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A study of the solo piano works by Owen Middleton (b. 1941): with a recording of selected works from 1962-1993

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Owen Middleton (b. 1941) enjoys an established and growing reputation as a composer of classical guitar music, but his works for piano are comparatively little known. The close investigation offered here of Middleton's works for piano reveals the same impressive

Owen Middleton (b. 1941) enjoys an established and growing reputation as a composer of classical guitar music, but his works for piano are comparatively little known. The close investigation offered here of Middleton's works for piano reveals the same impressive craftsmanship, compelling character, and innovative spirit found in his works for guitar. Indeed, the only significant thing Middleton's piano music currently lacks is the well-deserved attention of professional players and a wider audience. Middleton's piano music needs to be heard, not just discussed, so one of this document's purposes is to provide a recorded sample of his piano works. While the overall repertoire for solo piano is vast, and new works become established in that repertoire with increasing difficulty, Middleton's piano works have a significant potential to find their way into the concert hall as well as the private teaching studio. His solo piano music is highly effective, well suited to the instrument, and, perhaps most importantly, fresh sounding and truly original. His pedagogical works are of equal value. Middleton's piano music offers something for everyone: there one finds daring virtuosity, effusions of passion, intellectual force, colorful imagery, poetry, humor, and even a degree of idiomatic innovation. This study aims to reveal key aspects of the composer's musical style, especially his style of piano writing, and to provide pianists with helpful analytical, technical, and interpretive insights. These descriptions of the music are supported with recorded examples, selected from the works for solo piano written between 1962 and 1993: Sonata for Piano, Childhood Scenes, Katie's Collection, and Toccata for Piano. The complete scores of the recorded works are included in the appendix. A chapter briefly describing the piano pieces since 1993 concludes the study and invites the reader to further investigations of this unique and important body of work.

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Date Created
2011

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A history of the first fifty years of the Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix

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ABSTRACT The Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix occupies and maintains an historical place in the musical and civic history of the City of Phoenix and the State of Arizona. Organized in November, 1929, the Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix (OMC)

ABSTRACT The Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix occupies and maintains an historical place in the musical and civic history of the City of Phoenix and the State of Arizona. Organized in November, 1929, the Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix (OMC) is the only performing arts organization in Phoenix that can claim eighty-one years of continuous performance. The chorus gained popularity locally, nationally, and internationally in its first five decades. The breadth of the chorus's recognition began to decline in the latter part of the 20th century, but the chorus still retains a loyal following of audience members. This study focuses on the first fifty years of the OMC, especially the period from 1946 to 1979, the years the chorus was under the direction of Ralph Hess. Through his leadership the group's popularity and recognition reached a peak, thanks largely to his emphasis on civic responsibility, ties to service organizations, and musical ability and showmanship. No scholarly publications exist regarding this organization. Several boxes of memorabilia housed in the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tempe, Arizona, serve as the primary source of material for this study. Concert programs supply information about concert repertoire, advertising, and chorus history. Newspaper articles from local and international press offer reviews, announcements, and media perceptions of the chorus. Information illustrating the abundant civic engagement of the OMC appears in proclamations and awards from local, state, national, and international personalities. This objective information helps propel the story forward, as do the personal letters and stories contained within the collection. Because many documents from the latter part of the 1970s are missing, the primary source information becomes more anecdotal and subjective. This study illustrates some of the ways in which the OMC went beyond mere survival to occupy a significant place in the musical life of Phoenix. Engagement in civic and social functions and support for non-profit organizations established the chorus as more than just a musical ensemble. Their pursuit under Hess of "Cultural Citizenship" earned them international recognition as civic leaders and ambassadors of goodwill.

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Date Created
2010

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Mel Bonis: six works for flute and piano

Description

The end of the nineteenth century was an exhilarating and revolutionary era for the flute. This period is the Second Golden Age of the flute, when players and teachers associated with the Paris Conservatory developed what would be considered the

The end of the nineteenth century was an exhilarating and revolutionary era for the flute. This period is the Second Golden Age of the flute, when players and teachers associated with the Paris Conservatory developed what would be considered the birth of the modern flute school. In addition, the founding in 1871 of the Société Nationale de Musique by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) and Romain Bussine (1830-1899) made possible the promotion of contemporary French composers. The founding of the Société des Instruments à Vent by Paul Taffanel (1844-1908) in 1879 also invigorated a new era of chamber music for wind instruments. Within this groundbreaking environment, Mélanie Hélène Bonis (pen name Mel Bonis) entered the Paris Conservatory in 1876, under the tutelage of César Franck (1822-1890). Many flutists are dismayed by the scarcity of repertoire for the instrument in the Romantic and post-Romantic traditions; they make up for this absence by borrowing the violin sonatas of Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) and Franck. The flute and piano works of Mel Bonis help to fill this void with music composed originally for flute. Bonis was a prolific composer with over 300 works to her credit, but her works for flute and piano have not been researched or professionally recorded in the United States before the present study. Although virtually unknown today in the American flute community, Bonis's music received much acclaim from her contemporaries and deserves a prominent place in the flutist's repertoire. After a brief biographical introduction, this document examines Mel Bonis's musical style and describes in detail her six works for flute and piano while also offering performance suggestions.

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Date Created
2013

The cello music of Leo Ornstein

Description

In addition to his many other works, Russian-American composer Leo Ornstein (1893-2002) contributed a substantial body of literature for cello and piano, including Sonata No. 1 (1915-1916), Sonata No. 2 (circa 1920), Composition No. 1 (date unknown), Two Pieces (date

In addition to his many other works, Russian-American composer Leo Ornstein (1893-2002) contributed a substantial body of literature for cello and piano, including Sonata No. 1 (1915-1916), Sonata No. 2 (circa 1920), Composition No. 1 (date unknown), Two Pieces (date unknown), and Six Preludes (1930-1931). His cello music is an eclectic mix of twentieth-century Neoromantic and atonal styles. This study includes a recording of the complete works for cello and piano by Leo Ornstein and a description of the music that details the formal procedures and how the cello and piano relate to one another. The discussion offers extensive musical examples in support of the descriptions. The recording was completed at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada (October 2009), with R. Nicolas Alvarez, cello, in collaboration with pianist Keith Kirchoff. Andre Shrimski produced and edited the recording.

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Date Created
2013

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A Survey of Rarely Performed Piano Transcriptions from the 19th and 20th Centuries

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This research document focuses on rarely performed piano transcriptions. A total of 28 works are discussed. These works have high artistic value and should not be forgotten by pianists. Most of the transcribers are renowned pianists, such as Harold Bauer

This research document focuses on rarely performed piano transcriptions. A total of 28 works are discussed. These works have high artistic value and should not be forgotten by pianists. Most of the transcribers are renowned pianists, such as Harold Bauer and Alfred Cortot, or composers themselves. Unfortunately, these works are seldom played in today's public concerts, or on online resources such as YouTube, Vimeo, or iTunes. Some people may think these works are neglected because the scores are hard to find, but they can be easily obtained online. Pianists around the world can access these scores in just a few minutes via the Internet.

In this research document, I discuss the transcriptions one by one. First, I introduce the background of the pieces, the composers, and the transcribers. Then, through comparison of the original pieces with the transcribed ones, I discuss the approaches of transcription and highlight the special features of each work. Finally, I recommend the concert occasions appropriate for the transcriptions based on their characteristics. I offer many musical examples from the works discussed. These excerpts should help the pianist to understand the style and technical difficulty, as well as to decide if the work meets their programming needs.

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Date Created
2019

A Recording Project Featuring Five Newly Commissioned Works for Clarinet by James Patrick Applegate

Description

ABSTRACT

This project features five new pieces for clarinet commissioned from three different composers including:

1. Rasa by Jeffrey Ouper

2. Faerie Tale Dances by Jeffrey Ouper

3. Amalgamated Widget by Tavia Sullens

4. Faerie Suite by Theresa Martin

5. Time Lapse by Theresa Martin

Faerie Suite and Amalgamated Widget are for

ABSTRACT

This project features five new pieces for clarinet commissioned from three different composers including:

1. Rasa by Jeffrey Ouper

2. Faerie Tale Dances by Jeffrey Ouper

3. Amalgamated Widget by Tavia Sullens

4. Faerie Suite by Theresa Martin

5. Time Lapse by Theresa Martin

Faerie Suite and Amalgamated Widget are for unaccompanied clarinet; Time Lapse is a trio for clarinet, bass clarinet, and piano; Faerie Tale Dances is a trio for E-flat clarinet, sopranino recorder, and toy piano; and Rasa is a quartet for E-flat clarinet, two A clarinets, and bass clarinet. These pieces challenge the performer in various ways, including complex rhythm, use of extended techniques such as glissando, flutter tongue, and circular breathing, and synthetic and non-traditional scales. The composers were given guidelines prior to the compositional process to create works with a thematic connection to mythology, folklore, or fairy tales, and inspired by dance and non-western or traditional harmonies and idioms. This document offers background information about the composers and the works, and a performance guide is included for each. This guide provides recommendations and suggestions for each piece. Also included are interviews with each of the composers. Accompanying this document are recordings of each of the five pieces, performed by the author.

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Date Created
2018

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The Mimicking of Instruments in Arrangements and Transcriptions for Piano of Chinese Traditional Music

Description

This research paper is an explanatory document for the lecture recital presented by the author. The lecture recital focused on the mimicking of instruments in arrangements and transcriptions for piano of Chinese traditional music. There are five Chinese music instruments

This research paper is an explanatory document for the lecture recital presented by the author. The lecture recital focused on the mimicking of instruments in arrangements and transcriptions for piano of Chinese traditional music. There are five Chinese music instruments discussed in the paper, namely guqin, zheng, erhu, suona, and pipa. This document provides an introduction to the five instruments, including their origin, historical background, and physical characteristics. Then it discusses the selected traditional pieces for these instruments and compares them to their corresponding piano arrangements. The traditional pieces are Three Stanzas of Plum Blossoms (arranged by Jianzhong Wang), Liu Yang River (arranged by Jianzhong Wang), Moon Reflected on the Er-quan Spring (arranged by Wanghua Chu), A Hundred Birds Paying Homage to the Phoenix (arranged by Jianzhong Wang), and Flute and Drum at Sunset (arranged by Yinghai Li). The comparison and the discussion of the technical issues in certain passages will help the pianist to create a fitting sound when performing the works.

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Date Created
2020