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The turn of the 20th century marked an ascendancy of the Franco-Belgian school of composers. French composers were inspired by the great German composers of the Romantic era, and they created their own defined national style that emerged toward the end of the 19th century. The Franco-Belgian composers’ special emphasis on tone, timbre and color encouraged a more individual, personally interpretative approach. These devices underscore the importance and influence a performer can have on the outcome of a piece. I researched the relationship between composers and violinists at a time when the Franco-Belgian style developed and flourished. The Franco-Belgian school of violin playing emerged from the Paris and Brussels conservatories as well as the symbiotic relationship between the performers and composers. Three recitals in collaboration with pianist David Ballena, which comprise this dissertation project, were performed at the University of Maryland. Each recital featured music for violin and piano from 1870 through 1930. The repertoire was chosen to reflect a performer’s influence on a composer. I examined specific composer/performer relationships that helped shape the birth of a newly defined “French” style of playing. My research focused on the stylistic interactions composers, such as César Franck, his disciple Guillaume Lekeu had with the leading prominent Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaye and between Maurice Ravel and the Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Aranyi. I also looked into the personal relationship between friends who inspired each other: Gabriel Fauré and Paul Viardot, Edouard Lalo and Pablo de Sarasate, Claude Debussy and Arthur Hartmann, and the young Lili Boulanger and Yvonne Astruc. Furthermore, I looked into the unfulfilled love between Maurice Ravel and Hélène Jourdan-Morhange, as well as the marriage of Olivier Messiaen with Claire Delbos, both relationships resulting in masterpieces for violin that have remained a part of the standard violin repertoire. My research led me to understand what type of violin playing each composer had in mind while composing, all of which led me to understand the importance a performer has in preserving national styles. The recitals were recorded on compact discs and archived within 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.