Abstract (Summary)
This document examines the eclecticism found in the four significant solo piano works by Ottorino Respighi that are available to the public: Sonata in F Minor (1897-98), Six Pieces (1903-05), the piano transcriptions of Ancient Airs and Dances (1917, 1932), and Three Preludes on Gregorian Melodies (1921). With the exception of the twentieth-century avant garde, Respighi brought influences to the piano works from all major periods of music history—Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Impressionism. Interestingly, the more Respighi aged, the further back into music history he explored. In the first chapter, Respighi’s piano works are placed into historical perspective. Topics explored are the unpublished piano works, the two periods of piano composition, influences from other composers, and the composer’s fascination with early music. A detailed section on La Generazione dell’Ottanta—the group of Italian composers dedicated to elevating instrumental music in twentieth-century Italy—is also included here. Chapters 2-5 give background and analysis of each piano work, with emphasis on the multistylism present therein. In the discussions on the Sonata in F Minor and the Six Pieces, formal analysis and comparisons to works by other composers are examined in depth, along with influences from musical periods. The chapter discussion on Ancient Airs and Dances is largely focused on Renaissance and Baroque lute effects present in each movement, while the chapter on Three Preludes on Gregorian Melodies examines more theoretical issues related to chant and the church modes. Chapter 6 presents conclusions. Opera dominated in Italy at the end of the nineteenth century; several composers recognized the need to reestablish instrumental music as a major genre. Respighi, unlike most of his contemporaries, did not completely abandon opera, yet he prolifically composed instrumental music of all types—orchestral, chamber music, concerti, and solo. The piano works were a small but significant portion of this movement. The Three Preludes on Gregorian Melodies is the only piano work typically taken seriously today. It is the purpose of this document to bring to the rest of Respighi’s solo piano output the long overdue attention it deserves.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:respighi ottorino piano eclecticism multistylism sonata in f minor six pieces ancient airs and dances three preludes on gregorian melodies


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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