Symphony no.2

Osbon, David (2005) Symphony no.2. (orchestral music). Score and compact disc. (Unpublished)


The research question addressed in this work was: Is Sonata Allegro form an appropriate compositional device in non-diatonic music? It continues an area of research interest first explored in my two Piano Sonatas (2003 and 2004), and progresses the adaptation of older formal structures into contemporary works by composers such as Tippett and Stravinsky. The first movement follows the pattern: Introduction, Exposition (with two subjects), Development, Recapitulation and Coda. The slow introduction articulates the three harmonic fields to be used in the rest of the symphony through arpeggiation of the root chords of each field’s rotations; a technique of harmonic generation that transposes the top note of a chord to a fixed pedal (usually the bottom note of the root chord), and then transposes all other pitches by the same interval, creating a pitch field with a hierarchy of chords with a particular intervallic identity each transposed to a ‘key’ pitch which serves as a tonal identifier for sections composed with each field. This harmonic model creates the contrasts necessary for sonata allegro form to be applied. Multi-movement works need to exist as a harmonic and, in many cases, thematic, whole rather than the sum of their various parts. This work uses both harmonic and thematic connections, for example in the reworking of the second theme from the second movement as the second theme of the third movement. Each of the movements follows traditional formal patterns and uses those patterns as a filter through which to articulate harmonic and thematic material.

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