Session|séance 5.2. Voices Together

Session|séance 5.2. Voices Together
Room 11-463. Chair: Jim Head

Thursday|jeudi 24 May|mai 2018. 2:00 - 4:00PM


5.2.1. Praying with Alfred Schnittke and Grigor Narekatsi: Exploring the Second Movement of the Concerto for Choir

Aleksandra Drozzina, School of Music Louisiana University.

Schnittke’s Concerto for Choir (1984-85), the setting of the third address from The Book of Lamentations by Grigor Narekatsi (951-1003), is a stylistically uncharacteristic work for the composer in comparison to his previous atonal and polystylistic pieces. Why would the Soviet composer choose to set texts of a tenth-century Armenian Christian monk? Though they lived centuries apart, something in Narekatsi’s highly devotional work resonated with Schnittke. During the 1980s, the communist regime has relaxed, which allowed the composer to express his religiosity more freely. Just prior to his first stroke, Schnittke stated, that 1985 marked, “Series B, in which everything must be different” (Ross, 1992). Could the Concerto for Choir be a harbinger of the composer’s “late style”?

Previous research on this concerto has focused on the development of the Russian choral concerto (Jennings, 2002), and placed the work within the Russian Orthodox choral traditions (Turgeon, 2007), yet Armenian influences have been overlooked. Here, however, Schnittke employs Armenia’s rich historical and musical past. Although in the second movement Schnittke demonstrates his familiar technique of development via a hidden monogram (Segall, 2013), in this case the saint’s name, there are other surprising elements. I show that abundant modal moments and frequent movements by perfect fourths are direct influences of Armenian monodic music. These elements coupled with the spirituality of Narekatsi’s text contribute to Schnittke's own individualized spiritual late style, giving new insight into this work.


5.2.2. The Obligatory Tutti: Orchestrational Closure in the Classical Symphonic Sonata

Adrian Ling, University of Toronto


Music-theoretical inquiry has often focused on the issue of closure, and in the Classical repertoire this has long been held to be a function of harmony and cadence, with parameters such as orchestration regarded as unimportant. The present paper posits instead that the orchestral tutti is a generic requirement for effecting closure in Classical symphonic works in sonata form. Specifically, I argue that Hepokoski and Darcy’s (2006) conception of the “Essential Expositional/Structural Close”(EEC/ESC) as a fundamentally cadential phenomenon is insufficient in this repertoire, and that before such a close can be reached, an “Obligatory Tutti” (OT) must have been sounded.  I show that the OT is a consistent feature in symphonies throughout the eighteenth century, taking examples from Vanhal, Dittersdorf, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Concurrently, I discuss contemporaneous treatises, focusing especially on Galeazzi’s (1796) description of sonata form, which presents an “essential period” similar to the OT. 

By recognizing the structural significance of the tutti, this paper offers fresh theoretical insights into the Classical sonata form. It establishes the presence of a clear rhetorical connection between the OT and an earlier tutti section—the transition (TR)—that is often made explicit through shared motivic material. This connection in turn helps to explain instances of recapitulatory deletion common in Haydn’s practice, which can be seen as a further heightening of the TR-OT link. In addition, the OT provides some reconciliation between Hepokoski and Darcy’s EEC/ESC and Caplin’s (1998) largely incompatible ideas (Bergé 2009) on sonata closure.


5.2.3. Tristan, Liszt, Till Eulenspiegel, and Chromatically-Altered Diminished-Seventh Chords in Late Nineteenth-Century Tonality

Kyle Hutchinson, University of Toronto

A decades-long miasma of contention surrounds the genesis of the infamous “Tristan” chord (Raabe, 1931; Mueller, 1986). While imploring digression from this question of authorship, Rehding (2000) makes an important observation: despite similar chords appearing in identical tonal contexts in both Liszt’s song “Ich möchte hingehn” and Wagner’s opera, the chords themselves are not identical. Though they behave equivalently, Liszt’s chord and the Tristan chord differ in their pitch construction by a semitone. The structural contiguousness between, and congruent behaviour of, these chords suggests functional proximity, encouraging understanding the Tristan chord as a chromatically-altered diminished-seventh chord, a perspective with limited historic-theoretic precedent (Kistler, 1899; Schenker, 1906; Mitchell, 1967; c.f. Martin, 2008).

Because chromatic pitches in altered diminished-seventh chords cannot be reconciled into the major-minor system through conventional approaches (Brown, 1986), recourse to other constructs is required. Specifically, prioritizing chordal behaviour, rather than vertical sonority, can produce more accurate accountings of chord function. Like the tritone, the diminished-seventh interval is univalent, and produces dominant function through the process of resolving to a perfect fifth. I argue that these functional interval progressions (FIPs) override the centrifugal effects of chromaticism, something the augmented-sixth interval, which Harrison (1995) describes as “non-valent,” cannot do. After demonstrating applications of these approaches in analytic vignettes, I conclude that Wagner’s chromatically-altered chord is more strikingly innovative in its chromaticism than Liszt’s prosaic diminished-seventh chord: a perspective supported by the reopening of late nineteenth-century tonality to insights afforded by tonal-prolongational encouraged by the theoretic models developed in this paper.


5.2.4 Harmony in the Calendario do Som

Adam Rosado, Louisiana State University

Hermeto Pascoal’s compositional output is impressively vast and unique. It consists of over 1,200 extant works, drawing on diverse influences including chorro, baiao, free jazz, human speech, and religious music. A particularly noteworthy collection of his music is the Calendário do Som, which contains 366 short pieces written between June 1996 and June 1997. These disparate works show the stylistic breadth in Pascoal's music, including pieces drawing on different harmonic traditions, making the Calendário particularly suited to study. Zago (2007) recorded observations about the first 50 pieces in the Calendário, and Araujo and Borem (2013) applied a Grundgestalt analysis to select pieces from the collection. This paper is a corpus study of the entire Calendário do Som. The first section identifies common harmonic schema present throughout the collection. After identifying these schema, Pascoal's harmony is situated within the context of both the post-modal jazz and the traditional Brazilian music which influenced his style. Finally, representative pieces from the collection are analyzed with Pascoal's conception of harmony. This analysis will shed light on Pascoal's concept of harmony as fundamentally triadic and non-linear, and the implications of that concept for the realization of his chordal voicings and for improvisation when interpreting his music.


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