Inarguably, the piano suite is an essential part of the pianist’s standard repertoire. With roots in the early baroque dance suite, the keyboard suite has played an important role in both performance and pedagogy. Certain suites, those by Bach for example, have become some of the most cherished works in classical music. Unsurprisingly, these seminal works and their broader style inspired many composers after Bach, most notably in the twentieth century and beyond, to write their own piano suites. Perhaps equally unsurprisingly, the baroque suite has inspired much research and countless recordings, whereas the most modern suites have attracted neither the same scholarly attention nor the same recorded legacy. For this reason, I decided to devote my dissertation to the suites of the modern era. The history of the suite can be traced from as early as the fourteenth century, beginning with the pairing of dances. The term Suite became common by the end of the seventeenth century, to serve not only as a form for newly composed pieces but for arranging pieces for publication or performance purposes. The ‘classical’ form of the Baroque suite includes the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Gigue. The idea of suite, in its more general sense, continuously evolved over time under various guises. In order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the term, a broader approach, including a definition of the term and its historical background, is necessary. The purpose of this project is to survey selected piano suites written between 1900 and 2016 that I believe give an excellent overview of modern piano suites. I have recorded approximately two hours of solo piano music, recorded by Antonino D’Urzo of Opusrite Productions, at the Dekelboum Concert Hall, in the School of Music at the University of Maryland, College Park, USA, and Todd Yaniw at the Grace Church on-the-Hill in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The recordings are available in the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM).
NOTICE: Recordings accompanying this record are available only to University of Maryland College Park faculty, staff, and students and cannot be reproduced, copied, distributed or performed publicly by any means without prior permission of the copyright holder.