About the 4 Intermezzi




„Waves“ could be a motto for the 4 Intermezzi- huge waves, small waves, waves that interfere, break, that sometimes roll under the surface, energy that builds up and discharges, a moment of catharsis. Sometimes one catastrophe immediately follows the next, sometimes one might expect another crash but something different happens.

And then in all the repetitions something that seemed familiar before might be seen with new eyes. And a repetition- if one is willing to look carefully- might not appear to be a repetition after all.



Intermezzo 1:

Almost all the material that the 4 Intermezzi are built on, is derived from the motive in bar 1 or to be precise from the row that is used for the construction of this motive:


6 tones, arranged chromatically in the range of a fourth, form the row that consists of 20 notes in total using tone repetitions. The first Intermezzo, its form most likely a fugue, follows the architecture of the row concerning the entries of the themes: the second entry (bar 2) starts from Ab, the third from G again, the fourth from Bb etc.- the transpositions of the motive follow the single notes, that it is made of.

Approximately from the middle of the piece the themes are interlocked (the first stretto in the distance of five, the second in the distance of three quarter notes) and the composition ends with the four last entrances (A, Bb, B and Ab) sounding simultaneously (the motives starting from A and Ab appear inverted):


So there is a movement from sequence to simultaneity.

(As a retardation before the finish the motive is developed in a whole tone scale in a solo by guitar 4.)

 

Intermezzo 2: 

The theme of this piece uses the inversion of the row (with tone repetitions in the beginning):



Furthermore minor pentatonic scales starting from G, Bb, Db and E are added.
(These four central notes are also the only starting points for transpositions of the theme.)

 

Intermezzo 3: 

The attempt to loosely imitate certain aspects of south indian melodic principles, or rather the system of south indian ornamentations (gamakas), forms the basis of this piece.

In an intro (about 5 minutes long/form: AABAA) a scale is developed by combining material from the first Intermezzo (the theme based on a whole tone scale) with the second (inversion of the row):

 



Over an accompaniment in 11/4 which is more or less static (imitation of the tampura, an indian string instrument with many overtones, which forms the background to almost all classical indian compositions with its monotonous pedal point) 2 guitars play the ornamented melodies derived from this scale in unison.

When both guitar pairs have introduced their melodies the modal character of the piece ends. A quite dense part slowly thins out and the bottleneck motive from the B-part of the intro (Db minor pentatonic) returns.

The piece ends with the imitation of a mukthayam (a south indian composition- often written for percussion ensembles-  that uses odd meter groups and syncopations) in bass and drums, combined with a chorale harmonisation of the row in the guitars.

 

Intermezzo 4: 

Just as the 2. Intermezzo this piece uses distorded guitars for the most part.

The row mainly appears as retrograde and retrograde inversion. Here’s the retrograde which is, amongst others, used in the exposition:

 



The two central tones are E and Bb.


Overview central tones:

Intermezzo 1: G
Intermezzo 2: G
Intermezzo 3: G + Db
Intermezzo 4: E + Bb                                    printable pdf-version