• Laura Rossi’s War Musics

    Kendra Leonard (see profile)
    American Musicological Society, Film Studies, Society for Music Theory
    Musicology, Musical analysis, Culture, Motion picture music
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Cultural musicology, Film music
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    British composer Laura Rossi is perhaps best known for her work providing new scores for silent films, including The Battle of the Somme (1915), The Battle of the Ancre (1917), and a selection of very early cinematic adaptations of Shakespeare (1899-1911) that appeared as Silent Shakespeare in 1998. Rossi is also the composer of scores for many recent films and was nominated for an Academy Award for her music for Unfinished Song (2012). In addition to her film music, for which she has received wide recognition and critical praise, Rossi has also been heralded for her concert works, which include settings of songs by Gerald Manley Hopkins; chamber works for string quartet, percussion ensemble, and saxophone and piano; and, most recently, Voices of Remembrance for orchestra, choir, and spoken voices. Voices was composed for the centenary of the First World War, and includes spoken recitations of ten World War One poems, musical settings of three of the poems, and instrumental-only movements based on the remaining seven poems. Rossi, writing about Voices, connects it directly with her research and experiences in composing scores for the silent war films mentioned above and in learning of and uncovering her own uncle’s war service and diaries. Multiple texts, including the diaries, photographs, and oral histories inform Voices. In this essay, I provide a close reading of Rossi’s Voices in the context of both her film scores and her other concert music, focusing on her works referencing the Great War and those affected by it. I offer analysis of Rossi’s approaches to these related topics across genres and her methods of creating music to accompany texts and testimonies of various natures documenting the Great War.
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
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