Original repertoire for the American Brass Quintet, 1962-1987 : a guide for performers and composers

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Sorensen, Randall J.
Pohly, Linda, 1954-
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Thesis (D.A.)
School of Music
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This dissertation examines the following works from the original repertoire of the American Brass Quintet (ABQ): Charles Whittenberg, Triptych for Brass Quintet; Ralph Shapey, Brass Quintet; Gilbert Amy, Relais; William Lovelock, Suite for Brass; Leonardo Balada, Mosaico; Virgil Thomson, Family Portrait; Elliott Carter, Brass Quintet; Jacob Druckman, Other Voices; Robert Starer, Evanescence; Dan Welcher, Brass Quintet; Vladimir Ussachevsky, Dialogues and Contrasts; David Sampson, Morning Music; Maurice Wright, Quintet; and Eric Ewazen, Colchester Fantasy. These works represent a small part of the ABQ's repertoire and attest tothe significance of the ensemble's contribution to brass quintet literature. The purpose of this study is to bring these works to the attention of performers and to provide a guide for those wishing to perform them. Composers will be interested in the discussion of compositional techniques. The fourteen works are studied in chronological order and in the following manner: composer biography, historical background of composition, descriptive analysis (form, harmony, melody, rhythm, texture), and performance considerations (range, special techniques, use of basstrombone or tuba, and equipment needs). Program notes from the ABQ's performances of the works, many written by the composers, are included.Through the study of these works the following conclusions are reached: (1) the ABQ has influenced the development of university brass programs and has helped to make brass quintet experience an integral part of brass education, (2) it has encouraged composers to write for brass quintet, and (3) the ABQ has played a significant role in developing an original brass quintet repertoire. Through its residencies at the Aspen Music Festival and the Juilliard School of Music and touring, the ABQ has reached a large number of students, performers, and composers throughout the world. The quintet's performances of new music has inspired composers to write for brass quintet; the group receives many unsolicited scores each year. Since its founding in 1960, the ABQ has been a leader in the commissioning of original works for brass quintet and has played a significant role in the development of the brass quintet repertoire.