A Sounding Together
Ordered Succession across the Symphonies of Wind Instruments
Although Stravinsky's 1920 work received such a tepid response that a full score was not made available for over thirty years, and even today it is not among Stravinsky's most commonly performed pieces, it generated abundant commentary among musical scholars. At stake was the basic organization of the piece: it has been portrayed on the one hand as a series of discrete and discontinuous unordered fragments and on the other as a unified sequence of related parts. In the analyses in this chapter, models of ordered succession demonstrate how basic concepts of separation and connection are evoked, enhanced, denied, and combined as the individual melodies are reiterated across the piece. Taking as its underlying premise that the materials could not be reordered without changing the fundamental nature of the piece, the chapter applies the various measurement spectra introduced in Chapters 3 and 4 to characterize the order of fragments, and groups of fragments, across the piece. This ordered succession does not originate in a large-scale underpinning of voice leading or even completion, but rather in the accumulation of relationships whose contextual meanings gather force across the piece, such that the “culmination” is not a denouement in its typical sense, but rather an awareness that the exploration of how various groups of wind instruments may “sound together” has been broad and abundant, and that its close reflects qualities both of relaxation and release that come from this abundance.
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