THE BACH/KODÁLY LEGACY: THE SOLO CELLO'S THREE-HUNDRED-YEAR EVOLUTION
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This dissertation project is comprised of three recitals that share similar qualities: all the works performed are unaccompanied, employing implied or actual bass accompaniment under lyrical lines, open-string sonorities, and the use of scordatura—techniques which early composers, most notably Johann Sebastian Bach, pioneered. For some two hundred years, the concept of utilizing the cello as a solo instrument lay dormant, until Zoltán Kodály, with his magnificent Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8, opened the door to the cello's infinite range of possibilities, inspiring composers of future generations to explore its powers through boldly complex or freely-improvised rhythms, exotic or multi-tonalities, and an almost infinite array of special effects.
The first recital features the Sonata for Solo Cello, Op. 8 by the Hungarian Zoltán Kodály, and works by two young American composers: A Solo for Cello, by Suzanne Farrin; and Darkbloom, by Chad Robinson. I have chosen to combine and perform them as one entity without intermission.
The second recital highlights Turkish composers. Ahmed Adnan Saygun represents the first generation of the Turkish-Western contemporary music with his Partita. İlhan Usmanbaş's Music for Solo Cello, Mehmet Aktuğ's Bis and Scherzo, and Kamran İnce's MKG Variations will also be presented, exploring more modern compositional styles with current cello technique.
The third recital focuses on the works of American composers, with one exception: the American works are Sonata for Solo Violoncello by George Crumb; Figment for Cello 1994 by Elliott Carter; For Cello Solo by Leon Kirchner, and Carpo di terra by Suzanne Farrin. Requiem, by the Australian Peter Sculthorpe, concludes the dissertation presentations with a pure early-church-music quality, employing a striking low B-flat open string resonance throughout the piece.
The recitals were performed on 10 December, 2012 in the Ulrich Hall; 08 May, 2013; and 04 November, 2013 in the Leah M. Smith Hall of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. The recitals were recorded on compact discs and are archived within the University of Maryland Libraries.