Master of Music (MM)
“For Orchestra” is a four movement symphonic reflection on an unfinished life that ultimately finds redemption and a new beginning. Conflict and questioning are depicted through combinations of tonally ambiguous techniques. Debussian chord planing is combined with elements of twelve-tone technique; symmetrical scales offer hints of the familiar without sounding clear tone centers; rhythmic elements fight each other, resolve, and fight again, leaving questions still unanswered. There are moments of joy and triumph heard through tonal progressions, and a scherzo that is later darkened, first through an augmentation, and then a tritone harmonization. The third movement represents a slow spiral downward with a gradual chromatic oscillation that occasionally resolves, only to spiral down again, and then to be interrupted by a variation of the original theme of the Andante. This theme leads to a more triumphant section that echoes, in both tonality and mood, the similar music of the first movement. The Adagio seems to be heading for a resolute cadence, but instead finishes on a chord of stacked fourths that includes eight notes of the chromatic scale. The final movement begins with a carefree piccolo solo whose mood conflicts with the oscillating woodwinds that enter on measure eight. This ambiguous tone is occasionally interrupted by sharp jabs that foreshadow the ultimate conflict that begins about 2 minutes into the movement. This “final battle” seems to end in defeat; the near silence of the orchestra signals the end, an elegy begins in the contrabass, but it spreads through the strings, and then the rest of the orchestra, resurrecting the original triumphant theme of the first movement. Although the piece is not composed to fit into a particular form, there are hints of an overall sonata form in the recapitulation in movement four of a section from movement one; additionally, many cyclic elements hint at parts of movement two and three as a development. The organizing principle of the work is clearly programmatic, but the title of the piece and movements are generic, leaving the listener to form his or her own opinions.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.
Cortello, David Paul, "For orchestra" (2010). LSU Master's Theses. 2894.