Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Composing Spotlight: Labyrinth

Movement IV. Adversary

Continuing the analysis of my Master's Thesis, about eleven years too late to get invited to speak at any theory conferences...

The motive that opens this movement is the derived from the last measure of the original theme, and acts in the role of an interrupting cow throughout the piece. In this case, the motive is used to break up the static feeling of the third movement. Although this piece has nine movements, things can get a little more meta by grouping Movement I through IV and Movement VI through IX together. This makes Movement IV the climax of the first third, in a way that would probably satisfy Hauptmann in his grave.

The interrupting cow motive is followed by a new theme in 5/4 time that represents the minotaurish figure in the piece, which keeps the protagonist from solving the labyrinth too easily. I choose 5/4 time as a challenge, because I rarely ever hear 5/4 used in a useful or natural way and wanted to see if I could do any better. The oboe doubles the trumpet on the melodic line a half step lower to get an uncomfortable effect. An alternate interpretation is that I made the oboe a half step lower because they were going to be flat anyhow, so I thought I'd codify it in the score.

So to date, the protagonist has entered the labyrinth with steely resolve, tried to find the way through, gotten completely confused, and was then chased away by a minotaur. In the fifth movement, he gives up altogether, although (spoilers!) the fact that there are four more movements later on suggest a happier ending.

    Listen to the fourth movement (1:13 MP3)

Jump to Movement: I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX

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