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The Alchemy of Transition
June 9, 2012 - 8:00 am
The Alchemy of Transition in Richard Wagner by Christopher Fulkerson, Ph.D.
Whether in its “unending melody” or its coordination of music and stage action, Wagner’s work relies on the sense of direction that the technique of “transition” provides. Dr. Fulkerson will read a new paper introducing this “Classical”-era technique, which critic Joseph Kerman once agreed is “the most difficult sort of music to compose.” As usual, Wagner extends a familiar sophisticated technique by using a dramatic component which clarifies and heightens its effect.
Several examples of this will be presented, including the deliberate withholding of any sense of transition for obvious purposes of dramatic characterization. The goal will be to hear how Wagner coordinates the aspects of his art, even including, in one of his most remarkable scenes, the philosophy of Schopenhauer – specifically on the very point of “transition” as a metaphysical state.
By showing how Wagner used various kinds and degrees of transition in all components of his music dramas, Dr. Fulkerson hopes to reveal an important aspect of Wagner’s musical, dramatic, and philosophical alchemy.
Dr. Christopher Fulkerson is a long-time member of the Wagner Society of Northern California and this will be his third presentation to the Society. Fulkerson received his Bachelors Degree in Music from the Music Conservatory at University of the Pacific. He received both his Masters and PhD from University of California, Berkeley. Fulkerson has taught music, composition, voice, conducting and guitar and is also a composer. He is currently working on commissions for a song cycle, a piano composition and a composition for flute and piano.
Here is a link to a very interesting, short documentary film about Dr. Fulkerson : http://vimeo.com/43129592
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