French Character Pieces (1860 - 1960)
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My dissertation recording project explores a variety of musical works that realize the expressive and organizational potential of a highly coloristic approach to composition. I focus on French character pieces written between 1860 and 1960. Although numerous French character pieces were written before 1860 and after 1960, I have narrowed the scope of the list to the time range of a century. In this research, I analyze some of the works of ten composers in chronological order to show the subtle changes in style over time. The micro-level expressive qualities of these pieces as well as their macro-level organizational structures are analyzed in this document. The sources for the selected works include: 48 Esquisses, Op. 63 by Charles-Valentin Alkan; Dix piѐces pittoresques by Emmanuel Chabrier; Etudes de Concert, Op. 35 and Romances sans paroles, Op. 76 by Cécile Chaminade; Préludes (Book I and II) and Estampes by Claude Debussy; Miroirs by Maurice Ravel; Cerdaña by Déodat de Séverac; Les Heures persanes, Op. 65 by Charles Koechlin; Napoli Suite by Francis Poulenc; La Muse ménagѐre, Op. 245 by Darius Milhaud; and Préludes and Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jésus by Olivier Messiaen. I have recorded approximately two hours of solo piano music. The selected pieces were recorded on a Steinway "D" in Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall at Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa by Peter Nothnagle. This document is available in the digital Repository at the University of Maryland and the CD's are available through the Library System at the University of Maryland.