Selected piano works by Verdina Shlonsky: analysis and performance guide
Arazi, Anna Raya
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This dissertation presents an examination of the evolution of compositional style of Verdina Shlonsky, based on the analysis of selected piano compositions written in different periods of her life. The work examines the issues of defining Shlonsky’s style with regard to her philosophy, expressed in her numerous essays, concerning with the centrality of content. The central question of the evolution of Verdina Shlonsky’s style is addressed by identifying and listing its key characteristics, and tracing them in the three analyzed compositions, representing three different stages of her life. Shlonsky’s biography is compiled with a special focus on her musical development, and musical and non-musical influences to which she was exposed. Detailed formal and motivic analyses of the selected piano works uncover the formative elements of Shlonsky’s style. Each detailed analysis includes key information on the background of the composition, followed by performance guides addressing performance issues, and editorial sections comparing the Israel Music Institute (IMI) printed editions with the manuscripts. Based on Shlonsky’s written statements, describing her compositional esthetics, and on the analyses of the selected works, my dissertation posits that Shlonsky’s music is polystylistic, deliberately using of a variety of styles as expressive tools, and as ways to create continuity of tradition through dialogue with other composers from the past and present. My analyses also suggest that Shlonsky’s piano music from different periods share similar characteristics of style, presented in different proportions and contexts. The main purposes of this dissertation are to define Shlonsky’s compositional style and its evolution; to help performers to approach this unknown repertoire; to assist scholars in future research of Shlonsky’s legacy; and to disseminate knowledge about Verdina Shlonsky’s life and music to a wider audience.