2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Fine Arts

Penderecki's Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima: Music Composition in the Nuclear Age
Jane E. Harrison
Dr. Bob Mielke and Dr. Marc Rice, Faculty Mentors

Throughout the post-World War II and Cold War Period, composers utilized their music as a vehicle to convey the grief and anxiety of the nuclear age. This research will specifically explore the changes brought about in compositional technique as a result of the nuclear age, and the ethical problems that arise when a composer chooses to focus a work on such a grave topic. Krzysztof Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima will be given particular attention as a primary source. A musical analysis and comparison of analytical methodologies will provide insight into changes that have come about in composition as a product of nuclear culture. This analysis will be placed within the context of Cold War nuclear anxiety. By exploring these changes and then analyzing the treatment of the subject matter in such pieces, a commentary will be presented on a composer’s ethical responsibility when dealing with grave realities of our world.

Keywords: Penderecki, Hiroshima, nuclear war, atomic bomb, avant garde, music , composition, Cold War

Topic(s):Music

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 41-1
Location: OP 2111
Time: 3:45

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