Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program



Rufus Muller

Abstract/Artist's Statement

My Senior Project for Music consists of two concerts. The first, held on December 10, was entitled An Evening of Art and Folksongs. Performed were a total of fifteen songs by composers Ludwig van Beethoven, Herbert Hughes, Aaron Copland, and Benjamin Britten. Of those fifteen, the majority were arrangements of traditional folksongs while the rest were written in a more combined folk and art song style. Examples of the former group are “The Gartan Mother’s Lullaby” and “I wonder as I wander,” songs which were collected in the field by folklorists, while the latter includes “Adelaide,” a piece intended for concert performance. Despite their varying origins, my intention with this first concert was to explore aspects of the folk tradition in the vocal repertoire. “Adelaide” was written by a composer crucial in the transition between the Classical and Romantic music eras, and whose primary works are orchestral, but it has a distinct pastoral subject with folk-like musical qualities. This mixing of musical genres is true for all of these songs, regardless of whether or not the melody is traditional. Each has an inherent folk quality and displays the individual composer’s contemporary musical style, two elements which have been blended together seamlessly to create pieces of pure beauty.

My second concert, held on April 29, was a brief survey of opera and musical theatre entitled A Trip Through Musical Time: From Baroque to Broadway. My intention here was to bring together two genres that have each had a profound impact on my musical career and my life. My mother enrolled me in a musical theatre program when I was four and I stuck with that same program for twelve years. I was also a child raised on Disney movies. Until college, my musical endeavors were primarily focused in musical theatre. Once I began taking voice lessons and became part of the Bard Music Department, I was given my first real taste of opera and the classical vocal style. This was a big change for me. I had never imagined I could sing that way (I also firmly believed I was not a soprano), but I very much enjoyed the transition and I am immensely proud of the progress I have made thus far. That pride and great affection for the two genres are what inspired this second concert.

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