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The purpose of this study is to discuss the influences, structure, characteristics, and techniques of performance, encountered in the solo works for cello, composed by Mieczysław Weinberg. To do this it is necessary to learn about the rich life experiences and the musical training Weinberg received: specifically, his Jewish heritage and the escape of the Nazis, his traditional training in composition, exposure to foreign cultures, the influences of his environment in post-World War II Soviet Union, and finally his close and personal friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich. This project analyzes the solo works to understand their construction and to observe external influences such as the works by Shostakovich, Bach and other classical composers, in addition to the folk songs of the different cultures including, Russian, Polish and, Jewish. Upon the conclusion of this analysis, it was discovered that Weinberg’s musical structure was based heavily on the classical, traditional compositional styles of European composers. Harmonically, however, Weinberg was adventurous and daring, using non-traditional musical palettes. Ultimately, the end result of this project is to demonstrate that these unaccompanied cello works should become a significant part of standard cello repertoire.
Adviser: Karen Becker