The core of this work is my own intake on Melodrama. I brought examples from the story that I wrote for different fusions of recited text and music. Unlike Melodramas where music is written to text, here the process is reversed and text was written to music.
Yotam Gaton was chamber music oriented from an early age, performing as concertmaster and principal second violin with Israel’s finest chamber ensembles.
Yotam joined the IDF and served as the leader and first violinist of the IDF string quartet where he wrote and performed series of lecture concerts.
Former member and concertmaster of the European Union Baroque Orchestra, Yotam played with renowned ensembles such as Les Arts Florissants and performed in Europe's most important Early Music festivals. Both as a soloist and a group member, he collaborated with some of the greatest Early Music artists such as Frans Brüggen, Masaaki Suzuki, William Christie, Lars Ulrik Mortensen and Rachel Podger.