Enter: Life

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Robert Pound




Enter : Life began as an exploration of various Jewish melodies from Italy and the United States, and developed into a song cycle for a small chamber ensemble and voice based on a personally significant narrative. This narrative became the inspiration for the piece, but not the goal. Because it remains private, the listener’s own narrative becomes just as important.

My original goal was to incorporate these Jewish melodies and a number of languages into the four-movement work.

The musical material of movement 1 consists of a limited number of notes, remaining fairly static in order to function as an introduction to the rest of the piece. The last phrase of the text serves as a transition to the second movement.

In movement 2, the musicians are presented with melodic fragments, invoking chaos. In a certain sense, the musicians compose this movement as they play it. They are given the freedom to repeat the fragments at any dynamic as many or as few times as they choose. One should imagine walking around a marketplace, hearing the sounds swell and diminish at random.

Immediately following movement 2, movement 3 consists of snippets of an Ashkenazi Jewish prayer, woven together with pieces of the same prayer set to an Italian melody. The movement slowly grows in intensity, increasing in rhythm and dynamics, while retaining the long melodic lines.

Finally, the piece culminates in the fourth movement, set in an uneven meter to suppress a sense of regularity. The music and the words together create a texture of nature without using obvious quotations.

Included in

Music Commons