Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

AN ANALYSIS AND COMPARISON OF FOUR COMPOSITIONS BY JOSEPH SCHWANTNER: "AND THE MOUNTAINS RISING NOWHERE"; "WILD ANGELS OF THE OPEN HILLS"; "AFTERTONES OF INFINITY"; AND "SPARROWS"
by FOLIO, CYNTHIA JO, Ph.D., University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music, 1985, 236; 8508803
Abstract (Summary)

This study is an analysis and comparison of four compositions of Joseph Schwantner, thereby documenting the essential aspects of his style from 1977 to 1979. The four works share a similar melodic and harmonic vocabulary but are quite different in their construction. Each contains references to many different styles, including renaissance, baroque, romantic, and post-tonal music, by borrowing many of their obvious features. Most commonly, serial and "atonal" principles are used in the construction of each composition, combined with innovative timbres and textures, so there is a unique synthesis between contemporary and traditional practices.

The references to tonal music in Schwantner's compositions often involve establishing a pitch-class center. However, his music cannot be called "tonal" since the musical progression and the structure of the composition are determined more from the structure of the musical materials themselves than by the functional progressions of tonal music. Schwantner begins with a vocabulary of sounds, then builds the piece from these materials using the following procedures: the unification of materials through set-theoretical relationships; pitch-class invariance between chords, motives, and sections; choice of T(,n) and T(,n)I invariant sets; combinatoriality; and use of the intervallic structure of sets (or their complements) from within the composition to control the transposition levels of other musical materials or of entire sections.

Within the short time period of 1977 to 1979, there is much evidence of compositional maturity: the trend is toward an increasing amount of integration of musical materials, accompanied by an increasing amount of stylistic pluralism within one composition. In addition, the four compositions demonstrate an ever increasing refinement of a musical language which is distinctive and uniquely Schwantner's.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor:
Commitee:
School: University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 46/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Music
Keywords:
Publication Number: 8508803
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