Symphony No. 2
Anderson-Himmelspach, Neil (author)
Kubík, Ladislav (professor directing dissertation)
Thomas, André J. (outside committee member)
Wingate, Mark (committee member)
Callender, Clifton (committee member)
College of Music (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
Symphony No. 2 is an attempt at synthesizing differing musical styles into a single cohesive symphonic work. The musical styles that are consciously alluded to in the symphony are the block textures of Stravinsky and Xenakis, 19th c. lyricism of Brahms and Mahler, aleatoric passages similar to that of Lutos³awski and Corigliano, spectral orchestration of Grisey and Lindberg, and the melodic and harmonic language of Berg and Ives. I started composing this piece by improvising on an (012) trichord. I wanted to see if I could successfully compose a piece using highly chromatic materials. I extended the (012) trichord into a motive that is pervasive throughout the piece. The thematic material reveals itself in all of the movements except the prologue. The thematic unity allows the piece to be performed straight through without pause; except for the end of the first movement where there is an inclusion of a grand pause. The Prologue is a quasi-fanfare that is in three sections. This brief A section, mm.1-13, explodes quickly into a boisterous repetition by the brass and percussion that followed by a brief moment of silence. The B section, mm. 15-27, is characterized by the timpani and chimes making a declamation and then being answered by the woodwinds. This happens three times. The third timpani and chimes declamation is answered by the entire orchestra making a dramatic reinterpretation of the boisterous repetition of the first A section, mm. 28-39. The prologue leads directly into the first movement. Movement I is a sonata form with a very short recapitulation. The sections are as follows; A mm. 40-52, B mm. 55-86, closing mm. 89-104. Section A is rhythmically inspired and is in stark contrast to the lyrical B section. The development is heard in mm. 114-209 and develops primarily the B section material. The recapitulation is heard from mm. 210-225 and uses only the A and the closing sections. Movement I ends with a coda that has the timpani make a solo declamation of the material heard in the prologue. The melodic material from section B that is presented in the first movement is the primary melodic material that is used throughout the rest of the symphony. The initial melodic fragment, mm. 55-57, is highly chromatic seven note pitch collection. Movement II has three sections that each end with a climactic moment, A mm.243-265, B mm. 266-282, C mm. 282-295. After the climactic moment the energy level backs off immediately and the energy begins building again. An introduction and coda frame the three waves of energy heard in the second movement. The second movement employs a 12-tone serial technique as its primary melodic and harmonic framework. This technique is not strictly used. There are moments where esthetic musical intuition prevails over adherence to the serial technique. The row as it was conceived is performed by the first violins in mm. 238-243. Movement III is parsed into three sections similar to the Prologue and Movement II. The first section is from mm. 32-369, the second is from mm. 370-401, and the third mm. 401-435. There is a coda at the end of this movement that opens the dense texture that has been used throughout this movement into a much more transparent orchestration. The solo viola that opens the movement is the first thing that was written for the Symphony. This line is the generator for most of the melodic material for the entire symphony. For example, the first six pitches, excluding grace notes, of the viola line were used as a spectral chaconne in the development section of the first movement. Another way the viola line was worked into the piece was using the quintuplet from m. 331 as the melody in the coda of the third movement. These are just two of the many places that the viola solo contributes to the melodic and harmonic framework of Symphony No. 2.
Symphony, Block Textures, Prologue, Fanfare, Berg, Ives, Xenakis, Mahler, Grisey, Trichord
Date of Defense: March 25, 2009.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University