Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Department

Music

First Advisor

Elizabeth Swanson

Second Advisor

Yonatan Malin

Third Advisor

Steven Bruns

Abstract

The vocal music created in Italy during the late 1800s and early 1900s is often considered to be the height of European vocal art forms, and the era when the operatic and choral genres broke their way into mainstream appreciation. One specific composer’s career was paramount to the rise of this movement: Monsignor Don Lorenzo Perosi. At the turn of the twentieth century, his early premieres of choral oratorios and symphonic poems of massive scale thoroughly impressed notable musical colleagues worldwide and quickly received mass adoration and accolades. In addition to these large works, Perosi produced a prolific number of liturgical choral compositions that shaped the sound and style of choral music of the Roman Catholic Church for over half a century. However, despite this massive compositional output and historical acclaim among the greatest Italian composers of the time, his music is seldom performed outside of Italian religious communities and little is known about why this figure has been neglected from due attention. Thus, as a primary figure in the elevation of the Romantic oratorio and the redefinition of sacred choral music in the church, the music of Lorenzo Perosi deserves rediscovery and respect. The recent Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana publication of a catalogue of the composer’s complete oeuvre of published and unpublished works sheds light on previously undiscovered, profane choral compositions that have received no mention in any biographical sources in print or online to date. This paper provides a brief biographical overview of the composer and an analysis of five of the so-called profane choral compositions. The study and analysis of this previously unknown repertoire allows secular musicians and scholars an avenue by which to approach this composer’s substantial musical output and warrant inclusion back into the choral canon.

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