Doctor of Musical Arts
Janet K. Page
Dark Challenger is perhaps my most personal composition to date. Since the title of the piece is named after my wife Delaney, I looked to both her musical background and my own musical background for inspiration in order to represent the journey of two different people with vastly different personalities coming together and falling in love. I employed the use of musical topics to represent these different backgrounds, like when Gustav Mahler used Klezmer music in his compositions, representing his Jewish background, or when Sting used jazz and hip-hop in “Englishman In New York,” signifying its New York setting. The topics that I used from Delaney’s background are flamenco rhythms and harmonies, Afro-Cuban rhythms, pop music, Broadway, and Disney Renaissance. From my own background I used contemporary music, classical, jazz, rock, metal, and film. Also occurring at various points throughout the piece is a theme, a Delaney theme if you will. It first appears in m. 38, and it reappears several more times, in mm. 221, 227, 233, and 348. It can also be heard in mm. 392, 396, and 400 where it interrupts the return of the B section theme. I think of this theme similarly to how Hector Berlioz used his idée fixe in Symphonie Fantastique to represent his muse, the actress Harriet Smithson, only mine is less obsessive. When the Delaney theme first appears, it is quite strong and intense, but later returns in a softer, warmer manner before returning to its original fierceness.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.
Benefield, Adam J., "Dark Challenger" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3318.