The Donald Hunsberger Wind Band Transcription of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Variations for Brass Band: Historical Profile, Performance Practice, Conducting Considerations, and Corrected Edition
Brattin, Gary Thomas
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Abstract The Donald Hunsberger Wind Band Transcription of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Variations for Brass Band: Historical Profile, Performance Practice, Conducting Considerations, and Corrected Edition Gary Thomas Brattin Chairperson of the Supervisory Committee: Professor Timothy O. Salzman School of Music As one of the final works from a career lasting six decades, Ralph Vaughan Williams' Variations for Brass Band (1957) is a tremendous composition remaining in some obscurity relative to his works in other genres. Although it is widely accepted as standard repertoire in brass band circles, this composition has largely been passed over by scholars of Vaughan Williams' art music. The focus of this dissertation is Donald Hunsberger's transcription for wind band of Vaughan Williams' Variations for Brass Band; Hunsberger's transcription was made in 1988 and published ten years later. This transcription is an especially clear case illustrating the need to oversee all facets of a publication. The published score and parts of the transcription reveal an unusually high number of errata and printing discrepancies, totaling over 900 separate items. The ultimate goal of this research is to produce a new critical edition of the score and parts of Hunsberger's Variations for Wind Band. Several chapters are dedicated to this, with an overview of the types of errata, listings of the actual errata, and additional necessary editorial refinements. The corrected parts and score are included in a format for academic use only, produced using Finale® 2012 music notation software. This dissertation also provides historical and performance context for this work. It includes interviews with Donald Hunsberger (Eastman Wind Ensemble) and Paul Hindmarsch (British brass band authority), analysis of Vaughan Williams' other music for brass and wind bands, and examination of ten recordings in three versions of Variations (for brass band, orchestra, and wind band) to show the influence of tempi inserted into the music by editor Frank Wright. The consideration of tempo indications is particularly important because Vaughan Williams' original manuscript does not contain any metronomic tempi. Timed measurements of each variation in the recordings are compared with computerized default timings of the versions for brass and wind band, with the conclusion that a reconsideration, and even an outright removal, of some tempo indications might be appropriate in a new and corrected edition.
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