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Date of Award
Thesis-ISU Access Only
Master of Music (MM)
School of Music
Martha C. Horst
Chamber Symphony is written for a small chamber orchestra with solo flute, pairs of oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, and trumpets, timpani, and strings.
The work is in three movements, each structured in a classical form. The first movement is a scherzo and trio. The scherzo is built around a lyrical melody introduced in the violin over a constant current of eighth-notes. Swelling minor seconds in the winds and strings punctuate important harmonic areas.
In the trio, quotations from pop culture, along with important works of the symphonic repertoire, are juxtaposed in such a way that extremely serious works are treated with sarcastic responses from the more comical music.
When the scherzo returns, it copies the form but not the pitch material of the original scherzo. Through pitch-class multiplication and metric displacement, the scherzo is transformed. Elements from the trio interject, and the movement ends with a dissonant minor second.
A sustained pitch heard in the strings, and later in the winds is used as a refrain in the second movement. The second movement is a set of variations on a slow theme first presented as a bassoon duet. The combination of the slow theme and the sustained pitch results in a pointillistic coloring of the theme that creates the climax, resolving to the same minor second dissonance of the first movement.
The final movement is in sonata-allegro form. The main motive, a descending chromatic line, highlights the wide harmonic range of the movement. While the third movement relied on quotation to destabilize itself, the final movement recycles famous symphonic motives as structurally significant events within the movement.
Minor seconds dominate the piece both harmonically and melodically. This interval, though very basic, provides a special freedom and complexity. This complexity is explored as a tool for both destabilization and continuity throughout the piece.
Heinze, William, "Chamber Symphony" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 381.