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Stravinsky's Newest Works

Author(s): Colin Mason


Source: Tempo, New Series, No. 53/54 (Spring - Summer, 1960), pp. 2-10+27
Published by: Cambridge University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/942475 .
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STRAVINSKY'S
NEWEST WORKS

byColinMason

completedthreenew works. The largestof these, MoveDuring i959 Stravinsky


forpiano and orchestra(durationabout ten minutes),was begunin 19S8. It
ments,
was commissionedby and dedicated to MargritWeber, and was firstperformed
festivalin New York in
by her, with the composer conducting,at a Stravinsky
Januarythisyear. The other two works, both miniatures(their playing-timeis
about one minuteeach), were writtenin memoryof two of Stravinsky's
friends.
The Double Canon (Raoul Dufy in memoriam), for stringquartet, had its first
das Grabmaldes
performanceat the same New York festival. The Epitaphiumfiir
PrinzenMax Egon zu Fiirstenberg(the patron of the Donaueschingen Festival), for

flute,clarinetand harp, was firstperformedat Donaueschingenon 17 October,


1959.

In all three works Stravinskycontinuesto use twelve-notetechnique, and


the Epitaphium
is fromthis point of view the most interestingof them, as his
firstwork in which the harmonyis seriallyordered throughout.In earlierworks
he has withrareexceptionsused theseriesonlymelodically. Chordalpresentation
of series has been almost entirelyconfinedto short introductory,cadential or
ritornello-likeinstrumentalpassages, such as those in 'Surge, aquilo' in the
CanticumSacrum (e.g., bar 46);

in the 'De Elegia Prima' in Threni(bars 23-26),

and the 'Querimonia' of the same work (trombones only, bars 188-192, or
a characteristicdivergence from the strict
chorus only, bars 179-I83-with
in
the
first
two
notes
the
order
of
series); and in the 'Bransle Simple' (on a
a
five-note,not twelve-note,series), in Agon.
In the Epitaphium
thismethodis maintainedthroughout. The work consists
of eight statementsof the twelve-noteseries (Ex. I), in seven phrases played
alternatelyby the harp and by the pair of wind instruments. (The sixthphrase,
played by the fluteand clarinet,containstwo statementsof the series.) All four
Ex.1

gaM"#im "

--

F... lop..

4i

"-

'-

formsof the series are used, withouttranspositions,in the followingcarefullyplanned order: basic set (hp), basic set (fl & cl), inversion (hp), retrograde
inversion(fl & cl), retrograde(hp), retrogradefollowed by inversion(fl & cl),
retrogradeinversion (hp). The harp part is mainlyharmonic (chordal), not
contrapuntalin style, and the contrapuntallines in the sections for fluteand
clarinetare seriallycomplementarythroughout,never independent. There is no
completemelodic statementof the seriesin any one part,and onlyin fourplaces
does a singlepart containas manyas three consecutivenotes of the series. Two
consecutivenotesoccur more often,but equallyoftenthe seriescrossesfromone
serial worksthere
partto theotherwitheverynote. As in severalof Stravinsky's
is a single divergencefromthe strictserial order at one point (the beginningof

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STRAVINSKY'S

NEWEST

WORKS

the fifthstatement). Exx. 2 and 3 are the last two sections. The work is in effect
Ex.2
64=880)0

Ex.3 (.t so)


table

4"1
a miniatureset of alternatingvariationson two themesor 'inventions'of quite
differentcharacter, derived from the same series. It belongs to the line of
magically self-containedminiature vocal and instrumentalmasterpieces that
Stravinskystarted writingin the second decade of the century,and took up
again, aftera lapse of thirtyyears,under the influenceof Webern's music. In
is closer
tone and manner,and in its delicate instrumental
colour, the Epitaphium
to the works of the earlier period than any of the new miniaturesof his serial
period, and is one of the most beguilingto the ear of themall.
The DoubleCanonis much more severe, in formand expressionas in instrumental colour. It is canonic in the stricttraditionalsense, not in the sense in
which Stravinskyused to use the word 'canonic', as a euphemismfor 'serial'.
and the note-valuesare unalteredthroughout.
There are no octave transpositions,
It is based on a very characteristictwelve-notetheme, in which the firstfive
notes are almostidenticalwith the series of the In Memoriam
Dylan Thomas(in its
five
which
next
the
and
notes,
again are all within the
retrogradeinversion),
remote
are
a
more
a
of
major third,
permutationof it (see Ex. 4). The
compass
Ex.4

A0:60

' ' ' "' ", " I.":


!
"'-'---

:.

v.antaie

VIa.

'FA-"
TIM
n --"--..
T
...

--- ,lay
-x

i .,"i I ,,I . .="


- . " . " ..

..I

. . .-- --''

- ', ,"

? :-

me

IL
:' """';
: "
-

"
'..

._

Vio.l-'--'cop
' -- --M

V'cello-.-I
nin mf
caantabile

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'

TEMPO

series is used here only melodically. There are twelve statementsof the theme,
of which only three formsare used (i.e., not the inversion). The two violins
playthe themein canon fourtimes,firstthe basic set at the major second (below)
and at the unison,then the retrogradeinversionat the major second (above) and
at the unison. Againstthe middle pair of thesecanonsthe viola and cello playthe
retrogradeformof the theme in canon firstat the minor seventh(below) then
at the octave. Ex. 4 shows the firsthalfof the piece.
The combinationof these inflexiblelines of counterpointis wonderfully
harmoniousand expressive,but the beautyof the piece is strikingly
unlike that
of Dufy's own bright,pretty,light-heartedart. The writingfor the stringsis
sober. The firstentryin each part is markedcantabilein mf,and the only other
dynamicindicationsare tiny diminuendosand crescendos to mark the end or
beginningof some of the later canonic entries. No instrumental'effects' of
scoringare used. No one part has a compassof more thana major ninth,and all
fourpartsare containedwithina compassof threeoctaves. In its gentleeuphony
it recallstheparadoxicallysereneunaccompaniedvocal canonsofthe 'Querimonia'
in Threni,not at all the tormentedinstrumental
dirge-canonsof the In Memoriam
Thomas.
memorial
works
it is closer in mood to the
Dylan
AmongStravinsky's
for
viola
solo
that
he
wrote
for
Germain
in memoryof Alphonse
Prevost
Elegy
Onnou.
In Movements
breaksnew ground. Unless Agonis considered (as,
Stravinsky
like most of his ballets, it quite legitimatelymay be considered) primarilyan
orchestralwork forconcertperformance,and onlysecondarilya ballet, Movements
is his firstmajor instrumentalwork since the Septet(I 953). It is also his first
work of any size. The Septethas serial passages (the
wholly serial instrumental
firstto appear in Stravinsky'smusic), and much of Agonis composed in this
technique, but there are importantnon-serialsections in both.
For a concerto,Movements
is on a smallscale. Thereare fiveshortmovements,
Each
bars.
movement
193
totalling
except the lastis followedbya shortorchestral
a
few
in
of
which
the
bars,
passage
piano is silent. These passageswere originally
marked 'interludes',but these markingswere later struckout, so thattheynow
appear in the score as detachedcodas to the precedingmovements-thoughthey
are in factmore closelyrelatedin each case to thefollowingmovement,the tempo
of which theyprepare. The work is scored fora fairlysmall orchestra(without
horns, timpanior percussion) which is never fullyused. There are two flutes
(second doubling piccolo), oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon,
two trumpets,threetrombones(two tenor,one bass), harp, celesta and strings.
Each movement,and each of the short sections originallycalled interludes,is
scored fora different
combinationof instruments.The oboe and cor anglaisare
used only in the thirdmovement,the bassoon only in the first,and the celesta
only in the firstand last.
The most radicallynew featureof Movements
in Stravinsky'swork is its
mainlynon-thematicconstruction. The jagged instrumentaltexture has been
or new in the
anticipatedin partsof Agon,and mostof whatmayappear different
serialtechniqueis merelya resultof the non-thematicconceptionof the musicthough the composer does juggle with the series more freelythan in other
recent works. Symmetryof formand far-reaching
thematicdevelopmenthave
rarelybeen part of Stravinsky'smusic, the continuityand formalcoherence of
which lie in the repetitions,variationsand changingjuxtapositionsof alternating
shortsections,phrasesand motives. In Movements
thereare hardlyanydistinctive

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STRAVINSKY'S

NEWEST

WORKS

thematicmotives,and thereforefew repetitions.There are similarlyfew canons


or otherpassagesof thematicor imitativecounterpoint. The nearest to thematic
entitiesin the work, and theyare harmonicrather than melodic ones, are the
two characteristicperfectintervalswithinthe series (see Ex. g). They become
Ex,5

:'
=.. . . k= ::;0VPq

in thefourth
makesa plainstatemovement.Stravinsky
particularly
prominent
the
of
series
at
the
followsit
but
of
the
ment
work,
immediately
beginning
withan exceedingly
and
one
Ex.
6). Manypassagesof
garbled
confusing (see
in the first,
bothkindsoccur throughout
ones chiefly
thework,the confusing
of
theseries
thirdandfifth
forms
where
the
various
of
movements,
permutations
intouse.
the
last
note
of
each
come
the
hexachord
transferred
to
(with
beginning)
alone
from
hexachord
in
these
of
one
use,
sections,
Stravinsky's
fairlyfrequent
andsome
theseries,without
itsconsequent
addsto theconfusion,
or antecedent,
thatneed
of serialconstruction
passagesappearto concealotherrefinements
further
analysis.
Ex. 6

Flauto I

T baI

Piano

Pioliri .1

48 con sord.
C?L

;4
43

Piano
--

='*

3
32

8f1

.piz

..
8

ostave
lower
ev4o+

Piano

pirg.
Pi~ano

:..

S
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16

TEMPO

Musically the work has no such baffling


passages,in spite of the lack of a
'thematic'argument-thoughnaturallyanymusicalimpressionor descriptionofit,
until it has been heard (the firstEuropean performancewill be at Cologne on
17 June, 1960), can only be tentative.
The firstmovement(42 bars), in which all the orchestrais heard except
second flute,oboe and cor anglais,is fairlyquick
i o). Its firstnine bars,
(-=in
Ex.
show
its
two
main
elements-the
6,
quoted
agitatedunaccompaniedline,
and the harmonicallyprominentperfect fourthsand fifthsin the sixth and
eighthbars. Two furthershortsectionsof each kind complete the firsthalf'of
the movement. In the last of these pairs of sectionsthe agitatedmelodic line is
joined bya second one, and continuesinto the followingharmonicsection. There
is a climax of harmonicintensityhere, followedby a resolutionon to a pedal C,
around which the series is turnedinside out (notes 7 to I2 of the basic set,
followed by notes 6 to i). The whole firstpart of the movement,except this
cadence, is then repeated. For the continuationthe temposlackensto P=72.
There is some harmonic and contrapuntalelaboration here, culminatingin a
melodicallymore expansivepassage of counterpointconsistingof a simultaneous
statementof the retrogradeinversion(flute) againstthe inversion(bass clarinet
and bassoon). The finalsection is a miniaturecadenza for the soloist, reverting
to the styleof the opening,punctuatedby single notes on the harp, and ending
with a series of crisp dissonantchordsfor piano, celesta and harp.
The second movementis slow (J=52). This is scored onlyforpiano, first
trumpet,harpand a solo stringquartetconsistingof violin,viola, cello and double
bass. It is only 22 bars long, and is in ternarysong form-though still nonthematic. The firstsection is a ten-bar passage of quasi-canonic four-part
counterpointfor piano, viola and cello, with a sparse accompanimentof held
tremolo notes (some of them doubling the contrapuntalparts) for the harp,
trumpetand piano. The firstthree bars are quoted in Ex. 7. In the middle
Ex.7

Ex.

7trem.

-=J ,~-~ -t

mpw

Piano

48

4647

solo

co c-.1
VC._Solo_________=4-7___

,P

arco

con sord..

R
Ar,"

sectiona single,continuousmelodicline is dividedamongthe instruments,


notes,whichpersistalso in the 'reprise',
againwithone or two accompanying
wherethe four-part
is
into a simultaneous
statement
counterpoint transmlluted
of all fourformsof the series,each passingfreelyfromone part to another

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STRAVINSKY'S

WORKS

NEWEST

(Ex. 8). This passage is seriallyperhaps the most elaborate and the most dense
has yet written,thoughthereis a near-precedentforit in Threni,
thatStravinsky
where threeformsof the series are combined in much the same way (bars Io8III).
Ex.8

(I

3;
piano
4

:-8

2K2
1

...
!
.~~~

empre jord inp

-~I
i: j

3......47

Trr.

I
II

tt
S.

.......

...

.......

..................................

\:

C.B.

41-"

:rco

Solo

;.-!

,7

I\

(C,'.'
l~r,__;, :'

\~~'

,,ij?li

I'

. I ".

'9

14

S-

itt

.....,
...,

. .
/ tt';

1'O

. ...

--_...

"

'8\

:-"

I\

..---

'o

f
aco46\t
Rizz,
?

Vc.

,"

,,-"o

V4 ,

Solo

7
,1l
.olo)

Ippm

.
A

Co

- -- -

"'

'7

14

The third movement,only 18 bars in length, is the shortestof the five,


It is scored for
scherzo-likein character,thoughstillleisurelyin pace (f-=72).
and
two
the
all
woodwind
harp. In styleand
trumpets,
except bassoon,
piano,
structureit is similar to the firstpart of the firstmovement,with quick florid
outburstsalternatingwith more relaxed harmonic passages, building up to a
harmonicclimax and resolvingon to a pedal. Ex. 9 shows the climax and the
beginningof the B flat-F pedal on the clarinet,which, with the intermittent
bass G on the harp, is sustainedto the end againstcadenza-likepassagesfor the
piano, oboe and two flutes.
The fourthmovement,like the second, is slow (P= 8o), and is in another
and more extendedkind of song-form(40 bars). It is scored forthe two flutes,
piccolo, the two clarinets,trombones,and stringsexcept violins. The formhere
is ternary-strophic,
with a 'modulating' middle strophe. Here the two perfect
intervalsof the seriesare sustainedthroughoutmostof each stropheas a harmonic
pedal on the highstrings,againstfourvariedrotationsof the series. Ex. Io is the
firststrophecomplete. The sequence of musical events in all three strophesis
identical, the scoring is almost identical, and the correspondingentries in all
three strophesare close musical variantsof each other. In the firstand third

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TEMPO

strophesthe two sustainedperfectintervalsare thoseof the retrogradeinversion


of the series, and in the middle strophethose of the basic set.
The fifthmovementis the most complex in the work,and formallythe least
amenable to definition,description or analysis. Its harmonic complexity is
preparedin the precedingfive-bar'interlude', in which the concertedbrassand
woodwind playsimultaneously
all eighthexachordsof the fourformsof the series
a
in
(transposedup majorthird), themannerof the cadentialpassagesforthe eight
soloistsat theend ofthe 'SensusSpei' in Threni
(bars 309 and 32 i). This 'interlude'
is quoted in full in Ex. I i. The movementthat follows is similar in tempo
Ex.9
2)
__)

Piano

a ? - --4--ZZI
...._

tarc.

CI----.

ArpaL
ma

85

84

83

832
Ob.

ce-ma-

P acsfo'(p
p

Cl,
bas.
Arpa

(table)
dl ,..

$of"

_pcfimr?

Ex.10

t80
2

.7,

d'.

Viols

FI. 11

IFI picc.

............... ..............""5
"..........................................
:"
"
........................................
I.........................
'
. :
4'

45

............... ....
...................
....

vao

-.--?

IA

... ..

90

3
3,f,

13
8

"lauti

Piano

.....

97

" ".5

98

'3

"

99

L. ]
....... .

101

100

. .......
.. "

'

33

102

'0

..... ......,,.......
. ....
'-. v -,-.-............................
4:

VC.

div....

.......

..

..........................

it

C.B. ;AmI U a'-

"
fir..'i

POCO
t
;' v

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STRAVINSKY'S

WORKS

NEWEST

p le Iall-.

Piano

31431

.,
8,

??????
"3....???????-

a
po*ob

107

106

105

104

103

8,.

109

108

altacca

aiubita

Vie.
div.

168"
w

Vc
. .... . .
.... ......~...~....

8~_

Ex.
11.

uI

~---8

8 s
19f~ub

I-t

--I-------

Tboen

Coarietto baseAt

f
Clarinetta

lato ba

138

137

136

139

140

II

Tromlbni
m.1p -ac

tent

tba

ton.u
i

137

136

a11Ps

138

139

140

Vialini I. Hi

Viole

3r >.

--

4Q-t

CaIiirAbani

rni

/f

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TEMPO

Io

oboe,coranglaisandbassoon),ingeneral
(omitting
(Q= o04), ininstrumentation
whichis 'dynamic'ratherthan
andin itsmethodofstructure,
musicalcharacter,
the density
but maintains
almostthroughout
'formal',to the firstmovement,
of harmony
thatin thatmovementoccur onlyat the
of textureand intensity
of notesand chordshere than
climaxes. Thereare more dynamicrepetitions
are swallowedup in more
and the perfectintervals
in anyothermovement,
2
1
shows
thevehement
harmonic
constructions.
Ex.
dissonant
repetitive
complex
a fewbarsbeforethe workends in sudden
chordalclimaxof the movement,
oftheseries(Ex. 13).
witha simplemelodicstatement
serenity

12
Ex.

if

Piano

184
.183
61
-'FA-C
16Iel. pf
rrh.i
zp
9

Orch.

qHp. ...

Str.

2j

S''

Ex. 13

*f

TI

Piano

(o:104)

:mare.

Arpa

Cel.
I
,I

7-"I

V1.

'

VI.

SoliTutti

III

'

ve.

Solal

IV&4I
I

BolSolo

f.

..p.p.zz.

uni

f
Fiz.
I

Tutti unis.
pizz. if

C.
B,
1010

EUROPEAN PREMIEREOF STRAVINSKY'S'MOVEMENTS'


willtakeplace in Cologne
The firstperformance
in EuropeoftheMovements
theInternational
The
of
Festival
event
forms
the
of
17
34th
June.
Society
part
on
forContemporary
Music. The soloistis MargritWeber.

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___

..ii:. . .
:ii-iiiiiii::i--~-?:11.. .......
....

...

....
i...

::} i:

..

:~
:--:ii-:
_i~i-i~i:-i-iii~i:i-::
--I-i::-i-i::::_,-:
--ii~
-:::_i~---

-i,

..........
------------I
_lii

...
.
. . ....

........ .

ii-i-+I:.....

---------

........

...................................
...

..

forpiano and orchestra.


A MS. page fromStravinsky's
Movements

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