Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Jack E. Guerry
During his career as a conductor, lecturer, pianist, and composer, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) touched the lives of countless people. His musical output reached from symphonies to Broadway musicals, and from ballets to sacred choral works. Though most of Bernstein's compositions are large-scale works, he also composed a number of miniatures for solo piano entitled "Anniversaries." There are four sets: Seven Anniversaries (1944), Four Anniversaries (1945), Five Anniversaries (1964), and Thirteen Anniversaries (1989). Bernstein's musical style has been described as eclectic, but his use of unifying devices is a common thread found in many of his works in all genres. Most often his works are built on short musical motives that occur throughout the piece or in a major section of the piece. These motives are subjected to numerous and various developmental techniques. This monograph illustrates that within the highly compact structure of these brief pieces, a variety of unifying techniques has been used. The analysis of all the Anniversaries shows how Bernstein unified the pieces by manipulation of motives and themes through inversion, augmentation, transposition, plus ostinati and phrase repetition and extension. There are also numerous examples of rhythmic motives (motives identified by their rhythm rather than their intervallic structure) that serve to unify many of the pieces. Other unifying elements include passacaglia, pedal point, and contrapuntal techniques. Following an introductory chapter that defines the techniques mentioned above, Chapter 2 illustrates them in four categories: section one discusses motives and themes as a method of achieving unification; the second section deals with motives that fall into the category of ostinati; section three illustrates unifying rhythmic motives; and the fourth section points out other unifying devices such as canon, pedal point, passacaglia, ostinati (not derived from an earlier motive), and quartal structures. Chapter 3 contains a brief summary to conclude the study.
Harris, Conwell Ray Jr, "Unifying Techniques in the "Anniversaries" of Leonard Bernstein." (1993). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 5638.