Frederic Rzewski's "The People United Will Never Be Defeated!": An analysis and historical perspective
Doctor of Musical Arts
Frederic Rzewski's The People United Will Never Be Defeated! is a compositional tour-de-force that successfully combines a lengthy series of opposite forces uniting musical trends of both the past and the present. This duality extends to the social and political context of the work as well as its position in the history of keyboard music. Through his highly-organized structural plan, Rzewski achieves a pianistic masterpiece that successfully straddles the fence between the academic high-art of atonality and the more accessible realm of tonality. Despite all the differing influences and styles integrated within the work, Rzewski manages to maintain a certain unity through the lengthy piece, producing a landmark in the history of variation form.