Polystylism and Motivic Connections in Lera Auerbach's 24 Preludes for Piano, op. 41
AuthorMendez, Meily J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractRussian-born American composer, Lera Auerbach (b. 1973), is a pianist and composer with a growing reputation. She has written nearly a dozen works for solo piano in addition to ballets, operas, chamber works, and other solo instrumentations. Her solo piano work 24 Preludes for Piano, op. 41 (1998) is the first of three prelude sets she has written; op. 41 is scored for solo piano, op. 46 is composed for violin and piano, and op. 47 is written for cello and piano. Throughout her works, Auerbach's compositional language is intuitively polystylistic, tonally centered, and couched in traditional forms. In her 24 Preludes for Piano, op. 41, Auerbach creates a polystylistic and motivically cohesive large-scale work of the individual preludes. In this document, three aspects of the 24 Preludes for Piano, op. 41 are discussed in two parts: form, most significant polystylistic influences, and most prominent motivic connections. The first part of the document investigates two aspects: the form of each prelude and several polystylistic influences. Auerbach uses form to give each short prelude structure; ABA and Arch forms are most often used. Each of the preludes demonstrates different polystylistic elements; she refers to various genres such as the ricercar and chorale prelude as well as various techniques including stretto and additive rhythms. Additionally, Auerbach pays polystylistic homage to different composers including Bartók, Debussy, Mussorgsky, Purcell, Ravel and others. The second part of the document demonstrates several of the underlying motivic connections that unify the collection. The cohesion is created through self-referencing motivic connections that are best heard when the set of twenty-four is performed in its entirety. Auerbach's series of polystylistic miniatures is also an organically unified large-scale work.
Degree ProgramGraduate College