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Portfolio of Compositions and Technical Commentary

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

All seven compositions in the portfolio combine remnants of tonal thinking with post- tonal compositional procedures, such as patterns involving intervallically symmetrical lines and verticals. Several of the pieces extensively explore rhythmic patterning and the use of irrational time signatures. Much of the material, which is generally highly heterogeneous, briefly alludes to music laden with connotations (such as the music of the past, the sound world of much postmodern music and diverse genres of contemporary popular music) before being extensively transformed, developed, or dissolved as it merges into the unifying flow that gives character and meaning to each piece. Wandering Shadows, for cello and piano, alludes to Classical and Romantic gestures outlining a sonata-like design, thus creating diverse modes of relationship with the musical past. For Yeliz, for solo piano, creates a dialogue between the mechanical aspects of the piano and its lyrical possibilities. Each of these strands is supported by the use of distinctive harmonies, rhythms, and registers often alluding to various types of music along the way. Tangled Up, for fifteen players, unfolds different musical ideas both simultaneously and diachronically. This multiplicity ranges from a chordal canon resulting in symmetrical intervallic harmonies in irrational metres to the use of quasi-tonal material. Soloing Over is a concertante piece for piano where the soloist and ensemble continuously strive to influence each other. The piano at times assumes an almost improvisatory character through its multiple ways of commenting, responding, interacting and interlocking with the ensemble’s material. Vocalise, Then A Song, for mezzo-soprano and five players, evokes the recurrent patterns that move in a single direction often found in vocalises. Here these patterns involve a series of ascending symmetrical harmonies with gradually smaller intervals. The 'song' exhibits a dense texture where all the different elements contribute simultaneously to the underlying tension that drives the melodic flow. As its title implies, Around Promiscuous Beats, for solo double bass and ensemble, involves the recurrence of melodic lines, harmonic sequences or rhythmic patterns that are constantly diversified, varied and often interrupted by interjections reminiscent of contemporary popular dance or R&B music. Sospirando Silhouettes, for period-instrument orchestra, draws its inspiration from Aria II – Eva, from the oratory Morte d’Abel by the Classical-period Portuguese composer, Pedro António Avondano (1714-1782). In this piece the Classical-period gestures are either superimposed and/or swiftly developed into other types of music.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date2013


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