Clive W. Kronenberg Leo Brouwers Elogio de La Danza 1964 Imprints of Dance Stravinsky and the Unison of Contraries the Musicology Review Issue 7
Análisis sobre Elogio de la danza de Leo Brouwer...
Leo Brouwer’s Elogio de la danza (1964): (1964): Imprints of Dance, Stravinsky, & the Unison of Contraries Contraries
Clive W. Kronenberg
Introduction: Introduction: Analytical Procedur Procedur e
An in-depth in-dept h academic scrutiny scr utiny of Elogio de la danza , Leo Brouwer‘s advanced solo guitar work composed close clos e on o n fifty years yea rs ago, a go, has remained remai ned relev rel evant ant for a number of rea r easo sons. ns. As a start, t he Cuban Cuba n artist is widely considered co nsidered as arguably arguab ly t he most mos t significa sig nificant nt living livi ng twentieth-century composer for the guitar.2 Linked to this, scholars of the guitar have praised the the work for varying, varyi ng, weighty weighty reasons reaso ns:: Elogio Elogi o de la danza must must be acknowledged as a one of the pieces - if not the piece-by piec e-by which 3 a soloist‘s s oloist‘s playing of Brouwer is judged.
This is one of the most playe played d of contemp contemporary orary guitar pieces, pieces, and a nd this fact makes this an 4 important important historical document.
Special thanks are due to Leo Brouwer, Nicole Prieme, Mario Fernandez, The Cuban Ministry of Culture, as well as the Research Directorate of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, for their kind assistance in brining this project to fruition. My appreciation especially goes to Emeritus Professor James May for his his pr p rofessional ofessional guidance guidance with the analytical analytical component of this this work. To my m y know know ledge, ledge, this is the first comprehensive analytical study of Elogio to appear in a musicological journal in Elogio de la la Danza to the English-speaking world. In this regard, the interest and support of the Editorial Board of Musicol Musicology ogy Review are highly valued. 2 See Rodolfo Betancourt, 'A Close Encounter with Leo Brouwer', http://www.musicwebinternational.com/brouwer/rodolfo.htm (1997), accessed 1st January 2000; Paul Century, ‗Idiom and Intellect: Stylistic Syntheses in the Solo Guitar Music of Leo Brouwer‘, Masters Thesis, (University of California at Santa Barbara, 1985); Colin Cooper, ‗A Meeting of Talents: John Williams Plays Leo Brouwer‘s 4th Concerto‘, Classical Guitar , (December 1988), 12-14; Armand Dumond, and F. Denis, ‗Entretiens avec Leo Brouwer‘. Les Cahiers de la Guitar , (4e trimester 1998), 12-20; Clive Kronenberg, Elogio de la danza .‘.‘ M.Mus. ‗Cuban Artist, Leo Brouwer and his Solo Guitar Works: From Pieza sin titulo to Elogio Thesis, Thesis, (South African African College of Music, Music, Universi University ty of Cape Town, Town, 2000); Clive Kronenberg, Kronenberg, ‗Guitar Composer Leo Brouwer: The Concept of a Universal Language‘. Tempo, (62) 245, (2008), 30-46; Constance McKenna, ‗An Interview with Leo Brouwer‘. Guitar Review , 75 (Fall1988), 10-16; Roberto Pinciroli, ‗Leo Brouwer‘s Works for Guitar Part 3‘, (trans l. P. Possiedi), Guitar Review , (Fall 1989); Kim Tran, Tran, ‗The ‗The Emergence of Leo Brouw Brouw er‘s Comp Composit osition ional al Periods. Periods. The The Guitar, Guitar, Experimental Experimental Leanin Leanings, gs, and and New Simplicity‘. Senior Honours Thesis, (Music Department Dartmouth College, 2007); Dean Suzuki, ‗The Solo Guitar Works of Leo Brouwer‘, Masters Thesis, (University of Southern California, 1981); Bryan Townsend, ‗The Music of Leo Brouwer for Guitar and Orchestra‘ , Guitar Review No. 98, (Summer, 1994). 3 Chris Kilvington, ‗Step by Step: An Analysis of the Techni ques Employed by both Hands in Six Bars of Elogio de la Danza Danza ‘,‘, Guitar Review (August 1995), 45. Leo Brouwer‘s Elogio 4 Cooper, ‗A Meeting of Talents‘, Talents‘, 43. 1
Notwithstanding Elo gio de la danza ‘s ‘s enduring prominence, musicological journals in the English-speaking world have yet to subject it to stringent, scholarly assessment. This, likewise, is reflective of the fact that such publications have rarely ventured into the general affairs of the instrument. Elogio de la quite surprisingly was was compos ed in a l a Danza Danza quite matter of one or two days only.5 This factor, naturally, may give rise to speculation about its artistic ‗worth‘. ‗worth‘. As A s such, an analytical scruti scruti ny should, to some degree, d egree, be able to delve into its underlying musical value, given its acclaimed standing in guitar literature. In view of these factors, and ot hers, hers, the analy a nalytical tical ins i nspection pection presented pr esented here is thus long overdue. o verdue. It is, however, however, largely larg ely guided by the creator‘s o wn thoughts on his masterpiece. During my conversation with the artist in early August 1998 at the Nürtingen Guitar Festival (Germa (Germa ny), ny), he expressed his views vie ws o n ‗Eulogy of the Dance‘ as follows: This is a piece everybody eve rybody has told me is obligatory. obligatory. There a re not many guitarists, guitarists, professional or not, who never played it. It is truly a success and has been employed in a number of choreographic interpretations. Since the early 1970s many recordings have been made of it. I composed the piece in one or two days, because it had to be recorded for TV for f or a forthcoming event. eve nt. A great grea t friend of mine, a chor c horeographer, eographer, had to arrange 6 his choreography with this music. The piece is in two movements because the choreographer wanted to pay homage to the Grand Adagio from classical ballet, and to Ballet Russess , including Stravinsky. That is why the second movement makes reference to this composer. As in most of my my works, I was guided by the law la w of opposites opposites - like man woman, day-night – so so the music is also composed in this sense. In terms of harmony, I tried to escape a stable sense of tonal awareness, so I avoided the continuity of tonality. I started very much with my feet on earth, but later I go flying a bit, a little dance-like with some atmosph at mosphere. ere.7
From Leo Brouwer‘s Brouwer‘s commentary here a few significant ‗topical‘ aspects emerge for analytical consideration. Among other possibilities, the following are chosen as the main points of referenc refere nce: e:
thoug h the work‘s work‘s intention or purpose is not in dispute, how compliant compliant is it Ballet : thoug with this t his art for m? How did the t he composer go about ab out creati cr eating ng the supporti supp orti ng pillars – ‗temperament‘ or ‗ambience‘ – for what really is intended as a dance presentation? nature of o f the composer‘s deviation deviatio n from from his Harmony and Tonality : what is the nature customary customary ‗stable ‗stable sense of tonal awareness awareness‘? ‘?
Clive Kronenberg, Audio & Digital Recordings of (1) Interviews conducted with Leo Brouwer, and (2) Leo Brouwer‘s Brouwer‘s Composition Classes, Nürtingen Guitar Festival, Germany, (August 1998). 6 Reference is made to the distinguished Cuban choreographer Louis Trapaga. 7 Kronenberg, Audio & Digital Recordings. 5
Stravinsky : as an explicit ‗tour de force‘ imported from beyond Cuba‘s borders, what musical qualities depict his prese nce in Elo gio de la danza ? 8 Law of opposites : in which manner is this unequivocally, self-professed p hilosophical goal (see below) manifested in the work? What are its roots? and what are its
implications for musical composition? These are among the main areas the analysis endeavours to address. 9 These are but broad points of reference which, furthermore, inevitably are not discussed in that order since individual aspects certainly intersect. The introductory section below inspects the work‘s formal structure and place within the artist‘s stylistic periods. Prior to this, the article briefly considers further essential matters, which, it is reasoned, may better explain the work‘s conceptual process. Hence, given the work‘s close association with ballet, the latter‘s idiosyncratic place in Cuba warrants some consideration. Further, Leo Brouwer‘s unwavering adoption and espousal of ‗the law of opposites‘ similarly calls for some prior contemplation. Cuban Ballet
Although details of the actual ballet productio n (particularly its styles and techniques) wherein Elogio de la danza had featured hav e been difficult to verify, the work‘s close association with the broader world of dance appears to have been a fairly natural occurrence, at least in Cuba. It was since the mid-1930s that Ballet Russes gained a firm footing in the country‘s performing arts tradition. 10 Following the initial visit and performances of the Ballet Russes de Montecarlo in 1936 in the capital Havana, the Ballet Russes de Basil landed there in the early 1940s after an extensive world tour. Its renowned Hungarian conductor Antal Dorati together with a number of the dancing cast chose to extend their stay indefinitely and was joined later by Cuba‘s best-known dancing personalities Fernando and Alicia Alonso. In later years the island‘s national dancing cast
Cuban Cultural Policy strongly advocates the ‗import‘ and employment of ‗cultural successes‘ from beyond the island‘s borders. See Clive Kronenberg, Manifestations of Humanism in Revolutionary Cuba: Che and the Principle of Universality, Latin American Perspectives , 165(36), (2009), 66-80; and Revolutionary Cuban Culture in Review: Theories, Tensions, Triumphs, and the Struggle for Universal Social Change, Critical Arts , 25(2), (2011), 141-163. 9 The music score used for this analysis is Leo Brouwer, Elogio de la Danza , (Mainz: Schotts Sohne, 1972). All musical examples appearing in the text are from this source. 10 Though Ballet Russes ‘s origins were in Russia, it never actually took off in that country itself. After the 1905 Revolution, its creator Diaghilev made Paris its home in 1909. This modern genre spread beyond the confines of the Parisian stage and performances and new developments took place across three continents. Consequently, its characteristics became as varied as was its audiences. Experiments in the Ballets Russess resulted in new ideas in the domains of theme, movement, set design, music, and costuming. Ideas frequently originated from artistic spheres other than dance, such as painting, avantgarde performance, and ‗new drama‘. (J. Gorman, and Chris Sippel, Ballet Russes , http://www.stanford.edu/~gfreidin/gallery/ballet_Russes , (n.d.), accessed 25 May 2011. 8
would be complemented by established internatio nal stars Tatiana Stepanova, Nina Stroganova, April Olrich, Carlota Pereyra, Kenneth MacKenzie, and Vladimir Dokoudovsky. After the demise of the Ballet Russes de Basil in the early 1950s the Ballet Russes de Montecarlo continued its activities there until 1962.11 The contentment and delight Ballet Russes brought in its wake among Cuba‘s dancing fraternity are amply portrayed in the memoirs of a retired prima ballerina: How can one not treasure the bold neoclassical choreographies of Fokine, the captivating symphonic ballets of Massine, the elegant scenic demeanor of Baronova, the technical virtuosity of Riabouchinska, the radiant warmth of Denisova, or the vibrant partnering of all those handsome men? 12
The revolutio n‘s cultural desk in 1961 re-established The Cuban National School of Ballet, with Alicia Alo nso tasked to ma nage and direct its teaching programme.13 Under the revolution emphasis seemed to have shifted to the expansion of classical ballet, which, though reasonably well developed by the late 1950s, predominantly served Cuba‘s higher classes. Despite severe economic restriction and hardship, under the rousing leadership of Alicia Alonso (currently the island‘s prima ballet assol uta ), the Cuban National School of Ballet to date has staged some of the world‘s greatest classical ballets, performed in some of the most famous theatres globally, and showcased the extraordinary skill of scores of international visiting figures.14 Leo Brouwer’s philosophical orientation
The composer‘s initial admiration and espousal of the avant garde 15 over time gave way to sober, critical reflection. 16 In later times he reasoned that the avant garde sought to communicate an ‗atomized, crisp and tensional language‘; that it suffered from a ‗defect‘ in terms of ‗compositional balance‘. 17 This idea, which flows from ‗the law of opposites‘, is present in ‗history‘, where ‗movement, tension, with its consequent rest and relaxation, exists within all circumstances of humankind‘. In basic terms, ‗if someone talks, the other listens; like day-night, man- woman‘, the composer clarifies. For him, then, the avant Célida Villalón, ‗The Other Ballet Russes: Let‘s Not Forget‘ (transl. Vivien Villalón), http://www.danzaballet.com.(2008), accessed 15 February 2011. 12 Célida Villalón, ‗The Other Ballet Russes‘. 13 Ramona De Sáa Bello (Director), Escuela Nacional de Ballet . Cuban National Ballet Company, Havana, Cuba, (2005). 14 De Sáa Bello (Director), Escuela Nacional de Ballet ; Kronenberg, Ph.D. Field Research, Havana, Cuba, (2005). 15 See Neil Leonard, Juan Blanco: Pioneer of New Music, Rhythm Music Magazine , (3)4, (April 1994), http://neilleonard.com/articles/blanco_rmm.htm , accessed 15 March 2011. 16 Betancourt, ' A Close Encounter‘. 17 This quotation and next, Betancourt, 'A Close Encounter'. 11
garde lacked the ‗relaxation‘ made necessary by all tensions. ‗The principle in general in my music‘, Brouwer says, is that the ‗law of opposites‘ manifests itself as ‗a ‗question and answer‘ – as ‗tension and resolution‘. In a creative sense, the artist initially applied it ‗unintentionally‘, and not ‗intellectually‘, since it is ‗organic‘. 18 As he reiterates, ‗there is no living entity that doesn't rest‘. 19 This philosophical-creative idea carries some weight, for as we shall see below, its ‗presence‘ is positively perceptible in Brouwer‘s 1964 solo guitar piece. The Style Factor
There has been some co ntention about which of t he composer‘s three g uitar styles Elo gio de la danza more appropriately belongs to.20 Markow contends that this work ‗straddles the division‘ between his first and second stylistic periods.21 Townsend, on the other hand, argues that Elo gio de la danza effectively launches Brouwer‘s second (atonal/avant ) period. 22 The position adopted here – that this is the artist‘s last solo guitar piece garde written in his first style – is based on Century‘s 1985 overview of Brouwer‘s general guitar works, Pinciroli‘s 1989 summary of the composer‘s three stylistic periods, 23 and an independent, in-depth examination of a wide range of Brouwer‘s guitar scores. 24 Fairly significant too during my conversation with Leo Brouwer, was his indication that Canticum para guitarra , his solo piece composed in 1968, in effect marks a decisive break from his initial, tonal writing phase. 25 As can readily be seen, the great impact of the 1961 Polish Warsaw Festival, for instance, is hardly perceptible in this piece. 26 Nonetheless, it is perceptible that the works following his ‗intellectual growth‘ at the Julliard School (US) and in Warsaw display a superior academic awareness of compositional practices in modern music. 27 Nonetheless, it is perceptible that the works following his ‗intellectual growth‘ at the Julliard School (US) and in Warsaw display a superior academic awareness
Kronenberg, Audio & Digital Recordings. Betancourt, 'A Close Encounter' 20 The three periods are roughly summarised as follows: The first, predominantly tonal period, 1956 – 1964; followed by the second from 1968 –1979, the composer‘s avant garde , primarily non-tonal style; and last, his current ‗neo-romantic‘ approach wherein limited avant garde elements are combined with a return to the tonal harmonic idiom. 21 P. Markow, Program Notes: Leo Brouwer Guitar Music Volume 1 , Perf. by Ricardo Cobo, Naxos: B0000014EJ, (1998). 22 Brain Townsend, The Music of Leo Brouwer, 22 – 27. 23 See Century, ‗Idiom and Intellect.; Roberto Pincirolli, Leo Brouwer‘s Works for Guitar Part 3, (trans. P.Possiedi). Guitar Review , (Fall 1989), 8-12. 24 Kronenberg, Cuban Artist Leo Brouwer. 25 Kronenberg, Audio & Digital Recordings. 26 Leo Brouwer was Cuba‘s representative at this historic festival, an experience tha t greatly influenced not only his own styles and techniques, but the development of the broader contemporary art music tradition of the island as a whole. 27 Kronenberg, Audio & Digital Recordings 18 19
of compositional practices in modern music.28 Elogio de la danza is in fact Brouwer‘s longest and most developed formally structured solo guitar work at the time. The work‘s uniqueness is portrayed particularly in the composer‘s imaginative fusion of traditional tonal structures with a range of modern techniques. Formal Structure Elogio dela danza is set in two contrasting movements of approximately equal duration, collectively spanning some six minutes. The profile of the first movement Lento is broadly A-B-C-A. Whereas each new section embodies an individual character, important
linkages and common features contribute to the movement‘s cohesion. On the face of it, the second movement Obstinato is structured in an A-B-C-A-B form. Viewed more globally, the familiar arch form A-B-A similarly surfaces (whereby the aforementioned AB simultaneously constitutes A, and C becomes B). A detailed scrutiny of this movement follows the discussions on Lento below. 1ST Movement: Lento Section A: bars 1-9 From the outset the work employs pedals, a feature characterising many of Brouwer‘s earlier works, and notably his three miniature sketches, Tres apuntes (1959).
In Elogio de la Danza pedals are brought into operation either through obvious usage or indirect suggestion. The initial pedals are announced on the low E, which also launches the tonic throughout much of the work. From early in the ensuing section the previously established B – announced initially in the opening chord and later sounded as harmonics in bar 8 – now takes on the role of pedal. However, the formerly sounded Es still resonate which are now articulated within broken chordal figurations (bars 10 onwards). Brouwer‘s explicit intention to deviate from the tonal convention is manifested on a number of fronts. Besides the obvious sounding of clashing intervals, he skilfully creates important harmonic associations and linkages, both within, and across, the two movements. The opening E bass, followed by the upper level pitches F#-A#-B-D-C#, asserts itself as the primary cell of the work overall ( Fig. X ). This statement remains static for the first four bars as the high C# articulates an irregular rhythmic figure. A closer scrutiny of this unit reveals a mildly dissonant, six-note arpeggiated chord, extending from the guitar‘s lowest pitch, E (open 6th string) to C#, two octaves plus a major 6th above (1st string, 9th position). Though many permutations can be derived from the cell, as the music progresses and develops, intervals of thirds, tri-tones, 7ths, as In 1959 the Cuban government sponsored the artist to pursue studies in composition at the Julliard School in New York and later at the Hartt College in Connecticut. 28
well as the cell‘s rising conto ur, emerge as t he work‘s key building blocks. The distinctive arrangement of thirds in large measure determines the work‘s bi-tonal harmony, which becomes prominent from time to time. In effect, with the E bass the music announces the first tri-tone with the sounding of A#, whereas the combination of thirds results in the possible merger of F# major and B minor (see Fig. X ). The fusion of major and minor – albeit horizontally – is implicit in the melodic contour of bar 7 where the pitch descent generates interlocking major and minor thirds (B – G, A#-G; see Fig. 1 ). As can be discerned, this austere blending later asserts itself as a further underlying attribute of the piece. The brief G pedal in bar 7 copies the latter part of the irregular rhythm from bar 4; thereafter it rises a major third, to B, thus establishing the ‗new‘ pedal, albeit fleetingly.
FIG. X. The work’s ‘Cell’, announced in the opening bars of Elogio de la danza
FIG. 1. Bars 5 -7. Interlocking major /minor thirds, tri -tones, a nd escalating sevenths
Besides the opening cell containing several 7ths of varying dissonance, this interval becomes isolated, and hence highlighted – melodically and rhythmically – in later bars. Bar 5, however, exhibits a rising major second (notated as diminished third), a falling minor second, introducing, further, the declining tri-tone (see Fig. 1 ). As the second statement varies the first interval, which now becomes a minor third, the third statement is an exact copy of the first, sounded a major sixth down. Following this are downward leaps on major sevenths which, in turn, expand into rising sevenths, escalating in perfect fourths (Bb -E b, Ab-Db, noted as C#). The initial two sevenths emphasise the tri-tone with the sounding of fourth chords, while the minor seve nths, in turn, yield chords incorporating perfect fourths (see Fig. 1 ). This neo-classical resonance i n part can also be associated with the natural sounds of the guitar, a further feature that arises now and 51
again. Section B: bars 10-24
This section retains the B pedal in the top voice in bars 10-15, emphasising each beat until bar 14. The accompaniment is at first based on the perfect-fourth chord E-A – D-GC (bar 6 onwards), thus re-evoking the sounds of open guitar strings, the bottom four in this case. Bar 12 continues the white-note announcements from the previous two bars, later calling to mind earlier tonal conflicts (bars 1, 5 and 6) with the sounding of the two tri-tones, Ab-D, and C-Gb. Bars 13 onwards draw chiefly from previously introduced material, thus repeating, expanding, as well as manipulating earlier announcements. More pronounced from bar 21 onwards, is t he linkage of major and minor, which now recalls G# (notated as Ab )-GE from bars 17 and 20. Besides the dominant presence of the aforementioned intervals, the work is replete with 6ths, 5ths, 4ths, and 2nds, all of which are announced in quick succession right from the start (see Fig. X ). In bar 21 the E pedal of the opening re-emerges, and following, is a repeated four-note cluster ordered on the rhythm introduced in bar 4. Incorporated in this cluster are two thirds (minor and major), set a minor second apart (see Fig. 2 ). Pitches B-D are sounded at their original registers ( Fig. X ) and added are pitches C and E, with the latter pitch doubling the pedal two octaves higher. Of some significance, all of these pitches can be extracted from the arpeggiated figures from bar 10.
FIG. 2. Bar s 19-22. Fo ur-note clusters incorporating major and minor thirds.
Bar 23 interchanges the minor/major thirds, thus generating greater tonal conflicts. The cluster now comprises a major third coupled with a minor third, set a major second apart (B-D# and C#-E). Bar 25 transforms this concept when C# is reinstated an octave below and E doubled one octave down as well. Thus two major thirds are generated, set a major seventh apart (C-E, B-D#). Section C: bars 25-44
The low E pedal makes a rhythmically gripping return in Allegro moderato, thereby elevating the harmonic focal point of the work. Bar 26 diverges with the initiatio n of a 52
single-voiced melodic statement in regular eighth notes (12/8) in the lower register. This appears to be set in E minor. Prominent here, again, are melodic thirds (also stated as sixths), t hus preserving their earlier significance. Bar 28 presents an escalating curve, strongly reminiscent of the opening of the work. Whereas this mounting figure recalls pitches F#, B, D and C# from Fig. X, the addition of pitches A and G reinforces the bi-tonal/major-minor harmonic effect, in this instance, the combination of F# minor and G major. Bar 33 is answered by bar 34 recalling pitches A#, B and F# from Fig. X. The reiteration of the latter two pitches highlights their link with the opening chord. Important duplications of previous, disti nguishing segments occur i n bars 33 -43. Substantially structural, these repetitions retract (1) the E pedal (2) the rising figure from bar 33, and (3) pitches A#-B-F# from Fig. X. The musical design (bars 33-43) as a result generates the following irregular pattern: 1-2-3, 1-3, 2-3, 1-3, 2-3 ( Fig. 3 ). (Note that this unbalanced design contains five parts, of which their total compo nents equal 11).
FIG. 3. Bar s 31-44. Retraction, rearr angement, and amalga mation of preceding material.
Section A (Returns)
Reinstating the initial tempo ( Lento ), bar 45 also copies the opening announcement. Here the low E pedal is retained and most of Fig. X is now sounded a major or minor third lower. At the same time synchronized minor and major thirds (set a minor second apart) are embedded in the score once more (bar 45). 53
With slig ht rhythmic modifi cation, bars 51 -54 restate Fig. X three times. The unchanging harmony yet again is counterbalanced with soaring C#s, which, in this instance, acquire greater prominence in the absence of the usual pedal. This pitch plays an essential role in both lingering and ultimately concluding the delicate flow of the movement‘s last bars. *** What emerge predominantly thus far, are (1) the proclamatio n of a primary cell, which sets the foundation for the creation of (2) erratic, dissonant, and often elevated melodic material, (3) clashing intervallic elements, (3) jarring bi-tonal harmonies habitually based on the fusion of major and minor chords, and (4) chords composed of 4ths, including ‗elite‘ tri-tones, as well as perfect 4ths. The latter intervals, quite evidently, suitably echo the arrangement of the guitar‘s open strings. The emerg ence of an unequivocally atonal harmonic design, however, is offset fundamentally by the incorporation of an allimportant pedal. Launching itself from the instrument‘s open bass string, it also marks its presence in the music‘s higher register and sometimes merely as a recollection from earlier passages. In terms of its intended purpose, the movement appears to make a determined attempt to create the basic temperaments conducive to the more ceremonial, classical style of ballet (discussed below). 2ND Movement: Obstinato Section A: bars 1-16 As can be expected, this moveme nt‘s primary structural feature is an ostinato, which is exhibited in different ways. On the one hand, the ostinato is projected on repeated rhythmic a nd melodic figures ( Fig. 4 ).
FIG. 4. Opening bars of Obstinato . Note the composer’s use of bi -tonality (E maj./min.), and the incorporation clashing, parallel bi-tonal clu sters.
On the other hand, the E pedal once more is prominent, often sustaining, elevating, or launching the ostinato element. The pedal makes a perceptive return after being ‗absent‘, both periodically, as well as in extended sections in the previous movement (see the closing section of the first movement, for example). R hythmically it is now more defined and commanding, whilst harmonically its tonic status, equally, assumes greater authority. Bars 1-3 sound the pedal in the bass as the upper voices herald in the major/minor permutation, set on the customary E. Announcing a distinguishing, expanding driving 54
beat, furthermore incorporating four-note parallel clusters in triplets, these permutations are sounded both harmonically, as dyads of sixths (B-G and G#-E), and melodically, as thirds (G-E and G#-B, see Fig. 4 ).
FIG. 5. Sequential interface between F# m aj./min. and D maj ./min. in the upper register.
The two harmonic dyads yield the quartad G#-B-E-G, which also contains the nowfamiliar seventh (see Fig. X: D-C#). The initial major/minor variation resurfaces sequentially, first on F# (bars 7 & 8), then on D (bar 9 onwards, Fig. 5). The primary E tonality subtly reappears prior to t he bar of silence that closes this section. Section B: bars 17-61 Bars 17-61 re-employ the accustomed E major/minor procedure from earlier. Prior to the reappearance of the pedal, a well-defined minor second cadential figure (A#-B-A#-B) is announced, culminating directly in the low E ( Fig. 6 ). This feature is employed a number of times in this section (see bars 17, 18, 21, 22, 38, 39, etc.) and its pitches, likewise, make their original appearance (though in higher register) in the work‘s preliminary stateme nt (see Fig. X ).
FIG.6 .Bars 17-21. Cadential figure culminating on E min/maj. & the sounding of transparent major harmony
Quite novel, however, is that Brouwer, for the first time in the piece, introduces clear, traditionally tonal harmony. Conspicuous then are the unambiguous, uncomplicated E major chords sounded in bars 20-21, and again in bars 41-42 ( Fig. 6 ). These unadorned concords linger across bar lines after having stabilised cadential imbalances. The latter are generated by the combination of thirds now sounding t he hitherto rare diminished chord 55
[C#-E-(G)-Bb ]. Additionally, D major triads reinstate the major tonality in bars 35 onwards. Here the E pedal resurfaces in the lower register, thus generating a more delicate discord. Texturally, Brouwer also displays his partiality towards a contrapuntal style of writing, which is manifested in bar 28 onwards, and more demonstratively, in his early solo work, Fuga No. 1 (1958).
FIG. 7. Bar s 56-58. Glissando figure, fusion of the openings of both movements.
The arrangement of the upper melodic pitches G a nd A (bars 19 -20) recollects the major seventh from Fig. X. Following the single statement of the A#-B-E figure, bars 53-55 isolate the melody from bars 23-24, with E sounded an octave lower. The openings of both movements are thus juxtaposed and arranged paradoxically as a falling figure, expiring on low E (see the glissando, bars 56-57, Fig. 7 ). Here the composer resourcefully brings together pitches A#-F#-B (from the opening Lento, which therefore also includes the A#-B-A#-B element from the start of this section) with the G#-B combination from the opening of the Obstinato ( Fig. 7 ). All of these share the E pedal. Note that the performer is instructed to let these notes vibrate across the bar line (l.v.). At this point in the music the solitary and prolonged E reinforces the tonality of t he work. Section C: bars 62-92 This section presents several punctuations structured on previ ous disso nances, but now additionally incorporating C major, (see bars 62 onwards, Fig. 8 ). The consequential austerity is made quite prominent as it is announced on harsh, piercing rasguedos .
FIG. 8. Bar s 62-64. Combination of harmonies built on the pitches of the C m ajor chord.
Bars 62 and beyond verticalize the pitches from bar 1 (2nd Movement) at their initial 56
register. The addition of the C pitch intensifies the work‘s erratic bi-tonal character, elevating in the process the proverbial interval of the third. This chord yields three major thirds, built on each of the notes of the C major triad, plus two minor thirds (C -E, E-G#, G-B and E-G, G#-B, see Fig. 8 ).29 At bar 65 the melodic notes from bars 23-24 resurface, whereas the chordal figure from bar 62 is restated in bars 71-76. In addition, the offbeat rhythmic texture from earlier is copied. The melodic announcement in bar 77 calls back interlocking major and minor thirds, as well as the peculiar tri-tone, sounded in succession on F#-C (bar 77), C#-F (bar 78) and D#-A (bars 78-79) ( Fig. 9 ). Wherea s bars 80-82 emphasise this aspect with C-F# featuring three times an octave higher, interconnected major and minor thirds in the melodic line once more drive the work‘s projected bi-tonal asceticism (see C# -F-E, bar 78; Bb -D-Db; A-Db, bar 79; etc.).
FIG. 9. Bar s 74-86. Promin ence of t he tri-to ne and return of interlocking major/minor thirds.
The end of this sectio n sees the music recalling sectio n A with slig ht modification. Section B: bars 109-131
FIG. 10. Closing of Elogio de la danza
The return of the B-section mostly repeats previo usly introduced material. (Bars 109 to Alternately, this cluster could be construed as combining C major, E major, and E minor..
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to the opening. The movement dissipates as remnants of the opening cell are repeated three times, each articulated progressively quieter, finally transpiring on morendo and ppp. In this respect, numerous, carefully-positioned expressive markings enhance the movement‘s intended theatrical/balletic spirit, something the composer clearly was mindful o f.34 Elogio de la danza ‘s endorsement of suitable, poignant dance temperaments35 is sustained furthermore by multiple metric variations located throughout the work. This creative approach likewise contributes to work‘s broad, dance-like nature. In the opening movement Lento the initial indication is ¾, followed by ¼ (bar 12), with a reversion to ¾ in the following bar. 3/8 (bar 15) is followed by 4/4 in the following bar, etc. Entangled in these irregular metric settings and changes, are returning melodic motifs, broken
chordal articulations, as well as notated bars of silence (discussed below). II: Dissonance and Turmoil The broader nature of Diaghilev‘s inspired Ballet Russes indicates that, in its departure from tradition - long and graceful lines, dazzling feet movement, body raised, etc. – performers‘ limbs were more frequently sharply bent, movement occurred more from the pelvis than feet, and body components tended to proceed inward, no longer primarily outward. Whereas general physical activity became more ‗pulled down‘, deviating from customary upward movement, dancing steps became strong and heavy, no longer mainly feathery and light. 36 Creators and performers of Ballet Russes at times also focused on the ‗grotesque‘, not merely the elegant. As a result, on occasion the music would emulate scenes of pagan violence a nd primitivism, 37 as so remarkably portrayed in Stravinsky‘s Sacre du printemps . As noted, reports of Elogio de la danza ‘s f irst performance - as part of a ballet production have been hard to come by. Gaining insight into the nature and character of Cubans‘ interpretation of Ballet Russes , in itself, has been near fruitless. In his review of Cuba‘s National Ballet School‘s recent production of Swan Lake Macaulay concludes that the impact of Ballet Russes has been fairly decisive. The reviewer observes that many of its features have prevailed, even in a ‗classical‘ work like Swan Lake . 38 Macaulay‘s report is See Warren, Classical Bal let ; Fig’s 1,2, 3, 4, etc.). See Grant, Technical Manuel. 36 Peter Lieven, The Birth of the Ballets Russes , (Dover Publications: New York, 1963); Lynn Garafola, Diaghilev's Ballets Russess , (Oxford University Press: Oxford,1989). 37 Gorman and Chris Sippel, Ballet Russes; Russian Ballet History Collection (RBHC), Diahilev‘s Ballet Russes 1909-1929, http://www.russianballethistory.com/ (2011), accessed 15 May 2011. 38 Alistrair Macauly, ‗Cuban Company Taking on Its Traditions and Ballet‘, Cuba Headlines , http://www.cubaheadlines.com/2010/04/05/20983/a_cuban_company_taking_its_traditions_and_balle 34 35
both interesting and helpful since it offers a glimpse into the style and techniques implicit in the ballet Elogio de la danza consciously was created for. Here‘s an extract from Macaulay‘s review and towards aiding the reader, some of the more pertinent points are emphasised. The main impression left by the Friday-evening performance was that of a lively but old- fashioned provincial troupe. In most respects the work is Havana-accented Russian : half old Soviet, half touring Ballet Russess . The women mostly avoided high extensions of the leg…. the swan-maidens of Act II looked alternately mechanical or martial … [performers‘] hands made heavily angled effects that didn’t continue the body’s line into space . The feet weren’t elegan t, but the footwork was brisk... the swan-maidens were solemnly regimented [;] they pranced in very emphatic clip-clop steps , hold[ing] a static balance on point…. There were several good signs of fluidity and freedom but often there was an inexpressive stiffness . 39
As a start, Obstinato follows the 1st movement without pause, with the music springing to life with (its) forward-moving rhythms, off-beat accents, percussive dissonance, and tonal clashes. Here Cuban and at times Spanish elements emerge. The previously established low E pedal is retained and its pulse is now more definitive and pointed. The periodic sounding of sixths in the upper register further determines the movement‘s more dancelike texture. Substantial use is made of staccato on distinctly repeated motifs which, in tur n, are sounded within altered harmonic and melodic textures. This transformation fully contributes to this movements‘ dissimilar, stricter structure, compared to the initial unrestrained one. It is perceptible that the composer was alert to this ballet genre‘s preference for music that supports arm and hand movements no longer purely refined, footwork that is vigorous, or body motions portraying solemnity and sometimes strict discipline.40 In reality, with its ‗strict time‘ the opening of Obstinato immediately conjures up imaginings of a military sequence, where ‗fluidity and freedom‘ are kept in c heck, a nd ‗heavily angled‘ limb movement is assuredly not conducive to ‗high leg extensions‘. Harmonically, this movement elevates and punctuates decidedly non-diatonic sounds, which in turn underpin the rhythmic disorder that prevails later in the piece. The cadential motif in Vivace , the second part of this movement, is followed by announcements in the higher register reiterating the movement‘s implied non-tonal/bitonal character. The composer‘s persistent application of harmonic conflicts cleverly conceals the possible presence of familiar national features, save for the unusual rhythmic
t.html, (05 May 2010) originally published in The New York Times , Accessed 15 May 2011. 39 Macauly, ‗Cuban Company‘, emphasis added. 40 See Lieven, The Birth of Ballet Russes; Garafola, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Gorman and Sippel, Ballet Russes; RBHC, Diahilev‘s Ballet Russes. 60
arrangements in later bars. 41 To add to the rising turmoil Obstinato similarly is saturated with metre changes. The composer‘s early association with the flamenco guitarra is made prominent when yet further timbral effects are introduced.42 Following the glissando (bar 56), the climatic development is greatly enhanced by the sounding of rasgueados and golpes , (the latter percussive effect having already been introduced in bars 17, 18, etc.). Here the golpe creates not only an additional timbral effect, but an innovative percussive result. The golpe moreover alternates with the rasguedos, arguably the most dynamic guitaristic device (bar 62 onwards, see Fig’s. 6, 8 & 10 ). With the single voice incorporating pizzicato, staccato, sul ponticallo and metalico (bar 65 onwards), it fully augments the ‗dance sensation‘ generated in the movement. Inducing ‗emotion‘ and ‗passion‘, is the frequently rising contour of the melodic motifs. Apart though from bar 5, where the melodic outline noticeably progresses downwards, the composer deliberately intensifies the music‘s dramatic content through successive use of soaring pitch material. *** It is fair to conclude that Leo Brouwer consciously and imaginatively endeavoured to invent the supporting pillars requisite for two diverging dancing styles. The two movements readily illustrate how the ―law of opposites‖ is manifested both periodically – within each of the movements, and more conspicuously – across the movements, as two entities standing in stark contrast to each other (discussed below). In sum, the fact that the concert guitar served as compendium for a number of divergent artistic aims does not refute the view that an orchestral setting may have produced a greater impact. An informed listening of this work unhesitatingly conjures up the sounds, tones, images, textures, and colours of the symphony orchestra, only now reduced to a fairly delicate woode n instrument bearing half a dozen stri ngs.43
de la danza features, among others, the two familiar Afro-Cuban rhythmic figures, the cinquillo and the tressilo (5 and 3 syncopated beats respectively). See especially the lower register notes of the Vivace section of the 2 nd Movement. 42 In his teens Brouwer initially was drawn to the flamenco guitarra , a style he subsequently ‗relinquished‘ after coming into contact with the famous Cuban concert guitarist/tutor Isaac Nicola, who then became his guitar teacher. 43 In this regard, interested readers (unfamiliar with the work) can view and listen to the celebrated Mexican concert guitarist Aristides Labadie‘s memorable p erformance of Elogio de la danza at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cd4Fohb7JKM , accessed 15 May 2011. 41 Elogio
Tension & Resolution A mere, ‗cold‘, visual scrutiny of the score instantly conveys an aura of ‗tension and resolution‘ in Elogio de la danza . Furthermore, a sole auditory encounter (such as a concert performance), or even a graphic (technical) depiction of the frequency generated by fluctuating pitch material, will readily confirm the ‗philosophy‘ underpinning the composer‘s craft. There are, however, instances where this concept appears more complex and/or purposely masked. Beyond the artist‘s synthesis of notable conflicting structures, large-scale harmonic associations seem to exemplify the notio n of ‗tension and resolution‘ (see 1 st Movement). The periodic points of stasis, for example, are connected by the major third. Thus C# (bar 4) is followed by repeated A‘s (its major third down displaced an octave), whereas the recurring high Gs (bar 7) are followed by both the raised and downward displaced major third, B. On the other hand, these ‗moments of repose‘ could allude to t he open guitar strings. Note that the introduction – which already marks a point of stasis – sounds repeated Es, followed by recurring pitches on A (bars 5 and 6), G (bar 7), and B (bar 8 onwards), the only ‗discrepancy‘ being the repeated C#s from earlier (bar 4). Imprints of Stravinsky With Elogio de la danza, Brouwer, like Stravinsky, and indeed Schoenberg and others before him, recognised that to sustain musical movement (compliant with dance genres, in this case) an escalation in chromatic variation was entirely mandatory. It was primarily with his use of chromaticism that the Russian composer (Brouwer‘s prime guiding force, in this instance) succeeded in loosening the constraints of traditional, diatonic harmony. On the other hand, with The Rite of Spring Stravinsky displayed with relentless vigour that rhythm could be a new energy-infused stimulus. In that work‘s last movement ‗Sacrificial Dance‘ the all-important ‗cell‘ offers the basis for the music to proceed. Under Stravinsky, furthermore, the cell became subjected to reiteration, transformation, and interjection, all of which demanded recurrent amendments in time signature. Thus the traditional regulation of the bar line became ‗destroyed‘ by the music continuing without a clearly discernible metre. 44 Notwithstanding his employment of various metric indications, it appears that Brouwer certainly aspired to liberate guitar music from the ‗tyranny‘ of the bar line. Hence the regularity of constant two-or three-unit groups, or traditional strong and weak accents, are not an overriding factor in Elogio de la danza . In Petrushka Stravinsky shifted focus from the ‗cell‘ to ostinato, 45 the leading device used in See Donald Grout, A History of Western Music . (rev. ed.), (Dent & Sons: London, 1973); Paul Giffiths, Modern Music: A Concise History, (Thames and Hudson: New York, 1994); Pieter Van der Toorn, Stravinsky Re-barred, Music Analysis , (7)2, (July 1988), 165-195. 45 See Anne Elizabeth Alwin, Ostinato in Selected Works of Stravinsky, Masters of Music, (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1988). 44
the second movement of Brouwer‘s piece. Another novel category in Stravi nsky‘s rhythm is his exploitatio n of sile nces. He used this device multifariously, to create ‗a lift between chords, as a breath on the downbeat before the onslaught of a new phrase, and sometimes merely as a rhetorical pause to add to the build up in tension‘.46 In Elogio de la danza this device first appears towards the close of the B section of the first movement, where f , markato, followed by a rising crescendo, is designated. The placement of the bar of silence here visibly contributes to the music‘s accumulation of tension. Following the hush, the dramatic ethos continues somewhat paradoxically, as though no interruption had occurred at all. At the close of the C-section (1st movement) pp > ppp is designated, and here the bar of silence takes on an entirely different guise. The purpose of this ‗void‘, clearly, is not only to emulate the real disappearance of the music at this point, but to create some sense of anticipation of what is to follow – the hesitant, discreet opening bars of the 1st movement. A bar of silence returns at the end of the 2nd movement‘s A section. Here the device is abruptly inflicted upon escalating four-note, clashing parallel clusters. Only this time the music does not return to its formerly subdued state as yet another flurry of striking rhythms and timbres follows in pursuit. Unison of Contraries In purely philosophical terms it is not too much to presume that Leo Brouwer, a selfproclaimed, committed Marxist, 47 may have been guided by the premise that everything can be rationalized by one article – matter. 48 Operating from this standpoint, Marxist thinkers endeavoured to probe into such fundamental questions as the origin of life, of species, and of the consciousness of mind. 49 Marx and Engels sought to answer these questions with a number of laws, of which the ‗law of opposites‘ features significantly. They proceeded from the perspec tive that everything in existence is but a permutation or unanimity of opposites.50 Accordingly, Marxist traditions have come to profess that Grout, A History of Western Music 47 Paul Century, ‗The Principles of Pitch Organization in Leo Brouwer‘s Atonal Music for Guitar‘, Ph.D. Dissertation, (University of California at Santa Barbara, 1991); Kronenberg: Audio & Digital Recordings; Cuban Artist Leo Brouwer; Ph.D. Field Research Havana; Tran, The Emergence of Leo Brouwer‘s Compositional Periods. 48 See Eberhard Conze , An Introduction to Dialectical Materialism , (NCLC Publishing Society Ltd: London, 1936); Anton Pannekoek, ‗Anthropogenesis: A Study in the Origin of Man.‘ http://www.marxists.org/archive/pannekoe/1944/anthropogenesis.htm , accessed 20 January 2010; and David Hall, The Law of Opposites. http://www.davehall.force9.co.uk/contemps/contemp1.htm , (1998), accessed 20 January 2010. 49 This notwithstanding, the humanist philosophical tradition of Marxist thought appears more pronounced and prevalent in contemporary revolutionary Cuban circles (see Kronenberg, Manifestations of Humanism in Revolutionary Cuba). 50 For example, atoms consist of protons and electrons which are unified but are ultimately contraditory forces. Even humans, through self-reflection, are a union of contradictory qualities - masculine and 46
everything contains two mutually incompatible and exclusive, but nevertheless equally essential and vital parts or aspects. The basic concept is that this ‗unison of contraries‘ presents continual incentive for ‘movement and change’ , an idea taken from Hegel who rationalised that contradiction in nature is the root of all motion and of all life . Marx and Engels ultimately saw this law as one of the keystones for the discovery of the origin, development, and destiny of all humanity, previously seen and still seen by many as life‘s greatest mystery of all. 51
feminine, selfishness and philanthropy, humbleness and pride, etc., an observation Brouwer repeatedly turns to. 51 Conze, An Introduction to Dialectical Materialism , Pannekoek, ‗Anthropogenesis‘. 64