Wednesday, April 13, 2005
This set of variations by Stravinsky is sectional. There are structural phenomena at each new variation whether it be tempo, meter, orchestration, or dynamic. In the introduction the melody is heard in the flute and clarinet. The motive throghout the piece stays stylistically similar, that is, legato and somewhat dolce. The style of accompaniment is what significantly changes. The melody is based around the notes A- C#- A -Bb. Notice the accompaniment in the introduction; all off beats and very quiet. In bar 9 the second trumpet takes over the melody and the composer indicates ben cantabile. The accompaniment stays the same as does the dynamics. In bar 12 the trombone plays a smaller gesture that is based off the pitches of the melody. The 1st variation is signaled by a tempo and meter change. We are now in 3/4 and the speed of the rhythm has changed. 32nd note ascending patterns are passed from instrument to instrument except the trombones who have the melody. There has been a modulation so the pitches are different but inveralically they are similar. Notice the melody is still long, full-value, and legato as all the business goes on behind it. In bar 19 the melody is then in the flute and first trumpet as off beats while the rhythmic focus is on the bassoon duet. In bar 23 the melody returns to the brass as the trombone finally has some fast notes in the next bar and in bar 25 the winds play a morphed statement of the main intervals. In the 2nd variation the accompaniment is still secco but this time on the beat and the melody starts off in the trumpet and is transferred to the flute. Here the melody is a little less legato and becomes a little more wordy. This dotted 8th-16th note gesture is passed then to the flute while a march like accompaniment is heard. The melody then returns to the trumpet. this time the melody is half legato and half note. A decrescendo and a restart of the quarter note accompaniment returns as the melody is played between a trumpet duet. The 3rd variation is in 3/8 and starts off very busy between the bassoons. The melodic gesture lie in the flute then the clarinet until the mai melody can clearly be heard. The brass and winds provide a boom chuck chuck accompaniment. In bar 83 the 2nd trumpet has the melody in off beat quarter notes. The listener gets a since of hemiola and vertigo here while the winds still play sixteenth notes. The clarinet then joins the trumpet and variates the rhythm a bit. In bar 104 the trumpet again has the melody as the flute and clarinet are sky rocketing above it. The burkhart ends here.