The Pulitzer Prize in Music has been associated with excellence in American composition since 1943, when it first honored William Schuman for his Secular Cantata No. 2: A Free Song. In the years that followed, this award has recognized America's most eminent composers, placing many of their works in the standard orchestral, chamber and solo repertoire. Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, Walter Piston and Elliott Carter are but a few of the composers who have been honored by this most prestigious award. Several of these Pulitzer Prize-winning composers have made significant contributions to the solo and chamber music repertories of the bassoon, an instrument that had a limited repertoire until the beginning of the twentieth century. The purpose of this project is to draw attention to the fact that America's most honored composers have enlarged and enriched the repertoire of the solo bassoon and bassoon quartet. The works that will be discussed in this document include: Quartettino for Four Bassoons (1939) - William Schuman, Three Inventions for Solo Bassoon (1962) - George Perle, Canzonetta (1962) - John Harbison, Metamorphoses for Bassoon Solo (1991) - Leslie Bassett and “How like pellucid statues, Daddy. Or like a . . . an engine” (1994) - John Corigliano. Each chapter will include a brief biography of the composer, a historical perspective of where that composition lies in relation to their other works, background information about the work, a formal analysis and suggestions for performance.
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