Title page for ETD etd-04292010-164207


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Cortello, David Paul
Author's Email Address dcortello@cox.net
URN etd-04292010-164207
Title For Orchestra
Degree Master of Music (M.M.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Constantinides, Dinos Committee Chair
Beck, Stephen Committee Member
Riazuelo, Carlos Committee Member
Keywords
  • cyclic
  • ambiguous tonalities
  • Symphonic
Date of Defense 2010-04-22
Availability restricted
Abstract
“For Orchestra” is a four movement symphonic reflection on an unfinished life that ultimately finds redemption and a new beginning. Conflict and questioning are depicted through combinations of tonally ambiguous techniques. Debussian chord planing is combined with elements of twelve-tone technique; symmetrical scales offer hints of the familiar without sounding clear tone centers; rhythmic elements fight each other, resolve, and fight again, leaving questions still unanswered.

There are moments of joy and triumph heard through tonal progressions, and a scherzo that is later darkened, first through an augmentation, and then a tritone harmonization.

The third movement represents a slow spiral downward with a gradual chromatic oscillation that occasionally resolves, only to spiral down again, and then to be interrupted by a variation of the original theme of the Andante. This theme leads to a more triumphant section that echoes, in both tonality and mood, the similar music of the first movement. The Adagio seems to be heading for a resolute cadence, but instead finishes on a chord of stacked fourths that includes eight notes of the chromatic scale.

The final movement begins with a carefree piccolo solo whose mood conflicts with the oscillating woodwinds that enter on measure eight. This ambiguous tone is occasionally interrupted by sharp jabs that foreshadow the ultimate conflict that begins about 2 minutes into the movement. This “final battle” seems to end in defeat; the near silence of the orchestra signals the end, an elegy begins in the contrabass, but it spreads through the strings, and then the rest of the orchestra, resurrecting the original triumphant theme of the first movement.

Although the piece is not composed to fit into a particular form, there are hints of an overall sonata form in the recapitulation in movement four of a section from movement one; additionally, many cyclic elements hint at parts of movement two and three as a development.

The organizing principle of the work is clearly programmatic, but the title of the piece and movements are generic, leaving the listener to form his or her own opinions.

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