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«A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in partial fulfillment of ...»

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ZOLTÁN KODÁLY’S SONATA FOR UNACCOMPANIED CELLO, OP. 8:

ONE CELLIST’S PATH TO PERFORMANCE

A Dissertation

Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the

Louisiana State University and

Agricultural and Mechanical College

in partial fulfillment of the

requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Musical Arts

in

The School of Music

by

Celeste Power

B.M., University of New Mexico, 2005

M.M., University of Oklahoma, 2007 May 2013 Acknowledgements I would first like to thank my professor, Dennis Parker, for all of his help over the past four years. Thank you for your guidance, patience, and honesty. Thank you for listening to me play and talk about Kodály for much longer than I am sure you wanted to hear it. I would also like to thank my committee members Dr. Robert Peck, Professor Espen Lilleslatten, and Professor Frederick Ortner for their willingness to serve on my committee, and for assisting me in the completion of this document.

I would also like to thank my friends Paula Bujes and Pedro Huff for their friendship and support over the last four years. Thank you for reading my paper during all of its stages of development, giving suggestions, and providing a venue and delicious food for our support group. Your friendship has made this process and my life in general all the more bearable. Thank you to all the members of the cello studio for listening to me play Kodály’s Sonata more times than anyone would ever care to hear the piece. Finally, I would like to thank my friend and colleague in cello playing, Doug Wilber, for introducing me to this piece and for sharing some of his insights on his approach and performance with me.

I would like to thank my friends and teammates on the LSU Cycling Team for providing an outlet for fun and success away from music. Bike racing has added an entirely new and exciting dimension to my life that I could have never imagined. I could not have enjoyed any of my success without you.

And of course, I have to thank my parents for everything. You have let me do everything I have ever wanted without question. Thank you for supporting my education and decision to pursue music. I regret that my dad did not live to see the completion of this document and my education, but he was responsible for my start in music and I am grateful to him for pushing me ii to be better in everything that I do. Finally, I thank my mom for doing everything in the world to help me, supporting my life as a musician, and enabling my addiction to all bike-related activities and endeavors.

–  –  –

Acknowledgements

List of Figures

Abstract

Introduction

Chapter 1 A Select Biography of Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967)

Chapter 2 Historical Aspects of Op. 8

Chapter 3 Guiding Principles of Cello Playing

3.1 Anticipated and Delayed Shifts

3.2 The Bow

3.3 Physical Aspects

Chapter 4 Scordatura

4.1 Historical Perspective

4.2 Scordatura in Kodály’s Sonata

4.2.1 Reading a Transposed Part

4.2.2 Implications for Intonation

Chapter 5 Movement I: Allegro maestoso ma appassionato

5.1 Formal Analysis

5.2 First Theme Group Material

5.3 Second Theme Group Material

5.4 The Development

5.5 Thoughts on Performance

Chapter 6 Movement II: Adagio (con grand’ espressione)

6.1 Formal Analysis

6.2 Bass Theme (a), (a1)

6.3 Soprano Theme (b), (b1)

6.4 The B Section: Con moto

6.5 Thoughts on Performance

Chapter 7 Movement III: Allegro molto vivace

7.1 Formal Analysis

7.2 Exposition

7.3 Development

7.4 Recapitulation

7.5 Saltato and Ricochet Bow Strokes

iv

7.6 Drones

7.7 Pizzicato Pitfalls

7.8 Restez Theme

7.9 Cadenza

7.10 Coda

7.11 Thoughts on Performance

Conclusion

Bibliography

Appendix: Letter of Permission

Vita

–  –  –

Figure 1: mm. 10-11. Establishing a new position with an anticipated shift

Figure 2: Form diagram of the exposition

Figure 3: mm. 1-14

Figure 4: mm. 13-20. Descending and ascending semitone motion

Figure 5: mm. 23-31. Descending semitone cadence in mm. 26-27

Figure 6: Excerpt of Second Theme Group, mm. 32-57

Figure 7: mm. 58-81. “Deceptive cadence” in m. 63

Figure 8: Form diagram of the development

Figure 9: mm. 125-132. Variation on first theme group leading to a G major “deceptive cadence”

Figure 10: mm. 137-144.1. Dominant Retransition

Figure 10a: mm. 146-150. False Recapitulation

Figure 11: mm. 152-173. Excerpt of Recapitulation of Second Theme Group

Figure 12: Form diagram of the recapitulation

Figure 13: mm. 190-199. Closing and Coda

Figure 14: mm. 5-9. Fix thumb on B and reach for F♯ and E♯

Figure 15: mm. 9-10. Shifting from B to C♯ via thumb on E

Figure 16: mm. 10-11. Establishing new positions with anticipated shifts





Figure 17: m. 14. Find second finger in thumb position

Figure 18: mm. 32-38. Second Theme Group, 1a. Breakdown of bow speeds

Figure 19: m. 43. Finding a B♭ major chord with D harmonic

Figure 20: mm. 43-45. Transition in left hand from B♭ major chord to B♭ octave

–  –  –

Figure 22: mm. 137-145

Figure 23: Form diagram of the A section

Figure 24: mm. 1-6. First presentation of the Bass Theme (a)

Figure 25: mm. 50-51. E-C♮ motive occurs at conclusion of the large A section

Figure 26: mm. 94-95. C♯-E-C♮ motive

Figure 27: mm. 130-131

Figure 28: mm. 18-29. Bass Theme (a1)

Figure 29: mm. 7-17. Soprano Theme (b)

Figure 30: 30-52. Soprano Theme (b1)

Figure 31: Form diagram of the B section

Figure 32: mm. 53-75. Excerpt of large B section, Con moto

Figure 33: mm. 74-98. Three recitative gestures in mm. 77-88

Figure 34: Form diagram of the recapitulation of the A section

Figure 35: mm. 106-107. Excerpt of the return of Soprano Theme (b)

Figure 36: mm. 117-121. Integration of Bass Theme (a) and Soprano Theme (b)

Figure 37: mm. 135-136. Beginning of the Coda

Figure 38: mm. 1-6. First presentation of the Bass Theme (a)

Figure 39: mm. 117-126

Figure 40: mm. 53-62

Figure 41: mm. 72-75. Use the slurs to begin at the frog and get to the tip

Figure 42: mm. 77-79

–  –  –

Figure 44: mm. 1-8. Motives 1, 2, 3, and 4

Figure 45: Form diagram of the exposition

Figure 46: mm. 39-61. Section (1b) in first theme group

Figure 47: mm. 20-24, mm. 34-38, mm. 41-44, and mm. 54-57

Figure 48: mm. 14-25. Original transitional motive in m. 16

Figure 49: Modulation from B minor to D major via C♯

Figure 50: Excerpts from the subsections in the second theme group

Figure 51: mm. 66-69, mm. 74-77, mm. 100-101, mm. 104-105, and m. 108

Figure 52: Form diagram of the development

Figure 53: mm. 174-177. Opening measures of the first section of the development................ 93 Figure 54: mm. 202-207. Excerpt from second section of the development

Figure 55: mm. 239-246. Opening of the third section of the development

Figure 56: mm. 272-277. Opening of the cadenza

Figure 57: mm. 312-325. Conclusion of the cadenza with a gypsy-inspired flourish................ 95 Figure 58: mm. 326-332. Opening of the dominant retransition

Figure 59: mm. 381-397. Augmented version of the opening motive

Figure 60: Form diagram of the recapitulation

Figure 61: mm. 432-447. Conclusion of the recapitulation of the first theme

Figure 62: mm. 573-595. Pizzicato glissando figures in mm. 582-594

Figure 63: mm. 618-641. Opening of the coda

Figure 64: mm. 41-44. Drone vs. melodic line

Figure 65: mm. 62-65, mm. 458-461

viii Figure 66: mm. 78-96. Subsection 2b of the second theme group

Figure 67: mm. 66-69, mm. 75-77, mm. 471-473. Examples of the estam rhythm................. 106 Figure 68: mm. 94-96, mm. 488-490

Figure 69: mm. 491-492

Figure 70: mm. 119-128, mm. 133-147. Excerpts from the Restez Theme

Figure 71: Retaking bows in mm. 620 and 623

Figure 72: mm. 637-641. Earlier retakes allow the arpeggios to begin up bow

Figure 73: mm. 657-673. Using the thumb to anticipate shifts in mm. 668-670

–  –  –

My purpose in writing this document is to simply present my experience in learning and performing Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello, Op. 8. My intent is not to instruct cellists on the interpretation of this piece. Each musician must decide how to play it in a way that suits his or her own conception of the piece. Rather I intend to go through each movement and discuss the problems I faced and how I endeavored to solved them, why some solutions worked and others did not, how I prepared for a recital performance of the piece, and what I learned in the process.

I have also included theoretical analysis at the opening of each chapter. I have always felt that by understanding the structure of a piece of music, and by acknowledging a logical flow to the sequence of musical events, that my relationship with the piece will deepen and my performance will be more meaningful as a result. Exploring this aspect of the piece also provides another outlet for practice away from the instrument for the performer. However, this analysis will also be beneficial to the reader because I have arranged the technical issues in terms of formal structure by grouping problematic phrases based on thematic groups or formal sections.

In addition to the technical and theoretical aspects of the piece, I have included some historical information on Kodály’s life leading up to the composition and publication of the piece, as well as a chapter on scordatura which offers some historical background and discusses some of the logistical problems faced by the cellist. While incorporating background information about a piece may or may not truly affect one’s enjoyment in learning the piece, it adds another important dimension to a cellist’s understanding of the piece and any impact it had on the cello repertoire.

–  –  –

Zoltán Kodály’s Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello, op. 8 has stood for decades as a pillar in the repertoire for cello. Many cellists aspire to learn the piece, and a performance of the piece is considered by many to be a major milestone in a cellist’s development. This was certainly the case for me. I first heard the piece as an undergraduate and was immediately drawn to the unusual sound palette, unique harmonies, and sheer power of Kodály’s Sonata. Playing it, however, was simply not within my technical grasp at that time.

I attempted to read through the first movement while a master’s student with little success. Often times we attempt to play a piece and, for a variety of reasons, whether it be technical, mental, or perhaps even emotional, cannot seem to make any headway. Months or even years later we try again with the same piece and it works. At the end of the first year of my doctoral studies at LSU I approached my teacher, Dennis Parker, about learning the piece. After citing issues of usefulness in terms of the cello, difficulties with scordatura, and the seemingly never-ending third movement, we agreed that it was not the right time to play this piece. In lieu of the Sonata, I started learning Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, an extremely difficult piece. I performed this piece at LSU in the fall of 2011 and it still stands as one of the most challenging pieces I have ever learned and performed.

Following this recital, I still had to play another solo recital. In the preceding months I had begun listening to the Sonata, and decided that I would again approach Dennis about learning the piece. After getting the go-ahead, I decided that I would perform the piece on my next recital only a few months away. It was during the time in which I prepared for this recital that I started thinking about writing my final document on the piece. The question then became

–  –  –

piece, as well as Kodály’s writing for the cello. I had originally envisioned writing something in a more pedagogical vein, a subject that I had not encountered in any of my research. I also felt that pedagogy and the process of learning cello systematically and methodically has been an overriding theme in my lessons with Dennis and an important part of my approach to the cello in recent years.

My initial idea was to write a “how-to” or “do-it-yourself” manual for Kodály’s Sonata.

Unfortunately, this approach might appear somewhat presumptuous in the sense that it may imply that my way to play is the way to play it. However, one aspect of this Sonata that I can write about with conviction is how I learned the piece: the difficulties I encountered and the various solutions I worked through to solve these problems.



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