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A silhouette (in white) of Founder's Tower, on a background illustrating a musical theme. Royal Holloway, University of London

University of Sussex, February 2009

Beckett and Music Symposium

An interdisciplinary symposium organised by the Centre for Research in
Opera and Music Theatre and the Department of English and Drama,
University of Sussex.

Thursday February 26 and Friday February 27 2009

Samuel Beckett had a deep fascination with music. Several of his works
incorporate canonical musical texts: Schubert's string quartet "Death
and the Maiden" in All That Fall; the same composer's Lied "Nacht und
Träume" in the TV drama of the same name; Beethoven's "Ghost" Trio (op.
70) in the TV drama "The Ghost Trio". In two of his radio plays, "Words
and Music" and "Cascando", Beckett engages directly with the problematic
of music and language, and he supplied a text for the American composer
Morton Feldman’s operatic monologue "Neither". Beckett was also interested in the philosophical aesthetics of music, in particular the writings of
Schopenhauer, and critics have often noted the “musicality” of his
approach to writing and theatrical composition. Beckett’s works have
also inspired many composers, including Luciano Berio, Geörgy Kurtág,
Philip Glass, Heinz Holliger, Michael Finnissy, Roger Marsh and Richard

This symposium will provide an opportunity to review work that has been
undertaken on Beckett and music since the publication of the 1998
collection of essays Samuel Beckett and Music edited by Mary Bryden
(OUP), and to extend that conversation to consider the ways in which
Beckett’s engagement with music is conveyed across a range of practices
and disciplines.

The symposium will also include a staged performance of Stefano
Gervasoni’s short music theatre piece based on Beckett’s text “Pas si”
(1998, revised 2008), and performances of other Beckett-inspired
musical works.

Conference Organisers: Sara Jane Bailes and Peter Boxall, Department of
English, Nicholas Till, Department of Music, Sussex University.

Contact: n.till@sussex.ac.uk

Web link:



Last updated Mon, 26-Jan-2009 15:20 GMT / Music-webmaster
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