A guide to the choral music of Chales Fussell
Zullinger, Nathan Andrew
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Over a span of nearly fifty years Charles Fussell (b. 1938) has created a choral catalog of fifteen works, ranging from choral symphonies to folk song settings. Fussell's keen interest in literature has led him to diverse sources for his texts, such as Walt Whitman, May Sarton, Hart Crane, and Allen Ginsberg. Widely recognized among his peers for his technical prowess and enduring musicality, Fussell has yet to be embraced by the greater community of choral conductors and ensembles. This study is intended to be a guide to, and a summation of, Fussell's choral works from the mid-1960s to the present. The preface summarizes the author's reasons for selecting Charles Fussell's choral music as a research topic and the process that led to the completion of this document. Part I is devoted to the subject's biography, which is based on interviews with Fussell and those who have played a significant role in his musical life. Part II, "A Survey of the Choral Music of Charles Fussell," is divided into three sections, each dedicated to a particular subgroup of Fussell's choral music. Section A describes the shorter choral pieces in detail, offering background information on the genesis of each composition and its text, as well as a structural and thematic overview. In the same format, Section B discusses four dramatic works that include choral writing, and Section C covers Fussell's three major choral-orchestral works. Part III, entitled "Musical Elements in the Choral Music of Charles Fussell," identifies key motives and musical gestures that are found throughout Fussell's choral pieces. The two appendices are designed to aid conductors and singers who are interested in Fussell's choral music. Appendix A offers basic information on each piece, such as duration, orchestration, publisher information, and available recordings, and Appendix B is a compilation of all the texts used by Fussell in his choral works.
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