An American original: The guitar music of Owen Middleton
The music of Owen Middleton has been widely performed in the United States and abroad, and some of it has been recorded, all to critical and public acclaim. However, quite surprisingly, to date nothing has been written about him. Hence the purpose of this dissertation is to fill this unfortunate void by presenting the first information in print on this important composer and the first investigation of his music. Although his output comprises music for many instruments and instrumental combinations, the guitar has always been at the forefront and is consequently the focus here.
I begin with biographical information covering the four periods of his life, and continue with studies of his compositional process and style in general, and his approach to the guitar in particular. Four of his most important solo guitar works, his "watershed" works if you will, are then examined. Honoring Song: Variations on an American Indian Theme receives special emphasis, including complete scores of the work's original and revised versions. Chronological surveys of Middleton's other works for solo guitar, and chamber works including guitar, follow. Throughout the dissertation, performance information is provided and performance practice issues are addressed. The appendices catalogue Middleton's pedagogical short pieces, transcriptions and arrangements, collected guitar works, and works for other instruments and voice. I conclude with a bibliography and discography.
It is my earnest hope that this document will serve to introduce Owen Middleton and his guitar music to a broad public, and to function as a reference such that future performers and researchers may find in one place everything they need to know about this significant, groundbreaking composer.