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.
Difficulties are encountered in any discussion of Copland's style, for his works cover the spectrum from harsh, dissonant works to folk music. To avoid the task of defining a style which encompasses this array of vastly different pieces, a sharp distinction is frequently made between the abstract and popular works. However, Copland has repeatedly objected to such categorization, claiming that he composed from a single vision. A careful examination of his total output proves the validity of his claim. Many common characteristics are found throughout works from all categories and time periods. These traits include a basic economy of materials, emphasis on thirds, consistent method of development, use of declamation, jazz-influenced rhythms, cyclicism, and a slow/fast/slow sequence of movements, as well as within single movements. This document uses the Piano Sonata as a model of Copland's style, for it exemplifies these characteristics more clearly than any other major piece for piano. By making numerous comparisons with other works, Copland's single vision is revealed.
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 purpose of this study is to identify some of the performance problems associated with contemporary piano music, using the Sonata No. 2 for Piano by Karel Husa (1921 - ) as the basis for the discussion. In so doing, this study identifies Karel Husa as an important contributor to twentieth century piano repertoire. Personal interviews and correspondence with the composer provided biographical, analytical, and stylistic insight for this study. Supplemental information on Karel Husa was obtained from journals, newspaper articles, and dissertations. The first chapter provides biographical information gleaned from the interview, with emphasis on Husa's keyboard compositions and early compositional influences. The second chapter offers a detailed formal analysis of the Sonata No. 2 from the perspective of motivlc development and cyclic unity. The final three chapters focus on twentieth century performance problems as exemplified in Karel Husa's Sonata No. 2 for Piano. In Chapter 3, the discussion of notation provides a general background on notational developments in pitch and rhythm in the twentieth century, with the Sonata illustrating these procedures. The fourth chapter concentrates specifically on Husa's individual rhythmic language. The final chapter is devoted to Husa's coloristic use of the piano, addressing his unique contributions to the tonal and timbral resources of the instrument. Innovations in dynamic gradations, playing inside of the piano, and extensive use of all three pedals are discussed, as well as the special techniques required to achieve these sounds. In all the chapters, musical examples from the Sonata Illustrate the discussion, and reprinted by permission from the publisher. Throughout the dissertation, Karel Husahas provided Invaluable assistance and insight thus offering readers an important link to both the Sonata No. 2 and the composer himself.
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 ...
The lecture recital was given November 6, 1989. Five Preludes by Claude Debussy were preformed following a lecture on some important considerations of approaching the pedaling complexities in his solo piano works. In addition to the lecture recital, three other solo piano recitals were performed. The first solo recital consisted of works by Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, and was performed on November 17, 1980. On March 1, 1982, the second solo recital was presented. This performance consisted of works by J. Brahms, W.A. Mozart, S. Prokofieff, and A. Schoenberg. The third solo recital was performed on November 21, 1988 and included the works of L. van Beethoven. A. Berg, F. Chopin, and C. Debussy. The four programs were recorded on tape and filed with the written version of the lecture as part of the dissertation.