The choreographic character piece for piano solo: “Cinderella” by Sergei Prokofiev comparative study between ballet and piano transcriptions
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This dissertation attempts to shed new light on the value of Sergei Prokofiev’s piano transcriptions from the ballet Cinderella, exploring his distinguished body of work through a comparative analysis of the ballet Cinderella and its piano transcriptions. Prokofiev reproduced his nineteen (19) transcription pieces in three sets—op. 95, op. 97, and op. 102—from the ballet, and they are distinctive in many significant aspects, including the organization within a movement, form, harmony, and textural modifications, when compared to the ballet and its piano reduction. In addition, the characters in his three sets are apparent as they are designed in accordance with the dance suite, character piece, and programmatic music. The ultimate object of the dissertation is, through its close examination and reappraisal of Prokofiev’s transcriptions, to provide piano performers with lasting insight into an authentic interpretation of music. The first chapter provides the foundation for the necessity and importance of this comparative analysis between the ballet and the piano transcriptions from Cinderella, and it proceeds to lay out the overall analytical sequence. The second chapter presents a brief overview of Prokofiev’s biography and compositional background relating to his ballet and transcriptions. In particular, it traces Prokofiev’s compositional philosophy and the surrounding historical contexts during the Soviet era. The third chapter examines the distinctions of all nineteen (19) movements of Prokofiev’s three piano transcription sets in terms of their organization, form, harmony, and textural modifications from the ballet scores for orchestra, investigating the distinguishing features of each transcription by way of numerous illustrative examples. In particular, each section analyzes some of the most notable features of all movements based on its title. Finally, the last chapter concludes with a summary of the comparative analysis, assessing the inherent value of Prokofiev’s piano transcriptions as piano solo works incorporating a choreographic gesture, and with the anticipation and hope that the resulting analytical approach can enable piano performers to play with more authenticity and a well-rounded perspective.