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Unfolding: For Mixed Ensemble
Gendelman, Juan Martin
Moss, Lawrence K
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A growing interest in the theatrical side of musical performance has been the genesis of this dissertation. Although intended as a piece that should make sense musically (in a concert situation, that is) Unfolding was created as a multi-disciplinary work, where I have explored some of the ways in which a musical piece is perceived when put together with elements that belong to other artistic fields. Within the scope of this dissertation, those fields included Dance, the Visual Arts (represented by the live video,) Architecture, and Theatre (acknowledging here that, even though Theatre never played an active role in the development of the piece, different kinds of theatrical resources stand out when Unfolding is performed). Some concepts were carefully treated throughout the creation process. The idea of considering Dancers and Musicians simply as Performers, and thus trying to make less obvious the division naturally imposed by their roles in the piece, was present at all times. Also, both composer and choreographer worked closely from the very beginning of the project, in an attempt to achieve a balanced influence from each field over one another. Architecture was also very important from the beginning as both acoustical and visual characteristics of the hall (Dance Theatre at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center) shaped the piece. The video, on the other hand, was treated in a more complimentary manner. Its creation took place only after music and choreography had their final appearance. Formally, the piece was originally conceived as a main development that starts after a Prelude and evolves through sections I, III, and V, being interrupted twice, in II, and IV. In reality, however, the mentioned development does not happen in a classical fashion. Instead, musical gestures and ideas unfold (hence the title) throughout I and III, reaching its highest point of tension shortly before the second appearance of the trumpet at the end of V. Instrumentation was also planned early, trying to force different performance situations between dancers and musicians through the use of a different number of instruments on each section. Consequently, the piece starts with a solo that soon becomes a duet (in the Prelude), followed with a trio that becomes a quartet (in I, considering the percussion as only one part), continues as a quartet throughout III, and grows up to a septet (in V) and eventually an octet when the trumpet appears. At the same time, the solo of II and the duet of IV, which is compositionally an extension of II, interrupt the growing nature of the group. The abrupt appearances of the trumpet in II, and III, and its final emergence at the end of the piece, are treated as means of formal unity. Because of the artistic nature of this project, its final conclusion may have many readings. As a composer, however, I have been taught by this experience that when dealing with a multi-disciplinary work, the earlier the creators (composer and choreographer, in this case) start working together, the stronger and more organic the connections between the disciplines will be in the piece.