Incline, o maiden--



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Incline, O Maiden is a large-scale work cast as a dramatic scene for mezzo-soprano and chamber ensemble. It is an exploration of space between music and drama, and the problems inherent in creating a single-character operatic scene. This paper, which serves as an accompaniment to the musical score, is a detailed analysis of the work and focuses on the ways in which form and recurring music motives are used to establish a dramatic conflict with only a single character. The libretto for this dramatic scene is extracted from the play, Faust: A Tragedy, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), written in 1808, with English translation by Bayard Taylor (1825-1878). This libretto is centered on the character of Margaret, an original addition to the Faust legend by Goethe, and is a depiction of her inner psychological turmoil as she becomes a willing victim of Faust's seduction. The story begins as Margaret has just met Faust and quickly becomes infatuated with him, and continues through the death of her mother. Composed as a single movement, this piece is divided into two major parts for each of the two sections of action in the libretto. Each major part is further divided into smaller formal sections that are supported and delineated by five major motives that serve as the vast majority of the musical material, and are at the forefront of each formal and dramatic division in the work. Recurring musical motives, sometimes known as leitmotivs, have a long history in opera dating back to Wagner, and in this work, explore how tradition is part of the modern creative process. In Incline, O Maiden, despite the absence of interplay between characters, and given the internal struggle at the heart of the libretto, an indelible link between the drama and music is made meaningful by the unified thematic nature of the music.