Saturday, 9:000 am–12:00 pm
Lutoslawski's Harmony and Affinity Spaces in Works of the 1950s
This paper proposes a new theoretical framework for Witold Lutoslawski’s harmonic explorations of the second half of the 1950s. In pieces of this period (Illakowicz Songs, Musique funèbre, and Three postludes), Lutoslawski shifted away from previous work on extended scales and became interested in the harmonic potential of various intervallic arrangements of 12-note chords. While analytical attention to pieces of this period has focused on the disposition of intervallic patterns within 12-note chords and on the tracing of some linear strategies, we have not yet explained satisfactorily the relation between chord construction and chord progression, and what might constitute a harmonic space that appropriately models chord progressions. The argument advanced here claims that 12-note chords (and their partitions) are modeled by certain combinations of interlocked interval cycles (affinity spaces) and are structured by two operations (transpositio and transformatio). These properties set up a framework for analytical accounts that render coherent exploration of those spaces. The development of Lutoslawski’s harmonic language in this period set up resourceful procedures regarding chord construction and harmonic syntax that reverberated in works for the remaining of his life.
Aesthetics and Practice at Odds? Selected Works of Luciano Berio Reconsidered Under the Lens of Serial Procedures
Evident in Luciano Berio’s writings after 1967 is a public rebellion against the practice of serialism. Several times, he openly spoke of serialism as an artificial device, a practice void of musical meaning. Although Berio disliked the connotations brought along by the label “serial,” he used the system throughout his life. By studying his sketches, that we can observe the hidden serial structures of his late compositions, including major works such as Requies, Continuo, and his last piano sonata of 2001.
As we carefully study Berio’s works and contextualize his written statements, a new insight and understanding of his serial aesthetics emerge. To him, composition was to be distinct from organization, although organization does take place in composition at a deep structural level or at the early stages of the process.
In this article, I present a revisionist view on Berio’s aesthetics regarding serialism and his use of it. For this, I will examine formal texts; analyze some of the sketches of works written from the 1970s to the late 1980s; and show that Berio did still use serial techniques for the basis of his works. I will conclude that if his statements seemed conflicting at first, this is not so after careful examination. I will end my illustrations with an analysis of the sketch of Requies, a work composed in 1984 in memory of Cathy Berberian.
Disruption and Reconciliation in the Formal, Tonal, and Pitch-Class Organization of Ginastera's Piano Sonata, first movement
This paper explores the interrelationships among the form, tonal centres, and pc collections of the first movement of Alberto Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No. 1, Op. 22. In the process, it gradually uncovers a single narrative of disruption and eventual reconciliation in which the movement’s form, tonality, and pc content all participate. The paper first examines the movement’s sonata form and tonal organization and shows that both are relatively straightforward when considered separately from one another. However, when the movement’s formal and tonal plans are considered together, a more complex interpretation emerges, one that casts tonal centres C and G as consistently disruptive to the sonata process. The paper then notes the close association between the disruptive tonal centres C and G and hexatonic and octatonic pc collections, which contrast with the pentatonic and diatonic pc collections associated with the movement’s other tonal centres. Finally, after noting both the symmetrical arrangement of the movement’s principal tonal centres about its overall tonic A and the symmetrical voicing exhibited by the work’s opening, the paper closes by examining symmetrical pc collections in the movement and assessing the interaction between axes of symmetry and tonal centres. This leads to the conclusion that it is only by purging the movement of its octatonic and hexatonic elements that the work’s disruptive tonal centres ultimately are reconciled with its primary and secondary tonal centres.
Experimenting with Circles and Spirals of Fifths: Diatonic Structure in Roslavets's Nocturne Quintet and Sonata No. 1 for Viola and Piano
Nicolai Roslavets (1881–1944)—one of the leading composers of the early twentieth-century Soviet avant-garde and whose music was long repressed in the Soviet Union—has recently begun to surface in the West. Perle 1962, Kholopov 1981, Ferenc 1993, and Sitsky 1994 provide useful accounts of Roslavets’s music, but all focus primarily on its use of idiosyncratic twelve-tone methods to structure the chromatic aggregate. I will show, however, that Roslavets’s early works are experiments with diatonic structure, and they are best understood as extensions of the traditional tonal system rather than its radical repudiation. As Roslavets 1927 himself stated, “My ‘New System,’ in essence, is the result of the further evolution of the classical system, an evolution which has now been carried to its inevitable historical stage, a synthetic of the creative effort of the past with that of the present.” My paper is divided into two sections: section one describes Roslavets’s compositional system along the circle and a spiral of fifths; and section two shows Roslavets’s earliest attempts composing within this system in the Nocturne Quintet (1913) and Sonata No. 1 for Viola and Piano (1926).