Analysis of Yehudi Wyner's piano concerto, "Chiavi in Mano"
Chen, June Yin-Hsuan
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Yehudi Wyner (born 1929) is a widely revered musician known for his important contribution as a composer, pianist, conductor, and educator. Wyner's electic writing style shows strong ties to neoclassicism and covers a wide range of genres such as chamber music, solo pieces for voice and instruments, and theatrical music for Jewish liturgy. Among his most important works are the Partita (1952) for piano, Friday Evening Service (1963) for cantor and chorus, On This Most Voluptuous Night (1982) for soprano and chamber ensemble. Wyner's Pulitzer-winning Chiavi in Mana is a one-movement piano concerto, composed in 2004 and published by G. Schirmer. The idea of this concerto was instigated by Robert Levin and premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Most of the concerto was composed during the summer of 2004 at the American Academy in Rome. Wyner described this concerto as a "particularly 'American' piece, shot through with vernacular elements". Not only does the concerto contain an outright boogie-woogie section, it also calls for a small orchestra featuring washboard and tom-toms. This dissertation attempts to provide a thorough understanding of the concerto through examination of musical elements. The first chapter discusses Wyner's educational background as well as his accomplishments in various areas of a stellar musical career. Chapter two discusses the formal structure of the concerto, while chapter three provides analysis of the harmonic approach and chapter four on the harmonic and rhythmic motives. Lastly, chapter five explores the performance issues associated with the soloist of the concerto.
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