Printer Friendly

'Cassandra's Dream Song': a literary feminist perspective.


COLLABORATION IS THE ESENCE of the composer/performer relationship. The composition of a piece of acoustic music may be the work of a single mind, but the realization of the piece necessitates an alliance with at least one other person (unless, of course, the composer is the sole performer of his or her own music). Performers of music by living composers often have the special opportunity of discussing the piece with the person who created it, and in this way the composer may explicate his or her vision of the piece. However, the very concept of collaboration presupposes an independent vision on the part of the performer, which may be at odds with that of the composer. For performers the interpretive act is an assertion of their individual values and ideas, as well as a rendering of the composer's intentions. As a performer, who is also a feminist, I cannot help but question elements of a piece of music, or of a composer's ideas, which seem to be embedded in a paternalistic tradition. To play such works while ignoring their sexist implications would be to deny my voice in the collaboration. (Simply refusing to play them would be to dispense with the greater part of the canon.) This paper describes how I have dealt with one such piece of music, by reinterpreting it from a literary, feminist perspective.

In his solo flute piece Cassandra's Dream Song, Brian Ferneyhough invites the performer to take a key role in defining structure. The performer is asked to make choices about the ordering of events, and tempi which may radically alter the effect of the music. The piece itself deals with issues raised by what the composer calls the "notation/realization relationship,"(1) but which may also be seen as the composer/performer relationship.

As Ferneyhough points out, the score is not meant to be a "blueprint of a perfect performance."(2) The dense notation taxes the physical and mental abilities of the flutist, with constant, often conflicting, shifts of dynamics, register, and texture. Some of the juxtapositions are deliberately unrealizable on the flute. Yet the composer states that "a valid realization will only result from a rigorous attempt to reproduce as many of the textural details as possible," and warns the player against "compromises and inexactitudes."(3) Ferneyhough wrote Cassandra's Dream Song flute in hand; he knows full well the technical demands of the piece (considered so formidable when it was written in 1970 that it was several years before anyone performed it).(4) His vision of the work includes the performer's struggle to wrestle his music under control. Thus, while inviting the performer to make fundamental creative choices, he has invented materials which are designed to thwart the flutist at every turn.

Indeed, the notation/realization relationship is fraught with tension. The score for Cassandra's Dream Song is a physical obstacle in the way of producing the music. It is written in a tiny, cramped hand, on two pages which seem almost too small to hold the amount of material on them. There are many rhythmic and notational ambiguities, so that before reaching the point of performance, the player must spend hours on head-scratching deciphering of rhythms and gestures. On the other hand, this cryptic quality invites the performer to think about the piece, to delve into its structure, in a way that more obvious scores do not. This, coupled with the structural choices offered the performer, provides an opportunity for a rich involvement with the music.

After working with the score for a few weeks, I cornered Brian Ferneyhough intending to ask several specific questions about notation. Instead we talked about issues of rigor and compression, energy and explosion.(5) Ferneyhough likened the piece to the sharp pain of a paper cut, and, citing Roland Barthes, the erotic glimpses of flesh between a woman's garments.(6) The analogy to the myth of Cassandra was irresistible. Without carrying the analogy too far, he said, one could see the material on the first page as relating to the god Apollo, and the material on the second page as relating to Cassandra's prophesies.(7) Ferneyhough seemed to be talking about the piece as a sort of erotic fantasy, in which the interplay of musical materials reflected the sado-masochistic relationship between Apollo and Cassandra. Was Ferneyhough paraphrasing Barthes, saying that the realm of musical pleasure is perversion?

In our conversation, Ferneyhough's main concern was that of form. We talked about the structure of Cassandra's Dream Song, which can be seen in three layers: the overall form, the fine detail, and the middle ground. The overall form is easily grasped; it consists of interpolations from page 2 into page 1. The fine details (of rhythm, dynamics and texture) must be sorted out by anyone who attempts to play the piece. It is the middle ground, the relationships between gestures within each line, that requires a close analysis.

In Ferneyhough's opinion, the lack of a consciously analytical approach to the piece--the solving of this middle ground--is where many performances, particularly by women, have been less than successful in realizing the work's formal and expressive potential.(8) As a personal opinion, gained from the experience of hearing the piece many times, this statement, while provocative, was unarguable. However, it remained unclear just what did constitute a satisfactory performance. How might a woman's interpretation of Cassandra's Dream Song differ from a man's?

To answer these questions, I determined to solve the "middle ground" of Cassandra's Dream Song for myself. In doing so, I became immersed in the story of Cassandra. However, before describing my own interpretation of Cassandra's Dream Song, I will explain the overall structure of the piece and describe a more conventional interpretation.


Cassandra's Dream Song consists of two pages. Page 1 contains six lines which are always to be played in the order written, while page 2 contains five lines labelled A to E, which are to be interpolated by the performer into the first page. These lines can be played in any order, and the result is an alternation between page 1 and page 2. Each of the piece's eleven lines is divided into segments defined by rests, which can be seen as "statements." Example 1 shows the palindrome-like increase and decrease of statements on page 1.


The music of page 1 is strictly rhythmic, linear, and organized around a drone [A.sub.4]. In contrast, the music of page 2 is gestural, flamboyant, and texturally layered with each line having a different number of statements. Example 2 shows an ordering of the lines on page 2 as played by two well known male flutists: Pierre-Yves Artaud (who premiered the piece in 1974) and Harrie Starreveld. Done this way there is a logical buildup of materials to a climactic ending. (Indications in italics are the composer's.)

C 4 statements, interspersed with silence

E 6 statements, grazioso e rubato

D 8 statements, poco cantabile

A 9 statements, molto rigoroso

B 11 statements, ending on [D.sub.7]--tutta la forza

With this ordering, not only do the lines become progressively longer, but they also become more active, dramatic, and dense, culminating in line B which ends with a [D.sub.7]: the highest and loudest note of the piece. The structure then, becomes 1, C, 2, E, 3, D, 4, A, 5, B, 6, with line 6 acting as a summation of the materials presented on both pages.

In this interpretation, the structure created by the performers follows the time-honored, and definitively masculine, climax model. Many other orderings are of course possible, with any number of musical or extramusical motivations. I have rejected the model described above, in search of a deliberately feminine form.

In my analysis of Cassandra's Dream Song, I have been greatly inspired by a novel called Cassandra by the East German feminist writer Christa Wolf. Her exploration of the fall of Troy and Cassandra's role in it resonated with the drama presented in Ferneyhough's music. Here, issues of compression and explosion of energy mirror the great conflicts of classical epic and tragedy, and Cassandra's struggle to speak with her own voice mirrors the struggle of the performer to internalize the notes on the page and to transform them into sound. As I read Cassandra, I began to conceive of a narrative structure in Cassandra's Dream Song, one which could be achieved by mapping Wolf's feminist re-vision of the Cassandra myth onto Ferneyhough's music.


The traditional view of Cassandra as an unfortunate victim (who nevertheless deserved what she got) is exemplified in the following description from Dr. Vollmer's Dictionary of Mythology (1874), quoted in an essay of Christa Wolf's:

Cassandra: the most unfortunate of the daughters of Priam and Hecuba. Apollo loved her and promised that if she would give him her love in return, he would teach her to see the future. Cassandra consented but did not keep her word once the god had granted her the gift. In return, he took away people's belief in her utterances and made her a laughingstock. Now Cassandra was regarded as mad, and because she prophesied nothing but misfortune, people soon grew fed up with her disruption of all their enjoyments and confined her in a dungeon.(9)

Note the main ideas in this telling of the myth: Cassandra is a greedy, dishonest schemer (she fails to keep her word to Apollo); the god justly punishes her for this and so she becomes a "laughingstock"--the archetypical madwoman, fit only to be locked away.

Wolf's novel paints a very different picture. She was interested in retracing "the path out of the myth, into its (supposed) social and historical coordinates."(10) This led her to envision the patriarchal society of Troy, on the brink of war with the Greeks. In this context Cassandra becomes a "vivacious person interested in society and politics, (who) does not want to be confined to the house, to get married, like her mother Hecuba, like her sisters. She wants to learn a profession. For a woman of rank, the only possible profession is that of priestess, seeress. ..."(11)

Cassandra's dilemma is the dichotomy between her pride in her family and its place within the Trojan hierarchy, and her increasing realization that this hierarchy is unjust. As the war with the Greeks advances, her father, Priam, becomes a puppet of military agents who view any opposition to the war as treasonous. Her mother, Hecuba, who used to sit in council with the King, is banished from the political arena. It becomes obvious that the Trojans will sacrifice all moral ground in order to win the war--even to offering Cassandra's sister, Polyxena, as bait to catch the Greek hero Achilles.

Wolf's Cassandra is an allegory of everywoman's struggle for self-knowledge and a measure of autonomy. When Cassandra's father has her thrown into prison for refusing to sanction the sacrifice of Polyxena, she finally realizes her strength. In her prison, she reflects on her position:

Ten times, a hundred times I stood before Priam, a hundred times I tried to agree with him, to answer yes at his command. A hundred times I said no again. My life, my voice, my body would produce no other answer. "You don't agree?" No. "But you will keep silent?" No. No. No. No.(12)

It is Cassandra's relentless struggle to speak with her own voice, her refusal to keep silent, that leads her to the realization and acceptance of herself as a person. As Wolf writes, "she 'sees' the future because she has the courage to see things as they really are in the present."(13)


My interpretation of Cassandra's Dream Song was much influenced by my reading of Wolf's novel. Ferneyhough had told me that the rhythmic rigor and strict organization of page 1 could be seen as "masculine" (Apollo), and that the gestural and passionate music of page 2 could be seen as "feminine" (Cassandra). However, I found myself disagreeing with the idea that these "feminine" statements were the erotic "staging of an appearance-as-disappearance" (to complete the quotation from Barthes).(14)

For me, it is the story of Cassandra's struggle to speak with her own voice that resonates throughout the music of page 2, while the music of page 1 is a metaphor for the breakdown of the patriarchal system which held her captive. To put it another way, page 1 represents Cassandra's relation to the male-dominated world in which she lives, and page 2 represents Cassandra herself.

Seen in this light, there are two levels of discourse in the piece, spun out on each page. When the music of page 2 is interpolated into the music of page 1 the conflicts between oppressor and oppressed, hubris and humility, self-deception and self-knowledge are played out in an organic web of discursive relationships. Thus, my ordering of Cassandra's Dream Song diverges from the familiar climax model discussed earlier. For me it is the feminine narrative of struggle, growth, and redemption that is the key to solving the puzzle of the piece's "middle ground." In the following analysis, I will discuss my interpretation of the materials of Cassandra's Dream Song as they are presented on each page.


In this analysis we will consider the materials of page 1 in terms of the "masculine" elements of the Cassandra myth as presented in Wolf's novel. These include not only the divine revenge of Apollo, but also the society which worships him, the patriarchal structure of Troy, a "utopian" society which in reality is breaking apart. As Wolf puts it, "The self-destruction of Troy met halfway the destruction inflicted by the enemy outside."(15)

All materials on this page are centered on a rigid drone [A.sub.4] which I associate with the insistence of male domination in Troy both through Cassandra's father, Priam, and through Apollo. This A is constantly reiterated, first with percussive effects, then color changes, fast staccato, and trills. It is as though the A is attempting to hold the anger and passion of the piece at bay. However, as each successive line is played other materials break out more and more dramatically. Chief among them are the notes F[sharp], E[flat], D[sharp], and B[flat], each used in a variety of registers. Together these notes form a dissenting voice which contributes to the ultimate breakdown of the dictatorial drone. The voice is, of course, Cassandra's.

Another "masculine" quality of this page is the strict rhythmic organization--even fast grace notes usually have a specific duration assigned to them. These events are compressed in line 1 to a limited range of a twelfth, which slowly opens out in each line until it reaches three octaves in line 6. If we examine each of these lines successively, in a narrative context, we can see the breakdown of musical materials, from moments of absurdity (as the illusion of the drone persists against all disruptions), to the final shattering of the [A.sub.4]'s authority.

Line 1 begins with percussive [A.sub.4]s which erupt out of silence. The spitting lip pizzicato used is a nice counterpart to the scene in Wolf's novel in which Cassandra dreams that she has obtained the power of sight.

I saw Apollo bathed in radiant light.... The sun god with his lyre, his blue although cruel eyes, his bronzed skin. Apollo, the god of the seers. Who knew what I ardently desired: the gift of prophecy, and conferred it on me with a casual gesture which I did not dare to feel was disappointing; whereupon he approached me as a man. I believed it was only due to my awful terror that he transformed himself into a wolf surrounded by mice and spat furiously into my mouth when he was unable to overpower me.(16)

Later Cassandra learns the meaning of this dream: "if Apollo spits into your mouth...that means that you have the gift to predict the future. But no one will believe you."(17) Wolf's view of Cassandra as a victim of the male need to dominate is set against the traditional view of Cassandra as a schemer who reneged on her part of a sexual bargain. Likewise, in Cassandra's Dream Song, the A can be seen as a controlling force which, from the beginning of the piece, is perverted.

The second statement of line 1 illustrates this central conflict with precise rhythmic material caught within an accelerando/ritardando, as can be seen in Example 3. It is here that we have the first, faint iterations of F[sharp], E[flat] (D[sharp]) and B[flat]--the "voice of dissent." The line ends with a hissing [A.sub.4] which is clipped by a faint B[flat] harmonic.


In line 2, the hegemony of the [A.sub.4] is further established, but the first two statements are loud trumpet calls which trail off into faint confused mutterings. The third statement ends with an eruptive F[[sharp].sub.4]/B[[flat].sub.5]--heard very loud as a clear objection to the dominance of the [A.sub.4]. The fourth statement hastens to suppress the rebellion with a militaristic clattering of key clicks over the [A.sub.4] drone.

The drone becomes an echo in line 3--constantly interrupted by nervous staccato repetitions of itself five, six, seven times. In between each of the three drone sections we hear the apprehensive crying of F[[sharp].sub.5] as a harmonic of B. The F[sharp] can be seen as a desperate exhortation by Cassandra, instantly overridden by the reiteration of the patriarchal status quo.

Out of the fifth statement in line 3 erupts a terrific shriek. This is the first occurrence of singing used in my ordering of Cassandra's Dream Song, and it represents all that is human, suffering and oppressed. The people of Troy are being destroyed by the King's ten-year obsession with a war he clearly cannot win. The cry is repeated, but fainter. It breaks down into nervous, futile punctuations of the increasingly shaky drone A (pianissimo, molto vibrato). Human pain cannot be ignored, as the last note of the line, a faint F[[sharp].sub.5] harmonic, attests.

Within the first gesture of line 4, we hear all the important notes of page 1, as shown in Example 4. Cassandra's "voice of dissent" is becoming stronger.


There is a point in the Trojan war, as depicted by Wolf, in which words cease to have any meaning. For instance, while it is evident that the war is not going well for Troy, it is considered treasonous to say so. By decree King Priam is called by increasingly magniloquent titles even as his power crumbles.

Likewise, line 4 is a mass of paradox. After the opening statement, the rest of the line dances all around the [A.sub.4] with a nonsensical chattering of key clicks. These are given detailed dynamic indications--but the flutist knows that they will be for the most part unintelligible to the listener. In fact, in one place the fingering assigned to a fortississimo key click will produce almost no sound. The following key clicks, marked diminuendo, have fingerings which are successively louder. Throughout the line there is an ambiguity between the fingerings given and the notes meant to be produced. These contradictory indications are not errors on the part of the composer. They are intentionally ironic (one could compare the effort to make a sound that won't be heard with Cassandra's effort to say something that won't be believed), and are designed to give rise to the final gesture of the line--a frustrated sputter of air.

It is in line 5 that all hell breaks loose. Very soft trills on [A.sub.4] are tossed aside by vicious grace note passages, which constantly remind us of F[sharp], B[flat] and E[flat]. There is a mad flurry of sotto voce staccato and insanely fast lip pizzicato, interrupted by a series of increasingly louder and higher notes culminating in a piercing [C.sub.7]. The chimeric hegemony of the [A.sub.4] has been completely overturned; the self-destruction of the drone is complete. The line ends with the first gesture of line 4 turned upside-down, a contemptuous comment by the "voice of dissent." Imagine the folly of the Trojans' decision to open their gates to the Greek "horse." Indeed, as Wolf suggests, Troy was the author of its own defeat.

Line 6 represents a summation of the various discusive elements in Cassandra's Dream Song. Marked lento analitico, the first statement contains all notes of the chromatic scale, with the notable exception of A. The statement is made up of a succession of long tones, starkly presented, with subtle changes of timbre. The distant, sparse quality of this statement seems to point to the futility of such dramatic conflicts as have been fought in the rest of the piece. Given the choice to flee Troy with her lover Aeneas, and help in the founding of Rome, Cassandra decides to stay, knowing full well that her fate is capture and death. With its mood of resignation, the first statement of line 6 seems to underline this fatalistic decision.

The second statement presents the "moral" of the piece--we hear a version of Cassandra's melody, which culminates in a final cry of the human voice on E[[flat].sub.6]. (We first meet this melody in line D of page 2, as will be seen.) The last note of the piece is a final [A.sub.4], which seems to point to the circularity of events. Why does Cassandra choose death? Because she knows that the patriarchal cycle of rigid structure, oppression, rebellion, and breakdown will, inevitably, occur all over again.



Page 2 of Cassandra's Dream Song can be seen as a portrait of Wolf's Cassandra. If page 1 is a narrative, each line of page 2 reveals a different facet of the conflicting elements within a complex personality. The order which I have chosen reflects a progression from desire and delusion through madness to self-knowledge. It encompasses the "feminine" as well as the "feminist."

This spectrum of qualities can be seen in the very style of page 2. In contrast to the rigorous and highly compressed music of page 1, the material of page 2 is gestural, showing wide contrasts in range and texture, often written as grace notes which are to be played as fast as possible, or even ad libitum. This expressivity can clearly be interpreted as "feminine," as Ferneyhough himself implies.

The fact that the order of the lines is left up to the performer parallels the challenge which Cassandra faces. Cassandra, as Wolf sees her, must make choices in order to find her own voice within the patriarchal society of Troy. This extends to her final rejection of her beloved Aeneas: "Perhaps he will understand even without my help what it was that I had to reject at the cost of my life: submission to a role contrary to my nature."(18)

When Cassandra descends into the "madness" of her prophetic dreams, she does so knowingly--with great courage. It takes even more courage to return out of the abyss and resume responsibility for her actions. "In some way I had control of the rising and sinking of this hard, heavy structure, my consciousness. The undecided part was: Would I--who, I?--rise to the surface again."(19) She does, and it is this choice which leads her away from her attachment to the illusory greatness of her family into self-knowledge.

Wolf rejects the traditional view of Cassandra as a madwoman. Rather, she maintains that Cassandra's prophesies are less the insights of a possessed medium than those of an intelligent person. The unwillingness of the male-dominated society in which she lives to take her seriously is the fate accorded to many women.

Furthermore, Cassandra's dilemma parallels the relationship between composer and performer. The performer is in the anomalous position of interpreting someone else's ideas. There is always the possibility that she will fail to convince--get it wrong. But is she a creative artist, or merely a medium for the expression of the composer's ideas? While she certainly owes a debt to the composer, she must also retain her own integrity, if only to justify the enormous time and effort necessary to realize the score. Ferneyhough's inclusion of choice as a structural element in Cassandra's Dream Song acknowledges the collaborative nature of the composer/performer relationship.

Unlike the climactic ordering shown in Example 2, my ordering of the lines of page 2 traces a dramatic evolution which can be seen as Cassandra's progression from blind ambition to clear-sightedness. Example 6 presents my ordering. (Indications in italics are the composer's.)

A blind ambition--molto rigoroso

E beginnings of an individual voice--grazioso e rubato

C choice

B madness--ending on [D.sub.7], the highest and loudest note

D resolution, self knowledge--poco cantabile

Line A is marked molto rigoroso. It is highly percussive, has a linear succession of events (with very little textural layering), and hammers on repeated notes (especially [A.sub.6]). In these ways it is close in style to the material of page 1. The repeated notes of line A are an attempt to relate to the drone [A.sub.4] of page 1, but the final statement of the line, a confused interpolation of very soft and very loud notes in wildly varying registers, indicates that the material simply doesn't have a place in that rigid structure. We can view this in terms of Cassandra's position within Trojan society. She describes it like this:

I saw nothing. Overtaxed by the gift of sight, I was blind. I saw only what was there, next to nothing. The course of the god's year and the demands of the palace determined my life. You could also say they weighed it down. I did not know it could be different.(20)

In sharp contrast to line A, line E is marked grazioso e rubato. The music embraces rich colors and textures. There is a certain freedom of time and the use of multiphonics, present only in this line, points to a truly individual voice. "To speak with my own voice: the ultimate. I did not want anything more, anything different."(21) The statement is concluded by a loud cry (ffff]) and an agonizingly long trill on [C.sub.5] with a downward glissando, which leads us inexorably back to the rigidity of page 1 (Example 7).


Line C is made up of four fast grace-note gestures followed by pauses of varying lengths. The ordering of these gestures is left up to the performer, as is the use of dynamics. I find it interesting that Artaud and Starreveld do not attempt to reorder this material. Both play it simply as written, 1 to 4. I have not made any decisions about the order of these events, letting them come out differently in each performance. This is a symbolic act reflecting Cassandra's (and the performer's) power of choice and ability to change.

Line B is the most potent expression of Cassandra's turmoil. It begins with a halting attempt to reestablish the material of line A (one last bid for acceptance within Trojan society). The same set of microtonal [A.sub.6]s is repeated, but much faster. These are followed by a series of staccato [D.sub.4]s which stutter into silence. Example 8 shows how this material appears in the two lines.

Next a whimpering of very soft notes is followed by a long [G.sub.4] which undergoes a series of textural transformations to be played almost imperceptibly--tongue flutter to throat flutter to heavy vibrato to gasping smorzetto. I see this as the turning point of Cassandra's Dream Song--the final transition away from ego and pride towards self-realization. After witnessing the slaughter of a group of women by the Greek hero Achilles, the wounded Cassandra is taken to a secret haven of Trojan women who worship the ancient goddess, Cybele. There she mourns the consequences of the war. "All of a sudden I noticed that my heart was in great pain. Tomorrow I would get up with a reanimated heart that was no longer beyond the reach of pain."(22)

The rest of the line is pure rage. But at last, the defeated gesture from the end of line E--the downward spiralling trill--is reversed. Here the trill glissandos upward into a triumphant cry of grace notes to [D.sub.7]--the highest note in the piece played tutta la forza (Example 9).


As I see it, line D signals Cassandra's acceptance of herself as a person. Awaiting death, she examines the key to her new freedom:

Yes it's true fear too can be set free, and that shows that it belongs to everything and everyone who is oppressed. The king's daughter is not afraid, for fear is weakness and weakness can be mended by iron discipline. The madwoman is afraid, she is mad with fear. The captive is suposed to be afraid. The free woman learns to lay aside her unimportant fears and not to fear the one big important fear because she is no longer too proud to share it with others.(23)

The line is marked poco cantabile, perhaps because the expression of her voice is tempered with resignation. Notes from page 1 resonate here: a long glissando overlaid with smorzetto and vibrato on F[sharp], a melody which juxtaposes B[flat] with A. (As has already been stated, a version of this melody, which I see as peculiarly Cassandra's, returns in the concluding statement of the piece, in line 6.) Within the haunting flow of this melody comes a final cry against the inhumanity of man--our B[flat] overblown to F[[sharp].sub.6] in a long tense crescendo which taxes the player's breath capacity more than any other gesture in the piece. Finally, we hear Cassandra's melody a second time, interwoven with the performer's voice (Example 10.)



My literary feminist reading of Brian Ferneyhough's piece, Cassandra's Dream Song, may seem to point to an agonistic collaboration between performer and composer, given the composer's sentiments about the piece. However, mapping an external narrative onto Cassandra's Dream Song was my way of "attempting to realize the work's formal and expressive potential," thus fulfilling my responsibility as a performer. My exploration of a "feminine form" has at least provided another way of looking at this complex work. Although the materials of Cassandra's Dream Song can be seen as metaphors for "masculine" and "feminine" qualities, the brilliance of the piece lies in the interpolation of these aspects to form a united whole. Likewise, what attracts me to Wolf's novel, Cassandra, is the manner in which she develops Cassandra's character as a whole person, one who is capable of both good and evil, egoism and self-sacrifice, bravery and rationalization. Cassandra's search for an individual voice became synonymous with the expression of my own voice as a performer. In the end the notation/realization relationship is a realm not only of problems, but of possibilities.


This paper was originally read at the conference "Darmstadt: New Frontiers" at the University of California, San Diego, 14 May 1993. I am indebted to Brian Ferneyhough, John Fonville, Charles Kronengold, Mitchell Morris, Jane Stevens, and Indira Suganda for their valuable aid.

(1.)Brian Ferneyhough, Cassandra's Dream Song, notes to the score (London: Peters Edition, 1970).



(4.)Ferneyhough's catalogue includes far more complex and difficult pieces than Cassandra's Dream Song, but it seems that in this early piece he was specially interested in exploring the performer's struggle with materials that are deliberately antithetical to the flute. His notes to the score state that "the audible (and visual) degree of difficulty is to be drawn as an integral structural element into the fabric of the composition itself."

(5.)Interview with Brian Ferneyhough, 23 February 1993.

(6.)Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text, trans. by Richard Miller (New York: Hill and Wang, 1975), 9--10. "Is not the most erotic portion of the body where the garment gapes? In perversion (which is the realm of textual pleasure) there are no 'erogenous zones' (a foolish expression, besides); it is intermittence, as psychoanalysis has so rightly stated, which is erotic: the intermittence of skin flashing between two articles of clothing (trousers and sweater), between two edges (the open-necked shirt, the glove and the sleeve); it is this flash itself which seduces, or rather: the staging of an appearance-as-disappearance."

(7.)Interview, 23 February 1993.


(9.)Christa Wolf, Cassandra, a Novel and Four Essays, trans. Jan van Heurck (New York: Farrar-Straus-Giroux, 1984), 227.

(10.)Ibid, 256.

(11.)Ibid, 238.

(12.)Ibid, 131.

(13.)Ibid, 238.

(14.)Barthes, 9--10.

(15.)Wolf, Cassandra, 239.

(16.)Ibid, 15.

(17.)Ibid, 23.

(18.)Ibid, 9.

(19.)Ibid, 39.

(20.)Ibid, 27.

(21.)Ibid, 4.

(22.)Ibid, 124.

(23.)Ibid, 35.
COPYRIGHT 1994 Perspectives of New Music
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1994 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Forum on Feminist Music Theory
Author:Waterman, Ellen
Publication:Perspectives of New Music
Date:Jun 22, 1994
Previous Article:Response to Linda Dusman.
Next Article:A conversation about feminism and music.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters