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Thesis 1

THESIS DETAILS
Thesis Title: Reimagining the Nation: Operatic Expressions of Irish Society and Culture 1777-1923
Degree Type: DMus
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Dr. Denise Neary & Dr. Philip Graydon
Thesis Status: In Progress
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Royal Irish Academy of Music
THESIS CONTENT
Persons / Composers: John O' Keeffe, Johann B. Logier, Samuel Lover, Charles V. Stanford, Thomas O' Brien Butler, Robert O' Dwyer, Geoffrey Molyneux Palmer
Genres / Musical Instruments: Irish Art Music, Irish Opera
Time Frame: 1777 - 1923
Key Issues / Concepts: Operatic Expressions of Irish Society and Culture
Abstract: This thesis proposes a new theoretical framework for the acceptance and appraisal of Irish operatic works composed between 1777 and 1923. This framework is underpinned by the socio-cultural ferment of modern Ireland coupled with a stern critique of contemporary musicological reception history and as such forms the working model for the appraisal method of works for the study. Rather than continuing on the subjective path of seeking to explore expressions of Irishness or the national in opera, the framework espouses an exploration of the operatic expressions of Irish society and culture from 1777 to 1923. This method of appraisal does not prerequisite a high volume of works (nor could it as the output in question is far too small) nor indeed any pseudo-nationalist criteria to determine which works are Irish and which are not; therefore by renewing the musicological theory and nullifying cultural subjectiveness, this new framework provides a much needed, modern and un-biased alternative to re-examine the role of opera in Irish cultural history between 1777 and 1923.

Thesis 2

Thesis Title: The Schola Cantorum at St Finian's College: a historical account and an examination of its impact on church music in Ireland from 1970-2010
Degree Type: MA
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Deborah Kelleher
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 2010
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Royal Irish Academy of Music
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (90pp.)
Abstract: The aim of the research was to provide a historical account of the Schola Cantorum at St. Finian’s College Mullingar and to establish an initial enquiry to discern whether or not the Schola Cantorum at St. Finian’s College Mullingar has had an impact on church music in Ireland since its inception. The research investigated specially selected documentary evidence, eleven research participants who have had varying relationships with the Schola Cantorum since 1970 along with a number of questionnaires from Schola Cantorum alumni. A combined technique of using qualitative and quantitative research methods were used in reviewing the literature, selecting documentary evidence, conducting semi-structured/guided interviews and collating questionnaire data. The data were analysed employing a range of data analysis techniques such as content analysis, internal criticism and the statistical software, Microsoft Excel 2008.

The findings of this research suggest that the Schola Cantorum at St. Finian’s College has proved itself to be an institution of worthy significance in the broader context of music in Ireland, particularly that of music education. Further findings suggest that the Schola Cantorum has had an impact on church music in Ireland since 1970, although this impact has not been completely distinct. The research suggests that the Schola Cantorum has found itself in precarious circumstances throughout its existence, chiefly due to the Schola Cantorum’s incompatibility to general indifference towards professional church music within the Catholic Church in Ireland. Significantly, the findings reveal that the Schola Cantorum has coped with this anomaly and has impacted on church music in Ireland on many levels. However, the research findings also suggest that the Schola Cantorum has been deprived of a substantial and appropriate infrastructure that would have allowed the Schola Cantorum to make a more significant and quantifiable impact on church music in Ireland.

It is suggested that the Schola Cantorum, based on the evidence of this research, may need a re-evaluation and re-assessment of its objectives and operation in order to progress and develop accordingly to the current financial and cultural climate.

Contact Details

Current Institution Affiliation: Royal Irish Academy of Music
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