Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A concerto for piano and orchestra
by Gorby, Roderick, D.M., The Florida State University, 2015, 111; 3705818
Abstract (Summary)

A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is a work of absolute music, which draws on the traditional three-movement concerto form of the classical and romantic tradition and includes a solo piano cadenza toward the end of the last movement. Harmonically, I make free use of the major, minor and augmented triads, and draw from diatonic, hexatonic, octatonic and other altered modes. My orchestration is influenced by Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky, and my piano writing is influenced by J.S. Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Prokofiev, Bartok as well as stylistic elements characteristic of Chick Corea especially as found in his Concerto No. 1.

The first movement is monothematic. The theme's first appearance utilizes the full orchestra and is then taken up by the soloist. The orchestra then spins out a "satirical" variation of the original theme. This section builds to a climax and is followed by a "chaotic" reaction from the orchestra, after which follows a tranquil section in the Dorian mode, where the theme is transformed into a slow, lyrical character. This modal variation yields to a more bitonal harmonic language, ushering in the development section. A recapitulation and coda close the first movement.

The second movement opens with solo piano performing an ornamented scale melody. The rhythmic motives and shapes of this melody are then taken up into selected colors of the orchestra and varied. The piano returns with the original material leading to a more substantial appearance of the orchestra, after which there is a "quasi-cadenza" section for the piano. The calm end of this movement features the piano, low strings, low brass, and a bassoon solo.

The third movement is a rondo, AA1ABACA with an extensive cadenza for the piano between the C and A sections followed by a coda. It opens with percussive rhythmic figures in the piano, which are then passed to the strings in pizzicato. Over the string pizzicato, a transformation of the first movement's theme appears in polyphony across the orchestra while the piano and xylophone provide sparse commentary. The B section features the percussion instruments followed by the jazz-influenced piano passages. In the C section, the piano, strings and high woodwinds, reveal nostalgic hints of Grieg and Rachmaninoff. An orchestral tutti builds to a climax just before the cadenza, after which a short A section and coda complete the work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kubik, Ladislav
Commitee: Callender, Clifton, Clendinning, Jane P., Gainsford, Read
School: The Florida State University
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Music
Keywords: Concerto, Original composition, Piano music
Publication Number: 3705818
ISBN: 9781321791891
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