Dialogue With the Past in the Work of Mary Jane Leach: on the Path to Hearing


The article is devoted to the analysis and interpretation of the works by Mary Jane Leach (born 1949, contemporary composer from the USA), created on the basis of music by Monteverdi, Dowland, Bach, Bruckner, etc. The attitude to the past is free from the postmodern irony in these compositions; using the strategy of deconstruction, Mary Jane Leach adds to the borrowed material, creates original compositions based on other composer’s works, in which the listener's attention is focused on previously inaudible ephemeral musical details.

The composer uses the same approach to artistic research of historical events, including those that have been transformed into mythology. Deconstructing a myth, Leach creates a feminist opera about Ariadne; drawing inspiration from stories about the witch-hunt, the composer rewrites the text by Castelloza, a medieval trobairitz. As a result, Leach produces a strong, expressive artistic statement.

By giving voice in her work to people whose images have been unfairly forgotten or perverted over time Mary Jane Leach helps her listeners to gain experience of sensitivity and receptivity to the musical and historical heritage


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