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Moods in modal Modules

Classical/Chamber music • 2018 • Alternative Title: Rhapsody for Brass Instruments and Percussion
 
     
 

Moods in modal Modules

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PDF, 1.75 Mb ID: SM-000344754 Upload date: 02 Dec 2018
Instrumentation
Horn, Trombone, Trumpet, Tuba, Tubular Bells, Snare drum, Marimba, Timpani, Cymbals, Tam-tam
Scored for
Wind ensemble
Type of score
Full score
Movement(s)
1 to 1 from 1
Difficulty
Difficult
Duration
14'30
The idea to the piece derives from two basic thoughts:
On the one hand the plan to write a piece that doesn’t follow a straight teleological path but works with skittish, disjoint, almost movie-like cuts between characteristically distinct modules which collide, interrupt each other and yet are able to add up to a comprehensible dramatic development. Models for such techniques one can find in the music of Igor Stravinsky or Aaron Copland or other composers the like.
On the other hand the distinct tonal colors of the different modes in the major scale.
Modal scales are scales that differ from the usual and widely spread major or minor scale due to the various settings of whole tone and semitone steps−and sometimes leaps. This piece is not so much dealing with the modes as a historic phenomenon from the age of Renaissance but more with certain typical characterizations of sound (you may also call them clichés) that are often associated with the traditional modal scales through the way they are implied in Jazz, Pop Music and film music. At the beginning of the piece the four basic modes−Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian and Mixolydian−are brought into some interaction with each other. Then they are incrementally confronted with other modes like the whole tone, the chromatic, Locrian, Japanese pentatonic, Chinese pentatonic and finally the so-called harmonic scale, a major scale with a sharp 4 and flat 7.
The process of composition appeared to be not really unproblematic. It took me a while to develop a dramaturgy that works, that−despite of the volatility and the cuts between the single modules−manages to produce formal unity. Finally I succeeded (or at least I hope that I did) by telling some kind of story within the changes of the modules. The main color of the piece is the Dorian mode. It is being presented in a somewhat knightly manner. One may think of a figure like Don Quixote, because this knight is only seemingly such a stable hero as the dorian theme suggests. He’s being driven back and forth by different moods in his mind: There is on the one hand his adventurism, musically characterized through the Lydian mode, which is often used in this sense in film music. On the other hand he’s inclined to sadness and melancholy, tearing his spirits down through the depressed Phrygian mode. Then again one can hear him being chilled with the composure of the Mixolydian mode. In the opening section of the composition these four basic characters interchange with each other with sometimes the adventurism being on the front, sometimes the depression, sometimes the serenity. During the entire first section, only the stem tones of the white keyboard keys are used without any chromatic alteration. In the middle part other colors are being mixed in which chromaticize and weaken especially the Dorian main color. Driven and goaded by the adventurous Lydian mode the dorian knightly theme is being led into crisis and catastrophe, in which the ‚hero‘ of the piece seems to be totally broken. Dark and dooming ‚passing bells‘(in Japanese pentatonic mode) seem to toll to his passing away, a very hopeless passage in the Locrian mode (Phrygian with a diminished 5) threatens to let the piece be ended in a most black and negative mood. But then−with the more optimistic Chinese pentatonic scale−suddenly we hear the ringing of bells, which call the knight back into life and let resurrect his seemingly extinct spirit and adventurism.
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