FORMAL DETERMINANTS IN FOUR SELECTED COMPOSITIONS OF LEON KIRCHNER.
AuthorANTHONY, CARL RHEINHARDT.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study was undertaken to determine the underlying formal principles in four works by the American composer, Leon Kirchner. These compositions, Toccata for Strings, Solo Winds, and Percussion, String Quartet No. 2, Concerto for Violin, Cello, Ten Winds, and Percussion, and Music for Orchestra, were felt to be important works in the composer's output and represented a variety of genres. The first chapter contains a brief summary of Kirchner's compositional style and aesthetic, and a brief biographical sketch. Influenced by the work of Schoenberg, Berg, Bartok, and Stravinsky, his approach to musical composition is highly individual and he consciously avoids being enslaved by the rigors of writing according to some system. Chapters 2 through 5 present the results of extensive aural and visual analysis of the four works. Each composition is microscopically examined for its basic melodic motives, rhythmic motives, and harmonic materials. Those parameters are then discussed that contribute most significantly to the delineation of form and also those that provide inter- and intra-sectional cohesion and continuity. Durational factors, specifically tempo, meter, and rhythm contributed the most significantly to formal delineation in all four works. By contrast, pitch materials provided the most significant degree of inter- and intra-sectional unity in each work. The results of the findings lead to several conclusions regarding the formal procedures employed in the four selected works of Leon Kirchner. First, although these compositions employ contrasting shapes, they are all unified in their utilization of related basic pitch and durational materials. Second, durational elements are the most useful in formal delineation at all structural levels. Third, although these works do not rely on traditional means to achieve structural unity, other means, such as return of tempos, rhythmic motives, melodic motives, sonorities, and textures, serve the same function as effectively.