Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Fine Arts

Department/School/Program

Music

First Advisor

Prof. Joseph Baber

Abstract

Symphonic works provide the composer an opportunity to create and explore an entire world, establishing the rules and laws by which the music operates, subject only to the whims and wishes of the composer. I view large-scale symphonic works as one of the highest achievements of musical expression and craft a composer can accomplish. I chose to compose for the chamber orchestra due to its intimate arrangement, narrowing down the orchestra to its most essential components: strings, woodwinds, and brass, along with the inclusion of the piano. Though the piano is technically not an “essential” component of the orchestra, I personally view its inclusion as highly effective, at least in my compositions. This is merely a preference of mine, but there is something special about the blend achieved by integrating the piano into the orchestra, especially when percussion is not utilized.

My decision to omit percussion presents the opportunity to place the rhythmic and percussive drive in other parts of the orchestra, most notably in the piano as well as the strings, especially when playing pizzicato. I typically use a three movement format in large-scale works, viewing it as perfectly balanced between a fast sonata, slow binary/ ternary, and an even faster rondo. With this work, however, I chose to include one additional movement after my original decision to include just three, in this case adding the third movement. This movement serves as a type of waltz-like component of this work.

Concerning the length of this work, it is a bit longer in duration as I typically compose. My rationale behind composing works within a range of ten to fifteen minutes is simply due to how the world is today. It is very difficult for most listeners (myself included) to remain diligently focused on a work much longer than fifteen minutes. The world is very different today than it was in the days of Wagner and Mahler. There is a tremendous amount of differing options all competing with one another, and all merely a click away. I lean towards creating shorter works which are hyper-focused in what they intend to accomplish. Stated simply: I do not want to overstay my welcome.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2021.232

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