You are on page 1of 51

Brian Ferneyhough's Lemma-Icon-Epigram Author(s): Richard Toop Source: Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 28, No.

2 (Summer, 1990), pp. 52-100 Published by: Perspectives of New Music Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/833008 . Accessed: 03/06/2011 03:11
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at . http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=pnm. . Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

Perspectives of New Music is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Perspectives of New Music.

http://www.jstor.org

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH'S M MMA-ICON-EPIGRA

RICHARD TOOP
forCecilie,Michael,and Paul

ASK why it is that one decides to analysea particular contemporary work, and what one hopes to prove in the process of doing so. Although there are certain general answers one can give that cover the majority of cases, I personally tend to attach more value to particularmotivations, which may vary from one analysisto the next. As faras Brian Ferneyhough'sLemma-Icon-Epigram concerned, I suppose I was could list three principalmotivating factors:

PEOPLE SOMETIMES

1. My initial excitement on hearing the work in a performance by MassimilianoDamerini (a recording from the 1981 Venice Biennale),

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

53

reinforcedby hearing an even more impressivestudio performanceby James Avery, and my growing (and now, I think, unshakeable)conviction that this is one of the few great solo piano works of the second half of the twentieth century; 2. The discovery that my excitement was shared by many other people: by friends, performers, and composers (not mutually exclusive categories!); 3. The fact that the composer was kind enough to give me copies of extensive sketches for the work. The last consideration was frankly crucial. My own primary interest in analysisis as a means of reconstructing the creativeprocess: of showing not just how a thing is done, but why. With composers like Boulez or Stockhausen it is often possible-though not really desirable-to do this without recourse to sketches; with Ferneyhough, for reasons that will become apparent, I believe this not to be the case. For him the creative process is not a predetermined path, but a labyrinth, and the completed work is, in a sense, an arbitraryby-product of that labyrinth, to the extent that there is nothing predestined or predeterminedabout the outcome of any particular moment in it: each moment is, rather, the inspired momentary response to a given set of constraints-in each case, other solutions, equally compelling, would have been thinkable. And yet, of course, there is a final outcome, a "definitive score"-however superficialthat "definitiveness" may be-and it is with that published score that this analysisis ultimately concerned: with giving some idea of what it is, and what lies behind and around it. Another, less creditable motivation should also be admitted to: for the analyst, as for the performer, Ferneyhough's work is a sort of Himalayan peak inviting and resistingconquest. Inevitably,a certain Narcissism, and a certain desire to be seen, accompaniesany projected assault on this peak. The mitigating ethical factor is the certainty of failure (more acute for the analyst than the performer):one knows-even if no one else perceives ithow often what is said is merely a coverup for what one was unable to say. A final caution is due. In view of the fascinationwhich Ferneyhough's music holds for many young composers, it should be emphasized that, even at its most precise, there is no respect in which this analysiswill teach the reader "how to compose like Ferneyhough." It will have achieved some modest success if it demonstrates that the only way to compose like Ferneyhough is to be Ferneyhough. What it offers is, perhaps, an ethical model ratherthan a compositional one. For the rest, since the score of Lemma-Icon-Epigram headed by a is quotation from Baudelaire-"Tout est hieroglyphique"-I shall appropriate four more lines from that poet to denote, in advance, the limitations of what follows:

54

of Perspectives NewMusic

Et l'harmonie est trop exquise, Qui gouverne tout son beau corps, Pour que l'impuissante analyse En note les nombreux accords. Nevertheless, I shall try.

a Lemma-Icon-Epigram, fourteen-minute work for solo piano, was comin June 1981. Astonishingly, MassimilianoDamerini was able to give pleted the first performance later that month, at the La Rochelle Festival. In a brief preface to the published score,1 Ferneyhough explains the tripartite form as follows: The title of this work refersto a poetic form, the Emblema,developed most notably by the Italian poet Alciati during the first half of the sixteenth century. In general usage, the term is taken to mean an epigram which describes something so that it signifies something else. Later developments distinguish three components: a superscription (or adage), an image, and a concluding epigramin which the preceding elements are commented upon or explained. In a note for the Venice Biennale, he continues this preface: The tripartite structure of this baroque concetto has been reflected in the present composition, and serves as a vehicle for my present concern with the concept of musical "explication" in musical terms. The first section, essentiallylinearin character,separatesout surfacegesture and subcutaneous generationalstrategy almost entirely, resulting in a vertiginous flight away from the centre, a de-condensation of material, which constitutes itself in the act of attempting to prevent its elements from disappearing over the edge of discourse. The second section imposes an "aesthetics of will" upon essentiallystatic chordal material which makes several attempts, in vain, to escape its given frame. It reacts as a brittle carapace,reflecting back to its constituents through the mirror of themselves. The concluding part begins during the final decay of the second (polymetrics) and begins to assemble a practiceof theory around the isolated positions of previous sections: the compositional/transformationaltechniques of Part I (themselves the "material") and the sonic identities of Part II are forced to confront one another in a short explosion reconstitution, thereafter fading into of silence, or turning back obsessively into themselves, perhaps suggesting the ultimately tautological nature of resolution.2

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

55

Le style est l'homme: Ferneyhough's telegraphically condensed literary matter is the natural counterpart of his compositional style. The specific details of his introduction will be discussed below in the context of those to parts of Lemma-Icon-Epigram which they refer. But the mere word "literary" gives rise to immediate reflection: in passagessuch as the above, not only the notion of "discourse," but the entire approachto formal and aesthetic considerations may seem strange to the conventionally trained musician (for whom the convention is that he trains onlyas a musician ...). Yet such an exposition would be entirely natural within the framework of the nouveauroman, from Butor and Robbe-Grillet onwards. One should resist drawing from this the conclusion that Ferneyhough is a "literary" composer (as distinct from a literate one, which is certainly the case). For on the contrary, it is precisely the nouveauromanciers who have acknowledged the analogies between their ideals and those of the post-war European serialists. A particularlystriking parallel with aspects, at least, of Ferneyhough's work is provided by a novel like Robbe-Grillet'sDans le labyrinthe, which of the author has written: ... quand un livre commence, il n'y a rien. Puis quelque chose commence a etre, et puis des choses sont, et puis les choses se defont et, de nouveau, il n'y a plus rien.... Pour le Labyrinthe,c'est une cellule generatrice qu'il y a un depart... (et) qui m'apparaitd'autant plus comme generatrice que j'ai ecrit cette phrase sans avoir aucun projet de ce viendraitensuite de point de vue diegetique.3 A similar "generative cell" opens Lemma-Icon-Epigram; Ferneyhough says of it merely: "The piece has to start with somematerial, but it could have started with others; I simply wrote down a set of notes without thinking about them at all, and said, I will work with these. That's how the piece begins."4 Many other comparisonswith Robbe-Grilletspring to mind: the transformationof given materialby systematically"wiping it out" (a "coup de chiffon"); the dizzying succession of perspectiveson the same material, which Robbe-Grillet callsglissements, which Ferneyhough accounts for and as follows "... whereas in most variation techniques you keep the same basic structure while changing the surface, the variation techniques which interest me are those where you keep the same basic surface, but you change the techniques to produce it. I'm interested in the idea of variation of technique ratherthan of object."5 A final point of comparison also leads to a parting of ways: in later writings, Robbe-Grillet emphasizes the idea of the ludicnovel-the novel as game, as "play"; similarly,Ferneyhough says: "I'm very interested in the idea of ingenio,the idea of intellectual, playfulconstructivity-homo ludensconfronting head-on, with a massive crash, a great intensity of creative

56

of Perspectives NewMusic

drive."6 It is this head-on confrontation, the reassertion of the transcendental aims of art, that leads Ferneyhough back to something more like a surrealistaesthetic, even to Andre Breton's dictum: "La beaute sera convulsive, ou ne sera pas." And indeed, going back a little further, a passage from one of Tristan Tzara's Dada manifestos reads almost like a playdoyer for Ferneyhough (though, arguably, there is scarcely a single important living composer further removed from Dada or neo-Dada): Every page should explode, either because of its profound gravity, or its vortex, vertigo, newness, eternity, or because of its staggering absurdity,the enthusiasm of its principles, or its typography.7 For me, every page of Lemma-Icon-Epigram does indeed "explode": for what reasons, and by what means, I shall now try to demonstrate.

In looking at the first bars of the work, one should at least try to minimize the role of hindsight. In the event, the opening burst of eleven notes will have an enormous influence on the subsequent course of the piece; but as the sketches show, at the moment they were written down the composer had only a vague idea of their ultimate import. They were simply "material," or even "anti-material": The first part of the piece is this whirlwind of the not-yet-become, the idea of processes, not material, forming the thematic content of the work. So apart from the quite banal initial material, which we don't even know is "initial material," the whole thing is in a whirlwind of dissolution even before it has been created.8 But what does "banal" mean in this context? Not that one has heard such materialalreadya thousand times, and in so many contexts that its potential is immediately perceived as exhausted. On the contrary,its "banality," such as it is, lies only in the fact that, being a putative "initial material,"it is as yet uninterpreted: it has to stand as a proposition in its own right, without the secondary significanceof being a transformationof something which existed earlierin the piece. And even this is only selectively true: for arguably, the opening line bears the entire weight of Ferneyhough's previous compositional experience. He says, "I simply wrote down a set of notes without thinking about them at all"; but given the inner logic of the opening sequence (Example 1), that's a little hard to believe. Whether by design or not, the materialcould scarcelybe more concise: it involves only two motivic patterns, the second of which (B) is simply the reduction if the first (A) to scalar form (Example 2). Ferneyhough at least admits to the

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

57

A'

i#1 3 1

h
2 B 1 3

;1
3

#e '
1

A EXAMPLE 1

." w. 6__- )4 4.
(A) EXAMPLE 2

6.
(B)

l.

intentional "discursiveness" of this opening flourish: its actual exposition in the first line of the piece is a miniature glossary of the composer's "discursive" processes (see Example 3).
pitch:---X Xe f3 fe (1O mak (q): ------'- 0-

-/- -/--

(--)

JcaCL.so
J J) l kwi2 e t A

(f )

f o--

E~

If0-

A_b4' =

O.

#&

-=tr

#1-#,===

re
register:---

/b.
t/(--) - -

/-I - /-- T/i-(-) II T-lI/ I - /- t

EXAMPLE 3

Complex as this opening passage is, it sits well under strong fingers. Ferneyhough says, "I don't normally write for keyboard very happily," which is one reason for his "using techniques of gestural definition generally accepted as being pianistic in one sense or another"; another is that, wishing to set in motion a "discursive dynamism of action," he saw the necessity of "not limiting myself to strict generational procedures." In other words, the complexities of this opening bar are not the result of an a priori system, but of Ferneyhough's systematic instincts flexing their muscles at the first opportunity.

58

of Perspectives NewMusic

So what concrete form do these instincts towards systematization take? In effect, transformationhad begun well before the end of the first phrase. A simple transformationtable (Example4) is applied initially only to octave registers: certain notes are placed visibly and audibly above or below the "reference octave." In the third group of the first bar, it is also used to modify the pitch structure-initially by a semitone (the first interval of the basic pitch sequence), and soon after by a minor third (the second interval of the series).

~- I
-

(no alteration) (1 down)


(1 up)

l t

_ T I

(1 down) (2 up) (2 down) (1 up, 1 down) etc.


EXAMPLE 4

T l -

The rhythmic structure, though "unsystematic," is very characteristic. The opening figure of eleven notes is curtailedto ten in the two subsequent phrases (omission of the last note), with a reduction of 12:11:10 in the subdivision of the basic P units (the additional ) in the 7/16 bar is a sixteenth-note rest after the first phrase). The initial phrase consists 12 s; the two of regular remaining phrases are classic examples of notions of "figural enhancement" and "axiality" (see Ferneyhough's Example 5).
12
i

11

10

-I-3-IJ

i---6---

pp

fffef

mpisft

p -=

sub.

mp >ppp

bsp

EXAMPLE 5

is Figuralenhancement the process by which (in the simplest instance) a periodic figure gains "profile" by breakingup its periodicity-by momen-

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

59

tary accelerations,retardationsor pauses. Thus the ten attacksin the second 3 + 1 , + 4 ,. . The related notion phrase consist of 2 , + 3 , of axiality divides the latter two groups into parts: the second phrase 3 ) and five that decelerate consists of five notes which accelerate( ( , -,+ . ), while the third phrase not only moves from , 5 to J6 , but marks the midpoint by rests. At the same time, this axiality is broken up by the dynamics and articulation. The first phrase has a single legato articulation and a single dynamic process (crescendo); the second phrase has two legato phrases and two dynamic envelopes, both of which stray across into the third phrase, where the alternation of dynamic level and articulationtypes (staccato, martellato, legato) becomes faster still. This kind of detailed description may seem excessive, but it's simply a chronicle of the way the composer thinks about his material:even before a system as such exists, material is shaped in an enormously conscious manner, and in the idealistic hope that a listener will follow, overtly or subliminally,every nuance: "I did indeed begin ratherplatitudinouslyhere, with this deliberate octave redisposition of material to make very clear to the listener the sort of thing I'm trying to do, and to establish a spectral field, which gives a certain plausibility to the concept of coherence which will later be destroyed."9 The opening bar introduces three types of transformation: the octave displacement of notes, the displacement of those displacements (in the second phrase), and the displacementof pitches. The following bars (Example 6) bring more transformations:minor-third displacementsformed into chords, and a kind of "filtering" effected by means which will be described below.
.,,) I

tn)
N5

#i-

e
\? 2

sAs T f-

z= ~

1t6

C-f-+ 8

ff m'
^*J

s==rr inf X
1.
EC. ora*

sf ffI-f

., ^E?T
. '

J II

LW',
, bra

ffl EXAMPLE 6

In bar 2, the T I pitch alteration system is now applied to the second interval of the initial series: the minor third. The process begins with the fourth line of the table, with the results shown in Example 7. Note that in

60

Perspectivesof New Music

the actual score, the top note at the beginning of bar 2 is not an Al (as prescribed by the system, and written in the sketches) but a CO;this is presumably not a misprint, but a correction to ensure that every transformation starts on Ct, just as in the next set of transformationseach will start on C4. (the pitches at the end of bar 1) modified by: produce: i

'

-//

T T/T
'
EXAMPLE 7

I -/?
#^ , (bar2)

t?t

The third bar, despite its relativesimplicity, is achieved by more obscure means. In the sketches, Ferneyhough refersto it as "transposing all pitches by the intervals of the original series in retrograde," and the process involved appears to be this: The interval sequence of the opening figure (Example 8) is modified by the interval sequence 1-2-1-2-1 semitones, from the end of the fourteen-note sequence. (Although the opening pitch sequence is of only eleven notes, Ferneyhough works from the start with an interval series of fourteen notes, which is the same as the eleven-note one but with 1-2-1 added.) There is a complicating factor: each new step is taken not in terms of the original pitch sequence, but in terms of whatever pitch has been reached at the end of the previous step. This is shown schematicallyin Example9.

1
14

" -4

WE
EXAMPLE 8

(1-3-1-2-1)

modified by 1Tyields
3cJ
e 1

& 1T

T '

* ^ t

' *' . Q,i.i.tt*-I h.

modified by 2T yields modified by It yields etc.


EXAMPLE 9

#*

iQ

t i. i.

1h b

-4

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

61

A simpler application of the original series in retrograde occurs at the beginning of bar 5, where the entire interval sequence is run backwards starting on C (see Example 10). Here, clearly,we have returned to both the figuration and the proceduresof the opening. In fact, the first phraseof the piece is, in a sense, completed at the end of bar 3, when the initial five transformationtypes have been introduced. It is at this stage that the first real formal decision is made. Ferneyhough decides to keep five types in play at a time, continually permutatingtheir order. At the same time, he needs a pretext to introduce new transformation types (the early sketches soon reach a total of eight or nine). The means by which this is achieved relates back, once again, to the opening pitch sequence.
intervals: (12)12131 3 12131 (?^
(ITIT3~)

pi .).
,, AAA

sf

fff

^~
IL

~~_
-P

C Sf v
~C|

-x-l

^ m

^w

!lt I
I

* ,

_ 4> g, f
f

-.

*
,?.'

>

m.

m ?Pnf
1z

J
6

r~nt ?n~C~rc~~P

EXAMPLE 10

Given five basic types 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, one takes each interval (in semitones) from the series, and applies it as places moving backwards (Example 11). When, as inevitably happens after a couple of lines, the same number recurs in the same line (e.g. 5 41 3 4), the element associatedwith that number is replaced by a new element; by the end of the Lemma section, twelve different types of material-transformation have been brought into play.
Types: 1

[2

[3

4 [] I]

3 []

5 Intervalsequence
13 121 etc.

t(p

tI (

appliedrightto left

to
t? o t
EXAMPLE 11 Result: 41 5 3 2

62

of Perspectives NewMusic

A broader formal strategy for Lemmais provided by what Ferneyhough calls "a bar period variationalscheme"; in previous works he had usually worked with conscious bar lengths, but Lemma-Icon-Epigram his first is work to use what is, in effect, a sequence of systematicallyvaried metric cycles. In this case, there is a basic "period" or "cycle" of sixteen bars, subjected in each new cycle to retrogradingand augmentation. The structure of these cycles is shown in Example 12. Since, by the fourth cycle, the distinction between bar lengths has been somewhat ironed out by the augmentation process, Ferneyhough decides to subdivide most of the bars (always in unequal proportions), as in Example 13 (the final score adds two "echo bars" and makes various other modifications at the end). A fifth cycle begins halfway through page 12 of the printed score, broken into after a few bars by a "Tower of Babel" section, in which all twelve types of transformationused in the piece thus far tumble over one another in a furious quasi-cadenza. But what, let's ask for a moment, is the function of these cycles, since as Ferneyhough says, they are "over and beyond any variationof the material, or relation of sections to one another"? It's a question that goes to the very heart of his compositional method. Refuting the widespreadnotion that he is an "ultra-systematiccomposer," he says: I think the use of any structure is ... to enable one to have a framework within which one can meaningfully work at any given moment ... it is a state of affairsat any given moment, and if you have worked the systems properly, then you have left yourself enough freedom to be able to react in a totally individual, and spontaneously significant fashion. Structures for me are not there to produce material; they're there to restrict the situation in which I have to compose. 0 This in itself does not go much beyond a conventional view (Stravinsky's, for example) of the interdependence of freedom and restriction in the creation of art. But Ferneyhough extends such notions to transcendentalist extremes, and does so as the logical outcome of his whole view of the creativeact: I believe very much that one has an unformed mass of creative volition. On the other hand, in order to realise the creative potential of this volition one needs to have something for it to react against. And therefore I try to set up one or more (usually many more) grids, or sieves, a system of continually moving sieves.... This fundamental, undifferentiatedmass of volition, of creativity,is necessarilyforced to subdivide itself in order to pass.11

lst cycle

7 16

5 16

2 8

3 8

9 16

3 8

5 16

4 8

3 16

2 8

7 16

3 8

3 16

reversed lus 15 Pl1 C 2nd Cycle reversed 3rd cycle reversed


plus 1 pI plus =

16

4
8

2
8

16

4
8

16

2
8

16

16

16

9 16

7 16

3 8

4 8

11 16

4 8

7 16

5 8

5 16

3 8

9 16

4 8

5 16

4th cycle

4 8

16

5 8

3 8

9 16

5 8

7 16

3 8

11 16

4 8

9 16

6 8

9 16

*(Echo bars)
EXAMPLE 12

4 8

7 16

5 8

3 8

9 16
,

5 8

7 16 3 32

3 8

11 16
5 3 5

4 8

becomes

A
323251

A A
16

A A
168 16

161616 88

168
EXAMPLE 13

1 1616

64

of Perspectives NewMusic

In earlierworks, the surfacestructure of the work more or less coincided with the compositional structures that had generated them. But starting with the Second String Quartet, written immediately before Lemma-IconEpigram,the generatingprocesses start to move underground: In the works I have been writing recently ... the main object of the music has [been] ... to get into the real interstices of linguistic formulability.What is the space in which the work reallyexists?There is a vacuum that exists between the surface presentation ... and the subsurface generative structures. Now the extent to which these two things are separated allows the surface material to take on different degrees of auraticpresence.12 In the case of Lemma-Icon-Epigram, there is a particularmotivation for the separation of surface and substructure:it is basic to the conception of the Lemma section, in particular, that the constantly changing quasimotivic discourse should have an illusory quality: "it has a pseudocharacter, whilst being in fact, non-developmental." It is developmental the accumulation of different ways of reformulating the same precisely material, a sort of piling-up of sublime tautologies, that necessitates the final Tower Babelsection, in which, as Ferneyhough notes in his sketches: of The unity of the whole edifice collapses under the weight of the DIVERSIFICATION of grammars.At the same time, the vocabulary remains based upon the original "language," even if several steps removed. The gestures moreover remain constant, as does the continuity of surfacematerial. "Die Furie des Verschwindens": the form explodes into over-definition....

Since the materialof Lemmais constantly diversifying, constantly splitting itself up and regrouping into formations whose origins are often indeIn cipherable, any summary of its procedures is bound to be arbitrary. the I shall consider just a few of the more rudimentarypitch following pages, procedures found in the first three bar-cycles, and then look in slightly more detail at the fourth, which in some respects is the most obviously

"structured."

As far as pitch is concerned, some of the principal techniques-pitch displacementsby 1 to 3 semitones, transposition of an intervalsequence by its retrograde, and chord formation-have already been touched upon in relation to the first page of the piece. By the beginning of the second barcycle (the 3/8 bar in the third line of page 3), the initial interval sequence has already given rise to any number of new figures. Along with simple

Lemma-Icon-Epigram

65

transformationslike the inversion which opens the second cycle (Example 14) come new figures obtained by scalar arrangement of pitches, and wholesale use of interval expansion (Example 15, from the third bar of the second bar-cycle). 13121

EXAMPLE 14

3 2 3 2 4 2 (i.e. 212131,

with ladded

to each)

moren=do

7I

pOCO poco ................-.-":PA

EXAMPLE 15

By the end of the second bar-cycle (end of page 5 of the printed score), some of the methods of pitch derivation have become very complex. The reasonably innocent-looking passage in Example 16 is fairly typical. The
(()o r';-8-"
( . tbentoI
--'.

_,

__

____ .

(.)
5>"

(jn

)Sflj

EX^AMPLE 16

opening interval sequence, 1 3 1 2 1 3 1 and so forth, is irregularlymodified by the sequence itself, as shown in Example 17. The complete resulting sequence is given in Example 18. The numbers of the intervalsequence (2 3

66

of Perspectives NewMusic

-IIr

<
- .

-K

-4

"

<^ -^ ^ <

<^b~

?-

Lemma-Icon-Epigram

67

4 3 1 1 2 and so on) are then used to define irregulartranspositions of the above sequence, accordingto a pitch sequence from yet another source (see Example 19). The result is shown in Example 20.

# b ' #. r-i
EXAMPLE 19

I1

4 I3 4

T ri

F 2T

< 7 , ^ phrased:
2

.,
+

1.

, ;^ b
3
EXAMPLE

4',,
+

20

Another characteristicprocedure is the interlocking of two or more forms of a series. In some respects this is simply a resumption of the procedure used by Schonberg in all but the very first twelve-tone works; it varies from Schonberg's procedure in that (a) Ferneyhough's pitch sequences are not "rows" in the dodecaphonic sense, and (b) instead of being used to articulate a polyphonic structure, they are often welded together. An example is provided by the return of the "tremolo" structure discussed above, in the third bar-cycle(page 6, bottom line); it is typical of Ferneyhough's method that the same kind of "surface" is generated by completely different technical means (Example 21: the interlocking of a pitch sequence with its transposed and inverted retrograde, which generates these pitches, is shown beside the score extract). A further important element that should be touched on here (and will be considered in more detail in relation to Icon) is the formation of chord structures. Although the essential conception of Lemma is a linear one, chord groups come to play an increasinglyprominent role as it proceeds. At first (as on the first page) they simply take the form of ad hoc "verticalizations" of whatever pitch sequences are currently in use. Progressively, though, a stage is reached where they have to be formalized-where there has to be a "little harmonic theory." The precepts of this theory are simple and practical. Let's take as a starting point the ratherlimited harmonic groupings that can be extracted from the initial pitch sequence shown in Example 22. Chords c and d are internally symmetrical (i.e. noninvertible), but a and b invert to produce the chords in Example 23.

68

of Perspectives NewMusic

l0

0.

?fi
s_

.f
8,

Li

/E

?'

'

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

69

Inversion in the sense of harmony textbooks is also a basic consideration (see Example24). Further basic considerationsinclude the layout of pitches over the chosen root and, above all, the formulation of potentially systematic transposition procedures. For instance, given a progression consisting of chords a b a, transposition could be effected in relation to any note of a, or any note of b (assuming that some common pitch or pitches are required).

L -- I -I 1
a b

II L
c

I I

?b
d

EXAMPLE 24

In Example25 (top of page 7 of the score) the note F serves alternatelyas top and bottom note of each chord in the left hand. Here, in fact, even the bass-clefchord may originallyhave been part of the scheme: in the sketches, the bass clef is markedin very lightly, as if it were an afterthought, and read in treble clef, its bottom note would, of course, be another F. And if the final chord is included, the six chords almost create a mirror form in which the components of each pair are inversionally related (Example 26). In passing, the sketch for this passagehas the four three-note chords undergoing a systematic change of inversion, in the textbook sense (Example27).
J)
iY ?

(b)
7

be;-{b,

Ail. _ . ._._

[,.

EXAMPLE

25

</

?E M

'-2

EXAMPLE 26

70

of Perspectives NewMusic

(sic! 3 2 1 1 3 2
EXAMPLE

2 1 3 27

3 2 (sic) 1

Before considering some details of the fourth bar-cycle (page 9, second line), one should give some thought to what has happened in the first three. As implied earlier,the bar-cyclesdon't necessarilydefine the audible structure of the piece-they simply provide a given situation within which to operate. Thus, for example, the first decisive change in the piece-the introduction of polyphonic treatment-comes not at the beginning of the second cycle, but at the twelfth bar of the first (bottom line of page 2). The most notable formal feature of the second bar-cycleis the introduction of contrasting secondary materialat a slower tempo (menomosso-second line of page 4); other significant featuresare the occasional expansion to threepart polyphony, and the increasingprominence of chordal structures (the last two bars of the cycle-third line of page 5-introduce most of the chords that will form the basis of the Icon section). Fluctuating tempi predominate in the second half of the third bar-cycle, which also introduces four-part writing. Thus, most of the basic materials of Lemmaare in place by the beginning of the fourth bar-cycle(second line of page 9). Let's look now in some detail at the construction and execution of the fourth cycle. The "givens" at this moment are the bar structure, and the particularstage that has been reachedin the evolution of the pitch materials and transformation types. An initial sketch (shown in Example 28 in a modified form that brings it closer to what actuallyhappens) splits the cycle into three main sections, and posits three main kinds of material. Broadly speaking, MaterialA is the current state of the various gestures that have been building up since the beginning of Lemma,MaterialB being the "secondary material" first introduced halfwaythrough the second cycle (bar 24): sequences of wide-flung melodies. The "meno mosso" material, initially at least, consists of quasi-scalarand tightly motivic passages. The five transformationtypes are listed in the sketch as: 1. simple T I -type transposition of individual pitches 2. selective transposition of pitches 3. filtering of pitches

Length:

4 Jl

11

p i.
/ \
3

A /A /A \ \
23 25 1 1
4 bars MaterialA
eno
)SSO mc

A
32:
J^

A
5353
-h

A
3

34

J)
Trans. type: (1-5) Section Length: Material:

4 I. I

2 4 ^^;^~~~~~~~~ 3
I I

7 bars Material B A: 5-groups B

m e n
o

m
o

Tempo:

Tempo 1

mesno mc )SSO

ancora meno meno mosso

accel...........

s o

T21

EXAMPLE 28

72

of Perspectives NewMusic

4. interval filtering (with chords) 5. row subdivision and imitation The division of the cycle into 4 + 7 + 5 bars is derived from the bar sequence 4/8 7/8 5/8 at the beginning of the cycle, and originally the distribution of A, B, and meno mossowas going to be a good deal more schematic than actually turns out to be the case. One complicatingfactor is that, from the start, left and right hand tend to operate separately,as one can see in the opening four bars (Example29). The pitches for the chord sequence in the right hand are the result of a "pitch filter": given a preexisting sequence of notes, only the notes of a filter are "allowed through." This means that the actual pitch content is entirely defined by the filter itself: all the preexistent sequence determines is the order in which the notes occur. For ChordSequence the filter is a five-note sequence (the 1, six opening pitches minus the C) in two transpositions (C# and Bb). (See Example 30.)
Chordsequence1
.....tempo o1 (J
) r _ s._.__.A 3 .-_

Sequence2

Basic pitches itches

(basic phs)

t^ut

la

-S,*a6 74

.. 0-0f 10
-

ff1

5 > >

piStc (basic C. q e ; .... -

; r' '
f,i
_ U,s

A. tI

'A
7!

ir

St

. J) .___ ,

- '

-#-

'

*.
(J9 'F\

- #r

a
J) .1... ~,,

4~~~~~~~~~F~~~~~
EXAMPLE 29 29

EXAMPLE

30

Lemma-Icon-Epigram

73

In the following sequences, the same chords are recycled in basic or inverted form. The same kind of filter is used in the left hand for the threenote "motives" circled in Example 29. In passing, it's worth noting that the seven pitches "let through" by the right-handfilter virtuallyamount to an octotonic scale. Although one should scarcelyexpect echoes of Debussy, the Messiaen, and Stravinskyin Lemma-Icon-Epigram, octotonic scale casts shadows, especiallyin the Lemmasection, simply because of the fairlylong nature of the opening pitch sequence, whose six pitches are given in Example 31. As the right-handphrasesbeginning at the end of the 3/16 bar shows, this opening sequence is still very much in use as a referencepoint in the fourth bar-cycle.

G Thv-k_
1 2 -

'
1 -21EXAMPLE

.,
31

The B Material (second line of page 10) is based on the original appearance of the secondary material (second line of page 4), but with substantial pitch modification, and with similar transformations of an augmented fourth transposition of the same materialin the left hand. The return of the A material on the bottom line of page 10 is of particular interest in terms of its clear use of five-element groups. The tendency to organize in groups of five had alreadysurfacedat various points in Lemma;the broad rhythmic structure of the opening of the fourth barcycle is conceived in fives (Example 32). Here, it is a matter of complex subdivisions of five innately simple basic values. The passageat the bottom of page 10 is an anticipationof the more complex procedure used in Icon, to the extent that the calculationof attackpoints is largelyindependent of any notion of "beat." There are four groups (five in the initial scheme) of five

mT1 ([
5:4

m(S)m ---:--5
r--3---1 r-3L

El (. 1 5:3
r3-i

:
r-5-i-

(,)
, 7:4

7
4 8
r-3-1 -1--

.l.ll1.1

r-3-n

16

7:4

' ' :4

r-- 3
'
S1

EXAMPLE 32

74

of Perspectives NewMusic

attackseach. Each group is of a differentlength, and so is each note within a group. The ordering of durations from long to short is different in each group, and so are the ratios between each element of a five-note group. "Calculated," in this context, is to be taken literally-a pocket calculator was used, and the notation of the rhythms is an attempt to reproduce the calculated ratios as accuratelyas possible. In terms of overall length, the first group represents a "norm," a central value, with the individual durations arrangedsimply from small to large (1 2 3 4 5). The remaining groups are alternately longer and shorter than this model, and the individual parts are permutated: 12345 21453 35124 43512 54231 The austerity of this scheme is broken by arpeggios in front of or around certain impulses, by the holding over of certain notes, and by the placement of rests after (on the whole) every fourth impulse. This is shown in Example 33. What should have been a fifth group is broken into a pseudotwo-part form (second line of page 11), and followed by a block of four four-impulsegroups. When the B Materialreturns in the right hand at the end of page 11, the pitch material has been split formally into two hexachords, which are interlocked as indicated in Example 34. The essential characterof this B Materialis that whenever a pitch recurs, it is displacedto a differentoctave. Some qualificationof this is necessary,since at this point the B melodies are restricted to the upper part of the keyboard. Accordingly,certain notes are repeatedat the octave in which they previouslyoccurred, or that of the lastbut-one occurrence. The long-held notes in the bass are, of course, a transposition to Ft of the opening four pitches; each pitch serves as a "control" pitch to modify a given interval sequence. The pitch sequence for modification is given in Example 35. The process then runs something like this: The first interval (G to GO)is a semitone up, but the intervalfrom G to the control pitch is a semitone down, so the note stays the same (G). The next interval is a tritone; coming after G, this would give a Cb, but again, G to Fb is a semitone down, so the interval is reduced to a perfect fourth (C). Similarly,the next specified interval is a rising minor third, but the tritone from C to the control pitch converts this into a falling minor third, to A (see Example36). These are the pitches that occur in the middle stave (bass clef).

1 2

1 2

I 1

_?

)-

EXAMPLE 33

?j

.* a

. o

.1

*,

r O

repeat octave of previous occurence repeat octave of last but one occurence

()

(5 + 1)

(T)

00

(9

(1+3+2)

6 6Jj a a 6 J

(D

6
'(J)
rail

j 6J j a J
c 74

5 + 1 1 1 1 42 2 2

3 5 2 4 2 4

EXAMPLE 34

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

77

'

I1 6 3 ?* '.

4 ~'

5 | 1 ]

etc.

EXAMPLE 35

'a

EXAMPLE 36

Early sketches for Lemma indicate that a coda is to be added after the fourth cycle, but the drastic nature of this "Tower of Babel" coda only emerges once the fourth cycle is well under way. In effect, this coda is a resume of all the gestures and techniques of Lemma,crammed together in a mere six furious bars. Ferneyhough lists the twelve extant transformation types as: a. transformationof individual notes accordingto the t I system; b. transposition by individual notes accordingto referenceverticality; c. chordal inversion and transposition (expansion of b), alsopresented in horizontal form; d. interlocking of various-length transposition; inversions and subsequent

e. the same, but treating the transposed groups as arrays for free internal ordering; f. the same, but with fixed ordering (transpos. b); g. interlocking procedures (relate back to d) (Interlock basisform of retrogradeand 1st transp. form); h. interval modification by other intervals; i. transpose accordingto "organ-points" valid for a group of pitches; j. reorder in ascending/descending form intervalsof given material (i.e. not pitches); k. filter techniques; 1. direct imitation (in inversion).

78

of Perspectives NewMusic

A certain degree of cohesion is imposed by interrelatingbrief sections in terms of the materialon which they are based. In the diagramin Example 37, the linking lines indicate the use of common basic material. The gestural surface, however, is nominally independent of these procedures, though it too relates back to earliergestures, and contains a less systematic set of relationships within the Babelsection. Thus, for the section beginning halfway through the 2/8 bar, Ferneyhough's instructions to himself are: i. finish off r.h. gestures with trill and flourish which passes then between both hands; ii. version of "fanfare"type materialpassed between both hands with overlappingsand more chords than hitherto; iii. rapidrunning figures leaping from registerto reg. and turning back in on themselves: close chromatic; (These are carriedout in the excerpt shown in Example 38.) After the transcendentalistquasi-improvisationof Lemma, the rigid block structuresof Icon come as a sudden shock. The structuralprinciplesunderlying Icon are perhaps the most mechanistic in the whole of Ferneyhough's work, and for this reason it is doubly startlingto discoverfrom the sketches that it was not until working on the final stages of Lemm--the fourth cycle and the Tower of Babel-that he arrived at any clear conception of these principles. But in a way, that's a matter of principle for Ferneyhough; an early sketch including largely unused ideas for Icon concludes with the melancholy observation: "To write a pre-commentary to an experience is to confess to a form of well-annotated innocence." Clearly,it was not until Lemmahad almost run its course that the composer was able to assesswhat kind of music was necessaryas its continuation and negation. And as befits the title Icon, the sketches which announce a clear policy for the new section are the most overtly "pictorial" of the whole work: Perhapsconstruct 'ICON' from disparatesymbolic elements disposed in a FIELD? The field consists of a continuous "VALEDICTION" whose flow will be broken by isolated OBJECTS. Each object will throw one or more SHADOWS (the creation of perspective??) whose size and direction remains to be determined (shadows' dimensions result of "time of day" for each element?!). The Valediction-materialwill be non-repetitive and processual (but static!) whilst the "Objects" whilst being distorted in their

Lemma-Icon-Epigram

79

a +

b
4I

c
-r

f I

1
I I

I~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
EXAMPLE 37

(i)
I I

(ii)

EXAMPLE 38

"shadow"-versions, remain essentiallyrepetitive in internal structure. The objects to be kept functionally and morphologically separate: their interaction is reserved for the concluding Epigram. Subsequently,Ferneyhough has described the Icon section as follows:

80

of Perspectives NewMusic

The idea here was a temporal sun moving acrossan irregularbut fixed landscape, with objects placed in it. The landscapeis of course the bar structure; the temporal sun is the ticking (if I want to be over-literal for a moment) of these groups that graduallyemerge, and the objects are the chords, which are scrunched up and expanded both in length (growing and getting shorter) and in density (register).... All these things together produce the feeling of an intensely but mysteriously temporal phenomenon.13 The bar-structurefor Icon differs from that for Lemmain several respects. Firstly, it is much more passive in character;it doesn't always define the points at which events begin or end (though this can also be the case) but simply provides a neutral field of operations. Secondly, its structure incorporates, for the first time in Ferneyhough's work, "irrational" bar lengths such as 4/12, 2/10, and 1/12. These time signaturesare, in effect, a form of metric modulation: 2/10 n , for example, has a duration equivalent to in a 2/8 bar. The basic bar scheme is of only nine bars, but uses (,i durations than the scheme for Lemma, and is far more consciously longer structured (Example39). 8 8
I

4 12
J

3 8
I

7 8

2 10
I

5 8
I

4 8

6 8

1 12
I

EXAMPLE 39

This basic period has three sub-periods, of two, three, and four bars respectively, each ending with an "irrational" bar length. The latter decrease in length (4:2:1), while the "rational" bars use each value from 3 to 8 in a sequence that goes roughly from extreme to averagevalues: 8 3 7 5 46. The transformation process for subsequent periods involves both the retrograding and addition of units familiar from Lemma, and the interchange of rational and irrationalvalues. Thus, for instance, Example 40. 8 8 becomes, in the second cycle: 141 12 3 8 7 8 2 10 5 8 4 8 6 8 1 12

10

r41

l8

5 10

6 12

3 8

8 12

4 12

9 12

1 8

EXAMPLE 40

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

81

The transformationsare alreadymore involved than in Lemma;in fact it is not until the last couple of cycles (page 20) that the original patterning clearlyre-emerges (Example41).
12

12

12

2
8

10

10

r31

10

24

5 10

3 10

4 10

1 32

6 10

2 8

7 10

EXAMPLE 41

The penultimate cycle is essentially the opening cycle of Icon, with each x/8 of the original becoming x/12, each x/10 becoming x/8, and the 1/12 becoming 1/24. The last line is a retrograde of this, with one unit subtracted from the "numerator" line. Note that in all the cycles shown here, repeated numbers (bracketed)are filtered out of the retrogradingprocess. The bar-scheme is, of course, a "silent" backdrop. The placement of objects within this landscape is determined initially by four groups of five "impulses" each, the impulses taking the form of chords, whose structure will be described below. The groups are introduced essentially in pairs, with the first two ending together near the beginning of the eighth (6/8), and the last two overlapping with them, entering at the seventh bar. As may be imagined, the rhythmic proportions within each group are not simple arithmetical ratios; once, again, the sketches show the composer's pocket calculator being put to work. The resulting structure for the first two bar-periodsis shown in Example42. The four main lines show the four groups of five impulses each (these impulses are numbered from 1 to 5); the top line shows the combined result of as many layers as are in play at the time. The numbers at the beginning of each group give the order of the durations (1 being the longest, 5 the shortest). The orders permutate in pairs, as shown in Example43. The harmonic structure is based on a sequence of seven chords taken from pages 5 and 6 of Lemma.Ferneyhough says that they were simply the seven most ugly, or resonant-shall we say aggressivelyresonant?vertical entities taken arbitrarily from the first part of the work, which had already been composed. I simply ordered these "things"; it wasn't the chords themselves that were important, apart from their aggressivequality, but they contain certain numbers of notes-that was important-they lay within certain registraldispositions, and they had

82

Perspectivesof New Music

r-I

5:4-I I

I k I I

---3-I I

-I

5:3---5
I I

r3-

-5
I

Overall result:

go?-J

Ju<,u
5

AJ
r-3-r--5:3--

J J

Group 1 (12354) Group 2 (13245)

[o?

J ? ^J ^J JJ ]
'-- ," 5 II III

;~~~3~ JJ51~~~

5-3~-;~r

J ?^J%
(53421) Group4 (54312)

J
I 5

0)?J

Chord:

IV Ii

VI III IIIl

VII

-7--, Result:

3:2

r 7:6

5:4--3:2--

r- 7:6-7

2 r-7
3

----

3:2

S?J"_J dSJ
r 7:6

1__
(
Line I

h~
5:4

J
VII(i)

G
-3-

4 Chord: (inv.) II(i) IVi Vi


--3

VI
7:5--

VII
r---

Result: i"5-j t-3-j

I
d\

-1, J

4 - ._J
Line 1 Line 2

(J)
Line 3 Line 4 12 112

J^J

J Jr
III2

Chord:

*this duration simply shows the delay before the proper entry of the group. (adaptedfrom composer's sketches)

EXAMPLE 42

Lemma-Icon-Epigram

83

1 1 5 5

2 3><2 3S 4/43

5 4X

4 5 1 2

2 1i

EXAMPLE 43

certain notes in common-that was also very important-so that different types of transpositions, for instance, brought different notes in common from the basic forms.'4 The seven chords are given in Example44. These chords are each modified by the addition of one note (shown in brackets).Set against these are a set of derived chords (Example45), these having been arrivedat by taking the

(4) I II III IV EXAMPLE V VI VII

44

EXAMPLE 45

84

of Perspectives NewMusic

"first inversions" of each originalchord, and transposingthem to the pitch of the bottom note but one of another chord, in the symmetricalarrangement shown in Example46. This produces the sequence given in Example 47. first inv. of: transp. to bottom note but one of: i.e.

I
I

II
1

III
,I

IV
14

V
Il

VI
I

VII
l

VII Bb

VI F

V Ct

IV Ft

III F

II Dl

I D

(cf. Example45 above)


EXAMPLE 46

A II
=LI

66
-, co I I_

--

_.

..
W--

L
UDC

-i

I U 1II,.

p5

4& 0t

OSP

-&
, Rffe
p 0

Ic
7

eA

V?

tA

o
c

1eR&

1 RO
47

EXAMPLE

To this is added the sequence of notes from the start of the work (Example48), after which the register positions of the original chords are radicallycompressed or expanded, producing the chords shown as I1, II1,

C^

I^

etc.( (X)

.48

k---

EXAMPLE

and so forth, above (compare Example 49). As can be seen from the rhythmic scheme for the first two bar-periods, the different chord layers interpenetrateschematically(Example50).

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

85

Chord: I
sub molto meno mosso
iusto
s

II
.

III
(J.)
I---si--

(
5:4----

(J4.)
7-15

(-~

f8fw.,f -tutala 8w,,,u torz12

8
..12 .
im.

f--

.10 .,:'

I0

'Y, .3

I I'
(J)

?---

1
I

"3

IIII
IV

V .i

AVI
i

2' -

I; 4_

B~n

? _4

6
,* 1

I ~-- 1 -;".
flb-

' *
'1 l cJ+I (h)
|

*
1

L---l

A a foia,
l

tk3

I(i)
^^^". L' 1^ --^^ v^3 XP

V I

II(i

%'&3

1A3

3. I'ZL

EXAMPLE 49

2
EXAMPLE 50

86

of Perspectives NewMusic

Clearly, the "counter-layer" assumes ever-greater prominence. Two more kinds of chord derivation are involved here: I(i), II(i), and so on, are exact inversions of the original chords at the original pitch, as illustratedin Example 51 (it's not clearwhy there is a G in the second chord; the sketch has an A).

(I)

becomes

I(i)

,,.(o)
(I)

#
I(i)

'*

*In the score, the naturalsign before this note is placed as for an A, not for the G that actuallyoccurs.
EXAMPLE 51

The chords labelled I2 and so on are second-inversion transpositions, created on much the same basis as the first-inversionchords; chords I, II, and III are transposed to the bottom note but twoof chords IV, V, and VI (Ct, DO, and G), with notes added (C, A, and Bb, respectively) and subtracted (Fe, FO,and D). By the beginning of the second bar-period, the rhythmic structure is already in a state of "decay," to the extent that the impulses/chords are becoming considerablyless frequent. This is compensated, in a way which is very characteristicof the whole of Icon, by the superimposition of a secondary layer. In fact, the whole of Icon could be regarded as the progressive decay of a fixed structure, and its obliteration by ever more extravagantovergrowths. Here, however, the "overgrowth" is extremely sparse. In effect, it is a negative image of the basic impulse structure, whose dense, sustained, and predominantlyloud chords are replacedby isolated, staccato, and predominantly soft single notes. Once again there are four groups of five impulses each, varying systematicallyin terms of the number of pitches used, the number of dynamic levels, and the ordering of durationsfrom long to short (see Example 52). These four groups are, of course, the "Lines 1-4" shown towards the end of the sketch of the first two bar-periods. Note that the same "repetition schemes" areused for both pitches and dynamics (e.g. the distribution

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

87

GroupI: (31542) Group2: (13542) Group3: (43125) Group4: (34152)

I pitch

#-

#-

#-

#-

#-

4 dynamics ppp

I'p

ff

sfz

pp

4 pitches

3 dynamics pp
I

mp pppp mp
I I

pp

r 2pitches

I . 2 dynamics p

#.

yF ,

Ifft

wft

3 pitches 3pitches

.#I17,

~~~~~~~. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~* i. I 1 dynamic p - ~~~~~~~~~~ #.

*in the score,the actual is marking p. EXAMPLE 52

of the three pitches in Group 4 is the same as that of the three dynamics in Group 2). The pitches themselves refer back once again to the opening of the work, using a procedure familiar from the middle part Lemma: the interval sequence of the opening (1 3 1 2 1 3 1 and so forth) is broken up, with each segment transposed to one of the first four pitches of the work (Example53).
A 'Y

Group1

Group2

Jdp

Group3

Group4

4;.

intervals: intervals:

i@a

:
1

?
1 (starting at fourthinterval of basicseries)

2 2

1 1

EXAMPLE 53

Why does the interval sequence begin at the fourth unit? Because the first three (1 3 1) have been used to define the starting notes of each group! Within each group, each pitch is given a differentoctave register. As for the sequence of durations in each group, this is based on the same kind of permutation procedure as that used for the main layer (Example54). Group 1: Group 2:1 Group 3: Group 4: 4 34
EXAMPLE 54

1 3 3

5 5
1

2
2

4
5

88

of Perspectives NewMusic

From this point on, a number of superimposed structures threaten to swamp the underlying chord-sequences. Yet the broad formal structure of Icon, as exemplified by the bar-periods, remains very clear, and the whole can reasonablybe summarized as follows: 1st bar-period (mm. 89-97): exposition of impulse layers 2nd bar-period (mm. 98-106): superimposition of four "point" layers 3rd bar-period (mm. 109-19): addition of grace-note and sfz layers 4/5th bar-periods (mm. 120-34): dense polyphony alternating with "empty" bars 6th bar-period (mm. 135-43): "Bb" passage:polyphonic "point" layers 7th bar-period (bars144-50): continuation of above, with superimposed start of Epigramsection. The first and second bar-periodshave alreadybeen discussed; ratherthan try to cover the remainderin equal detail, and thereby risk encyclopaedic length, I shall consider the main features of the third, sixth, and seventh periods, and referonly briefly to the fourth and fifth. The third bar-period comprises an underlayof chords based on the fiveimpulse system, and an overlay of sfz chords and subsequent grace-note groups. The "foundation" chords begin fff and become progressively softer-another typical facet of the "decay" factor in the impulse groups. The rhythmic structure of the first three five-groups is given in Example 55.
r--3 r5-i

o JJ
r51

nnj
EXAMPLE 55

The chords of the third bar-period look ratherstrange at first sight, not least because of their frequent octave doubling. What has happened here is that the original seven chords have been separatedinto their left- and righthand components, and each part systematicallytransposed to each degree

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

89

of the original chord. Thus for instance Chord I gives rise to the series shown in Example 56.
A -

s^^0

etc.

-9:Cx - 9
tT
0)

`O

#
e2

( ii _i
I (i)

o
etc. (ii) (iii)

0,

6-

-Flo
(v)

d7l,

(iv)

(vi)

EXAMPLE 56

Of course, there are complications. ... The chords are used in reverse sequence, notes are added, and individual pitches are inflected up and down a semitone. Thus the actual chord sequence at the beginning of the period is that shown in Example 57. 6t2t
_

f i

,, rI

ru 1n

MG Ill __

L.
,Y r_

/.

L . u
I'%

M):
z

U-' .

. . ,,

,,
', _ Ji

Chord I Added notes:

(vi) G

(v) Ab

(iv) E
EXAMPLE

(iii) F
57

(ii)

(i) Ab

The sfz layerbegins at the second bar of bar-period, with a single chord, then two chords in the next bars, three in the one after that, and so forth. More correctly, perhaps, one should say that the sequence is 0-1-2-3 etcetera (up to 7). In contrast to the irregularrhythms of the impulse layer, the sfz chords are always periodically structured; thus, for example, they divide the 2/12 bar into three equal parts: 2b ,

the 4/8 bar into four eighth notes, and so forth. Since the bar lengths are

90

of Perspectives NewMusic

continually fluctuating, the result is not a regular accelerando but a continual violent shifting of gear. At the same time, there is a clear and drastic overall gain in density, aided by the swarms of grace-notes that follow each sfz attack. The pitches of the sfz chords are taken initially from Chord VI (i)-(v), derived by the means shown above for Chord I. As the number of sfz chords per bar increases, so their range of nuances diversifies (Example 58).

ffza
sfz sfz sffz piusfz sffz

mfr sfz
sffz mpz

sfz s sf
mfI wtf

sfz sz
Sfz sfz

sffz sfz
menosfz : Sffz

sffz
)=-

mfz
sfz s jf

menosfz

mpz

sfz

sffz

sfgf

ifffff

EXAMPLE 58

As for the grace-note groups, these are placed after each sfz chord; the number of attacksis continually varied, with an overall rising tendency e.g. 4 8 5 7 3 2 9 1 6 and so forth. The pitches begin with Chord II (vi), (v), and so on. An overall summary of the opening is shown in Example 59. In the joint fourth/fifth cycles, the five-impulse idea has sunk almost completely: it exists only in the form of a sequence of five resonancechords (two of them depressed silently) which span the whole section, while the surfaceis constituted by a sequence of five brief, explosive barsof enormous complexity, each followed by a longer "resonance" bar, with a quasi coda at the end of four bars, in which the roles are to some degree reversed. In the sixth and seventh cycles, which also form a pair, the "deep structure" form of the five-impulse idea and its attendant chords have disappearedtotally (apart from the token residue of a thirty-second-note chord held over from the previous section). In their place comes a dense surfaceof five- and six-note staccato groups, which the composer describes as "the ultimate distillation of the time-clock pulses ... the vertical and experiential result, in much more dense form, of the type of interlocking time-pulse procedures I had had at the beginning of the section." (See Example60.)

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

91

caoo

Cn

kg

C14

z
z

0\ LO

_"
L^ t
$A

O
E

r
zz
k-

-1-

00

rl

9t^ r^^ 1
04

0 C. o Pi

.rA

c 0

0
-

0.
0--

6
0

o0

00

0 u 0 0
0)
c,

ci

0
0
0

o
6=

li

d
;Y

92

of Perspectives NewMusic

EXAMPLE

60

The pitches for these groups come from the derivativesof Chords I-VII described above. Curiously, the pitches at the opening of the section have a strong "Bb major" feel, and the composer himself refers to it as the "Bb passage." The number of groups derived from each chord varies: 4 from Chord I (22 notes) 4 from Chord II (21 notes) 2 from Chord III (13 notes) 2 from Chord IV (13 notes) 4 from Chord V (20 notes) 3 from Chord VI (16 notes) 4 from Chord VII (21 notes)

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

93

The notes are assigned to particular octave registers: those from III are crammed into a middle register of one-and-a-halfoctaves, those for V into two octaves, while IV, VI, and VII occupy about three octaves, and I and II are much more widely spread. Although the availableoctave registerscan be used in any order, some of the broaderspaced "reservoirs"of pitches are allied to particular registral tendencies. Thus groups from the Chord I reservoirtend to move from middle-high to very low, those from Chord II from both extremes to middle-low, those of V from the middle to extremes, those from VII from low to high, while the others use a more or less statisticaldistribution. The total of twenty-three groups are arrangedin five strands (A-E); that is, there can be up to five layers superimposed simultaneously, with a systematic alternationbetween passagesin which the beginnings of groups are synchronized and those in which they are relativelyindependent. The lengths of the groups are relatedto barlengths in five ways: a group can last a. 1 bar length b. 2 bars length c. 1 bar length plus its exact retrogradelength d. 3 bars length e. 2 bars plus the duration of the second. The overall structure of this section is summarized in Example61. As far as exact durations are concerned, the pocket calculator has been brought into play once again. The dynamics, as in previous sections, make an overall decrescendo, but with a great deal of systematicinflection of the general tendency. The opening groups all maintain a level of sffz/ff; then after a further sustainedff group (7) and a decrescendo one (6), all the groups of the first (sixth) bar-period alternate crescendi and decrescendi (Example62). In effect, p acts as the focal dynamic level: the first two groups make crescendi from, and decrescendito it, while the next pair (10 and 11) make crescendi and decrescendi from it. Groups 13-16 repeat this model, with slightly softer terminal dynamics. From Group 17 (the beginning of the seventh bar-period)onwards, the groups become dramaticallysofter, allowing the Epigramsection to emerge graduallyin the bottom register.The bar lengths of Epigram,superimposed polymetricallyon those of Icon, are those of the very opening of the work, minus the initial 7/16 bar of Lemma(Example63).

94

Perspectives NewMusic of

Group Duration 1 2
3
>4

Order of durations Chord 123456 4 3 2 1 5 6


65 4 1 2 3 3 514 2

Strand Type E D
c

'2x
J16

VI IV1
III1 V1

a b
ogether

5
6

.x x
>6

6 5 4 3 2 1
12 3 4 5

VII
V2

B A E D C B D
C

e d c b

7
2

x,-.x

I 3 2 5 4 1 4 5 2 1 3 5 1 2 3 4 2 4 5 1 6 3 5 2 1 4 3 6 5 4 3 2 1 4 5 1 2 3 34512 2 3 4 5
- - - - -- - -- -- - - - - -

Dindependent

x
'4x

819

VI2 I2
V3 III2

a c
c d Ot( b c c d c
- - - -

together
ogether

o" 10
11l
9 + 59

12
,413

II1 IV2
II2

A B A E D A B C D E B A

,12

'14 15 8 16 17 .x + .x 18 . +' 5 19 20 21 22
23 >

VII3 VI VI2 V4 II II4


I3

4 independent

- - - - - - - - - - -

24

1,

1 3 5 1

2 1 4 2

3 5 3 3

4 2 2 4

5 4 1 5

d e d d c b c

Epigwam overlap O together

+.4
.9+

10

654321 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 6

V3
14

independent

EXAMPLE 61

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

95

Group 8:
9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16:

fff ff
p MP

f
mf

f p
NA f

ff.......................-----------------------

ff p pp
pp

f "fk mp 'MP ,f f p mp mIf


ppp
-==-piuppp

p if, f
pppp

EXAMPLE 62

Icon:

5 10

3 10

4 10

1 6 32 10

2 8 :3 :8

7 10 :5 ... :16

Lemma:

:7 :15 '16 16

'

: 8
EXAMPLE 63

.9 .16

It turns out that the entire bar-structureof Epigramis essentiallythat of the first two-bar period cycles of Lemma;the only substantialmodification is the permutation of the original order of the bars in the passagefollowing the overlap shown above (Example64: page 22 of the score). 4 Lemma:| 8 Epigram: 16 3 2 16 8 4
8 8

7 33 2 16 8 16 8
8

5 16 (end of first period)


16

16 16

5...

EXAMPLE 64

The 7/16 after the heavy line in the diagramis not only the only major departure from the bar-schemeof Lemma:it also marksa point of crisis in the composition of Epigram. Ferneyhough's original intention was that Epigramshould be an extended section in which the mercurialdiscourse of Lemma would be reconciled in some manner with the monolithic structuralism of Icon. A part of this program was that the pseudo-development and pseudo-imitations of the first part of the work would now become

96

of Perspectives NewMusic

"real" development, and real imitations. But this situation could not be suddenly produced as a deusex machinaat the outset of Epigram:it had to be progressively"discovered." So Ferneyhough felt that "it was incumbent on me to adopt a procedure which would not allow me to find an easy answer via systems, and therefore I was working totally unsystematically here-I thought it was necessary."15 After two weeks of intensive work that about six bars of music, he came to the conclusion that: yielded only my compositional desires simply didn't interlock with what I was theoreticallysetting out to do. After all this researchI had carriedout over the space of about eight months in producing the piece, I felt that this sort of motivic writing was really not a desirablething. And one reason why the Epigramturned out so short was that at a certain point the materialitselfdemanded be redisposed in schematicallyblock-like to entities. There is a convulsive 7/16 bar at the end of page 22, where so many lines of materialare crossing that I decided I simply wasn't going to carry out the scheme I had set for myself, that it was pointless to take this sort of materialany further. Becausein a way it was a personal confirmation for me of my distrust of the motivic-cellulardiversification principle.16 So from the "convulsive 7/16 bar" onwards, the actualprogramof Epigram is the progressive dissolution of its materials. Accidentally or otherwise, there are five principalmaterialsthat articulatethis dissolution: a. the Icon chords (disposed VII/VI-V/IV-III-II) b. "fantasies" on the chords c. dislocations of the chords between left and right hands d. silences/resonances e. linear/hexachordal materials The deployment of these materialsis allied to the bar structureas illustrated in Example65. So from that point on, I start bringing back my chords as a sort of prison-bar structure, and between the manifestations of the chords themselves I bring in little fantasieswhich present the chords in more linear fashion. Then at a certain point I begin breakingup the chords into two hands, so that the two parts of the chord move asynchronously, right in the middle of the keyboard. And this, I

2 8
(1)

5 16
4 *

2 8

5 13 15611 8 1
I

16 1I 8
3
I

4 8
*

5 16

12

811

3 8

7 16

5 8

(*

(2)
*

(3)

EXAMPLE

65

98

Perspectives NewMusic of

think, builds up a tremendous power, because the hands are trying to disengage themselves from one another, and never quite make it, because they are pulled back in again.17

EXAMPLE 66

For me, this last part of the piece demonstrates quite well both the ultimate creative absurdity of the thematic-motivic foundations I was trying to investigate. ... And in fact at the end of the piece, we find that the very last three bars of the piece bring together the two complementary hexachords of what would have been basic twelvetone materialin a quite absurd manner: it reduces the whole thematic thing down to a basis.18
SecondHexachord
J 0 #0 *

*f

a # &

I
FirstHexachord #o o #.

Wyhlen, June1981

#o #. *

#. -

#'

EXAMPLE 67

Lemma-lcon-Epigram

99

It's a failure;I have to say this ... a failurein the sense that it does not find this via mediaof exegesis in the Epigrampart. But that for me was also a very important learning experience, which put me onto quite differenttracksof speculation that I think are bearing fruit now in this where I have, right at the begind'invenzione], large-scalecycle [Carceri with a great deal of care, laid out the space within which it is ning, meaningful to look for musical problems.19 Music needs more such failures....

100

Perspectivesof New Music

NOTES

1. Edition Peters No. 7233 (London: Hinrichsen Edition, Peters Edition, 1982). 2. Quoted from a draft in the composer's sketches. 3. Jean Ricardou, Colloque Robbe-Grillet (Paris, 1976), vol. 2:77-78. 4. Richard Toop, "Brian Ferneyhough in Interview," Contactno. 29 (Spring 1985): 9. 5. Conversationwith the author. 6. Toop, 7. 7. Tristan Tzara, SevenDada Manifestosand Lampisteries, translated by Barbara 7. Wright (London: Calder, 1977), 8. Toop, 7. 9. Conversationwith the author. 10. Toop, 5. 11. Toop,5. 12. Toop, 13. 13. Conversationwith the author. 14. Conversationwith the author. 15. Conversationwith the author. 16. Toop, 10. 17. Toop, 10. 18. Toop, 10. 19. Toop, 10.