|dc.description.abstract||Mergers and acquisitions are words that are usually associated with the modern business
world. Such joint efforts toward improvement, however, existed long before our time, in
the form of musical partnerships. It was not unusual for composers to share in each
other's works, borrowing themes and recreating them to generate new meanings; in the
process, new masterpieces were often created. My performance project, Twentieth
Century Variations on Borrowed Themes, explores the fruits of such labor.
The main objective of this project is to demonstrate how certain composers of the
twentieth century have taken famous themes and used them to create variations, imbuing
their own creative ideas, musical styles and pianistic challenges.
This objective was accomplished by performing three recorded public recitals.
These programs consisted of early to late twentieth century pieces that are based on
borrowed themes, either in theme and variations form, fantasia form, paraphrase form, or
transformal variation form. I have selected the pieces based on their artistic merits and
technical challenges, thus allowing me to grow as a pianist and artist. In addition, I
wanted to choose some pieces that are rarely performed, as I believe the public delights in
hearing unfamiliar gems.
The first recital consisted of the music of two legendary pianists: Variations on a
Theme of Chopin by Rachmaninoff and Goldberg Variations by BachIBusoni.
The second program featured Grand Fantasy on Gershwin's Porgy and Bess by
Earl Wild, Sonatina No. 6 (Fantasy on Bizet 's "Carmen") by Busoni, and Rhapsody on a
Theme by Paganini, op.43 by Rachmaninoff.
Some unusual and seldom-performed pieces, as well as a familiar favorite, were
spotlighted in the third recital. The pieces performed on this program were John Rea's
Twenty-one Transformal Variations on the "Kindersznen " by Robert Schumann (Las
Meninas), Muczynski's Desperate Measures (Paganini Variations), Busoni's Elegie
No. 3 (Turandot 's room), and Rhapsodie Espagnole by LisztIBuson.
These composers artfully breathed new life into the material borrowed from
others, and in the process, the "borrowed" themes became undoubtedly and uniquely their