Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Manuel María Ponce Cuéllar (1882-1948) was a Mexican pianist, composer and educator. A prolific composer, Manuel Ponce wrote orchestral suites and symphonic poems; three concertos, one each for piano, guitar and violin; chamber works; over 400 works for piano, both solo and in ensemble; a large collection of works for the guitar long considered the foundation of the modern guitar repertoire; over 200 songs; choral works and music for the stage. His constant search for and assimilation of new musical materials and compositional techniques lead him to write a large and eclectic catalogue of works. A brilliant pianist on his own right, Manuel Ponce left behind a wealth of works for his most beloved instrument that range from salonesque dances to the most learned of fugues. Works in which he combined his affinity for Musical Romanticism with French impressionism, Neoclassic models and Mexican folk songs while still projecting his own compositional voice. Today however, Ponce’s reputation rests solely on his works for the guitar. Indeed, the unfair neglect his piano music has suffered is the main motivation behind this paper. First, a brief review of the events surrounding the age of Porfiriato and the Mexican Revolution will demonstrate how these events shaped Ponce’s life and work. Second, an overview of important biographical information will shed light on Ponce’s background and illustrate how his work changed Mexico’s musical panorama. And third, building on Pablo Castellanos’ landmark research on Ponce’s work, and through musical examples drawn from the Mazurkas, the Balada Mexicana, The Quatre Pièces pour Piano, and the Cuatro Danzas Mexicanas, this document displays how Ponce’s compositional style changed through the years. Finally, this monograph reflects on Ponce’s work as he undoubtedly saw it himself: first and foremost as a composer for the piano.
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Gaytan, Luis Francisco, "An introduction to the piano music of Manuel M. Ponce" (2014). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 1325.