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«MUSICOLOGICA OLOMUCENSIA VII Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci Olomouc 2005 The present volume was submitted to print on 6 April 2005. Dieser Band ...»

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Das Gebiet der Geschmacksurteile überschreitet das Gebiet der Kunst, es betrifft auch die Verhaltens- und Lebensweise im weitesten Sinne des Wortes. Die Abhandlung analysiert die Berechtigung und Begrenztheit zweier extremer Auffassungen des Geschmacks, wobei man die eine durch die bekannte Redewendung „De gustibus non est disputandum“, charakterisieren kann, die andere dann so, dass man den Geschmack erlernen kann, dass er eigentlich eine Annahme der Norm ist. Der Autor widmet sich den Hauptzügen respektive der Charakteristik des Geschmacks, um sich dann mit drei Hauptmomenten zu befassen, die die Herausbildung des musikalischen Geschmack beeinflussen und in ihn eingehen: eine Sphäre der musikalischen Erfahrung des Einzelnen, die zweite die Sphäre außerhalb der Musik in der Ebene der individuellen Psychologie, die dritte die kulturelle Determination im weitesten Sinne des Wortes. Der Geschmack kommt eher in der Ebene der Rezeption zur Geltung, als in der schöpferischen Ebene. Das Geschmacksphänomen hängt mit dem Phänomen der Mode zusammen. Der Autor weist auf die Tatsache hin, dass man die Mode nicht aussschließlich als negative Erscheinung betrachten sollte, was man vor allem auf dem Gebiet der modernen, populären Musik verfolgen kann. Es gilt keineswegs, dass sich die Geschmacklosigkeit ausschließlich auf diesem Gebiet bemerkbar macht, auch wenn ersichtlich ist, dass ihre soziale Existenz und Funktion dazu beitragen, dass sie zur Geschmacklosigkait ziemlich neigt.

Die Abhandlung wird mit der Feststellung abgeschlossen, dass der Begriff Geschmack in der heutigen Zeit in der üblichen Kommunikation und auch im Kontext der Ästhetik viel von seiner Tragfähigkeit und Benützbarkeit verloren hat: er ist gewissermaßen verschwommen, schwierig zu verifizieren usw. Auch wenn es oftmals möglich ist, ihn durch die Begriffe „Präferenz“, „Interessen“, „Orientierung“ u. ä zu ersetzen, führen nichtsdestoweniger diese Verschiebungen zum Diskurs irgendwie „heraus aus der Ästhetik“ in die soziale Psychologie oder Soziologie. In der (musikalischen) Ästhetik kann oder muss der Begriff Geschmack erhalten bleiben und man kann dann mit ihn bei gebührender Vorsichtigkeit arbeiten.

ACTA UNIVERSITATIS PALACKIANAE OLOMUCENSIS

FAKULTAS PHILOSOPHICA PHILOSOPHICA – AESTHETICA 28 – 2005 The Relation between Visual Art and Music in Luboš Fišer’s Fifteen Sheets According to Dürer’s Apocalypse and Caprichos

–  –  –

Let us begin from the presumption that a music composition is able to express not only itself, but also relate to extramusical reality, which, thanks to its many meanings, it can in a certain sense grasp better than speech. Although in face of the speech music does not have the advantage of precisely allotted conception, it is able to carry meanings.

Music is therefore semantic.

In the following text we will try to show with an example of Luboš Fišer’s compositions the possible relation of visual art to a musical composition. This is just one of the many possibilities of finding these relations and it does not claim to offer a complete explanation. Moreover, this essay cannot substitute the effect of the art itself.

Fifteen Sheets According to Dürer’s Apocalypse and Caprichos in the Context of the Time of its Creation The composition Fifteen Sheets According to Dürer’s Apocalypse (1965) and Caprichos (1966) are parts of a triptych whose head is the composition Requiem (1968). In this triptych matured and for the next author’s work became determinant Fišer’s individual style. The influence of the so-called New Music is a significant factor. For example, Jaroslav Smolka sees in the expressive melodies of Fišer’s triptych, with the predominance of seconds, fourths, and fifths, the influence of the music of the composers of the so-called Polish School (Lutosławski, Penderecki).1 The placement of the sounds in the tonal space, the density of the texture, and the dynamic and motivic plan are important elements of the pieces of the triptych. All of the compositions, as will be shown in two of them, show traditional well-worn solutions of the formal unit. In their scheme, leading to a climax with clear coda-type ending, they exclude any experiment with open forms.

Jaroslav Smolka, „Skladatel Luboš Fišer,“ Hudební věda 4 (1983).

This traditional formal solution is connected with the tendency to create a work with a clear message or a cathartic confession. The compositions are distinguished from the technically serial compositions of the 1950s mostly by these attributes. In their formal closure, they are close to the orchestraproduction of the 1960s (Ligeti, Penderecki).

The Sonic Material

Since the Second Viennese School, and particularly after World War II, a composition is often partly determined before its own composition by the row ordering, modes, and other material categories. It is similar with Fišer’s triptych.

The author called attention to his choice of material in the introduction to the score of Fifteen Sheets According to Dürer’s Apocalypse this way: “The melodic and harmonic material comes exclusively from the basic six-tone mode from which the whole structure of the composition gradually grows.”2 This mode is symmetrically set up by two semitone trichords: B–C–C-sharp and F–F-sharp–G. The identically structured complement D-E-flat–E –G-sharp–A–B-flat does not sound in the composition at all (Fišer’s hexachord and its complement therefore have the maximal possible harmonic symmetry, 11411).3 Although the set provides the possibility of melodic thirds and sixths (tones B–G, C-sharp–F) they are not used in the composition anywhere. That is to say that Fišer paid huge attention to suppression of any hints of tonality or the centrality of a pitch or set of pitches. Thanks to this effort, the very end of the Requiem has a totally unique expression in the choral amen on the C chord.





Jaroslav Smolka4 deduces the development of the set from Fišer’s previous compositional development (e.g., Piano sonata no. 3, Piano sonata no. 4, the sonata Hands, the organ piece Reliéf – the construction of the motives in these compositions exploits the “material of semitones put close together”).5 In regard to the aforementioned compositions, it is important in Fišer’s triptych that only here had he created a set common for the whole composition from this type of semantic material. This set is a result of Fišer’s integral compositional development.

The set of the Requiem is not identical to the set of Fifteen Sheets and Caprichos as was described above, although it is related to it. To the tones B–C–C-sharp–F–F-sharp–G sharp, the author added B-flat and A-flat, which is in the axis of symmetry of the chosen material an inverse variation of the tone B-flat. Occasionally the tone E appears as the third of the aforementioned C major chord. In the frame of this symmetry, the similarly inverse tone D appears also only sporadically in the third movement and fourth movements (twice and once, respectively). The set of Fišer’s Requiem can be therefore charaLuboš Fišer, Patnáct Listů podle Dürerovy Apokalypsy (Prague: Státní hudební vydavatelství, 1967).

See Karel Janeček, Základy moderní harmonie (Prague: Academia, 1965).

Jaroslav Smolka, “Skladatel Luboš Fišer,” Hudební věda 4 (1983).

This term is Smolka’s (see “Skladatel Luboš Fišer”).

cterized as two complementary symmetrical semitone tetrachords (B-flat–B–C–C-sharp and F–F-sharp–G– A-flat) with two tones (D and E) that occur only in certain places and which are also complementary to each other. In opposition to this symmetrical set (111121111(2)) there stands the tritone negative A–E-flat–(A).

The Requiem is, after Fifteen Sheets and Caprichos, the final movement of the triptych.

Since the first composition was orchestral and the second vocal, it was possible to synthesize both kinds in the final composition of the triptych. The vocal–instrumental Requiem was written for soprano and baritone solo, two mixed choirs, and orchestra. But both of these components do not appear in the piece pari passu. An unambiguously dominant role is played by the vocal component. There is no independent orchestral part such as an introduction or epilogue. The orchestra does not even have the function of a traditional accompaniment; it does not double the vocal lines anywhere, nor does it bring harmonic or rhythmical support to the singing.

Although Fišer’s Requiem is the culmination point of the triptych and the composer itself this of it in this way,6 I will not, because of my interest focused on the connection between music and visual art, deal further with this part in the following text.

Fifteen Sheets According to Dürer’s Apocalypse

The individual pages, marked in the score by Roman numerals, are materially and expressively very close units. There are mutual motivic and other structural relations among them but in the beginning there predominate (sometimes even antithetically shaped) contrasts, as Jaroslav Smolka notes in his study.7 Fišer really created several expressive motivic shapes from his narrow selection of tones. Concerning the melodic-rhythmic aspect, all of these motives are immutable. They appear either in their original form or not at all. All of the changes, which the usage of these motives brings about, concern only the changes in position, instrumentation, or dynamics.

The first motive is a descending-ascending motive in the harpsichord (a1, see ex.1) in the introduction (Sheet I) and in the ending of the composition (Sheet XV), whose sound is always bound to the motive of the claves (the author uses motive a1, except for the aforementioned parts, in a gradual ascension to the climax in Sheet XIII). Although all the tones of the hexachord are spent in this first motive, the number of intervals used for its construction is very limited. There are three of them, very similar in span: an augmented fourth, a perfect fourth, and a perfect fifth.

Pavel Eckstein, “Rozhovor o starých textech a nové hudbě” (with Luboš Fišer and Ivo Jirásek), Hudební rozhledy (1969): 133–34.

See “Skladatel Luboš Fišer,” 314.

Ex. 1. Motive a1 The descending-ascending movement shows the alliance of the motive a1 with the next motive a2 (see ex. 2) which was presented once and repeated 3 times in Sheet III (most strongly in the strings). The first part of both motives is a descending minor seventh, and the ascending part it is a minor ninth.

Motive a2 as if has been created by letting out the middle tones of both parts of the motive a1 (descending-ascending) and its rhythmization. The result would have been the motive B–C–F-sharp–G, however the second part of the motive a2 is created by the tones F and F-sharp, which are a semi-tone lower. This transposition from the second half of the motive a2 downward is not a substantial detail. Only this way is the three-tone symmetry retained between the halves (the tones B and F and C and F-sharp). This barely noticeable transposition shift again prevents the creation of any possible tonal centralization.

Ex. 2. Motive a2

Motive a2 has its variation in the kettledrum motive (see ex.3; this kettledrum variation appears three times repeated in the Sheets IX and XI, in Sheet XIV this variation appears for the last time as a de-thematicized ostinato). That it is a variation of the motive a2 (the melodic narrowing is made by the smaller extensional possibilities of the kettledrum) proves the descending-ascending movement, identical proportional rhythmization and the same formal involvement of the motive a2 in the Sheet III (it enters in the fifth second) and the kettledrum variation in Sheet IX (it also enters in the fifth second and is repeated three times).

Ex. 3. Kettledrum motive

Melodic motive b (ex. 4) stands in contrast to the descending-ascending motives, moving from in the frame of only one trichord (the motive is presented for the first time and twice repeated by the solo flute in Sheet VII. With its melancholic tuning, the flute theme offers a wide scale of changes. This motive changes rullato with the sound of the trombones into grotesque robustness in Sheet X, in Sheet XIII it has an urgent-sounding quality, resulting from the double repetition of the motive by the horns in a position one octave higher and at a fortissimo dynamic).

Changing the tones C and B increases the energy for the progress of the major second on the tones B and C-sharp. With its preference for the semitone (and its inversions) and the tritone, this practically singular motivic exposition of the interval of a major second lends a distinctive touch to the whole composition and it gives the motive a strong expressivity.

Ex. 4. Motive b.

The placement of the sounds in the tone space of the orchestra and the plan of the dynamics of the composition are important elements of musical formation of Fifteen Sheets. In the section of Sheets I to VIII, the tessitura of sounds moves from a deep position to middle and high ones. The contrasting center of the composition is more static in position and uses the middle and higher tessituras. The gradation of intervals in Sheets IX to XIII is done by expanding the width of the tone space from the deep position to higher ones and the ending – Sheets XIV and XV – and makes use of the whole tonal space of the orchestra. The dynamic plan roughly corresponds to this. The first part – Sheets I to VII – has a dynamically building character. The second part, the contrasting middle of the composition (Sheets I to VIII) keeps itself at weak dynamic levels.



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