Processes of redemption and the aesthetic of the fragment in the early twelve-tone works of Luigi Dallapiccola
Chikinda, Michael Wayne
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The discussion that follows addresses the early twelve-tone works of Italian composer Luigi Dallapiccola. While much recent scholarly attention has focused on works composed from the 1950's onwards, this dissertation will examine those works written during the 1930's and 1940's when Dallapiccola slowly began to integrate twelve-tone procedures into his music. Furthermore, it will be argued that two important biographical events shaped the development of his twelve-tone music: the removal of the Dallapiccola family to Graz, Austria for a twenty month period during the First World War because of his father's sympathies with the Irredentist movement, and the adoption of Italy's own racial purity campaign by Mussolini during the Second World War. The result is a compositional process that mimics the aesthetic ideal of the fragment. Some brief biographical information on Dallapiccola is presented in Chapter 1, and the discussion then turns to examine the Irredentist movement, which resulted in the aforementioned period of exile in Austria, and the aesthetic ideal of the fragment; in particular, its connotation in the Romantic period and how it may be adapted for discussion about Dallapiccola's twelve-tone compositions. Chapter 2 looks at Estate, an a cappella piece written for male chorus. It includes an opening and closing section with clear tonal elements, and a middle section that uses mostly chromatic material. The discussion on this middle section will focus on the presence of any nascent twelve-tone procedures. In addition, Dallapiccola's idea of cantabilità is introduced, which is writing a 'singable' melody using principles dating back to the Italian Renaissance. Chapter 3 addresses the first movement of the Tre laudi, which is composed for solo voice and chamber orchestra (the remaining pieces all follow this format). This composition displays the first unequivocal use of a row form: two, in fact, are presented at the beginning and end of the piece. The discussion will concentrate on the intervening material and the extent of its twelve-tone organisation. Chapter 4 turns to the " Due liriche di Anacreonte, " which is part of the larger cycle of the Liriche greche. These pieces, dating from the 1940's, use twelve-tone material exclusively. As a result, rather than trying to determine to what extent this method is being used, the discussion will now focus on Dallapiccola's systematic twelve-tone procedures: the first movement, Canoni, as the title suggests, presents the row in imitative entries whereas the second movement, Variazioni, exploits a homophonic texture. Here, the discussion of the row will concentrate more on harmonic implications than on linear considerations, as was the case for the first movement. A lingering question provides the impetus for Chapter 5, namely, what is the Variazioni a variation on? The second movement used a different ordered row than the first and thus, it cannot be a variation on the original row. Instead, it will be argued that the answer to this question lies in the last movement of the Sappho fragments and the first movement of the Alkaios songs, which both make reference to the ordered row used in the Variazioni. The conclusions chapter will attempt to place Dallapiccola in the context of modernism. Walter Frisch's term historicist modernism is introduced to draw attention to the fact that, while Dallapiccola breaks from the recent past by using the innovative pitch organisation of the twelve-tone method, he simultaneously reaches out to the past in his endeavour to uphold the ideal of cantabilità.