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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis work attempts to reconcile several distinct and sometimes contradictory aesthetics. As a new American symphony of the twenty-first century, it pays homage both to classical models and to pioneer American composers, but also departs from these influences in significant ways. The symphony comprises four movements conforming to the classical model exemplified by the works of Beethoven (sonata, scherzo, adagio, rondo). Superimposed across the four movements is an over-arching structure of a large-scale sonata form in the manner of the post-Beethoven generation of composers, particularly Schumann and Liszt. The first movement functions as the sonata exposition, the second and third as development, and the fourth as the recapitulation and coda. Departing from the classical model, the development section of the first movement is a self-contained fugato, unlike the freely evolving development sections of Mozart and Beethoven. The pitch centers in the sonata mirror the key relationships of the classical model, but the pitch centers are related by tritone, instead of the traditional tonic-dominant relationship. The twelve-tone series that underlies every structurally important melody, and provides the harmonic building blocks of the work, invokes the more recent model of Schoenberg's serial technique. The series has its first linear statement in the opening measures of the work as the principal theme of the sonata. Immediately thereafter, a succession of three-note chords presents the series as a fourfold iteration of a single trichord. Each of the remaining three movements is constructed from these two manifestations of the series. In a sense, then, the work as a whole functions as a set of variations on a theme. A significant stylistic feature of the work is the deliberate evocation of American orchestral music of the twentieth century--in particular, the symphonies of Copland, Harris, and Schuman. Hallmarks of this style include the use of simple rhythmic figures, strongly accented syncopation, and mixed meters; avoidance of complex orchestral combinations in favor of plain colors; the use of widely-spaced sonorities; a harmonic palette favoring quartal and quintal harmonies; use of extended tertian harmonies including polychords; and emphasis on uncomplicated musical textures in which melody dominates.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Music and Dance