Concerto for Percussion and Chamber Orchestra the Sun of the Sea
For a long time I wanted to compose a concerto for a single percussionist and ensemble. My main motivation was educational: I had not done it before and I wanted to explore the percussion world. I chose chamber orchestra for practical reasons in order to make it more flexible and hopefully easier for performance. In composing The Sun of the Sea I was influenced by John Adams's use of the chamber orchestra in his Chamber Symphony and Pierre Boulez's orchestral textures. Also I wanted to use and explore techniques from works I admired such as P. Boulez's Eclat. I was interested in Olivier. Messian's works and his description of his techniques in his book The Technique of my Musical Language. I intended to mix these techniques and orchestration styles with my perception of modality or tonality, always aiming at textures that can be easily perceived on first hearing and leaving whatever depth these techniques add to the music for later, more careful listening. A number of techniques are consciously used and mixed in a modal or atonal style: superimposition of augmented and diminished rhythmic elements; superimposition of chords or chords created with several intervals to create thick harmonic pillars; some twelve tone techniques; isomelos and isorhythm; retrogradable rhythms; combinations of symmetrical and asymmetrical rhythm patterns; elimination ; unison as a harmonic contrasting element; repetition of a motif interrupted by a commentary; compound harmony; stratospheric textures with micropolyphony and periodic interdeterminacy techniques. The concerto has three movements. The first movement is slow, and more abstract, starting with a twelve-tone row containing the main theme which appears slowly. The main motif resembles Boulez's cryptogram: Sacher hexachord Eb (Es) A C B (H) E D (Re). At least that was the inspiration. Soft and lyrical textures are combined with crispy melodic declarations of the main motif with the soloist as a protagonist that mainly uses melodic percussion instruments--ending in a big declaration of the motif and its essential elements. The second movement is faster; the main lyrical theme, after an introduction, is presented with octave displacements, it is not developed and it is surrounded by rhythms played and developed by the soloist. There are abrupt interruptions in the form of magnified appearances of a part of the main theme. The soloist presents more rhythmic material, emphasizing the nonpitch percussive instruments. The third movement is a dance based on a Pontic theme, a historical Greek region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Anatolia, Turkey. This superb folk music features an energetic yet restrained war dance which is typically played by a string instrument, the lyra, and a big drum. The structure is simple--sections of transformations of the basic motif interrupted by a more lyrical section returning to the original material and ending with a siren and a thunder-sheet.
Chamber Orchestra, Concerto, Music Composition, Percussion
April 11, 2014.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Music.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ladislav Kubik, Professor Directing Dissertation; Matthew Shaftel, University Representative; Clifton Callender, Committee Member; Joe Kraus, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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