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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“The Garden of the Universe”: A tone poem for orchestra
by Rhee, Ka Young, D.M.A., University of Maryland, College Park, 2010, 58; 3409873
Abstract (Summary)

Through The Garden of Universe, I would like to combine my religious faith as a Christian with my identity as a Korean composer to create a new synthesis in contemporary music. The title came from the conversation with my mother. After listening to my In the Presence of the Lord for piano, she told me that it was like walking with God in his garden of the universe. I was inspired by the words “the garden of the universe”, and this turned out to be the title of my dissertation.

The 1st movement, The Garden, opens with a “heavenly” C major chord in string harmonics, harp bisbigliando, marimba tremolo, and clarinets. The chord is gradually infiltrated by an F# major tonality symbolizing the emergence of life (Rehearsal A). Rehearsal B (playfully) depicts the play of animals, insects, and birds. The C major chord returns Rehearsal C (tranquillo). Near the end of the 1 st movement, a descending harp arpeggio leads to a solo violin cadenza combining the C and F# tritone chords.

Following the cadenza, the 2nd movement, Chaos, begins with a chromatic motive treated contrapuntally by solo basses. The scripture reads “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. " A high E hovers over the rumbling basses like the Spirit of God. This high E is re-enforced by piccolo, celesta, harp, and piano. The upper strings, timpani, and low woodwinds gradually enter in a depiction of increasing chaos. Its climax leads attacca into the 3rd movement, In Praise of Universal Harmony.

This movement begins solemnly with a steadily accelerating percussion figure symbolizing the word of God. The scripture reads “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. ", and “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. ." In my music this leads to a spirit of rejoicing. From Rehearsal I, “Praise the LORD. , five traditional Korean rhythmic patterns from Samullori (percussion ensemble) emerge. These are Rehearsal I to J: Gutgeori Jandan; Rehearsal K to L: Ban Gilgunak in Yeongnam Garak; Rehearsal M to N: Byeolgeori, Dalgeori in Yeongnam Garak; Rehearsal O to P: Excerpted Jangdan from Seoljanggu Garak; and Rehearsal Q to U: Jjak Soe in Uttari Pungmul. Just before the last rhythm, beginning with Rehearsal Q, the opening C major chord reappears. There is a “war” between the C and F# chords. The F# major is brought into the C major “fold” through triadic tritone progressions. The use of a Fibonacci series between Rehearsal I and O facilitates this “Progression.” (See table on next page.)

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moss, Lawrence
Commitee: Choi, Kyu Yong, Fry, James, Provine, Robert, Wilson, Mark
School: University of Maryland, College Park
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Contemporary music, Creation, Garden of Universe, Korean folk rhythm, Orchestra, Tone poem
Publication Number: 3409873
ISBN: 978-1-124-07656-0
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