The text and melody choice and influence of nationalism in Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Five mystical songs

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Lim, Hongteak
Karna, Duane R., 1959-
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Thesis (M.M.)
School of Music
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A conductor of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s vocal music must analyze the composer’s life and his intentions toward the text and melody. From that knowledge, the conductor can begin to prepare a rehearsal. Only then can a conductor perform and relay the composer’s intentions. Vaughan Williams’s biographers state that he was interested in mysticism and was a nationalistic composer. In my creative project, I discuss how his music expresses these characteristics by score analysis. I briefly discuss his early life, a time during which he became interested in nationalism, and then Vaughan Williams’s choice of text and melody in the Five Mystical Songs. Through these examples, I examined the influences of nationalism and mysticism in the work. For example, in song number 3, Vaughan Williams borrowed a chant melody that he then used to highlight the moment during communion when Jesus connected with humans. In song number 4, he used modal melody similar to those used in English folk music.