Arcadiana , Op. The quartet was commissioned by the Endellion Quartet with contributions from the Holst Foundation. The work consists of seven movements played without pause: . The piece is written to evoke images of the idyll , and does so by employing many extended string techniques, such as harmonics and glissandi.
|Published (Last):||21 January 2004|
|PDF File Size:||5.73 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||17.25 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
However, by choosing a suitable space of very elementary objects, the pitch processes of the various streams can be represented in an animation that shows how they are coordinated to create musical form. His eclecticism manifests itself not only in the diversity of genres in which he writes his catalog includes symphonies, operas, string quartets, choral works, songs, concerti, and solo piano pieces as well as less traditional ventures, such as hybrid video-musical works and transcriptions of popular music , but also in the musical materials and processes he employs, and in the many allusions they make to the Western art-music repertoire.
He often exploits extremes of timbre and register in polyphonic and polymetrical textures that, while partaking of the highest musical modernism, are shaped into coherent, accessible phrase structures with discernible short- and long-range goals. In any given passage of his music one may find intermingled hexatonic, octatonic, and diatonic collections, interpenetrated with triad-like structures connected in stepwise voice leading.
His music is an intriguing but analytically challenging post-tonal counterpoint. Its title alludes to the eponymous Schubert song, which sets an elegiac text to an obsessively repeating, descending figure. Example 1 presents measures 1—9, in wide format, as an analytical transcription that clarifies their content.
In the transcription they appear on the lower two staves. The first few descents begin on G4, but later statements begin on other pitches as well; also the gestures sometimes omit intervals or otherwise vary the series, as is evident in measures 4—5. Two other streams soon join the texture. One, shown on the top staff, is a sustained, bowed, monophonic melodic line that descends gradually by semitone, with some elaboration, then quickly arpeggiates upwards, only to glide slowly down again from C6.
The other stream, notated on the second staff, consists of overlapping, sustained, bowed, ic5 double-stops, most of which are highlighted with boxes and alphabetical labels. Yet, one would hope that an analysis could say more than that about how this passage works. Specifically, do the contents of the different streams cohere? Are they coordinated from moment to moment in order to shape this segment into a phrase and, if so, how does their combination produce a sense of direction and closure?
It has usually been employed as a sophisticated means of motivic analysis, not as a description of counterpoint. Such analyses identify small families of equal-sized objects sets, series defined by a coherent system of relationships, but the surface features of the streams in Example 1, as described above, appear quite diverse in size and nature. Recent efforts to adapt transformational theory to analyze objects of different types are still too constraining to deal with the many different sizes and types of structures that seem to be salient here Hook This brief paper demonstrates, nevertheless, that a transformational approach can address productively many of the questions about how this passage works.
The space thus provides a context in which the diverse events can be heard to be coordinated. Each expanding-interval series necessarily belongs to a single octatonic collection, and features a dominant-seventh-sounding subset. A rest divides the melody into two segments belonging to different octatonic collections. On Example 1, color identifies the octatonic collections to which these various segments belong.
There are also hints of hexatonic collections one is the succession of X to Y in measures 5—6, and the other is marked by a triangle in measure 7 , which become prominent later in the movement and elsewhere in the quartet. Two of these transpositions seem especially characteristic. Another transposition, T 4 , connects double-stop dyads in the same register, for example X and Y.
In some segments, inversion might be heard abstractly to govern some pitch-class relationships; for instance in the first pizzicato gesture I 10 might be understood to generate E from F , and A from C. However, inversions are not plainly manifested between obvious larger structures in the passage. For instance, the pizzicato motives are transposed, never inverted, and the double-stop dyads do not manifest any consistent inversion relationships.
The nodes are connected by edges, each symbolizing a pair of oppositely directed arrows labeled respectively by inversely related transpositions. The dyads are arranged in three squares, each side representing transposition by 3 or 9, in the other direction , such that the four dyads at the corners of each square constitute one of the three octatonic collections.
Different primary colors distinguish the squares. Edges connecting the corresponding corners of the squares represent transposition by 4 or 8, in the other direction , and they make a triangle comprising one of the four hexatonic collections.
This network thus constitutes a space—a complete, minimal configuration of all objects, each oriented to the others by the characteristic transformations T 3 and T 4. The first dyad-event, A , positions us at the E B node, highlighted on the example by a dark blue star. The last lower-register ic5 event, C , similarly changes our position, but since there is no direct connection from BF to FC in the space, we understand it as a composite of two T 9 actions, symbolized on the figure by an arrow traversing two edges of the lower square.
The very first dyads, A and X , stake out the entire space, in the precise sense that they occupy diametrically opposed locations. Each move in one register is paralleled by an exactly corresponding move in the other register—first a change by T 4 to another square, then a change by a degree gesture to the opposite corner of that square—so the same distance is always maintained between corresponding dyads.
The combined motions provide completion to the passage in two senses: together they touch upon all three octatonic squares, and the upper register path terminates at exactly the same place that the lower-register path began. The identity of Z and A is more telling when we understand them not as isolated events but as termini of a series of actions.
Each stream is represented by a persistently glowing star, evoking the sustaining continuity of the bowed pitches, which traces a particular path touching on three vertices of the space. The color of each star results from the combination of the primary colors of the two squares that it visits. It takes about 2 seconds for X which first appears at to change to Y at , and the following imitative change from A, to B at follows after the same duration. Then both streams change nearly simultaneously at after a duration, 4 seconds, that can be anticipated metrically, since it is the sum of the duration of the earlier changes.
To do so, let us imagine separating the pcs of each ic5 node and connecting them by edges representing transposition by 5 in one direction and 7 in the other. The resulting network has two instances of each pc, so it is a minimal space only in the sense that we imagine it to be derived from the ic5 space; nevertheless, I will represent it simply by the same diagram as those above, leaving implicit the transpositional connection between pcs within each ic5.
To determine which of the two possible locations will represent the pc of any given event in the piece, one can take into account the textural context of that event, and choose the location that seems best to express its relation to the temporally proximate events in the same stream.
For example, referring back to the color-coding on Example 1, we see that each distinct descending series of pcs belongs entirely to one of the octatonic scales. Since, in the space we are considering, each square constitutes such a collection, it seems natural to locate all the pcs of each descent on one square. Indeed, the colors indicating octatonic membership on Example 1 correspond to those in the space, except that brown substitutes for yellow, for greater legibility.
Accordingly, Animation 2 portrays each series of pizzicato descents as a bouncing ball. As with the transformational account of the stars, each ball represents an agent who plucks and then glissandos down from the pitch corresponding to one of the letter names on each node that the ball touches.
Since each ball restricts its motion to the nodes of a single octatonic square, it is given the corresponding color. The following narration, keyed to the times displayed on Animation 2, makes these explicit:. This gesture can be understood as structurally complete when it has visited all four nodes of the red octatonic square, and, indeed, this is when it ceases, on the node B E.
A second red ball begins from the same node to perform the same complete maneuver, representing the exact repetition within the red 01 octatonic collection. Before this ball gets very far, however, the texture thickens as a third red ball enters and performs the same maneuver. Strikingly, the second clockwise motion C to A of the second ball synchronizes with the first clockwise motion F to E of the third ball: they arrive nearly simultaneously at on the C F node, then move in parallel to arrive nearly simultaneously on the AE node.
The third red ball, however, stops on C , without completing the last three moves of the gesture, just as the fourth ball leaps to F on the same node. Cooperation increases among the separate voices as the materials diversify. Another ball enters, but this time it starts on another octatonic square, so it is colored yellow. The node on which it enters, D A , is diametrically opposed to the node E B on which the complete red-ball gestures have concluded, thus staking out the space as the stars do.
This node holds the pc G in common with the CG node on which the first red-ball gestures began, and, indeed, a red ball immediately appears there to begin another gesture. This pivoting between octatonic collections is simultaneously apparent elsewhere in the texture, as we shall see. Just after this new red ball touches the BF node, another switch between octatonic collections occurs in the established manner: with the space-spanning entrance of a yellow ball at the diametrically opposed node AE.
After a suspenseful two seconds during which no balls are active, a new ball enters and executes the first part of the characteristic gesture. As shown by its blue color, its notes belong to the third octatonic collection that has not yet sounded in the pizzicato stream, so its appearance here creates a sense of completion and closure, paralleling the concurrent and similar completion in the ic5 stream.
Animation 3. The melody begins with an alternation between two pcs on the same ic5 node, D A , then executes a move to the node GD diagonally opposite on the same yellow octatonic square. As in the pizzicato stream in the same measure, the G acts as a pivot to another octatonic collection, represented on the red square, and the rest of the arco melody remains in that collection.
Thus, all three streams share a common repertoire of transformations that the animations represent as similar moves. Consider the following brief catalog of some of the more significant ways in which the streams interact, coordinate, and cue each other to shape the passage into a complete phrase:.
I mentioned above how a fresh octatonic collection symbolized by a yellow ball appears at the node D A , which is diametrically opposed to the concluding node of the earlier pizzicato gestures. This is also where the arco melody begins.
As the melody departs this same node symbolized by the ring making its diagonal move it seems to leave its trace behind in the first upper-register ic5, X , whose orange star ignites at exactly this moment. As reinforcement, a pizzicato gesture yellow ball immediately comes to the node and dwells there with a bounce-in-place. Although the arco melody and the upper-register ic5 begin on the same node D A at , they stay entirely apart until their very last move, when they arrive simultaneously at the diametrically opposed node E B , reinforcing the closure in the ic5 stream, mentioned above.
Across the passage the textural complexity gradually increases, from one element —, a single ball to multiple elements of the same type —, two balls , then single elements of different types ring, ball, star , then multiple elements of multiple types. The density decreases only towards the end, when a single element is in motion, perhaps suggesting a cadential relaxation. Animation 5. Animation 5 combines the objects and gestures of the three streams, as did Animation 4, but rather than the entire space being displayed in its entirety throughout the beginning of the passage, each pc appears at the moment when it as a member of an ic5 is first played.
This representation shows that the music gradually builds the space that structures it. Observe, for instance, how the opening pizzicato stakes out one complete red octatonic collection, setting the stage for the first ic5 to arrive — The second yellow octatonic collection is not completely manifest until , when a yellow ball arrives at B.
That collection is completed very concisely by the last few moves of the passage, so that at the end every node in the space has been touched by some gesture in a stream.
But the analysis above shows that a transformational network of very elementary objects can flexibly accommodate such variability, inasmuch as we understand it as a space that structures object-changes as multipartite gestures. For instance, the space proposed here reveals the essential gestural identity of the pizzicato gestures and the arco melody, even though they involve different interval series starting on different pcs, and it functions as a site where all the concurrent actions of the various textural streams are coordinated.
V6T 1Z2 Canada j. Arcadiana for string quartet. London: Faber Music. Cohn, Richard. Fox, Christopher. Hasty, Christopher. Meter as Rhythm. New York: Oxford. Hook, Julian. Hyer, Brian. Kramer, Jonathan. Lewin, David.
The transparency and exactness of its sound allows detail to come through with clarity and precision. This is music firmly grounded in the past — tonality is never far away, and sometimes explicit — but with the ability to inhabit the present and look to the future. Martin Cotton. The result is just short of perfection'.
However, by choosing a suitable space of very elementary objects, the pitch processes of the various streams can be represented in an animation that shows how they are coordinated to create musical form. His eclecticism manifests itself not only in the diversity of genres in which he writes his catalog includes symphonies, operas, string quartets, choral works, songs, concerti, and solo piano pieces as well as less traditional ventures, such as hybrid video-musical works and transcriptions of popular music , but also in the musical materials and processes he employs, and in the many allusions they make to the Western art-music repertoire. He often exploits extremes of timbre and register in polyphonic and polymetrical textures that, while partaking of the highest musical modernism, are shaped into coherent, accessible phrase structures with discernible short- and long-range goals. In any given passage of his music one may find intermingled hexatonic, octatonic, and diatonic collections, interpenetrated with triad-like structures connected in stepwise voice leading. His music is an intriguing but analytically challenging post-tonal counterpoint.
Thomas Adès – Arcadiana