KALEIDOSCOPE: SELECTED MODERN DUOS FOR WOODWINDS AND PIANO BY AMERICAN COMPOSERS BETWEEN 1900-2000

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Date

2023

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Abstract

In the early twentieth century, there was a surge in the number of compositions written in America for woodwind and piano duos. This was a result of the demand for compositions to be written in a neoclassical style. Neoclassical style not only played a critical role in the proliferation of the American duo genre for woodwinds and piano but also facilitated the saxophone’s move into the musical mainstream as a classical concert instrument. This compositional spike in duo creation is also a result of twentieth-century musical eclecticism and should be taken as an important element in the development of American music. Influences such as modernism, folk idioms, jazz and popular music were adopted and fused with classical structures to make duo compositions more accessible to contemporary audiences. The popularity of this duo genre among American composers has been relatively steady and likely will continue to grow. Duo music for woodwinds and piano is accessible for audiences, and it is efficient for collaborations in chamber performance settings.Three recitals were prepared and presented respectively on February 28, 2022, at Gildenhorn Recital Hall of the University of Maryland, November 12, 2022, and January 21, 2023, at the Sunshine Cathedral Church in Fort Lauderdale. The first recital featured duo compositions that use innovative melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic integration between the flute and the piano. The works performed were Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 14 by Robert Muczynski (1961), Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op.23 by Lowell Liebermann (1987), Sonata for Flute and Piano by Samuel Zyman (1997), Canzone by Samuel Barber (1961), Night Soliloquy by Kent Kennan (1936), and Vocalise for Flute and Piano by Aaron Copland (1971). The second recital featured compositions for saxophone and piano: Sonata for E-flat Alto Saxophone and Piano by Paul Creston (1945), Picnic on the Marne by Ned Rorem (1983), Duo for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Walter Hartley (1964), Dittico for E-flat Alto Saxophone and Piano by Halsey Stevens (1972), and Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by John Worley (1975). The contrast among these compositions highlighted the major compositional styles from pre-1960 post-romantic to post-1960 contemporary style.
The final lecture recital presented duo compositions with jazz influences composed in the mid- and late-1900s: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano No.2 by Gary Schocker (1999), Introduction and Allegro for Oboe and Piano by Alvin Etler (1952), Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, Op.29 by Robert Muczynski (1970), Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Leonard Bernstein (1941), and Quiet and Easy from Deep Ellum Nights by Simon Sargon (1991). Recordings can be accessed in the Digital Repository (DRUM) at the University of Maryland.

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