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Date Permissions Signed
Date of Award
Master of Music (MMus)
Hamilton, Bruce, 1966-
Sommer, Lesley, 1967-
Briggs, Roger, 1952-
Aside from the pursuit of strictly musical ideas, a significant goal throughout the composition of this piece was in allowing my social and political interests to inform the work's aesthetic properties. As a result, it occupies a hazy region between the absolute and the referential, being free from a strict narrative, yet intended to suggest symbols that are frequently associated with May 1st. The conflicting themes and imagery that surround this day have proven to be a great source of inspiration and seem well suited for the craft of composition, a creative medium that is firmly rooted in the notion of tension and release. While the pre-Christian origins of the holiday can be traced back to various points around the globe in the Eastern and Western hemispheres, its celebration has significantly expanded in meaning within the last century. While its traditional imagery crystallized into symbols of the innocent, serene, and pastoral, capitalism's rise and the emergence of a new employing class furnished it with additional meaning throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Due in part to its proximity to the Chicago Haymarket riots on May 4th, 1886, the holiday has since served as a surrogate memorial for the affair and has continually evolved throughout the decades into an all-purpose day of rage for the resistant and disenfranchised. Ironically, its meaning has come full circle within the last half-century, as sustainability and the search for alternative energy sources have made their way to the forefront of the public debate. It is precisely this nexus that I wish to show the listener: a point of convergence between the pastoral, industrial, and resistant.
Western Washington University
Copying of this thesis in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.
Thun, Spencer J., "May Day: for orchestra" (2012). WWU Graduate School Collection. 194.