Living tradition in music : a study of three recent works for wind ensemble.
Tradition in music produces a foundation to which later composers must respond. I have defined ‘traditional’ musical elements as preexisting musical material with a history of and associations with established practices and prominent composers. This thesis explores how modern composers use these traditional elements, specifically in twenty-first century wind ensemble music, and what that usage means for the music. Harold Bloom, T. S. Eliot, and Richard Taruskin have written on responding to tradition, and three pieces are analyzed according to these writers’ ideas. David Maslanka’s Symphony No. 9, Michael Gandolfi’s Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme, and Kathryn Salfelder’s Cathedrals are the case studies, as each piece is based on a ‘traditional’ element: Maslanka uses a Bach chorale tune; Gandolfi, a Renaissance theme; and Salfelder, a Gabrieli canzon. The Bloomian responses of clinamen, tessera, and apophrades appear in the works of the composers, showing their responses to tradition.