Abstracts of Recent SWBTS School of Church Music Doctoral Dissertations (2016)
A Performer’s Study of Selected Movements in Sonata Form for Organ by Paul Hindemith, Vincent Persichetti, and Petr Eben
Jeffrey Gordon Brummel, DMA
The purpose of this document is to present a performer’s study in preparation for a doctoral lecture recital. The three composers in this study employed neo-classical principles in the selected compositions. The composers that were selected were exposed to the organ-building trends that occurred in the early and mid-twentieth century. The exposure to these organ-building trends influenced the composer’s organ compositions selected in this document, especially regarding organ registration.
The first chapter is in two parts. The first part illustrates organ-building trends in the early and mid-twentieth century in Europe and the United States. These organ-building trends progressed concurrently with the evolution of the sonata form in neoclassicism. The second part explains the structure of the sonata form in the Classical period. Then, it is compared to the sonata form as it is employed in neo-classicism.
The next three chapters each contain a composer’s representative work of a neo-classical sonata form written for the organ. For an informed interpretation of the selected sonata form movements in this study, the formal structures and various aspects of performance practices were discussed. The second chapter examines the first movement from Sonata No. 1 by Paul Hindemith, who was among the earliest of the neoclassical composers in Germany in the twentieth century. The third chapter focuses on American composer Vincent Persichetti’s complete Sonata for Organ, Op. 86. The fourth chapter studies the last movement, Finale , from Nedelni hudba (Sunday Music) by the Czech composer Petr Eben. The fifth chapter is the conclusion, summarizing the study presented in this document.
A Credobaptist Defense for Including Children in Corporate Worship through a Biblically Appropriate Application of Developmental Psychology
Robert Brian Pendergraft, PhD
The participation level of children in the corporate worship gatherings of credobaptist churches varies greatly. Some churches have children present for the entire service, while in other churches the children never enter the sanctuary. The purpose of this dissertation is to survey the biblical references, historical precedence, and educational advantages of including children in the weekly corporate worship gathering of the local church. Upon discerning principles from each of these areas, this document will answer the challenges to including children in worship that are raised by those finding it more beneficial to segregate children into a separate worship environment. After this defense, the dissertation argues that in light of Scripture, history, and educational psychology, the most appropriate place for children to be on Sunday is in the corporate worship service with their parents.
Following an introductory chapter, chapter two examines scriptural references referring to children in both the Old and New Testaments and also referring to corporate worship in both Testaments. This exercise demonstrates that parents are to be the primary instructors of children in spiritual matters, and that throughout Scripture some of that instruction has taken place during corporate worship where all ages were present.
Chapter three traces the history of the place of children in the worshiping community from the time of the early church through the present. Though worship practice is not universally consistent, this survey demonstrates that children have been included in worship with their family for most of church history.
Chapter four presents a framework in which secular psychology may be applied in the church and then examines educational and developmental psychologists whose ideas are beneficial for application in the church setting. It draws principles from the work of Piaget, Erickson, Kohlberg, Vygotsky, and Bruner that are then applied to the concept of children in worship in the later chapters of this dissertation.
Chapter five considers arguments against the inclusion of children in the corporate worship of the church. It also addresses churches that include children in worship but make no effort to meaningfully integrate them into the worship service.
Chapter six provides a synthesis of the principles drawn from each area examined and then applies those principles to the different ages that comprise the church. It also presents suggestions for areas of further research.
The Canticle Settings of Edmund Rubbra: A Conductor’s Study
Aaron M. Rice, DMA
Edmund Rubbra is widely known in Great Britain as a symphonist of the twentieth century who also composed some in the realm of sacred choral music. In the United States, he is less widely known and his choral works are infrequently performed. He composed five canticle settings to fulfill various ecclesial and municipal commissions from 1949 to 1962. These valuable settings provide choral ensembles with modern, aurally accessible, material for services in the Anglican tradition as well as sacred choral music for concert use.
The document that follows contains a choral conductor’s analysis of Rubbra’s five canticle settings, Magnificat and Nunc Dimtitis , Op. 65, Festival Te Deum, Op. 71, Festival Gloria, Op. 94, and Te Deum, Op. 115. Chapter one gives a biographical account of Edmund Rubbra’s life, including information about his compositional influences and details about the development of his compositional style. Chapters two through five are devoted each to a different opus. These chapters are written in two parts: historical/theoretical analysis and performance considerations based upon the analysis. Included in the historical/theoretical analysis is an observation of that particular canticle setting by Rubbra in context with similar settings by his immediate predecessors and contemporaries in twentieth-century England. The first half of each chapter includes a thorough examination of the melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, formal, and accompanimental characteristics found in the canticles. The section in each chapter that assesses the performance considerations for that canticle setting includes thoughts on intonation, rhythmic precision, conducting gestures, line/color, and textual emphasis. The final chapter explains common style characteristics found among the canticle settings as observed in the historical/theoretical analysis of the previous chapters. Further information is given in closing about a conductor’s considerations for appropriate programming of Rubbra’s canticle settings.