Disparate measures: Two 20th century treatments of the Paganini theme
AuthorBernier, Kiyono Monique
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study investigates the significance of the Paganini theme and variation sets composed by two living composers, Neils Viggo Bentzon and Robert Muczynski. The popularity of the theme and variation form gradually spread to the keyboard repertoire first as entertainment for both courtly and bourgeois audiences, and later as a means of technical display for performing piano virtuosi. Paganini's twenty-fourth Caprice from Op.1 for solo violin is the basis for sets of variations for solo piano by three major pianist-composers: Liszt, Brahms, and Busoni. Bentzon and Muczynski follow in this tradition, constructing their variations on the Paganini theme as a showcase of their individual compositional language and skill. The body of the document will be a discussion of their contrasting treatments of the immortal theme as demonstrated through their choices of melody, sonority, texture, rhythm, register, and form. Bentzon's and Muczynski's theme and variation sets constitute compositional achievements in piano literature that deserve a place alongside previous outstanding models that are an important part of the standard repertory.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Music and Dance