Matching Items (26)

The Piano Variations of Carl Czerny

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Positioned between Beethoven and Liszt in the golden period, Carl Czerny (1791-1857) played a significant historical role in the area of piano pedagogy. Many pianists are familiar with and have

Positioned between Beethoven and Liszt in the golden period, Carl Czerny (1791-1857) played a significant historical role in the area of piano pedagogy. Many pianists are familiar with and have played Czerny’s études, or technical exercises. However, few delve into Czerny’s piano works for performance, including eleven piano sonatas and more than 180 works titled variations. The project at hand examines three of Carl Czerny’s variation works for piano: Opus 33 (on a theme of Rode), Opus 281 (on a theme from Bellini’s Norma, in its solo piano version), and Opus 292 (on an original theme). These works are explored from both compositional and performance perspectives. After a brief biography of Czerny that places his variations into the context of his compositional output, the three variation sets are given analytical description. A chapter on the “Rode Variations” focuses on the technical and musical challenges for the pianist. An important conclusion reached is that these somewhat-neglected works might be attractive to pianists looking to expand their repertoire.

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  • 2020

Nikolai Kapustin's solo piano works 2007-2013: a recording and performance guide

Description

Born in 1937, the Ukrainian-Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin has gradually gained recognition among Western music scholars and pianists by blending American jazz idioms into classical forms, such as concertos, sonatas,

Born in 1937, the Ukrainian-Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin has gradually gained recognition among Western music scholars and pianists by blending American jazz idioms into classical forms, such as concertos, sonatas, and preludes; recently he has become a very prominent composer. As one of the most prolific composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, he has composed over 160 works to date. Most of them are piano solo works. The uniqueness of his compositional philosophy is that he consistently treats the music language of jazz as a core element in all his output, while others might only use jazz idioms experimentally in their works.

Being an excellent pianist himself, Kapustin has recorded many of his own works, giving a firsthand reference for interpreting his piano music. Some of his most famous works, including the Variations, Op. 41, the Eight Concert Etudes, Op. 40, and the 24 Preludes in Jazz Style, Op. 53 have been recorded by other prominent artists, such as Steven Osborne and Marc-Andre Hamelin.

Scholarly research on Kapustin’s piano works remains limited. Most of it is found in journal articles and dissertations. Unfortunately, all of them are focused on his early popular works. His more recent works from 2007-2013: the Six Little Pieces, Op. 133, Dialogue, Op. 148, Etude Courte mais Transcendante pour piano, Op. 149, Nobody Is Perfect, Op. 151, A Pianist In Jeopardy, Op. 152, and Wandering, Op. 153, have not yet been discussed in any scholarly writing.

In brief, the purpose of this study is to present a first recording of these six major solo works, and to examine them in a research paper. The paper discusses Kapustin’s consistent use of jazz elements in his recent works, addresses musical and technical concerns in their performance practice, and facilitates more extended study of these valuable but yet to be recorded works.

The paper consists of eight parts. The first part covers brief background information on the composer, as well as reviewing important jazz features, in order to more effectively analyze his stylistic language in the six compositions which are explored in the subsequent chapters including a conclusion.

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  • 2018

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Performance Guide: Henry Cowell’s Three Irish Legends and Six Ings, and John Cage’s The Perilous Night

Description

This research will explore the compositional approaches of Henry Cowell and John Cage to reveal piano techniques for the practice and performance of selected works. The discussion will focus on

This research will explore the compositional approaches of Henry Cowell and John Cage to reveal piano techniques for the practice and performance of selected works. The discussion will focus on Henry Cowell’s Three Irish Legends and Six Ings, as well as John Cage’s The Perilous Night. An important contribution of Cowell was to further the use of tone clusters, applied in his Three Irish Legends by playing directly with the forearm, fists, and palm. Cowell’s Six Ings employ rhythmic experimentation, particularly in the first, second, and sixth pieces. He also uses tone color to portray specific programmatic features. John Cage greatly advanced the prepared piano from its earliest beginnings, as evidenced significantly in The Perilous Night. The present study will include advice on piano preparation, along with performance challenges and solutions.

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  • 2020

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A Stylistic Survey and Performance Guide of Three Popular Rags and Three Rags, Composed after 2008 by William Bolcom

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This research paper will examine William Bolcom’s compositional style and performance challenges related to Three Popular Rags (1967-1968), Knockout: A Rag (2008), Estela: Rag Latino (2010), and Contentment - A

This research paper will examine William Bolcom’s compositional style and performance challenges related to Three Popular Rags (1967-1968), Knockout: A Rag (2008), Estela: Rag Latino (2010), and Contentment - A Rag (2015). The aim is to reveal some of his contributions to the revival and expansion of ragtime. The paper includes a brief background on William Bolcom and a history of ragtime music. Differences between the compositional styles of Scott Joplin and Bolcom are discussed through descriptive analysis, focusing on musical forms, rhythms, harmonies, and textures. The performance suggestions include elements of dynamics, articulation, extended piano techniques, and pedal use. The author hopes that this stylistic analysis and performance guide will further interest in Bolcom’s piano ragtime music.

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  • 2020

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J. S. Bach's WTC Book I Prelude and Fugue in B-flat Minor BWV 867: An Analysis and Study of Related Works

Description

The core element of this research paper is an analysis of the B-flat minor prelude and fugue BWV 867. The author’s analysis is then compared with the main contributors to

The core element of this research paper is an analysis of the B-flat minor prelude and fugue BWV 867. The author’s analysis is then compared with the main contributors to Bach’s analytical studies. An understanding of the work’s structure, together with its motivic and harmonic details, help the performer develop an interpretive approach to the work.

Significant Bach scholars, including David Ledbetter and Peter Williams, are used as the source for the additional works to be studied. These scholars also mention close associates of Bach who offer additional insight into his music: Kirnberger and Weiss. The paper includes a brief discussion of the opening chorus fugue BWV 64, instrumental prelude to the cantata BWV 106, chorale prelude BWV 721, and Tombeau sur la Mort de Mr Comte de Logy by Weiss, as they relate to the B-flat minor prelude and fugue. In addition, the analysis provides materials on how the elements of the work relate to the Doctrine of Affections. From the B-flat minor prelude and fugue, the harmonic progressions and figuration are examined from the point of view of the Doctrine. The research also examines the fugue subject, with its unusual leap of a minor 9th, to its structural connection to the opening chorus fugue of BWV 64, and its ties to the Doctrine.

Through the analysis of the B-flat minor prelude and fugue and a comparison to works by Bach that are stylistically connected to this work, the author offers insights into the music and its relationship to works that have a sacred text association.

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  • 2020

Pacific Suite: A Work in Four Movements for Solo Piano

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Pacific Suite (2016) is a four-movement work for solo piano composed by the author of this paper, Holly Kordahl, that incorporates elements of several musical idioms, including Impressionism, tintinnabuli (as

Pacific Suite (2016) is a four-movement work for solo piano composed by the author of this paper, Holly Kordahl, that incorporates elements of several musical idioms, including Impressionism, tintinnabuli (as in the music of Arvo Pärt), post-modernism, minimalism and improvisation. This Doctorate of Musical Arts project consists of a descriptive paper, analysis, score and recording. The piece features varying levels of performer independence and improvisation along with notated music. Each movement is named after a different environment of the Pacific Ocean: Great Barrier Reef, Mariana Trench, Sunlit Zone, and Bikini Atoll.

Pacific Suite is engaging to mature pianists and accessible to students. The score of Pacific Suite is a blank canvas in some ways; almost all dynamics, tempi, pedaling, and fingerings are to be determined by the performer. The first movement, Great Barrier Reef, presents different musical vignettes. The second movement, Mariana Trench, requires the performer to improvise extensively while following provided instructions. The third movement, Sunlit Zone, asks the performer to improvise on a theme of Debussy. The final movement, Bikini Atoll, illustrates events of nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll in the 1940s.

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  • 2020

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Nineteenth-century Performance and Editorial Practice: A Study of Beethoven's Sonata in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2

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During the nineteenth century, it was common for pianists to publish their own editions of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. They did this to demonstrate their understanding of the pieces. Towards the

During the nineteenth century, it was common for pianists to publish their own editions of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. They did this to demonstrate their understanding of the pieces. Towards the end of the century, musicians focused their attention on critical editions in an effort to reproduce the composer’s original intention. Unfortunately, this caused interpretive editions such as those created in the nineteenth century to fade from attention. This research focuses on situating these interpretive editions within the greater discourse surrounding the editorial development of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. The study opens with the critical reception of Beethoven, his Sonata in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2, also known as the “Moonlight” Sonata, the organology of the nineteenth-century fortepianos and the editorial practices of subsequent editions of the piece. It also contextualizes the aesthetic and performance practice of nineteenth-century piano playing. I go on to analyze and demonstrate how the performance practices conveyed in the modern Henle edition (1976) differ from those in selected earlier interpretive editions. I will conclude with an assessment of the ways in which nineteenth-century performance practices were reflected by contemporary editions.

This study compares the First edition (1802) and seven selected editions of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata by Ignaz Moscheles (1814), Carl Czerny (1846), Franz Liszt (1857), Louis Köhler (1869), Hugo Riemann (1885), Sigmund Lebert and Hans von Bülow (1896), and Carl Krebs (1898) with the Henle edition. It covers the tempo, rubato, articulations, phrasing, dynamics, fingerings, pedaling, ornamentation, note-stem and beaming, pitch, and rhythm. I evaluate these editorial changes and performance practice to determine that, compared to modern practice, the 19th century fostered a tendency of applying rubato, longer slurs, diverse articulations, and expanded dynamic range. Furthermore, the instructions of fingerings, pedaling and ornamentation became more detailed towards the end of the century.

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  • 2020

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Articulating J.S. Bach’s Preludes from WTC 1: A Study of 20th Century Piano Recordings

Description

This paper closely examines the performance practice regarding articulation of the preludes from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book I. Recordings by five pianists are studied: Vladimir Feltsman, Glenn Gould, Angela Hewitt,

This paper closely examines the performance practice regarding articulation of the preludes from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book I. Recordings by five pianists are studied: Vladimir Feltsman, Glenn Gould, Angela Hewitt, Andras Schiff, and Rosalyn Tureck. The recordings reveal certain recurring articulation patterns which are categorized into six articulation techniques: short slurs, long slurs, detached upbeat, accented downbeats, changing articulation, and rolled chords. The author has divided the preludes into four groups: preludes with continuous running figuration, lyrical preludes, lyrical preludes with distinct melody and accompaniment, and preludes with non-lyrical themes. Analysis reveals that for each group of preludes, there are a set of principles that these pianists follow. Overall, for non-lyrical preludes, the running sixteenth notes are played legato, staccato, or a short slur followed by staccato. The slower moving quarter and eighth notes stay mostly detached or staccato. For lyrical preludes, the melody remains largely legato. Articulation techniques are used more extensively in non-lyrical preludes than lyrical ones, and more often in the slower moving eighth notes than running figuration. Articulation techniques are often used as means of embellishment. They enhance the individual character of each piece and generate Baroque attributes. Despite the principles observed in the recordings, many isolated performances are found which do not conform to any of them, suggesting that there is no authoritative rule when articulating Bach’s works on piano.

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  • 2020

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

Description

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

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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  • 2011

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An overview of Bohuslav Martinù's piano style with a guide to analysis and interpretation of the Fantasie et Toccata, H. 281

Description

Bohuslav Martinù (1890-1959) was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 100 works for piano. His highly imaginative and eclectic style blends elements of the Baroque, Impressionism, Twentieth-century idioms and Czech

Bohuslav Martinù (1890-1959) was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 100 works for piano. His highly imaginative and eclectic style blends elements of the Baroque, Impressionism, Twentieth-century idioms and Czech folk music. His music is fresh and appealing to the listener, yet it remains intriguing as to how all the elements are combined in a cohesive manner. Martinù himself provides clues to his compositional process. He believed in pure musical expression and the intensity of the musical idea, without the need for extra-musical or programmatic connotations. He espoused holistic and organic views toward musical perception and composition, at times referring to a work as an "organism." This study examines Martinù's piano style in light of his many diverse influences and personal philosophy. The first portion of this paper discusses Martinù's overall style through several piano miniatures written throughout his career. It takes into consideration the composer's personal background, musical influences and aesthetic convictions. The second portion focuses specifically on Martinù's first large-scale work for piano, the Fantasie et Toccata, H. 281. Written during a time in which Martinù was black-listed by the Nazis and forced to flee Europe, this piece bears witness to the chaotic events of WWII through its complexity and intensity of character. The discussion and analysis of the Fantasie et Toccata intends to serve as a guide to interpretation for the performer or listener and also seeks to promote the piano music of Bohuslav Martinù to a wider audience.

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  • 2011