«A Monograph Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in partial fulfillment of the ...»
Figure 33. Oboe plays the B melody and the bassoon ends it with the three note motif.
attention when rehearsing that all the instruments play the rhythms with precision. Its irregular beat structure may not be challenging but most entrances are on the upbeats and there are some tricky entrances of which the conductor must be aware.
The following graph is a reduction of the movement and it indicates the three large sections: introduction, first idea, and second idea; and which instruments play it.
Movement 4: Maracaibo Maracaibo is a short movement similar to a mini piccolo concerto as the piccolo is heavily featured throughout; it has a short, written cadenza, which fits the length of the movement. The woodblock is also present through the entire movement and it plays a constant sixteenth-note ostinato.
by defining each of its terms. “Gaita” is a type of folk music that originated in the Zulia state of Venezuela, where Maracaibo is located. It gained public recognition through the 1960s and it is mainly heard around Christmas season. This style features drums such as forro, maracas, cuatro, guiro, and tambora, which is a round drum placed between the player’s legs and played with two wooden sticks. Pífano is another ethnic instrument of this region and it is like a small/highpitched wooden flute.
The six-measure introduction is reminiscent of 20th century woodwind-quintet writing, such as that of Ligeti Six Bagatelles. It features a constant sixteenth-note pattern, with a onemeasure rhythmic bassoon solo, and with winds and strings f punctuations on measures 2, 4, and 5 (Figure 37).
solo is followed by a seven-measure tutti closing theme (Figure 39), which is followed by the cadenza (Figure 40). There is another six-measure introduction (Figure 41) before the piccolo plays the melody again note for note in measure 246. There is a five-measure tutti closing theme (Figure 42) that is rhythmically derived from the first closing section.
Movement 5: Caracas Caracas is an interesting movement because it begins with an emulation of an 18th century waltz that is transformed into a Venezuelan Joropo. Oscher calls it a waltz, however it would more appropriately should have been named a minuet since this was the dance-style which composers used at this time in the late 18th century. The Joropo is a very popular rhythm in fast triple meter and usually sung, shared by the people of the plains both in Colombia and Venezuela, where it has become the Venezuelan folk rhythm “par excellence.” In his travels, Humboldt listened to composers while in Caracas and Oscher acknowledges this. The movement begins with a four-measure introduction (Figure 43) before the actual waltz begins. The waltz features the oboe, followed by the flute and the first violins. The oboe plays two eight-measure phrases with an 18th century trope between the first and the second phrase. This trope is the eingangs which appear in this introduction, similar to Mozart’s classical concertos. The word eingang is translated as entrance, but it is broken down literally as “one way.” In music, eingang
leads into the music. Oscher is very deliberately making use of this device on this introduction.
The first one is found in the oboe between its first and second phrase (Figure 44) and the second one occurs before the flute and violin play their first eight-measure phrase. The phrase of the flute and violin follow the same rhythmic structure but not the same melody (Figure 45). The last phrase of the violin and flute begin the same way as the first phrase did but only the first three measures are repeated. The last three measures are fragmented from the main melody and serve as closing with a ritardando at the end (Figure 46).
initial harmonies and determined that Oscher uses mostly conventional harmonies. Of the eight chords, six are more conventional and the other two are clusters. The six conventional chords, though, are a modern take on classical harmony because the chord progression especially is very progressive (Figure 47). He moves from “subdominant” chords to “dominant” chords and eventually to tonic, but he changes the flavor of these chords. Every chord is modified in some way, which does not fit the traditional conventions of harmonic chord-progressions.
writes “waltz tempo = 54” for the waltz and “Joropo tempo.= 70” for the Joropo.
The Joropo begins in square 16 and like all Joropos, there is a polyrhythmic sense that occurs where the strong beats vary from two beats per measure to three beats per measure. In fact, the strong beat changes every two measures in the dichotomy of the first six measures. The first measure accentuates beats 1 and 3, and the second measure accentuates beat 2, giving the audience the illusion that these beats mark the takt. This sense is shattered on measures three and four where the first measure of this sequence has accents on beats 1 and 2, and immediately are displaced on the upbeats of beat 3 as well as 1 and 2 of the next measure. The last rhythmic pattern on the last two measures really gives a sense that the piece has changed to a two beat per measure pattern. The entire movement contains these three rhythmic patterns used in different
combines these rhythmic patterns into single phrases. These are at the heart of the Joropo dance and if you tap your feet with the music, you would not be wrong in your choice of B or C (Figures 49 and 50). These two sections of interest (C and D) are separated by a larger section consisting of B+A+B+A+B before square 17.
beats per measure against 3 beats per measure could make the players confused if it was conducted in one or the other. Instead, conducting it in one will make the players play their polyrhythms in time.
The waltz returns in square 18 and it follows the same melodic and rhythmic structure as the beginning waltz but with different instrumentation. This time, the clarinet replaces the oboe on the first phrase and the flute and bassoon replace the oboe on the second phrase. This ending only features two phrases plus a two-measure extension (Figure 51) instead of four phrases as at the beginning.
Figure 52. Last phrase of the movement with a two bar extension.
The last measure of the movement completely changes the character of the movement to a darker tone with a “d” minor-chord sforzando with a half-step trill (Figure 53). This serves as a launching point to the next movement because it is attacca.
Movement 6: Orinoco Regarding the tempo of this movement, Oscher wrote “fluyente ♩ = 72,” which translates to flowing and brings forth the mental image of this prominent river. This movement contains many aleatoric elements in terms of improvisation as well as compositional techniques. The main motif of the movement is a sixteenth-note undulating passage that is present throughout most of the movement. This repeated two-measure motif (Figure 54) contains mostly half-tones, two whole-tones, five minor-thirds, and two major-thirds.
Figure 54. Main motif of the movement.
The dotted line delineates half-tones.
This motif begins in the strings and the woodwinds and tutti also play it later in the composition, but it does not follow an even structure. Moreover, this motif varies between statements of one, two, or three measures, making it even more uneven structurally. While this motif flows, there are written improvisational-punctuations in the woodwinds. After three statements of the main motif, Oscher gives a one-measure statement of the theme, more specifically, the second measure of Figure 54. Then, Oscher transforms the motif to fit in a onemeasure structure, which he then repeats for four measures in the cellos (Figure 55). This second
four- measure closing/transitional passage (Figure 57). Here, the bassoons and lower strings play a mysterious melody that is reminiscent of Debussy Afternoon of a Faun.
techniques on various instruments. Here, Oscher emulates the unknown nature of the jungle. He switches the woodwind instruments to alto flute and English horn to give the section a darker color and involves the bassoon and clarinet in this conversation. In the beginning eight measures, the woodwinds take turns playing a written improvisation that lasts two measures each beginning with the alto flute, followed by the English horn, the bassoon, and ending with the clarinet (Figures 57, 58, 59 and 60). While the woodwinds play this melodic material, the strings play uncommon techniques beginning with the Bartok Pizzicato every two measures and lasting three repetitions, and the last one is displaced two beats early (Figure 61). The Bartok Pizzicato is an extended string technique, referred to as snap pizzicato where the string is held high and released so that it snaps the fingerboard. Also every two measures, the violin solo plays battuto rebound on one single note which is lowered by a half-step every time (Figure 61); this technique is performed by putting enough pressure on the bow so that it continuously bounces on the string.
The clarinet’s phrase could be considered a small cadenza or possibly an eingang because it is only one measure long, but also because it is the only instrument that has any melodic movement (Figure 60). This one measure has an accelerando and gives an introduction to the improvisational techniques on the woodwinds. Oscher directs these eight measures to decrease in tempo.
Figure 62. Extended techniques on the strings while the woodwinds play the previous figures.
On the next eight measures another one-measure variation of the motif returns with a return to the Tempo I in one of the most interesting sections in the whole composition. Here, Oscher gives indications to the flute, bassoon, and English horn to begin every two measures to improvise jungle sounds. He also uses the woodblock to give this section a mysterious texture and it sounds almost like a simulation of jungle insects (Figure 63).
Figure 64. Last four measures of jungle sounds.
The woodblock rhythms increase.
Subsequently, the woodwinds are indicated to stop improvising and the next six measures serve as a transitional passage where the woodwinds begin playing the one-measure motif in a layered fashion. The alto flute begins, the clarinet starts on the third measure, all flutes oboes and clarinets begin on the fourth measure, and the motif is played tutti on the fifth measure. On the last two measures of this transitional passage, the texture is thinned by only the flute and oboe playing a sextuplet-descending motif that lasts one beat, and only the clarinets and cello play a
without mutes, tremolo, and towards the bridge. Also on this last held note, the flute is given an extended technique indication to play with both trill keys, giving the trill an airy sound.
From measure 409 to the end, there is a textural and dynamic buildup where the beginning two measure motif returns. The motif is played by different or more instruments every two measures. The buildup is also achieved by diverse string techniques. The strings begin playing pizzicato, switch to con legno, and finish with regular bow. The cellos, playing the tremolo, have another peculiar indication; Oscher indicated for the cellos to keep playing the tremolo but also to begin a slow glissando and to slowly move the bow from the bridge to its regular position. On top of the motif, the woodwinds play fast and written-improvisational punctuations, as before. Also, the alto flute is indicated to play the main motif with another extended technique, a unique type of articulation; the indication reads “tsch” on every note of the motif (Figure 65) and it indicates exactly what the player is to do. This plosive produces much air and the little air that enters the flute produces the correct note, while the articulation is produced by its indication.
motif (Figure 66). Also, the woodblock begins playing the jungle sounds again on square 23, and from square 23 to 24 there is a marked accelerando and crescendo ending with a completesilence G.P on the measure before square 24.
slowly in augmentation. The clarinet joins the flute on the second to last measure and the last chord is a very fulfilling e major 9th chord played by the strings (Figure 66).
structure. It is very impressionistic in the sense that it only has one motif, of the undulating notes, to join the movement together. This lack of formal structure gives it a more mysterious and jungle-like character.
Movement 7: Angostura Angostura (the largest and most important Venezuelan city along the Orinoco river) is a great compositional movement for Oscher because he presents various themes from the entire composition, most of which are slightly altered. The main themes presented in Angostura are
reads “Maestoso ♩ = 76”. The first phrase is nine bars long and it presents fragmented sections from the first movement. A two bar introduction before the first one-bar fragmentation uses accents every two beats on the lower instruments to emphasize its rhythmic complexity. These first two bars are presented twice consecutively but the second fragmentation is transposed one whole-step down (Figure 69). On bar seven, Oscher introduces a different fragmentation from movement one, which lasts two measures, followed by the first fragmentation (Figure 70). Figure 68 presents the whole phrase from the first movement from which these fragmentations stem.