JAVS Summer 2023

Example 11: Beginning of Telemann’s Fantasie no. 12, “Moderato.” 14

Example 12: The first twelve bars of the descending chromatic scale used in "Chaconne chromatique.”

In looking for a companion piece for “ Lamento,” I decided that a similar emotional impact was more important than a similar form or melodic gesture. I chose “ Moderato” from Telemann’s Fantasie for Solo Violin no. 12. This movement has jarring emotional shifts that parallel Ligeti’s movement, along with the dotted rhythms and stateliness of the French overture style. Instead of the dissonant chords, Telemann’s movement has large register leaps; and instead of the passages of false harmonics, it has a middle section that is much more linear and melodic. More than any other pairing in this program, I thought the pieces of set 5 just sounded good together. The last movement of the sonata, “ Chaconne chromatique,” is an interesting mix of adherence to tradition and modern exploration of harmony. The movement is in the traditional triple meter and is constructed in 8 bar phrases. Instead of using a short repeating figure for the bass line as tradition would

dictate, Ligeti constructs his chaconne over a perpetually descending chromatic scale. Ignoring tradition even further, this scale changes rhythmic values to match the melody. This gives Ligeti’s chaconne a clever, hidden irregularity in the aspect of the music that is usually the constraining element. Pairing this movement with Biber’s Passacaglia, the final movement of his Mystery Sonatas for Solo Violin , was one of the first decisions I made for this project. Biber’s movement is based on a descending minor tetrachord, echoing Ligeti’s descending scale. The movements have a similar arc and narrative: winding up at the beginning, reaching a climax about ⅔ of the way through, and a reflective end. Biber’s movement is on a larger scale, but they are well matched in terms of emotional weight. They also both serve to end a large-scale work for a solo string instrument, and are satisfying bookends, both individually and together.

Example 13: Opening of Biber’s Passacaglia from Mystery Sonatas. 15


Journal of the American Viola Society / Vol. 39, Summer 2023 Online Issue

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