Although Europe figures prominently in our day-to-day discussions, the
cultural dimension of Europe is often overlooked. This publication, in
which Seóirse Bodley, one of the most eminent contemporary Irish
composers, engages with the poetry of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of
the finest minds in European literature, is a fine example of cultural
dialogue between Ireland and Germany. Literary and musical images are
key to national constructions of identity: it is from them, too, that we
derive a sense of European identity.
At the heart of Lorraine Byrne Bodley\'s musicological reflections is a detailed account of the poems that significantly shaped Bodley\'s settings. In her reading of each cycle she examines the cultural and poetic contexts, weaving together the confessional with larger cultural forces at play.
The book explores very different but radical musics that can be traced back to Bodley's Darmstadt period. Mignon and the Harper belongs to the avant-garde, the experimental, with all the challenges to which this has given rise. The more recent song cycle, Gretchen, is a fine example of how Bodley's style continues to change and go into unexpected and unseen places. And yet while it is difficult to imagine two more contrasting pieces from the one composer, there is a convergence in the need to create a unique context of meaning through the act of composing. Just as Byrne Bodley\'s reading of these heterogeneous works as both object and process emphasizes the idea of historical transmission of materials as a living tradition, these settings compel us to experience again the relationship of modernity to tradition in both poetry and the music it has here inspired.
Seóirse Bodley, Emeritus Professor, UCD School of Music, is one of Ireland's leading composers. Works include five symphonies, two chamber symphonies and numerous orchestral, choral, vocal, and chamber pieces. Commissions he has received include his Third Symphony, commissioned for the opening of the National Concert Hall in Dublin, and his Fourth Symphony, commissioned by the Arturo Toscanini Symphony Orchestra of Parma, Italy.
Since his early twenties, Seóirse Bodley's music has been broadcast and performed in Ireland, Europe, North America, Australia, China and Japan. Influences on his compositions include a range of musical styles from the European avant-garde to Irish traditional music, and most recently a series of works arising from the philosophy of the Austrian-born philosopher, Karl Popper.
Lorraine Byrne Bodley, Senior Lecturer in Musicology at NUI Maynooth, holds a PhD in Music and in German from University College Dublin and a DMUS in Musicology, a higher doctorate on published work (NUI, 2012).
Dr Byrne Bodley is known internationally for her work on Schubert, on Goethe and Music and on German Song, on all of which she has published prolifically and lectured internationally (in German and in English) in Germany, Belgium, Russia, Canada, USA, UK and Ireland. She has published 10 books including: Goethe and Zelter: Musical Dialogues (Ashgate, 2009) which was named an Outstanding Academic Book of 2010 by Choice and has been widely acclaimed as 'a major contribution' to musicology and Goethean studies (Music and Letters, The Schubertian, Choice, Modern Language Review).
A Community of the Imagination: Seóirse Bodley's Goethe Settings (hardback edition)
- Product Code: A Community of the Imagination: Seóirse Bodley hardback
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