Date of Award
Honors College Thesis
Chris Goertzen, Ph.D.
This thesis investigates Sergei Rachmaninoff’s use of a musical theme, the Dies Irae chant, in his choral symphony Kolokola. I briefly introduce the Dies Irae theme, then examine how Rachmaninoff uses it to unify his choral work. I consider textual themes found in Edgar Allan Poe’s poems “The Bells” as well as how those themes are augmented in Konstantin Demetrievich Balmont’s Russian re-imagining of Poe’s poetry, the form set in Kolokola. The changes of the original poetry in the Russian translation are explored, with emphasis on how Rachmaninoff’s use of the Dies Irae emphasizes how conceptions of death permeate Balmont’s re-imagining of Poe’s poetry.
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Lowrey, Madeleine, "Bells of Death: Rachmaninoff’s Use of the Dies Irae in his Choral Symphony, Kolokola" (2016). Honors Theses. 438.