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The Twelve-Tone Music of Luigi Dallapiccola

The Twelve-Tone Music of Luigi Dallapiccola

Brian Alegant
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    The Twelve-Tone Music of Luigi Dallapiccola
    Book Description:

    Luigi Dallapiccola was one of twentieth century's most accomplished and admired composers. His music incorporated many of the twelve-tone techniques developed by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, and Anton von Webern, but blended their expressionistic impulses with an Italianate sense of lyricism. Brian Alegant's The Twelve-Tone Music of Luigi Dallapiccola traces the evolution of Dallapiccola's compositional technique over a thirty-year period (1942-74). Using both historical and music-analytical lenses, this book documents the influences of Webern and Schoenberg, highlights Dallapiccola's innovative handling of harmony, form, and text setting, and sheds light on several works that have been virtually ignored. Alegant's book will be a crucial source of insights for scholars and other readers interested in twentieth-century music. Brian Alegant is Professor of Music Theory at the Oberlin College Conservatory.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-760-5
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Most scholars would agree that twelve-tone composition is among the most important musical developments of the twentieth century. Evan a partial list of twentieth-century composers who embraced or experimented with serial procedures would be staggering, and would include such names as Babbitt, Barber, Bartók, Berg, Boulez, Britten, Carter, Crawford, Ligeti, Lutoslawski, Mamloc, Martino, Mead, Morris, Nono, Perle, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Sessions, Schnittke, Skalkattos, Stockhausen, Stravinsky, Webern, and Wuorinen. Most scholars would also agree that Luigi Dallapiccola (1904–75) is among the most accomplished and admired serial composers. His output includes ballets, choral music, concertos, film scores, piano pieces, song cycles, orchestral...

  5. Part One: Dallapiccola’s Serial Odyssey, 1942–1972

    • Chapter One On the Twelve-Tone Road (1942–1950)
      (pp. 9-28)

      Much has been written about Luigi Dallapiccola’s acquisition of the twelvetone method. The composer, in his writings, frequently lamented the fact that he had had no direct study with any of the “masters,” and that his knowledge of the twelve-tone technique came only through “long and careful” study of the music of Webern and Schoenberg.¹ Some musicologists, such as Christopher Wilkinson, deny the influence of Webern altogether; others, like Giordano Montecchi, argue that Dallapiccola was predisposed to formal rigor and intricate counterpoint long before he embraced the twelve-tone system, and that he came independently to Webernian features.² Michael Eckert asserts...

    • Chapter Two Aphorism and the Appropriation of Webernian Techniques (1950–1955)
      (pp. 29-46)

      This chapter reviews and documents the appropriation of Webernian and Schoenbergian procedures in Dallapiccola’s second serial phase. I asserted in the previous chapter that this phase is demarcated by the second and thirdtonal translations, Tartiniana(1951) andTartiana seconda(1956). Its works include theQuaderno musicale di Annalibera,for piano, and its orchestral arrangement, theVariations for Orchestra; Canti di liberazione,for chorus and orchestra;Goethe-Lieder,for mezzo-soprano and clarinet trio;Piccola musica notturna,for orchestra; andAn Mathilde,a cantata for soprano and orchestra.¹ With the exception ofAn Mathilde,these works are well known to scholars and...

    • Chapter Three The Apex of the Schoenbergian and Webernian Influence (1956–1960)
      (pp. 47-83)

      The compositions of phase 3 could hardly contrast more with those of the previous period. As a whole, these works are not well known, though they arguably represent the most fertile period in Dallapiccola’s development.¹ In general, they are more complex formally, more intricate rhythmically, and more expansive in size and scope. They are also more rigorous, more dramatic in terms of expression, and more variegated in their confi gurations and textures. Most important, they demonstrate a complete absorption of Webernian techniques, an increased reliance on Schoenbergian techniques, and several rhythmic and timbral innovations that have no precedents in the...

    • Chapter Four Consolidation and Synthesis (1960–1972)
      (pp. 84-106)

      I have argued in the previous chapters that the starting and ending points for the first three phases are delineated bytonal translations,and that each phase begins with a flurry of compositional activity and exploration. I have also asserted that the works of each phase are relatively homogenous with respect to their procedures, formal attributes, organizational principles, and soundscapes. But some factors make it difficult to pinpoint a starting date for the fourth phase, afterDialoghi.One is that there is no fourthtonal translation;another is the fact that the compositions of this period are less homogenous than...

  6. Part Two: More Detailed Analyses

    • Chapter Five Dallapiccola’s Idiosyncratic Approach to “Octatonic Serialism”
      (pp. 109-154)

      Octatonic collections appear in the works of many twentieth-century composers. Even a partial list of composers who use octatonic collections would include Samuel Barber, Bela Bartók, Ernest Bloch, Benjamin Britten, George Crumb, Claude Debussy, Irving Fine, Ross Lee Finney, Alberto Ginastera, John Harbison, Aram Khatchaturian, Witold Lutoslawski, Olivier Messiaen, Darius Milhaud, Robert Morris, Jean Papineau-Couture, Krzysztof Penderecki, Francis Poulenc, Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, Alexander Scriabin, Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, Toru Takemitsu, and Joan Tower, among others.¹ That little has been written about octatonicism in serial music should hardly come as a surprise, since the eight-note collection would appear to be...

    • Chapter Six An Mathilde: An Unsung Cantata
      (pp. 155-225)

      An Mathildeis the last composition of Dallapiccola’s second serial phase, and one of his few works for large orchestra. It is scored for strings (, eight winds (flute, two oboes, three clarinets, bassoon, saxophone), four brass (two horns, trumpet, trombone), and an assortment of un-pitched and pitched percussion, including celesta, harp, glockenspiel, xylophone, and vibraphone.¹ It shares many structural characteristics with theGoethe-Lieder(which were completed several years earlier), including canon, axial symmetry, and trichordal derivation. But there are significant differences between these works. The seven songs of theGoethe-Liederare based on aphoristic and whimsical texts, whereasAn...

    • Chapter Seven Parole di San Paolo: “A Performance under a Glass Bell”
      (pp. 226-284)

      This chapter offers a reading ofParole di San Paolo,a fourth-phase work that, likeAn Mathilde,has been virtually ignored by scholars. The analysis examines this work in particular and the fourth phase in general. It models the twelve-tone techniques and strategies, the small-scale and large-scale form, and the pitchclass and set-class associations on the surface. Particular emphasis is placed on showing how changes in partitioning strategies articulate changes in the form.

      Paroleis written for medium voice and an instrumental ensemble that includes two pairs of woodwinds (flute/alto flute, and clarinet/bass clarinet), pitched percussion (celesta, piano, harp, vibraphone),...

  7. Afterword
    (pp. 285-286)

    There is still a great deal left to explore in Dallapiccola’s music. For one thing, many works of high quality continue to languish in anonymity. Virtually nothing has been written about theDue studiand its orchestral counterpart,Due pezzi, Tre Poemi(which he dedicated to Schoenberg),Piccola musica notturna, Concerto per la notte di Natale, Three Questions with Two Answers(an orchestra sketch for Ulisse ), andSicut Umbra(a stunning work whose last movement incorporates contour representations of various constellations). And there is so much more to say about the larger works of the first, second, and fourth...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 287-310)
  9. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 311-316)
  10. Index
    (pp. 317-326)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-327)