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INNOVATIONS IN FRENCH CHAMBER MUSIC AND MÉLODIE (1886 – 1962) – A COLLABORATIVE PIANIST’S PERSPECTIVE
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French chamber music in the last quarter of the nineteenth century displayed significant advances in musical innovations and technical developments. As the Parisian public began to favor instrumental music and mélodie over opera, vocal and chamber music with piano became one of the main genres to express French composers’ creativity and individuality. The composers Franck, Debussy, Fauré, Duparc, Ravel, Chausson and Poulenc were the major contributors to this unusually creative period in French music. French mélodies of this period blend precision with lyricism, and demand the performer’s elegance and wit. They show careful settings of the French language’s rhythmic subtleties and increased expressiveness in and importance of the piano accompaniment. The chamber works of this period demanded superior pianistic and instrumental virtuosity while displaying wide ranges of sonority, multiple tone colors, and rhythmic fluidity. The three recitals which comprise this dissertation project were performed at the University of Maryland Gildenhorn Recital Hall on 27 October 2006, All Nations Mission Church (Dayton, NJ) on 5 December 2009, and the Leah M. Smith Lecture Hall of the University of Maryland on 11 May 2010. The repertoire included Poulenc’s Sonata for Oboe and Piano (1962) with oboist Yeongsu Kim, French mélodies by Fauré, Chausson, Debussy, Ravel and Duparc with soprano Jung-A Lee and baritone Hyun-Oh Shin, Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Horn (1932-1939) with flutist Katrina Smith, clarinetist Jihoon Chang, bassoonist Erich Heckscher, hornist Heidi Littman and oboist Yeongsu Kim, Debussy’s Sonata for Cello and Piano (1915) with cellist Ji-Sook Shin, Poulenc’s Sonata for Violin and Piano (1942-1949) with violinist Ji-Hee Lim, Franck’s Sonata for Violin and Piano (1886) with violinist Na-Young Cho, Ravel’s Piano Trio (1915) with cellist Ji-Sook Shin and violinist Yu-Jeong Lee and Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Piano (1927) with violinist Yu-Jeong Lee. The recitals were recorded on compact discs and are archived within the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM).