Статья 'Витольд Лютославский как новатор в области симфонического тематизма (на примере Третьей симфонии)' - журнал 'PHILHARMONICA. International Music Journal' - NotaBene.ru
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PHILHARMONICA. International Music Journal

Witold Lutosławski as an innovator in the field of symphonic thematism (on the example of the Third Symphony)

Zakharov Yurii

ORCID: 0000-0002-3873-3934

Doctor of Art History

Professor, Department of History and Theory of Music, Victor Popov Academy of Choral Art

125565, Russia, Moscow, Festivalnaya str., 2

Other publications by this author










Abstract: W. Lutosławski (1913-1994) was an outstanding Polish composer, one of the inventors of the principle of limited (controlled) aleatorics. In his symphonic music, aleatoric and sonoric types of material interact with the thematism of the traditional type. The article is devoted to the analysis of this interaction and the identification of the dramatic role of non-traditional thematism in the musical form. The Third Symphony (1983) serves as the research material. The author of the article characterizes the expressive possibilities of aleatorics of the texture, identifies two types of sonorism, and also describes 8 types of traditional thematism used in the symphony. The "dialogue" of the two main pitch structures in the epilogue of the symphony is traced. The study allows us to conclude that non-traditional thematism prevails in the introduction and in the first part, i.e. where different types of material are exposed. On the contrary, in the second part of the symphony, the personal principle intervenes in the organization of the thematic process. The composer's will, which develops the material, collides it with each other, builds dramaturgy and leads to a certain outcome. And here (with the exception of development), traditional thematism strongly prevails. Awareness of the balance between different types of material leads to the ability to follow the plot of the symphony, which manifests itself not only in the disposition of themes, but also in the interaction of various interval complexes with each other.


symphonic process, musical theme, Witold Lutosławski, aleatoric music, sonorism, contemporary harmony, the plot of a symphony, pitch structure, musical utterance, musical form

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Witold Lutoslavsky is one of the largest figures of the Western Slavic and, more broadly, European musical culture of the twentieth century. The most important area of his work is symphonic music. Here the name of Lutoslavsky can be put on a par with the names of such composers as G. Mahler, A. Honegger, D. Shostakovich. And where we are talking about a symphony, there inevitably arises the question of the types of thematism and their interaction.

In this article, I set myself two tasks: 1) to identify the specifics of Lyutoslavsky's aleatorics and describe its expressive possibilities; 2) to characterize the place that sonorous and aleatoric thematism occupies among more traditional types of thematism in the context of one work.

The concept of a topic has undergone a significant evolution throughout the twentieth century. However, its "etymological root" remained common: the theme is something put or proposed that you can take and do something with it.

Superficially summarizing, we can say that the understanding of a musical theme moves in space from the material to be developed to the exponent of the main idea (or one of the main ideas) of the work.

During the twentieth century, many new types of thematism were added to the traditional types. Firstly, we are talking about thematism, which is born of sounds that are new in nature:sonorous or electronically synthesized theming, specific sounds. Secondly, let us recall the non-parametric types of thematism: timbre, rhythmic, loudness, etc. Thirdly, some musicologists introduced the concept of "dispersed thematism" (see the works of V. P. Bobrovsky [1], V. B. Valkova [2-4]), which can be applied to traditional music, and even to monodic chants, however, it highlights the theme in them not as a melody, but as a kind of intonation invariant, standing either for a lot of pop songs, or for a lot of specific melodic and harmonic phenomena within one piece or cycle in the music of the XVIII–XX centuries.

However, this triad does not cover all types of thematism of the twentieth century.

The inner unity, which is still desirable for the theme, can be achieved by means not peculiar to the music of the XIX century and earlier. Such means can be, for example, sound-pitch series that covertly control the melody, or consolidation of fragments connected according to the collage principle, due to either semantic factors, or the location of such a complex in the context of a symphony and contrasting it with other types of material.

We encounter the first principle not only in dodecaphony, but also, for example, in Berg's Altenberg Lieder, where the vocal melody in tt. 20-26 of the first song is secretly controlled by three pitch lines ascending or descending in semitones.

Example 1. A. Berg. Altenberg Lieder, Op. 4 No. 1, vol. 20-26

With the second — in the Fifth Symphony of Gia Kancheli, where the first theme is a collage of small thematic formations, some of which carry a tangible semantic load, while others are different types of sonorics.

The symphony begins with a quiet harpsichord phrase that resembles both a children's song and a fragment from a Mozart sonata. The orchestra (strings and woodwinds) enters with the famous Baroque figure of the cross. Bars 4-7 (after the second phrase of the harpsichord), 9-11 — quiet sonorica, "state music". In bars 16-17, the violas have a quote from G. Kancheli's music for the film "The Caucasian Prisoner" (see musical example No. 17 in the book by N. M. Zeifas [5, p. 89]).

None of these thematic formations individually can claim to be a theme, but together they build a kind of semantic field, which at first is not perceived as a single one, but gradually, in the process of listening to the symphony, you realize that (in particular, and in comparison with other themes of this symphony) semantic unity exists here. It can be described as memories immersed in eternity.

Lyutoslavsky's thematism in its genesis and its typological affiliation is very far from both Berg and Kancheli.

The Polish composer uses both traditional and non-traditional themes. Let's start with the characteristics of the latter.

Lyutoslavsky's unconventional thematism is based on the principles of aleatorics and sonorics. The composer's statements about the aleatoric technique used by him can be found in the anthology [6, p. 232], in the book [7, p. 88, 112]. (E. Denisov, in his famous article [8], considers all ways of interaction of stable and mobile elements in music in a broad historical perspective, however, paradoxically, does not use the term "aleatorics".)

Lutoslavsky is considered the inventor of the technique of limited, controlled aleatorics, or aleatorics of fabric. It consists in the fact that for each instrument (or part) of the orchestra, high-pitched figures with their own rhythm are written out, but synchronization is not required in their performance, and all performers freely repeat a set of given figures until the beginning of the next section (or until the moment prescribed by the composer). As a result, it is impossible to predict the pitch verticals of each moment, but it is possible to hear each figure intoned (played) by the musicians.

Example 2. V. Lutoslavsky. Symphony No. 3, beginning

Such aleatorics, giving the performer a certain freedom, offers to play his figures with maximum intonational meaningfulness, as if "from himself", from the first person. This can be called intonated aleatorics.

In addition, such a principle inclines the listener to think of the instruments themselves as living beings whose vital activity consists in making music, in the production of high—pitched phrases and figures - with individual articulation and a dynamic profile.

Lyutoslavsky's sonorous thematism is mostly metrized, but there are aleatoric fragments in it as well. The first type of sonorica is a sonorica of overlapping lines formed by a very fast movement of all instruments of this group (in these cases, Lyutoslavsky often divides the string group into two performers and writes out his own part for each pair).

Example 3. Symphony No. 3, fragment c. 3

The sounds of each line are initially located at a distance of a semitone from each other, but in the process of development such linearity is lost, and another type of sonorous texture may arise — a placer, using the terminology of A. Maklygin [9].

Piano, xylophone, marimba, bells, vibraphone add their "sound spots" (dots, narrow clusters) to this texture.

Phonically, such a sonorica of overlapping lines, sounding at first piano and pianissimo, resembles noise, rustle, movement of a swarm of insects, etc. But, in principle, the metaphor of the vital activity of instruments is also applicable here: the whole group (strings, woodwinds or brass) create some rustling sound "rolls" and "rollbacks", thus manifesting themselves.

The second type of sonorica is a kind of "tone development". We are talking about investing sustained sound with low—second friction - more often in slow tempo conditions, for strings or woodwinds.

Example 4. Symphony No. 3, c. 8

Let's move on to solving the second problem formulated at the beginning of the article.

The thematism of the traditional type is given a large place in the Third Symphony. Here are the main examples of its use.

1) The melody of the English horn solo.

Example 5. Symphony No. 3, c. 11

The principle of a limited set of intervals is used here: a small second, a small third (and its reversal), a triton.

2) The melody of the “choir" of solo strings.

Example 6. Symphony No. 3, c. 37.

The melody of the solo violin is supported by other solo strings, moving along the sounds of the polyaccord. The middle layer is an enlarged triad from d, which stands on the F of the double bass and cello, and the upper layer is a large major seventh chord from a. Instead of a "melody with accompaniment", Lutoslavsky usually uses exactly this type of texture — when the other instruments support the melody by turning (simultaneously or in turn) into the sounds of an unchanging or changing chord (controlling the melody), sometimes moving between the tones of this chord synchronously with the melody (and in this case also performing a melodic function).

3) Clarinet recitatives, tubas (as if on behalf of the instrument)

Example 7a. Symphony No. 3, c. 41

Example 7b. Symphony No. 3, c. 43

4) A theme expounded by pizzicato low strings in even durations.

Example 8. Symphony No. 3, c. 19

(Later, high strings are also attached to this pizzicato.)

5) The high-altitude melody of the violas is torn and torn by pauses.

Example 9. Symphony No. 3, c. 32

6) Ostinate figures of harp, violas, bassoon.

Example 10. Symphony No. 3, c. 32 and 37

7) "Monody" of strings.

Example 11. Symphony No. 3, pp. 81-84

Associations with monody are caused by the fact that all strings (except double basses) perform the same line in the same octave (in some places with foreshocks, which hints at its vocal nature, and in some places with elements of heterophony). This line comes to one of the key intonations of the symphony's epilogue — the descending motif escf. This motif (postponed from different heights) layers the entire epilogue, being one of the sound-pitch structures acting in it.

The second structure appears in the melody in c. 86.

8) This melody is a statement from the author, a personality-colored theme.

Example 12. Symphony No. 3, c. 86.

Here, as in the melody from c. 37 (example No. 6), violas and cellos support the melody of violins, but do not rise after it, but remain at their sound heights. As a result, all this melodic construction looks like a gradual drawing of a piercing chord formed by the coupling of five minor non: from g, b, des, as, h.

Example 13. Coupling of small non, replaced by interval complexes "small third + pure fifth"


In an interview with I. Nikolskaya , Lutoslavsky said: "In my recent experiments, one truth has begun to crystallize: the fundamental opposition of the major septima and the minor nona (...). We can say that the consonances built on the minor nona (...), as a whole, are carriers of the centrifugal tendency, the tendency of decay. While the greater septima is a more stable element, creating a centripetal trend in the accordion" [10, p. 73]. Given this statement, it can be argued that the melody of the number 86 is dominated by the "tendency of decay". But this tendency — starting from the 9th bar - is opposed by the motif of the descending minor third + pure fifth, in which, as can be assumed (although these intervals sum up not a large, but a small septim), a centripetal tendency is contained.

Thus, the 86th digit of the score is the dramatic extremum of the symphony, the battle of two opposing forces, after which, in c. 97, victory seems to remain with the centripetal force, but at the end of the symphony the entire building is destroyed, and the initial motto is proclaimed.

So, the thematism of the traditional type has a great specific weight in the Third Symphony, and it is with it that the main "conflict points" and the dramatic outcome of the symphony are connected.

However, what is the place of aleatoric and sonorous thematism, what role does it play in the holistic concept?

To answer this question, let us turn to the form of the Third Symphony. The symphony is written in a two-part contrast-composite form with an epilogue; the parts are united by a common thematism and motto. As is typical of many forms of Lyutoslavsky, the first part exhibits different types of material, but does not contain a pronounced action, while the second is much more dynamic and written in sonata form.

The first part, after the introduction, contains three episodes, the first of which shows both types of sonorics — both fast (lines, placers) and slow (tone development). The second episode begins with the theme of the English horn (example 5), but also contains sonorous techniques. In the third, the pizzicato theme for low strings is first presented (example 8), and in the 25th digit the composer uses a special technique: the aleatoric exclamations of the oboe and trumpets lead to the fact that all instruments freeze on sustained sounds, and a chord appears on the fermat. Later, this technique will be repeatedly applied in the string group.

The specific weight of the sonorica in the first part is very large; aleatoric techniques are used mainly for "tone development" and in the 25th digit.

In the second part, everything is different. In the exposition (pp. 32-39), sonorous and aleatoric techniques are not used at all; both the main and the side party, with some reservations, are built on traditional types of thematism. We observe the same pattern in the reprise (from c. 65), with the exception of the 72nd digit; then the sonorica occurs in the 76th.

In the development and in the epilogue, all types of thematism are used — in the development on an equal footing, and in the epilogue aleatoric techniques occupy a subordinate role, since the main intrigue is based, simply put, on the interaction of monody and melody and on the confrontation of small non-small septims.

In the introduction, aleatoric (but non-sonorous) fragments alternate with pseudo—aleatorics (c. 1, c. 2 - starting from size 3/2), creating a light sonorous effect.

What conclusion can be drawn from these observations?

The specific weight of non-traditional thematism is greater in the introduction and in the first part, i.e. where different types of material are exposed. Lyutoslavsky really found or invented such types of sound, such sound images that no one had invented before him. This can be heard immediately after the initial motto of the symphony — in the aleatoric sound of first flutes, then oboes and then French horns. These images (including those with more traditional thematism) are exhibited in the first part and undergo little development, but they interact little with each other.

On the contrary, in the second part, the personal principle clearly interferes with the organization of thematic material — the composer's will, which develops the material, collides it with each other, builds drama and leads to a certain outcome. And here — during the exhibition of themes, as well as in the reprise — traditional thematism strongly prevails, and sonorics and aleatorics are actively used in development. Perhaps this balance is due to the fact that Lyutoslavsky's aleatoric and sonorous images are more associated with the "vital activity of instruments" and with an objective or extrapersonal beginning, and where it is necessary to build a dynamic form, they recede into the background.

However, even in dynamic sections, they are assigned a rather important role — not only a "chaotic beginning" that opposes logic, but also a kind of utterances — we are talking about fragments where aleatoric phrases of instruments form a solidifying chord.

Be that as it may, a clear awareness of the balance between different types of material in the Third Symphony leads to a better understanding of the composer's intention and to the ability to follow the plot of the symphony (see [11, 12]), which resists verbal interpretation and is akin to the intonation plot in G. Mahler's symphonies.



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The subject of the research in the article entitled "Witold Lutoslawski as an innovator in the field of symphonic thematism (on the example of the Third Symphony)" is the thematic innovation of one of the largest Polish composers of the XX century, V. Lutoslawski, who, as the author notes with good reason, can be ranked according to the significance of his contribution to the development of world academic musical art with such outstanding masters, like G. Mahler, A. Honegger, D. Shostakovich. As the analyzed object, the author successfully chose the composer's Symphony No. 3 (1983), noted, as is known, in 1985. The Gravemeyer Prize, awarded according to the idea of Ch. Gravemeyer for the accessibility and clarity of new musical ideas not only to professional musicians, but also to true connoisseurs of high art - amateurs. The author reasonably notes that in music and musicology of the 20th century, the concept of a musical theme is significantly expanded due to the fundamental differences between the new thematic structures and the prevailing ideas and tastes of the 19th century. In this connection, it is quite appropriate to define the theme structurally and functionally, almost phenomenologically, by the author as some sound material that receives a dramatic function in the development of a musical work. According to the author, the "etymological root" remains of the topic: "the topic is something put or proposed that you can take and do something with it." Of course, the author tried to put it simplistically for a certain purpose, bearing in mind the musical material exhibited by the composer-symphonist, which acquires a semantic and dramatic load with the development of the fabric of the work, which is extremely important for the symphonic genre. The author refers to V. Lutoslavsky's thematic innovations as the composer's use of sonorous and aleatoric techniques, which are opposed in the second part of the symphony to "more traditional types of thematism". Such a dramatic comparison of the types of thematism allows sonorica and aleatorica, in addition to coloristic functions, to give a figurative and semantic meaning, on which the author focuses his attention. The article consistently solves two tasks: "1) to identify the specifics of Lyutoslavsky's aleatorics and describe its expressive possibilities; 2) to characterize the place occupied by sonorous and aleatoric thematism among more traditional types of thematism in the context of one work." Solving the tasks set, using well—illustrated examples, the author proved that new types of thematism "in dynamic sections ... have a rather important role - not only the "chaotic principle" that opposes logic, but also a kind of utterance ...". Moreover, it is the comparison of metathematic (if one can say so after Bobrovsky) innovative techniques with thematism of a more traditional type that acquires significant expressive significance here: "... in the second part, the personal principle clearly intervenes in the organization of thematic material — the composer's will, which develops the material, confronts it with each other, builds drama and leads to a certain the result. And here, during the exposition of the themes, as well as in the reprise, traditional thematism decisively prevails." Thus, the subject of the study is considered by the author in sufficient detail at a high theoretical level. The research methodology, based on the techniques of structural and functional analysis of musical thematism, is well-founded (V. P. Bobrovsky, V. B. Valkova) and is relevant to the tasks set. The research program is well written and logically executed. The results of the analysis and conclusions are trustworthy. According to the reviewer, V. Lutoslavsky's method of typology of musical thematism was used somewhat illustratively and was not brought to its logical conclusion, which allowed the author to compare the dramaturgy of the two parts of the symphony. The author revealed the dramatic principle of the composer, but did not emphasize that the comparison of two types of thematism in the analyzed work can also be attributed to the artistic discovery of the outstanding symphonist. However, such an enhancement of the conclusion requires a more in-depth comparative analysis of the thematic diversity of music of the XX century. Therefore, the reviewer's remark should be attributed to wishes for the future, which does not affect the overall positive assessment of the article. The author justified the relevance of the chosen topic by the significance of V. Lutoslavsky's contribution to academic musical art. According to the reviewer, the choice of the research object is justified from the point of view of illustrating integration processes in musical culture: when the Russian school of composition, based on the understanding of European traditions, is developed in European culture and recognized by fans of high art in the United States. Such examples of intercultural integration in the context of the recent intensification of the rhetoric of "cultural abolition" harmful to academic art are especially relevant. The scientific novelty expressed in the author's analysis of the thematism of V. Lutoslavsky's Symphony No. 3 and well-reasoned conclusions is beyond doubt. The style of the text is scientific. The structure of the article fully corresponds to the logic of presenting the results of scientific research. The bibliography fully reveals the problematic area of research, is described taking into account the requirements of the editorial board, with the exception of paragraph "15", which the editor of the journal can correct without harm to the author's thoughts if he trusts the reviewer: the volume of the article is determined by pages 447-451. Most likely this is a purely technical typo. The appeal to the opponents is quite correct. The article, according to the reviewer, will certainly arouse the interest of the readership of "PHILHARMONICA. International Music Journal" and may be recommended for publication.
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