Randall Thompson's Frostiana: A Poetic Experience

Open Access
Author:
Livingston, John Stephen
Area of Honors:
Music
Degree:
Bachelor of Music
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Christopher A Kiver, Thesis Supervisor
  • Mark Edward Ballora, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Frostiana
  • music
  • choral
  • piano
  • conducting
  • poetry
  • Randall Thompson
  • Robert Frost
Abstract:
Randall Thompson’s Frostiana: Seven Country Songs, based on selected poems of Robert Frost, must be considered an important piece of the American twentieth-century choral repertory. Composed in 1959 for the bicentennial of Amherst, Massachusetts, the seven-movement work features a depth of character and meaning that is enhanced by Thompson’s idiosyncratic style. Thompson fuses his own musical sensitivity with the density of meaning found throughout the oeuvre of Frost, thereby compounding the deep meaning of the text with his compositional settings. Through a performance-oriented analysis of this piece in terms of both text and music, I aim to not only uncover a poignant significance of meaning deep within the piece but also demonstrate the sheer mastery and brilliant craftsmanship of the poet, composer, and the work itself.