I will be presenting my work on Kate Soper's piece Voices from the killing Jar at the the University of Pittsburgh Graduate Expo. The abstract is below.
Confessions from the Killing Jar: “Coming-out” as Reclamation
In her 2017 American Musicological Society endowed lecture, Susan McClary compared the conclusion of Kate Soper’s dissertation to McClary’s own experience of having to “come out” as a woman in the field of musicology. Soper described writing Voices from the Killing Jar (2010-2012) as a coming-out of herself as a gendered person and a reclaiming of tragic literary woman’s selfhood. In voicing tragic woman, I argue that Soper performs her own voice. In Voices from the Killing, Soper reclamations her gender and narratives of tragic woman through a crafted confession. Soper’s crafted confession follows Chloe Taylor’s interpretation of the Foucauldian model of confession. These four steps: declared acknowledgement of truth, commitment to truth, self-exposure/vulnerability, and significant change, are the formal structure of my presentation. I apply Taylor’s interpretation directly to movement VI. Interlude: Asta Sollilja. Interlude focuses on the reality of Asta Sollilja— a tragic character from Harold Laxness’s Independent People. Soper’s music sonically forms Asta Sollilja away from her killing jar —nineteenth-century rural Iceland and anxiety. In Interlude, Soper composes an expanded representation Asta Sollilja. In performing as Asta Sollilja, Soper directly embodies her gender. In a formalist analysis of Soper’s recording of Interlude, I argue that Soper uses sonic confessional intimacies, such as a broken ground bass, vocal failure, and phrase repetition. In my paper, sonic confessional intimacies are directly tied to a lament tradition. I examine how using a historically informed confessional intimacy constructs Soper’s double reclamation of her gender and of the portrayal of tragic woman.