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- Addition, Omission and Revision: the Stylistic Changes Made to Zehn Variationen über ein Präludium von Chopin by Ferruccio Busoni, with Three Recitals of Selected Works by J.S. Bach, D. Scarlatti, Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Schumann and Liszt
- This study examines what Busoni meant by "formal deficiencies" when he described his 1884 version of Chopin Variations, and reveals that changes made to the 1884 version during its process of revision in 1922 correct the "formal deficiencies" and show a fundamental change in Busoni's compositional style and perception of musical motion. Including a detailed analysis of the modifications, omissions, and additions made to the 1922 version (including an examination of the Chopin Prelude in C minor, op. 28, No. 20 as a theme to reveal aspects of its construction used in the variation process), which shows how these changes affect the work's compositional structure.
- Ronald Stevenson's Passacaglia on DSCH: Understanding the Composer's Unique Approach to Large-Scaled Structure, a Lecture Recital, together with Three Recitals of Selected Works of L.V. Beethoven, J. Brahms, F. Liszt, F. Mendelssohn, B. Bartók and Others
- This paper investigates Ronald Stevenson's unique treatment of large-scaled structure in his Passacaglia on D S C H. This piece's unusual eighty-minute length, use of traditional forms and unusual piano techniques, musical references to other cultures and a massive triple-fugue over a ground bass will be examined as they relate to its overall form. The elements of rhythm, melody/mode, harmony, counterpoint, piano techniques, and tonality are also used as means of highlighting many unifying elements of the piece which contribute to its overall cohesiveness. Tributes to other composers, among them Dimitry Shostakovich to whom the piece is dedicated, are discussed in addition to many references to world cultures and events which support Stevenson's views on what he terms world music. Rarely is a piece written that encompasses such a wide range of musical elements that possess the ability to engage an audience for an uninterrupted length of eighty-minutes. As of yet, an in-depth scholarly investigation of Stevenson's treatment of formal unity in this landmark piano work has not been done. This analysis reveals Stevenson's approach to composing in such a large form, as well as illustrating his mastery of variation, counterpoint and unending ingenuity for innovative piano techniques. The composer's background and philosophies are discussed as well as the major impact made on his compositional style by both Percy Grainger and Ferruccio Busoni.
- The Six Piano Sonatas of James Sellars: Aspects of Form, Rhythm, Texture, and Style
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James Sellars has established himself as one of America's foremost composers whose eclectic style reveals a wealth of influences. His artistic combination of various traditional and avant-garde techniques, along with his sensitive and expert craftsmanship has earned him an important position in contemporary American music. Sellars' compositional styles have encompassed neo-Romanticism, in his early days, through post-serialism and Dada to an eclectic, post-Romantic style utilizing popular elements including electro-acoustic techniques. His extensive catalog of over 150 compositions includes works for orchestra, opera, chorus, dance, chamber, voices with ensemble, solo voice, piano, instrumental solos, band, and media. Sellars' compositions for piano solo span a 38-year period and total 17 works, the most important of which are his six one-movement sonatas, which represent, according to Sellars, "a journey from modernism to post-modernism." Their value lies in their eclectic stylistic approaches, artistic nd technical challenges, and pianistic effectiveness. The first three sonatas, incorporating post-serial elements, fall into a modernist stylistic stance while numbers four through six, in postmodern style, contrast one another drastically. Sonata Brasileira, recalls the broad sweeping gestures of the Romantic period; Sonata V reveals the influence of the absurdist Dada movement; and the last sonata Patterns on a Field, blends minimalism with elements of rock music. These sonatas represent Sellars' significant contribution to the genre of the piano sonata and deserve a position among other important American piano sonatas of the twentieth century. Despite Sellars' numerous successes and highly active performance schedule, no study or research has focused on the composer or any of his works. Taken as a whole, the six sonatas represent an important yet relatively unknown body of twentieth century solo piano literature, which justifiably merit further study and performance. The aim of this dissertation is to provide an introduction to the composer and present a study of the sonatas through an analysis focusing on the aspects of form, rhythm, texture, and style.