The American Trumpet Sonata in the 1950s: An Analytical and Sociohistorical Discussion of Trumpet Sonatas by George Antheil, Kent Kennan, Halsey Stevens, and Burnet Tuthill.
Description: The trumpet, or some ancestral form of the trumpet, has existed nearly as long as civilization itself. Despite its long history, however, the trumpet's solo repertoire remained limited and relatively unvaried until the second half of the twentieth century. Like most music, the American trumpet sonatas from the 1950s are a reflection of the culture and history surrounding their composition. The purpose of this research is to show how the trumpet sonatas by George Antheil, Kent Kennan, Halsey Stevens, and Burnet Tuthill are both distinctly American and unmistakably from the 1950s. The post-war era in America is often viewed as a time of unbridled optimism stemming from economic prosperity and the nation's military and industrial supremacy. The decade of the 1950s is often viewed today as a simpler, happier time in America's history. The trumpet sonatas of this era reflect this primarily in their ebullient rhythms and brilliant, often heroic melodies. However, darker characteristics of the decade (the rise of communism, for example) also make veiled appearances in these four sonatas. After an overview of the social and musical trends of the decade, the central chapter of the work delineates formal, thematic, and tonal structures of each of the four sonatas and their constituent movements. Highlighted throughout the analyses are similarities between the pieces, especially intervallic structures, motivic rhythms, and melodic construction. The final chapter discusses these similarities further and integrates them into 1950s American history and culture.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Dearden, Jennifer Lorien
Partner: UNT Libraries