Title page for ETD etd-0220102-223805

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Redding, Jane McCalla
Author's Email Address Kmarrbari@aol.com
URN etd-0220102-223805
Title An Introduction to American Song Composer Daron Aric Hagen (b. 1961) and His Miniature Folk Opera: Dear Youth
Degree Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Patricia O'Neill Committee Chair
Robert Grayson Committee Member
Stephen F. Austin Committee Member
Robert Edgeworth Dean's Representative
  • civil war letters
  • folk opera
  • soprano
Date of Defense 2002-02-08
Availability unrestricted
American composer Daron Aric Hagen (b. 1961) is emerging as one of America's brightest young composers of the twenty-first century. Ned Rorem, the champion of American art song, believes Hagen to be a composer of great ability and skill.

This study deals with the miniature folk opera Dear Youth (1990) which is composed of eight songs for soprano, piano, and flute. The songs are "The Bonnie Blue Flag" (Ketchum), "I Stop Again" (Ropes), "The Picture Graved Into My Heart" (Ropes), "The Trouble Was Tom..." (Anonymous), "The Lord Knows" (Smith), "O, for Such a Dream" (Smith), "Christmas Night" (Ingram), and "...Silently Dispersing" (Chesnut). Individual study of each song has been approached from a performer's perspective as prepared for a lecture/recital.

Information and observations presented for each song include: range, tessitura, meter signature, expression and tempo indications, dynamic range, length, biographical information about the writers, origins of the texts to aid the performer in the process of developing character sketches, and insights for interpretation and performance.

Although this document deals only with Dear Youth, the composer has written and published numerous cycles and individual art songs to explore. Hagen's works require an artist with great text sensitivity as well as discipline to adhere to musical markings within the score.

Conclusions drawn from the study include the following: (1) Hagen's song composition is driven soley by the text. (2) His vocal writing is always lyrical, though contemporary and at times dissonant. (3) While Hagen makes certain demands on the musicianship of the singer, his vocal requirements are realistic and natural. (4) Finally, a wide variety of dynamic intensities and emotional colors are required for an artistic performance of this repertoire.

An appendix of Hagen's published vocal works (songs, chamber music, and opera), coupled with names and addresses of the publishers has been included.

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