Adventurous music: Lukas Foss' "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"
Satterfield, Tracy Rhodus
Bailey, Walter B.
Doctor of Musical Arts
The purpose of the paper is to offer a detailed description of Lukas Foss' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, a setting of Wallace Stevens' poem of the same title. The paper begins with an overview of Foss' achievements as a composer, conductor, educator, and pianist. The main body of the paper features a discussion of the wide variety of musical ideas contained in the work, within and among traditional parameters, with special consideration given to the non-traditional use of the instruments. This is followed by an overview of Wallace Stevens' life and works and a discussion of select elements of the poem. The relationship between the poem and the music is discussed in terms of the many levels at which Foss uses the text. The paper concludes with ways in which this work is representative of Foss' third compositional period. Appendices include a full text version of Stevens' poem and a select list of musical settings of the poem by other composers.