Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Choreography and Extended Techniques in George Crumb's Five Pieces for Piano
by Lee, Alexander B., M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 34; 13859499
Abstract (Summary)

George Crumb is well-known for his contributions to the modernist movement in the late 20th century. His most popular works like Makrokosmos and Vox Balaenae feature a musical language unique to him -- a language in which all aspects of the work both musical and extramusical serve a thematic idea. Crumb first explored this language in his 1962 work, Five Pieces for Piano (published 1973). In this work, he utilizes an arch form in which central the point of reflection can be attributed to a single note and with movements two and four sharing nearly identical material.

While there may be no textual theme or symbol attributed to the work, its highly organized structure and self-reflective quality offer enticing opportunities for exploration. Crumb specifically states that Five Pieces for Piano is meant to be played without omitting movements as a full, continuous work. In this paper, I will discuss the coordination process, organization of physical gestures, and how the use of extended techniques for the piano can provide additional opportunities to expand a performer’s gestural vocabulary. I will also discuss the importance of symbolism and theatricality in Crumb’s music and how that could inform an interpretation of this work--despite its own lack of extra-musical associations. Additionally, I will provide some of my own analysis based on my experience in preparing the work for performance. It is my belief that the integration of physical awareness into musical performance not only facilitates deeper engagement from the performer but also heightens the audience’s experience of the performance.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Chou, Shun-Lin
Commitee: Shockley, Alan, Richey, Craig, Doyle, Alicia M
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/4(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Publication Number: 13859499
ISBN: 9781687989116
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