Musical juxtaposition : innovation, paradox, and song

Material Information

Musical juxtaposition : innovation, paradox, and song
Northover, Keith S.
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Committee Chair:
Mitchell Estrin
Committee Members:
Leslie Odom ; Charles Hoffer


Subjects / Keywords:
Art songs ( jstor )
Clarinet concertos ( jstor )
Clarinets ( jstor )
Concertos ( jstor )
Folksongs ( jstor )
Musical performance ( jstor )
Paradoxes ( jstor )
Popular songs ( jstor )
Solos ( jstor )
Sonatas ( jstor )
Clarinet and piano music.
Clarinet music.
Concertos (Clarinet with string orchestra) Solo with piano.
Sonatas (Bass clarinet and piano)


On March 14, 2012, a recital was performed featuring standard clarinet solo works that were connected together by use of a unique theme. The works performed were Alban Berg’s Four Pieces for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 5, Anton Stadler’s Three Caprices for Solo Clarinet, Othmar Schoeck’s Sonata for Bass Clarinet and Piano, Op. 41, and Gerald Finzi’s Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, Op. 31. As it appears, they seem to reflect a variety of genres, periods, and nationalities without a common theme. However after research and analysis, elements of innovation, paradox, and song were found that connect each work.
General Note:
Recital in lieu of thesis (M.M.)--University of Florida, 2012.
General Note:
Contents: Vier Stücke für Klarinette und Klavier, Op. 5 / Alban Berg -- Trois caprices pour la clarinette seul / Anton Stadler -- Sonata für Bassklarinette und Klavier, Op. 41 / Othmar Schoeck -- Concerto for clarinet and string orchestra, op. 31 / Gerald Finzi.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Keith S. Northover. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.


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Full Text




Summary of Performance Option in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the College of Fine Arts of the University of Florida I n Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Deg ree of Master of Music MUSICAL JUXTAPOSITIO N: INNOVATION, PARADOX, AND SONG By Keith S. Northover May 2012 Chair: Mitchell Estrin Major: Music On March 14, 2012, a recital was performed featuring stand ard clarinet solo works that were connected together by use of a unique theme. The works performed were Alban Berg's Four Pieces for Clarinet and Piano Op. 5 Anton Stadler's Three Caprices for Solo Clarinet Othmar Schoeck's Sonata for Bass Clarinet and Piano, Op. 41 and Gerald Finzi' s Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, Op. 31 As it appears, they seem to reflect a variety of genres, periods, and nationalities without a common theme Ho wever after research and analysis, elements of innovation, paradox, and song were found th at connect each work.


PROGRAM Vier StŸcke fŸr Klarinette und Klavier, Op. 5 Alban Berg (1885 1 935) I. Massig II. Sehr Langsam III. Sehr Rasch IV. Langsam Trois Caprices pour la Clarinette seul Anton Stadler (1753 1812) I. Caprice 1 II. Caprice 2 III. Caprice 3 Performed on a classical period clarinet S o nata fŸr Ba§klarinette und Klavier, Op. 41 Othmar Schoeck (1886 1957) I. Gemessen II. Bewegt III. Bewegt INTERMISSION Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra, Op. 31 G e rald Finzi (1901 1956) I. Allegro vigoroso, L'istesso tempo, ma in modo lirico II. Adagio (ma senza rigore) III. Allegro giocoso


PROGRAM NOTES Austrian composer Alban Berg along with his teacher Arnold Schoenberg, and friend Anton Webern were major proponents of the Second Viennese School of composition. In a time of drastic innovation and change known as the Austrian fin de sicle period, Berg com b ined Mahlerian romantic ism, song, and twelve tone technique to create a unique style. Befor e his serialist output, Berg composed the Four Pieces for Clarinet and Piano Op. 5 in 1913, which was dedicated to Schoenberg. Unfortunately, it was not premiered until 1919 in Vienna wh ere it was included on one of Schoenberg's Society for Private Musical Performances. Berg's pieces are rather short, very dense, and complex in terms of style, motif, and dynamics. The form resembles a typical sonata with an introductory first movement, followed by an adagio, scherzo, and finishes with a dramatic closing. The work is mainly atonal but is interspersed with hints of tonality. Both performers have to master changing characters quickly, and employ high sensitivity to dynamics from the softe s t of softs to the loudest of louds. Berg's compact yet lyrical style of motific use is exemplified in this work. The melodic lines and motifs are very short and fragmented, yet are also complete, fluid, and developed. What is interesting and often overl ooked in Berg's pieces are the innovative aspects of flutter tonguing, sub tones, piano harmonics, and pedal effects. This work is one of the earliest solo works for clarinet utilizing extended techniques. A famous Viennese clarinetist, A nton Stadler has the distinction of being remembered in music history as Mozart's clarinetist. Mozart composed for Stadler not only the clarinet


concerto and quintet, but also many chamber music works, soloistic orchestral interludes, and operatic aria obligati. Stadler albeit with help from instrument maker Theodore Lotz, is credited with making improvements to the clarinet, basset horn, and creating the basset clarinet. It is lesser known that Stadler was also a composer, and crafted his own music plan for instructio n, several duos, basset horn trios, and unaccompanied solos. The Three Caprices for Solo Clarinet are interesting little pieces that follow the basic caprice or etude model. They are populated with runs, arpeggios, and me l odic motific writing utilizing th e entire range of the instrument. Also contained within the caprices are folk songs and melodies from popular culture of the time includ i ng, Ei du lieber Augustin", "God Save the King", "L'amor Marino", and melodies from Die Zauberflšte. These caprices were likely composed around 1810, and dedicated to friend and patron Count Jean Ch a rles d'Esterhazy de Galantha. What is interesting and most notable about the caprices is that they are probably the first solo unaccompanied works written for the clarinet. P a mela Poulin's finding of several concert programs in Riga in the late 1990's, not only document the first found drawing of the basset clarinet, but also demonstrate that these caprices, Stadler's other solo variations, the Mozart concerto, and the SŸ§m ayr concerto were performed. In these Riga performances, these works were most likely performed and edited to fit Stadler's new clarinets. Following this tradition and philosophy, tonight's performance will be on an early classical clarinet. With limite d keywork and requiring a classical approach to playing, the Stadler caprices are a true display of different character and virtuosity. Swiss com p oser Othmar Schoeck grew to limited fame in Europe during the first half of the 20 th century. He was oversh adowed by the great Parisian Les Six composers and the Austrian


2nd Viennese Sch o ol. Schoeck is known primarily today for his opera Penthesilea several song collections, and various other smaller chamber music for strings and winds. He studied with Rege r in Leipzig, and was influenced by Busoni, Wolf (songs), and Hindemith. In 1 927, Schoeck began work on his Sonata for Bass Clarinet, Op. 41 as a result of the influence and patronage of philanthropist Werner Reinhart. Clarinetists today know Reinhart as an amateur clarinetist who also supported Stravinsky in financing the Histoi r e du soldat, and by having the dedication for Stravinsky's Three Pieces Alt h ough Schoeck's sonata was written for and dedicated to Reinhart, its premiere was not until April 1928, where it was performed at the Swiss TonkŸnstlerfest in Lucerne by clarinetist Wilhelm Arnold of Munich with accompanist Fritz MŸller. Schoeck's bass clarinet sonat a explores and experiments with Neoclassicism. One of the first solo works for bass clarinet, the piece is interesting, charming, and explores the bass clarinetist's innate silliness, all the while demonstrating the full range of the instrument. The firs t movement is in sonata form, the second movement has fugato elements with a quintuplet rhythm paired with a clown like idea, and the third movement sounds at times like a "wrong note" rag. The influen c e of Hindemth, including quartal harmony, odd march s tyle rhythms, and heavily chromatic contrapuntal writing is evid ent. The work also con t ains motific fragments, jazzy elements, "hunting horn" calls, and rapid tonality shifts. Schoeck considered pairing the bass clarinet with harpsichord to highlight the Neoclassical elements and balance the two instruments better. However as modern instruments are more refined, the two instruments, bass clarinet and piano, can compete adequately with each other. Hopefully this performance lives u p to Schoeck saying tha t this piece "isn't painted, it's drawn as with a harder pencil!... Play Hard!"


English composer G e rald Finzi is best known for his vast song output and clarinet works. He studied composition with Ernest Farrar (a student of Stanford) and R.O. Morris (c ounterpoint), and later became associated with Howard Ferguson and Ralph Vaughan Williams (lyrici s m). Finzi lived an interesting and unique life full of death and longing, which are vastly present in his compositions. The Concerto for Clarinet and Stri ng Orchestra Op. 31 was first performed by Frederick Thurston with Finzi conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on September 9, 1949 at the Hereford Three Choirs Festival. The concerto is in three movements, each employing a lyric and unique balance be tween soloist and orchestra. It is o n e of Finzi's most recorded works and enjoys popularity in England. As in mo s t of Finzi's works, all three movements contain moments of frustration, sadness, and longing. Each movement also has moments of pure blis s, resolve, and reconciliation between soloist and orchestra. This dichotomy of ideals is what is fascinating about the concerto. Physical responses are enacted when severe dissonances resolve to ecstatic consonance. From a similar life perspective, thi s is a great concerto as it allows for both triumph and reconciliation, fitting for me as I end my studies at UF. Although often overlooked as one of the more popular English compo s ers, Finzi's compositional style is unique for its lyrical writing, unique counterpoint and har mony.


ANAYLSIS Each work contains innovative compositional aspects or premises Berg's Four Pieces, is one of the first solo clarinet works to include i nnovative extended techniques such as sub tones and fl u tter tonguing. Stadl er s Caprices are one of the first solo unaccompanied works for clarinet intended for performance. The Schoeck Bass Clarinet Sonata is one of the first solo bass clarinet pieces. Althoug h the Finzi Clarinet Concerto is not the first concerto written for cl arinet, it is one of his most popular pieces, and is his most recorded and performed work in England. It also contains different composit i onal motific an d harmonic elements unlike many of the contemporary concerti written around the same time. Each work also contains paradoxical or conflicting motifs, ha rmonies, ideas and resultant emotions. The Berg contai ns very short albeit seemingly complex un developed motifs, yet also infuses developed and simple lines The tonality and harmony is very atonal, yet contains some remnants of tonality Even though the form is four separate pieces, it relates to a traditional sonata with traditional outer movements, an adagio second movement, and a scherzo third movement. Albeit each movement contains very few measur es, the timing of the work is still about 10 minutes. The whole work is an investigation between two conflicting ideas, short/long, atonal/tonal, and complex/simple. I n the Stadler, an investigation is made between history and modernity. The piece was performed on an early clarinet thus giving insight to how the piece might have been conceptualized and performed when first written. The piece also contains numerous folk or popular song quotations interspersed with elements of free compositional elements similarly to a free cadenza and akin to jazz. Continuing in the same fashi o n as Stadler, when performed on


this recital, elements or highlights of the three pieces were condensed and performed as one long cadenza. The whole work is an investigation of the paradoxical old/new, structure/spontaneity, and written material /quotation. The Schoeck is an interesting work because it tries to combine old and new, but from a more modern sense. As one of the forg o tten Neoclassical compo s ers, Scheock combines fo rmal elements from the past but with a unique spin on harmony. The work contains elements of classicism with a formal sonata form first movement, a Bach like fugue in the second movement, and a chaotic rondo theme third movement in terms of quotation or str ucture. The work also contains elements of rag where the third movement i s akin to a "wrong note rag", ye t also has elements of Hindem i th's quartal harmony and march rhythms Also contained in the work are elements of dense serious structures with a sense of lively, silly, and quirky unlike the other works on the program. The whole w ork is an investigation of modernity/history, seriousness/ silliness and dense/simple. The last work on the program is one that greatly highlig hts this idea of paradox I n the Finzi, elements of country and folk song motifs and rhythms are present throughout yet are not specifi c to any tune. The cl arinetist and orchestra are sometimes diametrically opposed and battling for the solo voice. What is interesting about this wo rk is the undulating paradoxical keys and intervals associated through out the w o rk. Finzi works to create a piece where severe dissonances exist that almost sound wrong, yet end up resolving to create a great peaceful consonance full of resolve. In a wa y, Finzi is able to take this dissonance to create an emo tional or physical response, which is resolved to ecstatic consonance. Unlike the other works on the program, some of what is seemingly simple is truly complex, and in other places is seemingly


comp lex yet is truly simple. This work is a perfect investigation between paradox /order, darkness/light, and simple/complex. F inally the last theme that is encountered between each work is due to each composer's affinity to the song genre Berg is famous for writing lyric and song like lines that are present in the Four Pie c es Stadler quotes many popular songs from the era. S c hoeck is only remember ed for his song cycles, where elements of song and melody are branched into this sonata Finzi is one of the gr eat English lyricists for song and incorporates his love of the c ountry and folk melodies into this work Overall, this recital has been an excellent exploration of works for clarinet that are often overlooked from both an analytical and performance pers pective. The paradoxical, song, and innovative elements are a key symbol of who I have become and thus performing these combinations of pieces created a fantastic conclusion to my UF experience. Hopefully the qualities explained here will bring a new lig ht to the works performed and garner more attention and performances in future recitals.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Hailing from Maryland, K eith Northover is currently a Teaching Assistant at the University of Florida and is finishing a Master's degree in clarinet performance and music education. He also serves an Adjunct Instructor of Clarinet, Saxophone, and Music Fundamentals at the College of Central F lorida. With years of service and commitment to providing music to the community, Keith is committed to encouraging and promoting music to the next generation. Highlights from the previous year include chamber music tours in Europe and Brazil, an early c larinet and Mozart workshop, a solo performance of Rolla's Basset Horn Concerto with the UF Orchestra, and numerous orchestral, band, and chamber music performances. Future aspirations include continuing to teach and perform professionally. Keith is stud ying with Professor Mit c hell Estrin and his previous teachers include Dr. Kyle Coughlin, a free lance musician in the Baltimore Washington Metropolitan Area, and Dr. Jay Niepoetter, principal bass clarinetist of "The President's Own" United States Marine B and. Upon completion of the Master's degree, Keith will continue his education at the University of Indiana, pursuing a DM in clarinet performance by studying with Howard Klug and Eric Hoeprich.