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Paul Schoenfeld and h\s Four souvenirs for violin and piano (1990)

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Four Souvenirs for Violin and Piano was composed by Paul Schoenfeld (b.1947) in 1990 as a showpiece, spotlighting the virtuosity of both the violin and piano in equal measure. Each movement is a modern interpretation of a folk or popular

Four Souvenirs for Violin and Piano was composed by Paul Schoenfeld (b.1947) in 1990 as a showpiece, spotlighting the virtuosity of both the violin and piano in equal measure. Each movement is a modern interpretation of a folk or popular genre, re- envisioned over intricate jazz harmonies and rhythms. The work was commissioned by violinist Lev Polyakin, who specifically requested some short pieces that could be performed in a local jazz establishment named Night Town in Cleveland, Ohio. The result is a work that is approximately fifteen minutes in length. Schoenfeld is a respected composer in the contemporary classical music community, whose Café Music (1986) for piano trio has recently become a staple of the standard chamber music repertoire. Many of his other works, however, remain in relative obscurity. It is the focus of this document to shed light on at least one other notable composition; Four Souvenirs for Violin and Piano. Among the topics to be discussed regarding this piece are a brief history behind the genesis of this composition, a structural summary of the entire work and each of its movements, and an appended practice guide based on interview and coaching sessions with the composer himself. With this project, I hope to provide a better understanding and appreciation of this work.

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Date Created
2015

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Libby Larsen's Margaret songs: a musical portrait of Willa Cather's Margaret Elliot

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Libby Larsen is one of the most performed and acclaimed composers today. She is a spirited, compelling, and sensitive composer whose music enhances the poetry of America's most prominent authors. Notable among her works are song cycles for soprano based

Libby Larsen is one of the most performed and acclaimed composers today. She is a spirited, compelling, and sensitive composer whose music enhances the poetry of America's most prominent authors. Notable among her works are song cycles for soprano based on the poetry of female writers, among them novelist and poet Willa Cather (1873-1947). Larsen has produced two song cycles on works from Cather's substantial output of fiction: one based on Cather's short story, "Eric Hermannson's Soul," titled Margaret Songs: Three Songs from Willa Cather (1996); and later, My Antonia (2000), based on Cather's novel of the same title. In Margaret Songs, Cather's poetry and short stories--specifically the character of Margaret Elliot--combine with Larsen's unique compositional style to create a surprising collaboration. This study explores how Larsen in these songs delves into the emotional and psychological depths of Margaret's character, not fully formed by Cather. It is only through Larsen's music and Cather's poetry that Margaret's journey through self-discovery and love become fully realized. This song cycle is a glimpse through the eyes of two prominent female artists on the societal pressures placed upon Margaret's character, many of which still resonate with women in today's culture. This study examines the work Margaret Songs by discussing Willa Cather, her musical influences, and the conditions surrounding the writing of "Eric Hermannson's Soul." It looks also into Cather's influence on Libby Larsen and the commission leading to Margaret Songs. Finally, a description of the musical, dramatic, and textual content of the songs completes this interpretation of the interactions of Willa Cather, Libby Larsen, and the character of Margaret Elliot.

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Date Created
2013

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Discovering Puerto Rican art song: a research project on four art song works by Héctor Campos Parsi

Description

Puerto Rico has produced many important composers who have contributed to the musical culture of the nation during the last 200 years. However, a considerable amount of their music has proven to be difficult to access and may contain numerous

Puerto Rico has produced many important composers who have contributed to the musical culture of the nation during the last 200 years. However, a considerable amount of their music has proven to be difficult to access and may contain numerous errors. This research project intends to contribute to the accessibility of such music and to encourage similar studies of Puerto Rican music. This study focuses on the music of Héctor Campos Parsi (1922-1998), one of the most prominent composers of the 20th century in Puerto Rico. After an overview of the historical background of music on the island and the biography of the composer, four works from his art song repertoire are given for detailed examination. A product of this study is the first corrected edition of his cycles Canciones de Cielo y Agua, Tres Poemas de Corretjer, Los Paréntesis, and the song Majestad Negra. These compositions date from 1947 to 1959, and reflect both the European and nationalistic writing styles of the composer during this time. Data for these corrections have been obtained from the composer's manuscripts, published and unpublished editions, and published recordings. The corrected scores are ready for publication and a compact disc of this repertoire, performed by soprano Melliangee Pérez and the author, has been recorded to bring to life these revisions. Despite the best intentions of the author, the various copyright issues have yet to be resolved. It is hoped that this document will provide the foundation for a resolution and that these important works will be available for public performance and study in the near future.

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Date Created
2013

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The life and music of the Mexican composer Samuel Maynez Prince (1886-1966): study and edition of the complete works for violin and piano

Description

Samuel Máynez Prince (1886-1966), was a prolific and important Mexican musician. Prince’s musical style followed the trends of the nineteenth-century salon music genre. His compositions include lullabies, songs, dances, marches, mazurkas, waltzes, and revolutionary anthems. Prince’s social status and performances

Samuel Máynez Prince (1886-1966), was a prolific and important Mexican musician. Prince’s musical style followed the trends of the nineteenth-century salon music genre. His compositions include lullabies, songs, dances, marches, mazurkas, waltzes, and revolutionary anthems. Prince’s social status and performances in the famed Café Colón in Mexico City increased his popularity among high-ranking political figures during the time of the Mexican Revolution as well as his status in the Mexican music scene.

Unfortunately there is virtually no existing scholarship on Prince and even basic information regarding his life and works is not readily available. The lack of organization of the manuscript scores and the absence of dates of his works has further pushed the composer into obscurity. An investigation therefore was necessary in order to explore the neglected aspects of the life and works of Prince as a violinist and composer. This document is the result of such an investigation by including extensive new biographical information, as well as the first musical analysis and edition of the complete recovered works for violin and piano.

In order to fill the gaps present in the limited biographical information regarding Prince’s life, investigative research was conducted in Mexico City. Information was drawn from archives of the composer’s grandchildren, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Conservatorio Nacional de Música de México, and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. The surviving relatives provided first-hand details on events in the composer’s life; one also offered the researcher access to their personal archive including, important life documents, photographs, programs from concert performances, and manuscript scores of the compositions. Establishing connections with the relatives also led the researcher to examining the violins owned and used by the late violinist/composer.

This oral history approach led to new and updated information, including the revival of previously unpublished music for violin and piano. These works are here compiled in an edition that will give students, teachers, and music-lovers access to this unknown repertoire. Finally, this research seeks to promote the beauty and nuances of Mexican salon music, and the complete works for violin and piano of Samuel Máynez Prince in particular.

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Date Created
2016