A Comparison of Leonard Bernstein's Incidental Music for the Film "On the Waterfront" and the Subsequent "Symphonic Suite" for the Film, and an Original Composition: Symphony No. 1: "Music for Theater".
Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
The first portion of this dissertation compares Leonard Bernstein's incidental music to the film On the Waterfront with the subsequent concert suite that was derived from this score. By exploring the content of the film score, as well as the manner in which this music was adapted for the suite, some excellent insight can be gained into Bernstein's approach to both works, as well as the many requirements that the cinematic idiom places on the composer. Special attention is paid to the degree to which the dramatic content of the film influenced the construction of the incidental music. In the end it is demonstrated that those sections of the film score that rely most heavily on intrinsic cinematic content for their effectiveness, are often the most difficult to incorporate effectively into a concert work. The remainder of the study consists of a large-scale composition in four movements for symphony orchestra. The basic thematic material of this symphony is drawn from some of the author's original incidental music for live theatrical productions. These themes have been removed from their disparate, theatrical origins, and recomposed to form a new, unified symphonic work conforming to more abstract musical conventions. An optimistic and energetic work, this symphony assimilates a variety of the compositional techniques, while at the same time employing a similar harmonic vocabulary to create continuity. Some of the more obvious influences include Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, John Williams, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein. The movement structure of this work falls roughly into the traditional symphonic form. The first movement consists of a large-scale sonata, the second (the darker and most dissonant of the sections) serves as the adagio, the third presents a lively scherzo in triple meter, followed by an aggressive final movement exhibiting a multilevel ABA structure. The instrumentation includes three flutes (the third doubling on piccolo), two oboes, English horn, three clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, two trombones, tuba, timpani, three percussionists, harp, piano, and strings. The duration of the work is approximately twenty-five minutes.
Lias, Stephen John, "A Comparison of Leonard Bernstein's Incidental Music for the Film "On the Waterfront" and the Subsequent "Symphonic Suite" for the Film, and an Original Composition: Symphony No. 1: "Music for Theater"." (1997). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 6389.