The traditional and the avant-garde in late twentieth-century music : a study of three piano compositions by Frederic Rzewski (1938- )

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dc.contributor.advisor Palmer, Robert, 1954- en_US Beckman, Seth en_US 2011-06-03T19:23:02Z 2011-06-03T19:23:02Z 1996 en_US 1996
dc.identifier LD2489.Z62 1996 .B43 en_US
dc.description.abstract Frederic Rzewski (1938- ) is a composer and pianist fluent in the styles of traditional pianism as well as the contemporary avant-garde. His musical breadth is most clearly demonstrated through his piano compositions, which are often large-scale, virtuosic, and tonal. For these reasons, they are frequently compared to works of the Romantic era. Furthermore, his pieces also display experimental, avant-gardistic leanings and thereby demonstrate complexity and eclecticism. The thread of continuity in Rzewski's works may be found through his incorporation of programmatic associations, which embrace controversial and universal socio-political themes.This study examines three of Rzewski's compositions for piano that typify the composer's diverse yet communal approach to composition: 36 Variations on "the People United Will Never Be Defeated!, the North American Ballads, and De Profundis. Through the integration of a predominantly tonal musical language with bold, contemporary techniques, all three pieces represent a melding of the past with the present. Thus, they celebrate the complex nature of the human experience through the realm of musical expression.Frederic Rzewski was interviewed by this author, as was pianist Ursula Oppens (a strong advocate of contemporary works generally and Rzewski's pieces specifically). Their insights appear throughout the document, on topics ranging from the generally relevant to specific items connected to the above-mentioned compositions. Related issues of prominent educational influences, the contemporary avant-garde movement, critical review, extant dissertations, improvisation, neo-tonality, and the trend of political music were researched for their invaluable associations with the above-mentioned pieces.This study contends that, through these works, Frederic Rzewski demonstrates a commanding ability to weave varied musical and programmatic components into compelling, cohesive compositions. Furthermore, these pieces offer keen insights into compositional style and practice for piano in the latter half of the twentieth century and thereby present pianists and pedagogues with the opportunity for the introduction to (and immersion in) essential, idiomatic writing as related to late twentieth-century piano composition. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship School of Music
dc.format.extent xiv, 224 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Piano music -- 20th century -- History and criticism. en_US
dc.subject.other Rzewski, Frederic -- Criticism and interpretation. en_US
dc.title The traditional and the avant-garde in late twentieth-century music : a study of three piano compositions by Frederic Rzewski (1938- ) en_US Thesis (D.A.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3248]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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