Browsing University of Alaska Fairbanks by Subject "Bolcom, William"
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Examples of program music in piano literature: storm, ocean, devil, ghostsThe purpose of this paper is to present background information on the author's graduate piano recital program, namely extended program notes on the music performed. It should be mentioned that, although not intended, the whole recital is, in a way or another, program music. It is divided in two parts: the first is about Storms and Water (with "The Tempest" by Beethoven and Une barque sur l' ocean by Ravel), and the second about Spirits (with Faust Waltz by Liszt and the Three Ghost Rags by William Bolcom). Alborada del gracioso by Ravel falls somehow in between these two parts - a gracioso (jester) is a character, thus a spirit; an entertaining one. In this paper, I will attempt to explain what inspired composers to add titles to their music - this extramusical aspect has always been very intriguing to me. In the case of Beethoven, the title was most probably given by someone else, therefore the "Tempest" is not intended to be programmatic. In the case of Liszt, the piece is a transcription of an opera, which can be considered a programmatic genre. Ravel's and Bolcom's compositions are undoubtedly program music, since the composers gave them descriptive titles and were inspired certainly by extramusical factors.