Performing pain : music and trauma in 1970s and 80s Eastern Europe / by Maria Cizmic.
A representational dilemma emerges at the heart of my dissertation: how does music, as an embodied art form, represent and enact experiences of personal, communal, and historical trauma and pain? In exploring this question, I consider music composed in 1970s and 80s Eastern Europe and Russia and integrate trauma theory into this musicological endeavor. A set of case studies, this project explores Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 15 (1974) and its crisis of narrativity; Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya's Sixth Piano Sonata (1988) and embodied representations of pain; Estonian Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel and Tabula Rasa (1978 & 1977), as postmodern surfaces that reflect interiority and spirituality; and Polish composer Henryk Górecki's Third Symphony (1976) as an enactment of mourning and remembering politicized by its Holocaust reception. Although these composers come from several East European locations, their compositions share a preoccupation with suffering, narrativity, embodiment, and interiority. With my final chapter I widen my cross-regional view to the United States, addressing the inclusion of Shostakovich's, Pärt's, and Górecki's pieces in HBO's Wit (2001). Here I speak to the translation of these musical expressions of disruption and pain into a film about a cancer patient that weaves a redemptive story about illness and dying. A primary goal of this dissertation is to both integrate trauma theory with musicology and introduce musical repertoire and scholarship into a discourse largely preoccupied with linguistic representation. Several overarching themes arise: the epistemology and representation of pain and trauma; the particular embodied access that music has to experiences of suffering; Western stereotypes of the “suffering slav”; musical subjectivity and postmodern articulations of “surface/depth” models; and the evocation of spirituality in art.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:19:00
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