Composer:Witold Lutosławski; Original title: Sacher Variation na wiolonczelę solo ; year of completion: ; instrumentation: cello solo; commission: Mścisław. Written as a 70th birthday tribute to Paul Sacher and based on the letters of his name. The work was requested by Mstislav Rostropovich, who gave the first. Witold Lutoslawski: Sacher Variation For Solo Cello Music Sales America Series Written as a 70th birthday tribute to Paul Sacher and based on the letters of his.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. It will be seen that Lutoslawski, who excludes serial techniques and works with extremely limited pitch material, provides the formal development through a mechanical system and also uses the looseness as a formal element beside the organization.

This translation of the article, which is made by the author himself, is unpublished. As seen in Example 1 below, there are four letters that directly lytoslawski to the note names in German: A, C, H the German name of the pitch class Band E; and there are two letters that do not indicate any specific pitch classes by themselves: The Sacher hexachord Forte number: Although the mere repetition of the pitch material without any derivation, Lutoslawski has succeeded in creating a development that continues throughout the work by means of a simple but highly effective mechanism.

Ten of the twelve compositions, namely all works with the exception of those of Berio and Henze, were performed by Rostropovich himself on May 2,in Zurich, Switzerland Dunnagan It will be seen that not only pitches, but also other musical parameters such as the dynamic, the octave register, and the direction of the melodic contour are functioning as formal elements.

Vaariations formal elements that are organized according to the particular principles and those that show a lack of an organization principle in this sense reflect a well-balanced whole, thus lutoslasski looseness is also used as a formal element beside the organization.

Analysis of the Work2 The pitch material of the work is divided into two sections: Besides that, each musical thread processes its material on its very own way. Example 3 below shows the first four lines of variagions score. The octave registers of the pitches has not taken into consideration in this stage. However, unlike some of these examples, the row in Example 2 has nothing to do with the concept hexachordal combinatoriality, which describes a particular construction of the twelve-tone row that consists of two hexachords which have in terms of the set theory the same prime forms, which means that the two hexachords are unchanged, inverted, or retrograded transpositions of each other see Cope The into two sections divided pitch material of the work.

Ninateka – Three composers – Sacher Variation for cello solo

The first four lines of the score London: The excerpt given in Example 3 contains the major structural character- istics of the work within itself. While the first phrase of the Thread I, which is located at the very beginning of the score, contains only one note E flatthere are two notes in the second A and Cand four notes in the third phrase B, E, D, and E flat. The increase in the numerical quantity of the notes in the phrases is based on luyoslawski simple principle shown in Table 1.

Beginning with 1 as the numerical quantity of the first phrase, the number of the notes in each one of the following phrases is determined by the sum of the rotation number and the numerical quantity of the former phrase.

This progress continues in the same way until the ninth phrase.

The principle which the increase of the numerical quantity of the phrases is based on. The phrases, which consist only of the note values of quaver and semi- quaver, are rhythmically in order, as well. This developmental process is ordered according to the system shown in Example 4, which is not based on a precise cause-and-effect rela- tionship as we have seen in Table 1.

The rhythmic order of the phrases of Thread I. Disregarding whether it is a quaver or a semiquaver, the last note of the third and the following phrases have only one functionality: Thus the perception of the former one is much easier. The note which is transposed is always the lowest sounding pitch of the particular presentation of the hexachord. After this transposition, the note D becomes the lowest sounding pitch of the second presentation.


This pitch is also transposed up by an octave in the third presentation, and this process continues until the 18th presentation of the hexachord.

After the repetition of the remaining first two notes four times, Thread I is ended with the note E flat, which is the first note of both the hexachord and the work. However, while the rhythmic patterns in Messagesquisse are formed by the letters S-A-C-H-E-R to be realized through rhythmic values according to the long and short signals in the Morse code see Bonnet However, the last necessary transposition for achieving the initial arrangement of the row three octave higher, namely the transposition of the note B by an octave in the non-existent 19th presentation of the row, does not take place.

Witold Lutosławski

A possible reason for this is that the composer regarded the pitch A two octave above the first open string as the highest limit because it was undesirable for the composer to enter into a register where the characteristic timbre of the violoncello would not be present any more.

Unlike Lutoslawski, Holliger does not show any systematic approach to changing the octave registers of the pitches see Usman a: The systematic progression of the pitches of the Sacher hexachord from the lowest to the highest register of the violoncello. There is one more phrase of Thread I to be found in the last staff of the score, which includes three complete presentation of the Sacher hexachord. In contrast to the rest of Thread I, here the dynamic levels mf, p, and luotslawski are present, and the notes of the hexachord are used simultaneously for the first time.

The microtonal pitches, which are not contained by Thread I and thus which represent one of the main contrasting elements between the two formations, do not have a structural role in Thread II. Since these pitches are variationss for the colouring and embellishment, they are not included in the analysis.

Another contrast between the formations are observed in the organiza- tion of the pitch material. While Thread I uses a strictly working mechanism scher organize pitches, the pitch material of Lutslawski II is used freely, without being organized systematically. In Example 6, the pitches that the phrases 11 “The piece ends in a rather amusing way.

As the first presentation of the Sacher hexachord in Thread I see Example 5the pitches of this phrase also are in the lowest octave register to be played by the violoncello. Another varixtions characteristic of Thread II is that all the phrases except the last one end with the notes B flat and D flat, which may or may not be respectively. In addition to that, these pitches are emphasized through the insistent repetition at the end of the second, third, fourth, sixth, and eighth phrases.

Due to these reasons, it is thought that these two pitches have been given a structural significance. It would not be vairations that a composer like Lutoslawski, who has often worked with cluster chords and determined chromatic fields, shows such an approach.

In this article, it has been lutlslawski that the composer has a total freedom to create his work regarding to the endless possibilities that music offers, that the technics and principles he uses are not obligations, but only means bringing results, and that the composer makes the decision variationx and in what extent he gives place to these technics and principles, or if he prefer a compositional process which is completely independent of them.

Thus, it has been accepted that the discussed formations could be results of extremely complex, interwoven principles which saxher be explained with lutooslawski view from the outside, as well as they could be determined by the completely personal choices.

Therefore, in the analysis, it has been considered appropriate to indicate the formations in which it is not possible to explain the principles they based on clearly and to be restricted with the speculations on them. However, as it can be seen in Table 2 at the end of the analysis, Thread I and Thread II have completely opposite structures in lutosladski aspects, hence the formation of Thread II, which apparently does not have any organization principle in regard to the pitch sacherr, contrasts the formation of Thread I, which is based on an extremely mechanical system, thereby taking place in the overall construction of the work.


In the first two measures of the movement, which is written with the twelve-tone technique, ten pitches of the twelve-tone row are vadiations by the mandolin and guitar, and two pitches that remains are played by the violin and bass clarinet respectively. In this way, the melody and accompaniment functions, which are highlighted through the use sache the instruments that aurally differ from each other, are also supported in regard to the pitches see Vogt The pitches of the Thread II divided into phrases.

The relation between the emphasized pitches B flat and D flat and the Sacher hexachord. In reply to the systematic progression of the lutoxlawski of the Sacher hex- achord from the lowest to the highest register of the violoncello in Thread I, Thread II progresses from a higher register to the lowest.

Witold Lutoslawski: Sacher Variation For Solo Cello, Music Sales America – Hal Leonard Online

The differences between the two threads of the work are given in Table 2 altogether. The differences between the two threads of the work. The work ends with a short addition in the character of a codetta ap- proximately in the octave register in which lutoslwski two threads have previously intersected. That the phrases of Thread I, whose development is realized due to the highly consistent organization principles, carry the structure in a similar way that strong variwtions carry the building plays the most important role to provide the integrity of the work, of course.

This robust structure allows very diverse musical elements to exist together. Thread II contrasts with Thread I in every respect. Thanks to succession of contrasting elements without ceasing, the work never loses its vitality while it constantly maintains its mechanic development.

Besides all these, the Sacher hexachord, which is aurally in the fore- ground, does structurally not play any effective role in the work, such that the row is repeated in its original arrangement and without being trans- posed throughout the work. The two developmental processes related to lutoslawskl hexachord, namely the gradual extension of the phrases of Thread I and the progression of the hexachord from the lowest to the highest register of the violoncello throughout the work, should not be considered as technics applied particularly to the hexachord.

These processes do not cause any transformation of the hexachord except the change of the octave register, and nor the acquired result is determined by the hexachord.

In other words, the development is provided by the global technics that can be applied to any pitch material, and not by the Sacher hexachord itself. The Sacher hexachord is nothing but the subject of these technics.

Through his approach based on derivation, Holliger represents a completely opposite way of compos- ing and derives the pitch material of the whole work except the first section from the Sacher hexachord see Usman a: The work bases its existence mainly on the aural world that is a result of this derivation.

That the whole aural world, which is the primary foundation of the work, is going to be change if only one note in the Sacher hexachord is replaced with another one shows how integrated the Sacher hexachord with the overall structure of the work is.

The percep- tion of the opposite directions of the threads, the changes in the number of the notes each phrase contains, and the individuality of the threads becomes possible only through the restriction of the pitch material development.

References Beck, Conrad et al.

Contemporary Music Review, 2: Techniques of the Contemporary Composer. Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music. Serial Composition and Atonality 6th edition. University of California Press. The Cambridge Companion to the Cello. Neue Musik seit [New Music since ] 3rd edition. Remember me on this computer.

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