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The Application of Common-practice Elements in Modern Music: Examining Examples of Musical Continuity in Selected Piano Works of James R Wintle

Description: The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the ways in which distinguished American composer James RayWintle (1942-2013) addresses the problem of formal unity and incorporates previous musical styles in his post-tonal compositions. Because post-tonal music lacks many of the pillars that create tonal structure, it can be difficult for a composer to maintain a sense of form when writing in this style. Wintle attempts to circumvent this issue by incorporating common-practice elements, such as formal sections, familiar stylistic gestures, and referential-pitch organization into his works. For this analysis, the author has selected three of Wintle’s piano compositions that best represent his compositional approach and diverse techniques: Album Leaves - A Set of Five Character Pieces for Piano (2001), Scherzino (Street Scenes of Ovada) for Solo Piano (2010), and Four Miniatures for Piano Four Hands (2003). Wintle’s artistic style borrows extensively from Western classical music, encompassing various historical periods and quoting several major composers. Additionally, he incorporates a variety of musical styles into his chamber works and those for solo piano. These range from the dance suites of the French Baroque and Brahmsian-character pieces to American ragtime. This research also describes Wintle’s compositional style and his borrowing of 18th- and 19th-century techniques, forms, and titles, all set in a post-tonal language. The interviews conducted with the composer and his own program notes serve as primary sources, lending an invaluable insight into his works.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Kim, Sung-Yun

Béla Bartók’s Editorial Input As Seen in His Edition of Piano Sonata Hobxvi:49 in E Flat Major by Joseph Haydn

Description: Béla Bartók (1881-1945), one of the twentieth century’s most significant composers, is also well known as an ethnomusicologist and concert pianist. However, Bartók’s work as a pedagogue and as an editor has received relatively little scholarly attention, despite famous pupils and despite his preparation of numerous critical and educational editions of his own and others’ works. While the critical editions are few, a significant number of Bartók’s editions of piano works have an educational purpose; these editions contain highly detailed performing indications and hold substantial potential for investigating Bartók’s ideas on the performance of works by other composers. Bartók edited nineteen piano sonatas by Haydn for educational purposes between 1911 and 1920. Bartók’s edition of Haydn’s Piano Sonata Hob.XVI:49 in E-flat Major is compared with both the first edition and the facsimile of the manuscript, with a focus on articulation, pedaling, dynamics, fingering, and other significant markings such as indications of expression and ornamentations. This document examines Bartók’s editorial input in this edition as an exemplar of his stylistic principles, and explores the value of Bartók’s Haydn editions as performing editions by critically examining both his editorial contributions and possible execution issues. This study thus provides an understanding of Bartók’s stylistic ideas regarding classical style, and promotes consideration of these editions for contemporary performers.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Cho, So Young

Comparative Analysis of the Musical Distortion in Kaikhosru Sorabji’s and Vladimir Horowitz’s Piano Paraphrases Based on Bizet’s Opera Carmen

Description: This study focuses on a comparative analysis of two piano paraphrases, Pastiche on Habanera from ‘Carmen’ by Kaikhosru Sorabji and Variations on a Theme from Bizet’s ‘Carmen’ by Vladimir Horowitz. These compositions idiomatically distort the original material in a manner that was not explored up to the moment of their respective conception. They expose each composer’s free compositional approach, reflecting musical freedom rooted in the originality of their musical thinking. The aesthetic uniqueness of these two compositions strongly stimulates and justifies academic interest to explore their technical construction, musical differences, and artistic significance. This study proposes to undertake a comparative study of these two compositions, analyzing (1) aspects of the musical character, which are linked with embellishment, or rearrangement of original material, and (2) differences in performance approach based on recorded examples and critical observations by others of the performances of these works by Sorabji and Horowitz.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Kim, Mi-Jin

Critical Study of Two Piano Transcriptions by August Stradal and the Transcriptions’ Sources: Alterations to the Score Based on Historical Evidence and Artistic Judgment

Description: The fact that a number of pianists of the past two centuries adapted, embellished, and rearranged piano works for performance, be these original works or transcriptions, has been well documented throughout history. This thought, in addition to the fact that Stradal’s scores needed revision, encouraged me to make alterations to Stradal’s transcriptions and served as a strong incentive to write the current study. In it, I will comment on the alterations performed to segments of Stradal’s piano transcriptions of Wagner’s Schluβ der letzten Aufzuges (End of the last Act) from Siegfried and Trauermusik aus dem letzten Aufzug (Siegfried’s Funeral March) from Götterdämmerung. These changes have the purpose of reflecting in the piano as closely as possible the sonorous reality of the transcriptions’ operatic sources and, by doing so, making Stradal’s arrangements more effective for performance.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Vizcarra, Juan Guillermo

First Movement of the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto: An Argument for the Alkan Cadenza

Description: The goal of this dissertation is not only to introduce the unique cadenza by Alkan but also to offer an argument from the performer’s point of view, for why Alkan’s cadenza should be considered when there exists a cadenza by Beethoven himself, not to mention those by a number of other composers, both contemporaries of Beethoven and later. Information in reference to the brief history of the cadenza and the pianoforte in the time of Mozart and Beethoven is presented in Chapter 2. A brief bibliography about Alkan is presented in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 describes not only the cadenza in the era of Alkan, but also a comparison which is presented between Beethoven and Alkan's cadenzas. Examples of the keyboard range, dynamic contrast, use of pedal and alternating notes or octaves, and creative quote are presented in Chapter 4. In conclusion, the revival of Alkan's cadenza is mentioned, and the author's hope to promote the Alkan's cadenza is presented in Chapter 5.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Ding, Yang

The Influence of Norwegian Folk Elements on Thomas Dyke Tellefsen’s Mazurkas Op 3 (1849) and Op 14 (1853)

Description: Although Thomas Dyke Tellefsen’s mazurkas have been considered mere imitations of Chopin’s musical idiom, his mazurkas are closely related to Norwegian folk elements. Tellefsen adopted Norwegian folkloric elements from his own country and infused Norwegian spirit into his works to create his own musical language. To trace the Norwegian folk influence, this study examines folk dance (the springar), folk instruments (the hardanger fiddle and the langeleik), and folk melodic and rhythmic motifs. As the result, this research demonstrates that Tellefsen’s mazurkas were influenced by a phrase structure of Norwegian springar dance music and the exact sound effect of folk instruments (the hardanger fiddle and the langeleik) as well as Norwegian folk rhythmic and melodic formulas which are frequently used in Norwegian folk tunes. Furthermore, the comparison between Tellefsen and Chopin’s mazurkas demonstrates that although their mazurkas seem to have a similar musical style, Tellefsen’s mazurkas include his own traditional Norwegian folk aesthetic, which present original contributions to the genre.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lim, Mikyung

Learning From the Autograph: a New Critical Approach to Performing Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor

Description: The Sonata in B minor occupies a hallowed position in Liszt’s oeuvre, according to scholarly assessment. Despite the plethora of literature on this consummate work, the vast majority of writings on the sonata have focused almost exclusively on formal innovation, thematic transformation, and programmatic speculation, and there is a dearth of interpretative analysis of the sonata based on its fascinating autograph manuscript, even though it has been publicly accessible and widely available in facsimile for some four decades now. In view of the fact that the autograph manuscript has never been examined for the express purpose of improving performance of the sonata, this dissertation proposes to approach this problem with the direct examination of the autograph and its numerous additions and deletions, and the analysis of the many interpretive implications stemming from the surprising insights offered by the autograph itself, which is on deposit at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City. The goal of the dissertation is to make readily accessible a comprehensive performance-oriented study of this summit of pianism, offering solutions to the many discrepancies among its various published editions, from the first Breitkopf & Härtel in 1854 to the most recent Peters Urtext in 2011, and including photographic reproductions of the unpublished material obscured behind and beneath the collettes (idiosyncratic terminology for additional pieces of paper pasted over the manuscript) together with the author’s engraved transcriptions thereof. In sum, the dissertation provides guidance and solutions for the various forms of virtuosic and interpretive problems that earn the sonata its reputation for being one of the most difficult works in the repertoire to understand and perform.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Arjona, Alfredo

Messiaen’s Musical Language: Technique and Theological Symbolism in Les Corps Glorieux, “Combat De La Mort Et De La Vie”

Description: One of the most important ways to understand Olivier Messiaen’s musical language is through the lens of the theological ideas that many of his works convey. He considers expressing his Christian faith to be the primary purpose in his music. Through his idiosyncratic technique, Messiaen gives power and life to his religious music that he combines with his interest in literature, musical analysis, poetic imagery and symbolism, his love for theatre, and his compositional and organ abilities. The abundant studies of Messiaen’s works deal with the intricacies of his musical language, yet most of these studies barely discuss his theological ideas. Nevertheless, technical analysis of his music poses immense challenges, especially in the domains of melody and harmony. Although my approach is unconventional and do not follow any existing system, I base my technical and theological analyses mainly from Messiaen's technique, his commentaries and his references to the Scriptures. The “Combat de la mort et de la vie” is the heart of Les Corps glorieux in both technical and theological aspects. It is an intricate musical artwork where Messiaen demonstrates his melodic and harmonic developments using his idiosyncratic language, and through symbolism portrays the most complex of all drama according to Christian theology—the story of Jesus Christ's Passion and Resurrection. My research can relate directly to a more informed and convincing performance of the work, and can contribute a different perspective to the study, understanding, and appreciation of Messiaen's theologically inspired works.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Dellosa, Lerie Grace