An analytical study of John Musto's "Encounters for Tenor and Orchestra"
Bailey, Walter B.
Doctor of Musical Arts
John Musto has established himself among the finest living American song composers of the twenty-first century. The son of a jazz guitarist, Musto merges elements of jazz, ragtime, and blues with traditional classical technique, resulting in a highly eclectic and original compositional style. His vocal compositions are dramatic, text-based, and contain copious word painting. Musto also utilizes constant metrical changes, as well as thematic and motivic development to create a solid compositional framework for the songs. This dissertation examines the compositional style of John Musto's vocal music through a text based analysis of his cycle, Encounters for Tenor and Orchestra. Chapter One provides biographical information about the composer, style characteristics of Musto's vocal music, and the origins of Encounters. Chapters Two through Seven contain detailed analyses of the six songs, including poet information, text setting, and musical structure for each. Chapter Eight offers conclusions regarding the cycle, and confirms Musto's place among America's preeminent composers.