Chapter 2 Rencesvals (1946)

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Ex. 2.10 Rencesvals I: development, modular elements

The case for the G# (Ab) as the most important pc in the upper voice is more tenuous, but still plausible. It is the first and last pc of the piano’s top voice and the highest note in the vocal part (m. 26). The held F in the vocal part (m.31) is assuredly more important than its G# in m. 26 as it is the goal of a linear descent. (See Ex. 2.9, canto.) Nevertheless, to my ear, the high Ab of the piano in mm.29-30 is still pre-eminent at that point. The primacy of B-G# is enhanced by its departure and return (m.18 - m.29).

In the case of the mid-range structure shown in the lower of the two graphs, the module is transposed through the interval succession of the module’s bass line, creating the higher order module, A-F#; D-B; Db-Bb. Although the development contains many other modules, these three are the only ones that preserve the voice-leading skeleton of the opening module in m.1. Each of them initiates a vocal entrance (mm. 18, 22 and 24).

The upper and lower graphs of Ex. 2.10 exhibit structural multiplicity. There are good reasons for hearing both the B-G# and the A-D-Db, yet they cannot be organized into one hierarchy.

In the classical sonata, the recapitulation resolves the tension posited by the exposition’s contrasting second key by presenting the material of the second key area in the tonic. If one considers that sonata form is largely a drama of keys, then the recapitulation of Rencesvals performs the same function. This is evident in Ex. 2.114 .

Ex. 2.11 Rencesvals I: recapitulation
The ‘tonic’ level of the first row area returns in m.33. After this, however, Dallapiccola introduces a new formal idea. He reminds the listener of the second row level in mm.37-41 before resolving it to the ‘tonic’ level at the end of the movement, mm.41-45.5 Note that the row levels that appear in the return are the ones that have already appeared in the exposition. M is presented at level 4 and PA is presented at levels 6 and 4 before they are both taken down to level 0. The ‘tonic’ level of PA is implied by its first three pcs in m.42. The final presentation of M0 and PA0 in mm. 41-2 appears in the same register as the opening presentation in m. 1.

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