Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Apricots of Andujar A song cycle for tenor, Marimba Lumina/ Lightning, and pierrot sextet
by Duykers, Aaron Max, Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2012, 174; 3522112
Abstract (Summary)

Apricots of Andujar explores generational differences and evokes forgiveness and renewal between a man, Jon Swann, and his abusive and distant father, a farmer who grew the "Andujar Apricot"- not a perfect, blemish-free, store-bought fruit, but an imperfect heirloom with a complex and ephemeral taste that can only be experienced the moment it is picked. The father's unexplained commitment for this financially unviable crop has always baffled the son, who has renounced his working-class background by becoming a successful businessman and moving up to another echelon of society. Through an eventual understanding of the transient beauty of the fruit of his youth, the son ultimately grows to forgive his father and to embrace the imperfection, the complexity and the bittersweet beauty of his own life.

Existing somewhere between concert music and theatre, the piece is an impressionistic collage of dream and memory for Jon Swann, who realizes the futility in the routine of his life: it no longer fulfills him, and he yearns to discover something deeper in himself. He then passes through a metamorphosis of acceptance and transcendence of the legacy of suffering that his father bestows upon him. Many scenes take place at his father's funeral, where Jon awakens buried scars, unspoken longings, and dormant dreams. Here, a voice in Swann's head tells him he must touch the body of his dead father to truly become alive. He cannot do it, although he makes several attempts. However, through forgiveness of his father's shortcomings, he is finally able to bring himself to taste the Andujar Apricot heralded by this misunderstood gentleman farmer, and he sings about its ephemeral and complex beauty: "Perfect/Imperfect."

This piece was collaboratively developed by First Look Sonoma (tenor John Duykers and director Melissa Weaver), playwright and librettist Philip Kan Gotanda, and actor/percussionist Joel Davel. Davel performs on two interactive and innovative electronic instruments which he designed and built with electronic music pioneer Don Buchla – the Marimba Lumina and the Lightning.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Silver, Sheila, Weymouth, Dan
Commitee: Goldstein, Perry
School: State University of New York at Stony Brook
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Apricots of Andujar, Duykers, Max Giteck, Marimba lumina, Original composition, Song cycle
Publication Number: 3522112
ISBN: 978-1-267-53934-2
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