Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Thesis available online

Dear all,

After having passed my viva on 25 July, I am pleased to inform you that my thesis has been approved, and my Doctoral degree awarded.

Accordingly, I have made my thesis available online, at the following link:

Here's the thesis abstract for your information:

As attention on the music of Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996) has increased in the years after his death, so has the need for an analytical study of his musical style and language. This thesis surveys Weinberg’s changing style through a genre that spans almost his entire output: the string quartet. His close friendship and artistic affinity with Shostakovich helps make his music accessible to a wider audience, though closer examination reveals Weinberg’s individuality and a quite distinct language from that of his mentor. In support of this contention, a wide range of analytical approaches is deployed in this dissertation, along with a pragmatic methodology for presenting a holistic overview of Weinberg’s quartets. 
Weinberg’s quartet cycle occupies an important place in twentieth-century music, with parallels to Shostakovich, Bartók, and other Soviet composers, including Myaskovsky, Shebalin, Levitin, and Boris Chaykovsky; correspondences and distinctiveness are explored in the second chapter. The third chapter surveys Weinberg’s musical narratives, with recourse to theories from Kofi Agawu, Boris Asafiev, and Jacques Derrida. Form is the focus of the fourth chapter, where ideas from Mark Aranovsky, and James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy are deployed to highlight Weinberg’s problematising of traditional forms in his music. Chapter five explores Weinberg’s multi-faceted approach to harmony, with concepts expanded from Lev Mazel, Yury Kholopov, and the neo-Riemannian school of analysis. 
The picture that emerges is of Weinberg’s individuality and distinctive voice, manifested in a controlled experimentalism and a tendency towards extended lyricism. His affinity with better-known composers may prove an approachable entry-point for wider audiences, but many of the most striking elements in his quartet cycle are of his own invention. His quartets stand as an important contextual dimension for understanding Shostakovich’s cycle, and also for appreciating the broader repertoire of Soviet chamber music. As his centenary approaches, engagement with Weinberg’s music continues to increase: this thesis provides contexts and analysis-based conclusions to complement this ongoing revival.

I do hope my thesis will be of interest to you. Please do not hesitate to get in contact if you have any queries or suggestions.