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Through this project, I have explored relationships between music and death through the composition of two bodies of musical work, and through the study of the two "forms" Lament and Allegory. I have been investigating forms which tolerate death as loss instead of hiding loss, marginalizing it, or exploiting it for a “greater good”. As a composer, I have been mostly interested in musical forms, but as this text will show, I do not believe that any of these forms are exclusively musical. Rather, they are ways of organizing a relationships between sound and meaning, voice and language. The musical works written as part of this investigation include selections from the opera/oratorio that I am writing for the Norwegian National Opera (Det Ryker fortsatt), as well as pieces that were written as part of an ongoing collaboration with the Dominican artist manuel arturo abreu (their name is not capitalized). The libretto for the opera was written by Finn Iunker, and that work is a collaboration with composer Bernhard Bornstein. The collaboration with manuel arturo abreu includes a work for piano trio, a “theatrical work” for two performers and amplified objects, and a work for symphony orchestra. In this introduction, I will briefly describe the scope of the two “bodies” represented in my masters project before presenting my written component and discussing the scope and aims of this text. The text will focus upon the work of philosophers Gershom Scholem and Walter Benjamin and their concepts of Lament and Allegory, and will then examine their relation to the works of, among others, Kurt Weill and Luigi Nono.
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