Composers as spiritual mediators : Henryk Górecki and John Luther Adams.




Cooper, S. Grant (Steven Grant)

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This thesis considers how composers act as agents of spiritual mediation. It examines two individuals of divergent philosophical and cultural perspectives. Henryk Górecki and John Luther Adams responded to twentieth-century crises with two signature works that reflect a desire to remediate the suppression of spiritual forces. Górecki’s Miserere, opus 44 is a plea for reconciliation prompted by the abuse of Poland’s Solidarity movement, and is examined as a product of political and religious oppression in the composer’s nation, and as an invocation of Roman Catholic traditions that relate to its biblical text. John Luther Adams’s In the White Silence, a defense of wilderness places in Alaska, is examined as an outgrowth of environmental activism that resulted in a musical idiom based on ecological principles. The object of this study is to illuminate the role of composers as mediators between corporeal and incorporeal forces, manifesting the spiritual exigencies of mankind.



Twentieth-Century music., Spiritual mediation., Henryk Górecki., John Luther Adams., Poland in the Twentieth Century., Roman Catholic Church., Environmentalism in Alaska.