"Double Rainbow," "Appalachiana," and "'The Invisible Mass': Exploring Compositional Technique in Alfred Schnittke's Second Symphony"


This dissertation consists of three distinct components: (1) “Double Rainbow,” a notated composition for an acoustic ensemble of 10 instruments, ca. 36 minutes. (2) “Appalachiana”, a fixed-media composition for electro-acoustic music and video, ca. 30 minutes, and (3) “'The Invisible Mass': Exploring Compositional Technique in Alfred Schnittke’s Second Symphony”, an analytical article.

(1) Double Rainbow is a ca. 36 minute composition in four movements scored for 10 instruments: flute, Bb clarinet (doubling on bass clarinet), tenor saxophone (doubling on alto saxophone), french horn, percussion (glockenspiel, vibraphone, wood block, 3 toms, snare drum, bass drum, suspended cymbal), piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass. Each of the four movements of the piece explore their own distinct character and set of compositional goals. The piece is presented as a musical score and as a recording, which was extensively treated in post-production.

(2) Appalachiana, is a ca. 30 minute fixed-media composition for music and video. The musical component was created as a vehicle to showcase several approaches to electro-acoustic music composition –fft re-synthesis for time manipulation effects, the use of a custom-built software instrument which implements generative approaches to creating rhythm and pitch patterns, using a recording of rain to create rhythmic triggers for software instruments, and recording additional components with acoustic instruments. The video component transforms footage of natural landscapes filmed at several locations in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia into a surreal narrative using a variety of color, lighting, distortion, and time-manipulation video effects.

(3) “‘The Invisible Mass:’ Exploring Compositional Technique in Alfred Schnittke’s Second Symphony” is an analytical article that focuses on Alfred Schnittke’s compositional technique as evidenced in the construction of his Second Symphony and discussed by the composer in a number of previously untranslated articles and interviews. Though this symphony is pivotal in the composer’s oeuvre, there are currently no scholarly articles that offer in-depth analyses of the piece. The article combines analyses of the harmony, form, and orchestration in the Second Symphony with relevant quotations from the composer, some from published and translated sources and others newly translated by the author from research at the Russian State Library in St. Petersburg. These offer a perspective on how Schnittke’s compositional technique combines systematic geometric design with keen musical intuition.







Smirnov, Vladimir (2016). "Double Rainbow," "Appalachiana," and "'The Invisible Mass': Exploring Compositional Technique in Alfred Schnittke's Second Symphony". Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12209.


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