The Stone Tears of Ixtaccihuatl: into the serial timpani music of Meyer Kupferman
Whyte, Christpher Stuart
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With a prolific compositional output, composer Meyer Kupferman (1926-2003) wrote in almost every classical and contemporary genre. A self-taught composer, he shunned typical formal training and pursued his own path. He developed his own formal and serial methods, incorporating influences from his experience as a jazz and classical musician along with interests in contemporary compositional mediums. Kupferman's The Stone Tears ofIxtaccihuatl was composed in 1987 for solo timpani. This seminal work incorporates his gestalt form, elements of his Infinities tone row, the influence ofboth jazz and classical music and an underlying programmatic narrative. This document begins with a detailed biography ofthe composer's life and works. There is an emphasis on the people, places and events that influenced Kupferman's compositional style. Chapter 2 offers a theoretical analysis of The Stone Tears of Ixtaccihuatl, outlining the formal structures and motivic development used as well as the incorporation of Kupferman's gestalt form and serial method. Chapter 3 offers a performance analysis with a phrase-level musical interpretation. Additionally, a discussion of timpani technique and preliminary study and practice provides an outline of suggested preparation. Chapter 4 details the programmatic content of the piece, with reference to multiple versions of the Mexican traditional story that provides the genesis forthework. Chapter 5 gives a survey of Kupferman's other works involving timpani, focusing mainly on his chamber percussion works. Chapter 6 provides context for The Stone Tears of Ixtaccihuatl within the solo timpani repertoire with comparisons to other solo pieces. The appendices of this doctoral document contain a review of primary documents by Meyer Kupferman, a reproduction ofthe score, a solo timpani repertoire reference list and a biography of Charles Dowd, the timpanist for whom the piece was written and who gave its premier performance. The appendix aims to provide critical background information and additional context in which to place The Stone Tears of Ixtaccihuatl. This document is intended to provide readers with a clear, thorough understanding of The Stone Tears ofIxtaccihuatl and contribute to a greater understanding of the music of Meyer Kupferman.
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