Andrew Violette

Rave

Innova 674

From Maximal Minimalism to a New Romanticism


by Frank J. Oteri


I first became acquainted with the music of Andrew Violette when Innova issuedhis massive three-hour long Piano Sonata No. 7, which blew my mind. Violette'sseamless balancing of the seemingly contradictory aesthetic impulses ofminimalism and maximalism in the same work shouldn't work, but resoundinglydoes.  Of course, once I knew about Sonata No. 7, which was paired oninnova's 3-CD (Innova 587) set with his spare, almost Webernian, merelyfifteen-minute-long Sonata No. 1, I had to hear 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (Innova 641).I also had to track down the score, a meticulously handwritten (in these days!)knuckle-buster that ultimately put me as much in awe of Violette the pianist asViolette the composer.
 
But there's a long history of amazing keyboardist-composers: from Sweelinck,Buxtehude, and the Bachs (mostly J.S. and C.P.E.); to Domenico Scarlatti,Seixas, and Soler; to Chopin, Liszt, and Gottschalk; to Amy Beach, Busoni,Godowsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Medtner, and Samuil Feinberg; to Blind TomBethune, Scott Joplin, Art Tatum, Thelonious Monk, and Elmo Hope; and to CecilTaylor, Terry Riley, Charlemagne Palestine, Blue "Gene" Tyranny, andFrederic Rzewski in our own place and time. Many were well-rounded composersfor whom the keyboard provided an outlet for their most personal utterances.But others were so keyboard centric their other music, if any, somehow lackedthe same drive.
 
So it was with great trepidation that I first approached Andrew Violette'slatest composition, Rave
, a multi-movement yet continuous 75-minute chamber work which blendsacoustic and electronic instruments. But Violette ups the ante and then somehere. Equal parts Messiaen and prog rock, if you can imagine such aco-mingling, Violette's new sound world is simultaneously restless andstrangely comforting. Indeed the piano is a major player here, but so are theother instruments: everyone is a virtuoso. Indeed, perhaps this is indeed thereal departure point for a new romanticism: music that is as new as it isromantic.
 
Frank J. Oteri, a New York-based composer, is theAmerican Music Center's composer advocate and the Founding Editor of its webmagazine NewMusicBox (www.newmusicbox.org <
http://www.newmusicbox.org> ).

 

Rave was composed in 2001 through 2005, immediately afterSonata 7 (available on InnovaRecordings 587). Like Sonata 7, Rave is an expression of the composer’s deep interest inhow time is perceived in music. Unlike its earlier cousin, Rave achieves its radical redefinition of time’sperception not through a vast, contemplative timescape, but rather via astunningly complex and electric progression of shorter movements. In fact, Rave is Mr. Violette’s most complex work to date. Thosewho are familiar with other compositions by Mr. Violette understand how complexeven his simplest works are. Raveoccupies new territory. It sits at the outer edge of what is possible for anensemble today to perform. Yet, in Rave, musical and technical difficulties go hand in hand. No gesture isarbitrarily difficult for its own sake. Each gesture is as difficult as it hasto be to convey the intended thought or pattern. Over the course of 75 minutes,Rave spins out an ever-changingtapestry of gradually evolving music describing a great arc that returns usclose to, and then beyond, the piece’s opening.

 

Despite the executionalcomplexities and inbred intensity, Raveis an obsessively listenable piece. As its title suggests, there is a lot goingon at once. One can easily imagine oneself at the eponymous dance party. The DJis hyperkinetically alive to each moment and is choosing from a bottomlesssupply of music sampled from a host of different cultures and different pointsin history. The party starts quietly enough, but soon the mood intensifies. Themusic becomes more variegated and complex. There is too much happening to takein all at once. Sensory overload yields to a psychedelic feeling setting in.Time alters. Colors shift. One’s attention darts from detail to detail, orchases the curve of a line as it peeks out from the underlying texture.Suddenly, midway through the party, there is a loud crack. A murder has beencommitted on the dance floor. The party can never be the same.

 

The murder in question isSeptember 11, 2001, an event that left no one in America unaffected, least ofall its artists. The second part of Ravewas composed after 9-11. In it, the victory (or fate) motive from Beethoven’s 5thSymphony becomes interwoven in the musical fabric. A little less than twomonths later, on December 1st, the pianist and composer RobertHelps, a longtime friend and colleague of the composer, died. He, too, entersthe piece, in the form of a set of three homages based on the Chopin Etudes. Ofcourse, it is not necessary to know these facts in order to appreciate Rave, which stands on its own as a piece of absolutemusic.

 

Due to the composer’sextraordinary ear and level of craft, everything in Rave can be clearly heard. At first blush, it can all bea bit too much to take in whole. One’s ear focuses on this or that gesture,this or that instrument. After repeated listening, though, the ear attunesitself to the many simultaneous polyrhythmic events, and the processes that governthe overall form of the piece, as well as its length and the transitions fromsection to section. This listener has found with each new hearing new details,new associations, and a growing appreciation of the work’s uniqueness. Enter Rave and enter a Wonderland of complexly beautiful music.

   BrucePosner

Pleasesee below for complete notes.

 

RAVE(2001-5)

 

1   Folk Intro, Messiaen and theSitar  4:23    

2   Chorale in Tremolos  :47

3   The Russian Section  2:40

4   Movie Horns and Trill Soup  4:10

5   The Door to Hellfire  :47

6   Heterophony  2:39

7   Hollywood  3:44

8   The Lost Puccini Aria  1:20

9   Contradance  2:53

10   Chaconne, Minimal Aria withDidgeridoo  2:46

11   Web of Colors  :49

12   Colorfield in 22 Panels  12:44

13   Beethoven's Fifth, Big Chords,Chordal Cascade, Tarantella  7:17

14   Contradance, Study on CountryDance, Martial Music  3:28

15   Double Stops  8:14

16   Study after Bach  4:06

17   A Burlesque and a Tarantella  1:33

18   A Waltz with Ostinato  3:53

19   Dueling Chopin Etudes  2:36

20   Russian Recap  1:14

21   The Long Descent  :42

22   Country/Martial Music, Coda  2:15

 

 

Acknowledgements:

 

GregorKitzis, electric violin

CurtisMacomber, violin

AndrewViolette, composer/keyboards

 

Producer:Andrew Violette

Recorded,Edited, Mastered: Patrych Sound Studios, NYC

Piano:Hamburg Steinway CD147

Synthesizer:Yamaha S90ES

Photo:Elizabeth Miller

Publicity:Janet Reid

LinerNotes: Frank Oteri, Bruce Posner

CDLayout: Philip Blackburn

 

To my mom

 

 

Rave: A dance party that typically lasts all night, atwhich electronically synthesized music is played.

 

Rave: To communicate in a noisy, excited or declamatorymanner.

 

“The distinctivething about musical processes is that they determine all the note-to-note(sound-to-sound) details and the over all form simultaneously…To facilitateclosely detailed listening a musical process should happen extremelygradually.”

Steve Reich

Music as aGradual Process (1968)

 

“…I seek torecord in sound ‘pure memory’ (i.e. ‘all the events of our daily life’). LikeProust, I see duration as composed of qualitative, not quantitative,differentiations.”

Andrew Violette

Newmusicbox.com(2003)

 

Introductory Sentences

Rave was composed in 2001 through 2005, immediately afterSonata 7 (available on InnovaRecordings 587). Like Sonata 7, Rave is an expression of the composer’s deep interest inhow time is perceived in music. Unlike its earlier cousin, Rave achieves its radical redefinition of time’sperception not through a vast, contemplative timescape, but rather via astunningly complex and electric progression of shorter movements. In fact, Rave is Mr. Violette’s most complex work to date. Thosewho are familiar with other compositions by Mr. Violette understand how complexeven his simplest works are. Raveoccupies new territory. It sits at the outer edge of what is possible for anensemble today to perform. Yet, in Rave, musical and technical difficulties go hand in hand. No gesture isarbitrarily difficult for its own sake. Each gesture is as difficult as it hasto be to convey the intended thought or pattern. Over the course of 75 minutes,Rave spins out an ever-changingtapestry of gradually evolving music describing a great arc that returns usclose to, and then beyond, the piece’s opening.

 

Despite the executionalcomplexities and inbred intensity, Raveis an obsessively listenable piece. As its title suggests, there is a lot goingon at once. One can easily imagine oneself at the eponymous dance party. The DJis hyperkinetically alive to each moment and is choosing from a bottomlesssupply of music sampled from a host of different cultures and different pointsin history. The party starts quietly enough, but soon the mood intensifies. Themusic becomes more variegated and complex. There is too much happening to takein all at once. Sensory overload yields to a psychedelic feeling setting in.Time alters. Colors shift. One’s attention darts from detail to detail, orchases the curve of a line as it peeks out from the underlying texture.Suddenly, midway through the party, there is a loud crack. A murder has beencommitted on the dance floor. The party can never be the same.

 

The murder in question isSeptember 11, 2001, an event that left no one in America unaffected, least of allits artists. The second part of Rave wascomposed after 9-11. In it, the victory (or fate) motive from Beethoven’s 5thSymphony becomes interwoven in the musical fabric. A little less than twomonths later, on December 1st, the pianist and composer RobertHelps, a longtime friend and colleague of the composer, died. He, too, entersthe piece, in the form of a set of three homages based on the Chopin Etudes. Ofcourse, it is not necessary to know these facts in order to appreciate Rave, which stands on its own as a piece of absolutemusic.

 

Due to the composer’sextraordinary ear and level of craft, everything in Rave can be clearly heard. At first blush, it can all bea bit too much to take in whole. One’s ear focuses on this or that gesture,this or that instrument. After repeated listening, though, the ear attunesitself to the many simultaneous polyrhythmic events, and the processes thatgovern the overall form of the piece, as well as its length and the transitionsfrom section to section. This listener has found with each new hearing newdetails, new associations, and a growing appreciation of the work’s uniqueness.Enter Rave and enter a Wonderlandof complexly beautiful music.

 

The exceptional clarity of thetextures in Rave is due in no smallmeasure to its instrumentation.

 

A Word about Color andInstrumentation

It is important while listeningto Rave to notice not only how themusical gestures evolve, but also how the colors change from section tosection.

 

Rave is a sextet for equal numbers of electronic andacoustic instruments: two acoustic pianos, acoustic violin, electric violin,and two synthesizers. The Synthesizer 1 part is called “Continuo,” because itsfunction is to provide a harmonic underpinning to the other parts. TheSynthesizer 2 part is labeled “Solo” because its function is generally tostrengthen lines or solos. In this recording, a Yamaha ES90 synthesizer is usedfor both parts. Mr. Violette performs both synthesizer parts and performs bothacoustic piano parts.

 

Extensive use is made of thetimbral possibilities of the Yamaha ES90. There are 124 different registralchanges throughout Rave, none repeated,in the synthesizer parts, 80 in the Continuo and 44 in the Solo. Some of thesynthesizer colors chosen are reflected in the titles of various sections, forexample, “Minimal Aria with Didgeridoo”, “Parade of Metallics”, “ElectricGuitar Start Up”, and “Movie Horns and Trill Soup”. Bell sounds featureprominently throughout. For instance, over the course of its first 83 measures,Rave has this sequence ofbell-like colors in the Solo part: Mystic Bowl, Ice Bells, Chorus Bells,Tibetian, Tubular Bell, and Sako Bell. Rave also concludes mostly with bells: Island Bell, Soft5th, Glocken, Steeldrum, Marimbell 1, and Orchestra Hit at the veryend.

 

The electric violin contributesgreatly to the mix as well, at times with a compendium of sound effects andcadenzas that includes distortion, reverb, sitar slides, whammy octaves, anduse of upper and lower partials. At these times, and especially when theelectric violin is hot and heavy with the synthesizers (e.g., in sections 6, 48and 53), textural clarity is intentionally and temporarily obscured. And, whenthe electric violin is tacet, as it is, for example, during most of the Colorfield sections, entirely new ensemble colors materializethat make the electric violin’s re-entrance that much more dramatic. The sameis, of course, true when the violin is removed from the mix, as it is insections 42 through 44.

 

The acoustic pianos, while theyhave some of the most complex music in Raveto play, work often in the background to support the violins and Solosynthesizer with a skein of motivic material. At the same time, the pianos lendtheir weight to achieve some of Rave’s ecstatic climaxes.

 

The notion of scoring a piecewith a balance of acoustic and electronic instruments did not arise prior tothe start of composition. The instrumentation developed as Rave was composed. Originally conceived as a piece for two pianos with continuo (but notthe present continuo synthesizer part), an acoustic violin was the firstinstrument to be added. After the acoustic violin part was completely drafted,Gregor Kitzis introduced Mr. Violette to the possibilities inherent in theelectric violin. Mr. Violette’s first thought was to have the acoustic violinpart played instead by the electric violin. But this was not practicable, nordid it take advantage of the special qualities of the electric violin. So, bothviolin parts were re-composed. Now, however, the electric violin was the onlyelectronic instrument, to the detriment of the instrumental and formal balance.Thus, the Continuo part was recast for synthesizer. Finally, because Rave had grown so differentiatedly complex, the Solosynthesizer part was invented to, in the composer’s words, “shape everything.”This is the version of Rave heardon this recording.

 

Form and Structure

While it is considerably beyondthe scope of these notes to offer an academic, textbook-like rendering of thecomponents of Andrew Violette’s music, or of Rave in particular, it will bear some use, in the context of Rave, to describe in a holistic way his music’s moreobvious qualities.

 

First and foremost, Mr.Violette’s music is characterized by great eclecticism of technique coupledwith a highly coherent voice, both being allied with an acute musical intuitionand an individualistic formal approach. Nothing is, ipso facto, off limits. Thus, whether the technique at hand isserial, modal, isorhythm, secundal harmony, Fibonacci number theory,heterophony, or imitative polyphony (all of which Mr. Violette does use, amongmany other techniques), it is always placed at the service of how the musicwill sound at any given moment,and how that moment ineluctably links to the next moment.

 

Most obvious to the first-timelistener likely will be an impression of great drama and athleticism, highcontrast, and rhythmic insistency. The music rarely stops and, whilerepetitive, almost never exactly repeats. On the surface, this lends the musican aura of minimalism. In reality, though, the music is choice laden. It is theresult of a very large number of compositional choices, and its underlyingtechniques and processes are more often associated with “maximal” music thanwith minimalism.

 

Mr. Violette has pioneered anumber of structural innovations, among them the “Colorfield” form. Colorfieldsections first appeared in Sonata 7, andone also occurs in Part 1 of Rave.Like the paintings that are the result of the Colorfield technique, there arebroad areas of pure, unmodulated color – a single texture that graduallychanges, but that, over time, can change quite a bit. The “color” in thiscontext is composed of sets of pitches (modes) that change gradually, overtime. Each demarcation (i.e., section) within the Colorfield is called a“Panel.”

 

Below are two differentperspectives on Rave. The first, “AerialView,” is a birds-eye view of Rave’ssalient features. The second, “Inner Landscape,” zooms in to tour thecomposition in a higher degree of detail.

 

Aerial View

Rave is based on a collection of thirteen core gesturalelements and their variants that, taken together, constitute the DNA from whichthe life of the piece emerges. These gestures are not mutually distinct.Examination will reveal that they relate to each other organically. By way ofillustration, notice in the table below how the descending sequence of steps inthe third and fourth measures of Gesture 1 are also visible, somewhat modified,in Gestures 3, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

 

The gestures undergo constantpermutation, and are treated with great elasticity. Thus, for example, Gesture3 could appear as a single-note bass line, a tarantella in the high treble, achain of chord clusters, a sequence of stepwise descending trills, or as anupward succession of ninth chords. Additionally, gestures frequently areexpanded or compressed in time or in range. For example, the repeating A’s andG’s in Gesture 5 frame, in Section 7 of the piece, a long, slow climb from alow G to a high A that is derived from Gesture 3, and that lasts throughout thesection.

 

Generally speaking, each sectionlays out material that will continue to be developed in later sections, refersto previous sections, and that at the same time acts as a springboard to eventsin the immediately following section. In this sense, Rave is self-generating and self-anticipatory. There is aclear impression one gets while listening to Rave that, in the composer’s words, “everything isderived from everything else.” This impression manifests itself in a sometimesspooky feeling of musical déją vu. Yet, Rave comes across as anything but static. The multiplelevels of compositional energy active in Rave give it a unique feeling of powerful forwardimpetus.

 

The table below displays Rave’s key gestures with some examples of variants.

 

Rave - Gestural Index

Gesture Number

Gestures and Some Variants

 

1

 

 

2

 

 

3

a

b

 

c

 

d

 

 

4

a

 

b

 

5

 

a

 

b

 

c

d

 

 

6

a

b

c

 

7

 

8

a

 

b

 

9

a

b

 

c

 

10

a

b

c

 

 

11

a

 

b

c

d

 

12

(Martial Music)

a

 

b

 
c

 

13

(Victory/Fate motive)

a

b

 

 

c

d

 

 

Rave is in two large parts: Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1consists of 34 sections: a first group of 12 that functions as a long andvaried introduction, and a second group of 22, entitled Colorfield in22 Panels. Part 1 is mostly in 4/4 time.Part 2 contains 21 sections and is called Music in 21 Parts. Part 2 is mostly in 5/4 time. Neither timesignature gives a hint of the underlying rhythmic complexity.

 

Accordingly, Rave has a total of 55 sections (34+21), built from 13fundamental gestures. It issignificant that the numbers 13, 21, 34 and 55 are contiguous members of theFibonacci number sequence. Fibonacci relations surface in connection with otheraspects of Rave. For instance,the number of registral changes in the synthesizer parts totals 124 (80+44).These three integers are derivable from the indices of Fibonacci numbersrearranged such that the sum of two consecutive terms is a prime (http://www.research.att.com/~njas/sequences/A119755,q.v.). As will be seen, Fibonacci relations also help control temporelationships, gestural density, and even the relative dimensions of Rave’s parts.

 

The table below gives an overviewof Rave, listing, for each section:starting measure, ending measure, CD track and starting time (in minutes andseconds), predominant key signature(s), and, which gestures are most prevalent.CD tracking is geared to seminal listening events. Thus, while tracks generallycoincide with the starts of sections, there are exceptions. Track 7 marks amelodic high point (measure 138) in the Hollywood section. Track 17 marks the beginning of theBurlesque (measure 1283) in the A Burlesque, A Tarantella section. And, track 21 tags the beginning of thelong descent (measure 1549) in The Long Descent section. Key signatures reflect, for the most part,modal pitch collections, based on the interval of the tritone. There is oftenthe “feel” of a key, but traditional functional harmony is not operating.

 

Rave – Sectional Index

Part

Section

Section Number

Starting Measure

Ending Measure

 

 

Track/

Start Time

Key Signature(s)

Gesture Number(s)

Part 1

Folk Intro

1

1

11

 

1/ 0:00

Bb

1,2,3,4

 

Messiaen and the Sitar

2

12

36

 

1/ 1:28

C#

1,2,3,4,5,6,7

 

Chorale in Tremolos

3

37

43

 

2/ 0:00

No # or b

2,7

 

The Russian Section

4

44

60

 

3/ 0:00

Bb, Eb, Db

(Solo – no # or b)

1,3,6,8

 

Movie Horns and Trill Soup

5

61

94

 

4/ 0:00

F#, C#

(Solo – no # or b)

1,2,3,9

 

The Door to Hellfire

6

95

103

 

 

 

5/ 0:00

C#
Bb, Eb, Db
No # or b

1,2,3,7

 

Heterophony

7

104

134

 

6/ 0:00

Bb, Eb

1,3,4,6,10

 

Hollywood

8

135

184

 

6/ 2:22

Bb, Eb

1,3,10

 

The Lost Puccini Aria

9

185

203

 

 

8/ 0:00

Bb, Eb
C#, G#

1,3,11

 

Contradance

10

204

268

 

9/ 0:00

C#, G#

1,2,3,4,7,11

 

Chaconne

11a

269

295

 

10/ 0:00

C#, G#

1,3,5

 

Minimal Aria with Didgeridoo

11b

296

319

 

 

10/ 1:27

C#, G#
C#

1,3,4,5

 

Web of Colors

12

320

335

 

11/ 0:00

C#, G#

1,2,3,4,5,11

 

 

Colorfield in 22 Panels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panel I - Parade of Metallics

13

336

356

 

12/ 0:00

C#, A#

4,5,6

 

Panel II - Electric Guitar Start Up

14

357

366

 

12/ 0:54

C#, D#

3,6

 

Panel III

15

367

381

 

12/ 1:21

F#, C#, D#

3,5,6

 

Panel IV

16

382

395

 

12/ 2:01

F#, D#

3,6,9

 

Panel V

17

396

406

 

12/ 2:36

C#, A#

3,5

 

Panel VI

18

407

419

 

12/ 3:07

D#

3,5

 

Panel VII

19

420

435

 

 

12/ 3:42

D#, G#
(Violin only:

 C#, G#)

2,3,5,6

 

Panel VIII

20

436

449

 

12/ 4:25

A#

2,3

 

Panel IX

21

450

462

 

 

12/ 5:02

F#, A#
(Violin only:

A#, G#)

3,5

 

Panel X

22

463

480

 

12/ 5:37

D#, F#, A#

3,7

 

Panel XI

23

481

496

 

12/ 6:24

G#

3,5,8

 

Panel XII

24

497

506

 

12/ 7:07

G#, A#

3,6

 

Panel XIII

25

507

521

 

12/ 7:32

G#, A#, C#

3,10

 

Panel XIV

26

522

537

 

12/ 8:12

D#, F#, A#

3,5,6

 

Panel XV

27

538

551

 

12/ 8:55

D#, F#, C#

3,5

 

Panel XVI - Veering Toward the Chromatic

28

552

565

 

12/ 9:32

F#, G#

3,5

 

Panel XVII

29

566

577

 

12/ 10:09

C#, D#, G#

2,3,5

 

Panel XVIII

30

578

587

 

12/ 10:42

F#, G#, A#

3,5

 

Panel XIX

31

588

597

 

 

12/ 11:09

A#, C#, D#
(Violin only –

 no # or b)

2,5

 

Panel XX

32

598

601

 

 

 

12/ 11:36

C#, G#, A#

(Violin & Piano 2 - no # or b)

2,5

 

Panel XXI - Fully Chromatic

33

602

604

 

12/ 11:43

No # or b

 

 

Panel XXII - Complete Chromatic Cluster

34

604

623

 

12/ 11:54

No # or b

2

Part 2

Music in 21 Parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part I - Beethoven's Fifth

35

624

707

 

13/ 0:00

Ab

2,3,4,8,13

 

 

Part II - Big Chords

 

36

 

708

 

742

 

13/ 2:55

 

Eb

 

2,3,8,13

 

Part III - Chordal Cascade

37

743

810

 

13/ 4:08

Gb

1,3,4,7,11,13

 

Part IV - Tarantella

38

811

866

 

13/ 6:29

Ab, Bb

2,3,4,6,13

 

Part V - Contradance

39

867

920

 

14/ 1:09

Db

2,3,4,6,7,8,11,13

 

Part VI - Study on Country Dance

40

921

932

 

 

14/ 3:01

Db, Gb
(Violin only, C#)

3,7,11,13

 

Part VII - Martial Music

41

933

1016

 

14/ 3:26

F#, C#, G#

3,7,11,12,13

 

Part VIII

42

1017

1072

 

15/ 2:52

Eb, Ab

2,3,4,6,10,12,13

 

Part IX

43

1073

1096

 

15/ 4:49

Eb, Gb

4,8,13

 

Part X - Double Stops

44

1097

1168

 

15/ 5:41

Bb, Db

3,5,6,7,11,13

 

Part XI - Study after Bach

45

1169

1246

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16/ 0:00

Bb, Eb, Ab
(at m. 1192 Violin changes to Eb, Ab, then at m. 1216 Violin changes back to Bb, Eb, Ab)

3,6,8,12,13

 

Part XII - A Burlesque, A Tarantella

46

1247

1327

 

16/ 2:47

Db, Ab

3,5,7,12,13

 

Part XIII - A Waltz with Ostinato (Part 1)

47

1328

1362

 

18/ 0:00

Gb, Ab

3,5,6,7,12

 

Part XIV - A Waltz with Ostinato (Part 2)

48

1363

1437

 

18/ 1:16

Db, Eb

2,3,5,7,12,13

 

Part XV - Dueling Chopin Etudes

49

1438

1463

 

19/ 0:00

Gb, Bb

1,3,6,7,12

 

Part XVI - More Dueling Chopin Etudes

50

1464

1483

 

19/ 0:53

Db, Eb, Ab

1,6,7

 

Part XVII - Still More Dueling Chopin      Etudes

51

1484

1512

 

19/ 1:36

Ab, Bb, Db

1,3,6

 

Part XVIII - Russian Recap

52

1513

1523

 

20/ 0:00

Ab, Bb, Db

1,3,6

 

Part XIX - The Long Descent

53

1524

1572

 

20/ 0:22

Bb, Eb, Gb

1,3,4,6,8,11,12

 

Part XX - Country/Martial Music

54

1573

1584

 

22/ 0:00

F#

3,4,7,11,12,13

 

Part XXI - Coda

55

1585

1637

 

 

 

22/ 0:25

No # or b
Ab, Eb (m. 1589)
No # or b(m.1597)

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,11,12,13

 

It is worth noticing, regardingthe overall dimensions (in measures) of Rave and its respective parts, that Rave conforms to the Fibonacci sequence here as well,this time in the form of the golden ratio. The golden ratio (phi) is 1.618, orthe limit of the ratios ofsuccessive terms of the Fibonacci sequence. In this case, the ratio ofthe size of the whole piece to the size of Part 2 is equal to the ratio of Part2 to Part 1, is equal to phi. By contrast, Parts 1 and 2 are roughly equal inlength in terms of performance time.

 

From the standpoint of pitchcontent, Rave starts and concludes witha distinct tonal feel, D minor and C major, respectively. There is, however, agradual build-up of chromatic elements until, about one-third of the waythrough, at the conclusion of Part 1, chromaticismsaturates the texture. Indeed, the chromatic scale plays an important role as amusical signpost throughout the piece.

 

We are now ready to look at Rave in greater detail.

 

Inner Landscape

The following instruments arereferred to by the terms to the right of the dashes:

 

Electric violin – ElectricViolin

Acoustic violin – Violin

Acoustic Piano 1 – Piano 1

Acoustic Piano 2 – Piano 2

Synthesizer 1 – Continuo

Synthesizer 2 – Solo

 

Part 1

The first twelve sections of Part1 form the first of its two subdivisions. Over the course of these sections,eleven of the thirteen major gestures are introduced and developed. In variousguises, Gesture 1 is omnipresent in eleven of the twelve sections.

 

Section 1: Folk Intro (4/4) –Set in D natural minor, the Violin, Solo, and Piano 1 intone Gesture 1, a tuneof folk-like quality, in the foreground. Gestures 2, 3 and 4 are spread acrossPiano 1 and Piano 2, and the Electric Violin. The section builds to a climax,with textures becoming denser as chords become clusters and trills becometremolos. There is a grand pause, letting the accumulated sounds vibrate.

 

Section 2: Messiaen and theSitar (4/4 and 12/8) – So named because the Electric Violin playssitar-like plucked slides, and the triplet chords and trills in Piano 1 arereminiscent of Messiaen. Gestures 1 through 7 make appearances. The Solo startsoff by playing Gesture 6. The Violin, supported by the bass in Piano 2,introduces Gesture 5 center stage. Gesture 5 is picked up by the Solo inmeasure 25. The tonal feel is D melodic minor, with a cadence in measure 24 onan A major chord (augmented). The music continues with the Electric Violin, andthen the Violin, playing Gesture 7 in the forefront. The Electric Violincadences in measure 30. The Messiaen chords continue in Piano 2. In Piano 1,the chords become passages in varied intervals: single-note passages arefollowed by passages in thirds, seconds, tritones, fifths, sixths, and,sevenths. Then trills start up again in both piano parts. The first occurrenceof a chromatic scale appears briefly in the Violin in measure 36, overlappingthe start of the next section. Rhythms begin to become more complex in thissection, foreshadowing later complexities. One can hear 5 against 6 against 8.

 

Section 3: Chorale in Tremolos(4/4) – A timbre study. The ElectricViolin player is asked to play different timbres on a repeated note ostinato D.The Solo’s bells mirror the Electric Violin. Both these parts are based on thetail end of Gesture 7. Tremolos and trills dominate the background texture, andmove chromatically upward until a D major chord can be heard. The D major chordacts as a triple leading tone to the Bb minor sound that begins the nextsection; that is, the A moves to Bb, the D moves to Db, and, the F# moves to Fnatural.

 

Section 4: The Russian Section(4/4) – The Solo’s bells take aRussian turn in this section, redolent of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, andMussorgsky (e.g., the Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov). The section lives in the sound world of Bb melodicminor. The pianos dominate the texture with big chords and octaves untilmeasure 54, when the Electric Violin enters with Gesture 8. Glimpses ofchromatic scales can be heard in Piano 1. The Continuo is given a “romantictrumpet” color, which adds to the Russian feel. The last two measures, measures58 and 59, are a transition to the next section. All the instruments, with theexception of the Electric Violin, cadence on F in measure 58. Trills reemergein Piano 2. The Electric Violin cadences on G in measure 59.

 

Section 5: Movie Horns andTrill Soup (4/4 and 12/8, then 6/4) –Continuing in a modal G (with the F#, C# key signature of D major), Piano 1 andthe Electric Violin introduce Gesture 9, Piano 1 in repeated notes, and theElectric Violin using sitar-like slides (the score indicates that the electricviolinist should hold the instrument “like a guitar”). Gesture 9, like Gesture1, has a folk-like quality. Though not traceable definitively to any particularculture, it does have some resemblance to a slowed-down tarantella. TheElectric Violin plays its tune in octaves, in tritones, in fifths, in sixths,in fifths plus octaves, and, in thirds plus fifths plus octaves. This isanalogous to what Piano 1 did in Section 2. Piano 2 is nothing but trills frommeasure 61 to measure 84. The Solo continues ringing its bells. A grand andaurally beautiful climax begins in measure 84. Piano 1 switches to whirlwindscales (derived from the piano figurations in the previous section) up and downthe keyboard, while the Electric Violin continues with Gesture 9 in paralleltriads. The Solo braces the Electric Violin with its own statement of Gesture9. Piano 2 crescendos using tremolos. The key feel shifts toward D major,until, in measure 89, Gesture 1 returns, played by the Electric Violin, Solo,and Piano 2.

 

Section 6: The Door toHellfire (4/4) – The mostrhythmically complex section up to this point, The Door to Hellfire is a polymodal commentary on previous sections. Eachinstrument is in a different modal area. The Solo plays a sound effect cadenzathroughout, marked “start low and end high, start loud and end soft.” TheElectric Violin has the same Bb in the key signature as in Section 1, and playsvariants of Gestures 1 and 7. Piano 1 has the key signature of C# (A major,more or less); it harks back to the Messiaen-like chords from Section 2. Piano2 is centered around Bb melodic minor, and plays filigree related to TheRussian Section. The Continuo has no keysignature and plays minor chords ascending chromatically. The following rhythmsoccur concurrently: 3 against 7 against 9 against 5 against 8. The effect isone of extreme activity. The movement stops suddenly, funneling immediatelyinto the next section.

 

Section 7: Heterophony (4/4and 12/8) – Heterophony is theoperative word. The Solo, Piano 1 and Piano 2 play differentiated but imitativeversions of Gestures 10 and 1. At the same time, the Electric Violin begins aslow descending glissando in whammy octaves from G to the low G two octavesbelow. Then, the Electric Violin climbs slowly stepwise up a G minor scale tothe A two octaves above. Rhythmic complexities continue through this section inboth piano parts. Note groups of 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and even 13, play off eachother.

 

Section 8: Hollywood (4/4) – Heterophony continues between Piano 2 andthe Violin as the Violin plays a soaring, endless, cantabile melody that couldfind a place in a vintage Hollywood soundtrack. The Electric Violin and Soloare tacet. There is an unabashed Bb major feel. As in the previous section, themelody is based on Gestures 10 and 1, both being easily recognizable. Piano 1continues to develop material polyrhythmically from previous sections, inparticular The Russian Sectionand Messiaen and the Sitar, alongwith scales in chord clusters. The sweeping scales and figurations in Piano 2evince a sheer beauty suggestive of a hyperreal Moskowski etude. There is abrief but noticeable chromatic scale in Piano 1, in measure 183.

 

Section 9: The Lost PucciniAria (4/4) – Beginning in G minor,the Violin and Piano 1 commence Gesture 11 in canon, then in unison. The ghostof Puccini hovers in the atmosphere. The Electric Violin enters, joining theViolin and Piano 1 in a series of tritones (A, Eb), followed by a slowglissando to a “surprise” cadence on C# minor. The Solo re-enters at this pointwith a deep brass sound. In retrospect, the tritone series helped prepare theground for the transition to C# minor by acting as dual leading tones (A to G#,Eb to E). C# minor is followed, shortly after, by a shift toward A major, inpreparation for the next section.

 

Section 10: Contradance (4/4) – While a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Mr.Violette participated in contradancing, and it made a lasting impression. Here,the violin spins out a dance-like tune, derived from Gesture 11, which iscontinuously varied throughout the section. The Electric Violin is tacet. Thereis the barest hint of Beethoven’s Ode To Joy in the second and third measures (measures 205 and206) of the Violin part, of interest because Beethoven will play such aprominent role later in the piece. Pianos 1 and 2 play using the same materialas the Violin, but also have references to Gestures 1 through 4. There is aslightly off-kilter quality to the dance, in part because of the asymmetricdance rhythms and irregular phrase lengths in the pianos, and in part due tothe fact that the Violin’s refrain recaps starting on different beats in themeasure. In measures 222 and 223 the Violin briefly alludes to Bach, anothercomposer who returns in full force later in the piece, in Part 2. The allusionis dimorphic; it manages to bring to mind both the third BrandenburgConcerto and the solo violin Partita in E major. In measure 228, Piano 2 ushers in afragment of a tarantella, which becomes full-blown in measure 238.

 

Sections 11a and 11b: Chaconneand Minimal Aria with Didgeridoo (4/4 and 10/8 and 12/8, followed by 4/4 and12/8 and 20/16) – Two sections arefused together here. Both make insistent use of the C#/D chromatic interval andthe C# and D minor chords built on these tones. On display in both sections isthe Solo with the didgeridoo color patched in, supporting first the ElectricViolin, then the Violin.  TheViolin is tacet during the Chaconne,entering again at the start of the Minimal Aria. In the Chaconne, the Electric Violin changes color on each longnote. Piano 1 permutes the Messiaen chords while Piano 2 has running andarpeggio figures reminiscent of early process music, such as by Philip Glass.Piano 1 and Piano 2 create a polyrhythm of ten eighth notes against four groupsof sixteenth note sextolets. The Continuo plays sustained chords. On the macrolevel, these three keyboard parts sound repetitive but, actually, due to thepermutational techniques, there is no exact repetition. As a result,instrumental colors shift constantly throughout both sections.

 

Rhythms become more urgent in theMinimal Aria with Didgeridoo. The Violintakes over the alternating C#/D from the Electric Violin, in faster quarternotes. The Electric Violin plays sets of four groups of quintuplets outliningthe minor chord harmonies. At the same time, the Continuo and Piano 1 speed uptheir chords, to quarter notes and staccato sixteenth notes, respectively.Piano 2 continues its running and arpeggio figures, as before. The sectionbuilds in intensity until, suddenly, in measure 319, Piano 2 plays an exposedchromatic scale pivoting on A and D#, and leading to the A major color zone inthe next section. On repeated hearing, the unrelenting C#/D half-tonealternations seem to act as a launching pad for the chromatic scale, which isthen perceived as a natural outgrowth of preceding events.

 

Section 12: Web of Colors(4/4) – This, the last section beforethe Colorfield, acts as aquasi-coda to the first group of 12 sections in Part 1, and paves the way tothe ensuing Colorfield. TheElectric Violin is tacet except for the last measure. The Violin playsmelismatic improvisation-like ornamentation of several gestures, includingthose in the Minimal Aria and theContradance. The Solo mirrors theViolin’s melodic shapes in long, cantus firmus like notes. The Continuo plays clocklike sixteenthnotes against polyrhythms in the Violin, Piano 1 and Piano 2. This section isamong the most rhythmically demanding so far, with, in one place, 7 against 5against 4 against 3, and, in another, 5 against 8 against 6 against 7. The lookof the page resembles the Door to Hellfire section. In measure 335, the Electric Violin enters on a high C#, andplays a long sound effect cadenza, over an accented C# minor chord, that slidessteadily down five octaves, into a different sound world. Here is a two measure(measures 328 and 329) excerpt from the score; it can be heard 24 seconds intotrack 11.

 

 

 

The next 22 sections of Rave comprise the second and last subdivision in Part 1,a Colorfield.

 

Sections 13-34: Colorfield in22 Panels (4/4)Colorfield is less gesturally dense, but not less rhythmicallycomplex, than the previous sections. It highlights some of the coloristicpossibilities inherent in the modes that Mr. Violette has been drawing upon asa compositional resource since the 1980’s. It is worth spending a moment on howthese modes are constructed. The modes are hexachordal (six pitches). Briefly,the tritone is divided into trichords (sets of three pitches), for example,starting on C:

 

           

 

These trichords are transposed atthe tritone to yield another set of trichords. Then, these two sets oftrichords are combined to yield statements of the modes. Below are twoexamples.

 

           

 

Note that the first mode is“minor-minor” because each trichord describes a minor third, and two minortriads a tritone apart (C minor and F# minor) can be constructed. The secondexample is “major-major” because each trichord describes a major third, and twomajor triads a tritone apart (C and F# major) can be constructed. One can seethat there will be multiple modes that are major-major, minor-minor,major-minor and minor-major. Because of the interval sequence, and becausethere are different numbers and orders of major chords, minor chords,augmented, and diminished chords that can be obtained from each mode, each modetherefore has its own color, just as traditional major and minor modes do.

 

Getting back to the movement athand, in Colorfield, each panel has adifferent key signature (and different mode) than the one preceding. The modalregions are restricted to keys with sharps. Instrumentation is static (theensemble minus the Electric Violin), as is the tempo (quarter note = 90). Piano1 and Piano 2 together form a curtain of sound, playing ornate figures inpolyrhythms, most often 6 against 8 against 10 against 7. The Continuo keeps asteady 4/4 underpinning. The Solo goes through a series of changing colors allrelated to metallic or electric guitar-like sounds. This is why the first twopanels carry the titles Parade of Metallics and Electric Guitar Start Up. Throughout Colorfield, the Solo helps delineate the piano and Continuoparts. The Violin is also very active throughout, usually playing figurationsin rhythmic groups of 3, 4 or 5 that interact with the piano figurations.

 

At some point in Colorfield, reference is made to most of the gesturesintroduced thus far, with the conspicuous absence of Gestures 1, and 11. Theseare so identifiable that they might disturb the panels’ carefully tintedsurfaces. In addition, Gesture 1 has been an integral part of the musicaldiscourse in the first twelve sections; having it out of play for a while addsto the formal contrast. On average, each panel makes reference to two or threegestures, whereas, in the first twelve sections of Part 1 the average persection is between four and five. Here is another example of the influence ofthe Fibonacci series. The gestural density of the first twelve sections of Part1 compared with the gestural density in Colorfield is given by phi.

 

The thrust in Colorfield is to move from a more purely modal color to a fullychromatic texture. Starting in Panel XV (measure 542), there is an intimationof this; Piano 2 plays a descending chromatic scale in octaves. In Panel XVI(measure 552), entitled Veering Toward the Chromatic, Piano 2 plays chromatic scales in both hands, in arhythm of 10 against 7, sometimes in contrary motion, sometimes in similarmotion. The music is somewhat suggestive of Rocket Dance from Mr. Violette’s Sonata 7.

 

Chromatic scales continue to moreand more dominate the texture. In Panel XX, the Violin joins in with fragmentsof chromatic scales. By measure 602 (Panel XXI, Fully Chromatic), the texture is filled with chromatic runs.

 

In measure 604 (Panel XXII, CompleteChromatic Cluster), all hell breaks loose.The Violin drops out and the Electric Violin enters fortissimo playing sweepingnontuplet chromatic scales in octaves, culminating in a trill in octaves on B.The score instructs the player to add “more and more upper partials until acomplete ‘crash’ ad lib.” The Solo switches to the “Glass Tube” patch, andplays a sound effect cadenza that adds to the sound mass. At the same time,Pianos 1 and 2 are playing chromatic runs, 8 against 12. Piano 1 starts at thelowest extreme of the keyboard, adding increasing numbers of chromatic notes toscales that cover an ever widening compass. Starting at the highest reaches ofthe keyboard, Piano 2 has alternating (mostly chromatic) octaves emphasizingthe interval of the tritone. Piano 1 and 2 collide in the middle register ofthe keyboard, as the Electric Violin begins to “crash.” Meanwhile, the Continuosustains a white-key-only tone cluster at the bottom of the keyboard while theright hand plays minor chords whose roots are alternating chromatically descendingtritones (A, Eb, D, G#, G, C#, C, F#). The Electric Violin’s crash happens onthe tone, B, which would be part of the next set of chromatically descendingtritones (i.e., F, B). But, where is the tone, F?

 

Part 2 follows without pauseafter the crash.

 

Part 2

Part 2, or Music in 21 Parts, was composed after September 11th, 2001.In 14 of its 21 sections, the “Victory” (or “Fate”) motive from Beethoven’sFifth Symphony (i.e., Gesture 13) is ever present. It joins the other gesturesas they dance, develop, and gain momentum as they build towards the end of thepiece. In addition to Beethoven, other music from the Western Canon –Bach and Chopin – passes into the piece, becomes absorbed andtransformed, and is swept along and away by the musical currents. This is notthe first time that Mr. Violette “samples” material by other composers. Forexample, Sonata 3 (available onInnova Recordings 641) contains a deconstruction of Chopin’s Polonaise-Fantasy. The way in which the sampled music is put throughthe lens of Mr. Violette’s aesthetic sensibilities serves to pluck the soundsfrom their original context, giving them new life.

 

Part 2 moves at a faster pacethan Part 1. The metronome mark is quarter note equals 154 as compared withquarter note equals 90 in the Colorfield,the ratio of which, incidentally, is very close to the golden ratio (phi).Connected with the faster pace, the sections in Part 2 contain more measuresthan the sections in Part 1. On average, the sections in Part 2 are 48 measureslong versus a little more than 18 measures long in Part 1. Here again, theFibonacci series enters the picture. The ratio of the larger number to thesmaller is 2.6, which is the limit of the ratios of the nth and nth-2 terms of theFibonacci sequence (e.g., 144/55).

 

Part 2 is in a steady 5/4 (or 15/8) until the coda. Taken as a whole, Part2 is more rhythmically complicated than Part 1 because the rhythmicsubdivisions are more syncopated and because the instruments are morerhythmically independent of each other. As a case in point, within each 5/4measure, the Continuo plays not five even beats, but six even beats against theunderlying five.

 

In Part 2, the sections interpenetrate each other more than in Part 1.While it is clear where each new section begins, one instrument or another maycontinue playing music from the previous section, as if that section had notyet ended.

 

In contrast with Part 1, in which most sections have key signatures withsharps, most sections in Part 2 have key signatures with only flats. And, herelies the answer to the question posed above. The first section of Part 2, Beethoven’sFifth, is in an Fminor-like mode (Ab in key signature).

 

Part l (Section 35):Beethoven’s Fifth – This big section,tied as the longest single section in Rave at 84 measures, acts as a counterweight to the Colorfield. The Violin begins straightaway with the threerepeated tones of the Victory motive, and throughout this section remainspreoccupied with this gesture, increasingly reiterating the repeated notes. TheElectric Violin, the Solo, and Piano 1 are tripled together, playing Gesture 8.Piano 1 plays irregularly grouped octaves derived from The RussianSection. As the section progresses, theViolin and Piano 2 parts begin to coincide on the repeated notes of the Victorymotive. The triplet accompaniment figure in Piano 1 begins to take on moreimportance, morphing into a tarantella (which will return later). At about thesame time, in measure 648, Piano 2 switches to running sixteenth notes, which willbe reminiscent of figures the Violin will play in the coda. By measure 667,both pianos are into the tarantella. In measure 671, and again in 678, bothpianos play for the first times, marcato, the full Victory motive, which beginsto permeate the texture. The Violin continues to fixate on the repeated notesof the Victory motive. In measure 680, the Pianos begin to swap roles. As partof the transition, Piano 1 plays running passages, 12 ½ eighth notes permeasure, against 15 notes per measure in Piano 2. By measure 687, it is nowPiano 1 that is playing the “Russian” octaves and Piano 2 has the tarantella.Several more statements of the Victory motive (in measures 692, 694, 697, 698,700) are heard played by the Electric Violin and the pianos. The tarantellarhythm takes control to bring the section to a close.

 

Part II (Section 36): BigChords – Beginning with a marcatostatement of the Victory motive on its original pitches (G and Eb), thissection continues the development of material from the previous section. TheViolin is tacet throughout. The Electric Violin concerns itself with theVictory motive in double stops, and Gestures 8 and 2. Piano 1, supported by theSolo, begins the section with a tarantella-like phrase born out of Gesture 3,while Piano 2 has running sixteenth notes also derived from Gesture 2. Thesection takes on a new character in measure 717, after a statement of theVictory motive in tritones. From this point on, the pianos build a massivesonority via chords played in jagged rhythms, and based on the Victory motive.The pianos interact heterophonically. Their first four chords are synchronized.But then, though each piano continues to play the Victory motive, no twoiterations of the motive that each piano plays are rhythmically identical, andno two coincide. Here, for example, is an array of the durations, in 16thnotes, of the first five statements of the Victory motive in each piano.

 

Piano 1: [11, 11, 11, 23]  [3, 3, 3, 7]  [10, 10, 10, 15] [9, 9, 9, 19]  [5, 5, 5, 10]

 

Piano 2: [12, 12, 12, 24]  [11, 11, 11, 23]  [5, 5, 5, 8]  [5, 5, 5, 9] [7, 7, 7, 12]

 

Part III (Section 37): ChordalCascade – A further development ofthe preceding section, but more gesturally dense, containing references toGestures 1, 3, 4, 7, 11 and 13. The Electric Violin continues riffing on theVictory motive at the beginning, mostly in double stops. There is ablues-tinged quality to some of the writing (e.g., measures 745 to 751, measure767). The pianos continue with their syncopated barrage of Victory motivechords, interspersed with an occasional statement of the Victory motive in baldoctaves. In measure 781, the Violin enters with Gesture 1 conjoined with theVictory motive, the latter shortly taking precedence over Gesture 1. TheElectric Violin continues exploring the Victory motive, concluding the sectionwith a trilled glissando, ascending and left to vibrate.

 

Part IV (Section 38):Tarantella – Gestures 2, 3, 4, 6 and13 are audible in this section in F melodic minor. The tarantella proper startsabout one third of the way through. There is first a preparatory passage inwhich the Violin and Piano 1 (in tremolos) prolong the development of theVictory motive, while Piano 2 plays quarter note chords and octaves that harkback to Section 1 accompaniment, as well as to the immediately precedingchordal cascade. The Electric Violin is silent throughout. In measure 834, theViolin begins to play the tarantella while Piano 1 takes up the chordalcascade. The sonority here is redolent of organ registrations. In measure 839,Piano 2 joins in with a figure from the first section in Part 2, Beethoven’sFifth (Section 35) – the runningscales 12 ½ eighth notes to the bar. These play against the 15 notes tothe bar of the tarantella rhythm. In measure 849, trills assert themselves,first in Piano 2, then jumping to Piano 1, and continuing for the rest of thesection. Starting in measure 853, there is a brief recap – in inversion– of a passage (measure 709) from the Big Chords section. Trills and the chordal cascade (sloweddown) together bring this section to a close.

 

Part V (Section 39):Contradance – The dancing continues.The section opens by carrying forward the music from the preceding section. TheViolin spins out the tarantella. Piano 1 and Piano 2 play the Victory motivechordal cascade. In measure 872, the Violin gives way to the Electric Violinplaying Gesture 8 slowed down. The tarantella rhythm, however, continues in oneor both of the pianos. The pianos, at the same time, play their versions of Gesture8 against the Electric Violin, sometimes heterophonically, sometimes briefly incanon or inversion. After a reference to the Victory motive’s repeated notes(on G), the Electric Violin begins to transform Gesture 8 into the Contradancemotive (Gesture 11). As this is happening, Piano 2 is shifting to a duple,Contradance, meter. In measure 894, the pianos suddenly change from thetarantella rhythm to trills and tremolos. As the Electric Violin contradancesalong, the pianos cadence on a long upward glissando. The pianos return withthe tarantella in conjunction with a chordal cascade derived from Gesture 8.The Contradance enters full blown in measure 912, first played by the ElectricViolin and then, in measure 916, handed off to the Violin.

 

Before moving on to the nextsection, it is worth noting an interesting set of key relationships that bridgethe Contradance sections. When the Contradance first appeared in Part 1, thekey signature was C# and G#, with a feel of A major with a flattened 6thdegree. In Part 2, Contradance has a key signature of Db, in keeping with themostly flat key signatures in this part. But this also sounds like a version ofA major, albeit with a different color than the C#, G# version. The nextsection, which is a study on Contradance, has the key signature Db and Gb, yetanother version of A major. Thus, different but related colors are obtained byapproaching a key center from the flat and sharp sides.

 

Part VI (Section 40): Study onCountry Dance – This short sectionacts as a transition to the next section of Rave, in which a new gesture enters. Here, the Violinkeeps the Contradance going, partnered by the Piano 1 left hand. Piano 1’sright hand plays the tarantella. Piano 2 continues developing the chordalcascade.

 

Part VII (Section 41): MartialMusic – In A major (F#, C#, G#), thissection is, at 84 measures in length, tied with the opening section of Part 2as the longest in Rave. Not onlydoes this section help anchor the structure, it also generates momentum thatdraws us inexorably to the end of the piece. Martial Music is frenetic and aggressive, and adds new music tothe mix in the form of Gesture 12. Though still in 5/4 time, much of theMartial Music (Gesture 12) gives the impression of being in 4/4 time. The sectionopens with the Violin’s uninterrupted playing of the Contradance music, inbroken double stops, from the previous section. The Continuo shifts itsregularly pulsing support in favor of a jagged march-like rhythm of its own (aslowed down version of Gesture 12) that places it in more direct dialogue withPiano 1 and Piano 2. The Continuo’s music has embedded echoes of the Victorymotive. Piano 1 plays a dotted–rhythm march theme, while Piano 2 plays anasymmetric repeating figure based on smoothly running eighth notes that crossesthe barline consistently and at different points as it cycles. The Victorymotive punctuates the proceedings here and there (e.g., measures 942, 958, and,especially, 999) in all the keyboard parts. In measure 954, the Violin shiftsto play triplet, tarantella-like figures that, nevertheless, relate to theContradance music. The Continuo gradually finds its way back to a more regularrhythm and longer held chords. At the same time, both pianos take up thedotted-rhythm version of Gesture 12 (sometimes in augmentation). A strikingdetail occurs in measures 972 and 973, when the Violin plays a double notefigure that last appeared in the Piano 1 left hand, in measures 96 and 97, in TheDoor to Hellfire section (Section 6 of Part1). The section concludes as the Violin’s figures go double time amidst cannonfire repetitions of the Victory motive and a final statement of Martial Music. TheElectric Violin is tacet throughout.

 

Part VIII (Section 42) – This untitled section is a mash-up thatfeatures rapid-fire juxtapositions of a majority of the gestures in Rave. The Violin is tacet and the Electric Violin takesover. The Continuo returns to its steady six against five rhythm leading to,near the end of the section, sustained chords. The Solo has an up-front role,for the most part in support of the Electric Violin, but also supporting Piano2. The ear will catch references to Gestures 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 12 and 13,intermixed. The key signature, Eb and Ab, gives the dual impression of F minorand C minor. As in the previous section, the dotted rhythm Martial Music issometimes played in augmentation, and sometimes inverted. Overall, thesonorities are heavier; double octaves are common, in unison or in secundalharmony. The Electric Violin is preoccupied with Gestures 10, 13 (Victorymotive) and 11 (Contradance), spliced together in varying combinations. TheVictory motive punctuates the texture, at unexpected points, in chords, and inmore lightly scored broken octave rhythmic variations. The tarantella starts upin the pianos in measure 1045. Trills in secundal harmony and Electric Violinslides, along with the tarantella, end the section.

 

Part IX (Section 43) – A shorter section in which the ElectricViolin and Solo continue development of Gestures 8 and 4. The Violin remainstacet. The pianos return to the chordal cascade, with clear references to theVictory motive.

 

Part X (Section 44): DoubleStops – A longer, more gesturallydense section, though one that is transparently scored. Contributing to thistransparent texture is the Continuo, which changes from a six against fiverhythm to a slower five beats per measure, in line with the time signature. TheViolin remains tacet. The Electric Violin plays duets with itself in doublestops, mainly developing facets of the Victory motive. Piano 1 plays avariation on the tarantella extending over the whole range of the keyboard. Inaddition to scales, the tarantella is telescoped into arpeggios. Piano 2continues quasi-canonic permutations (mostly utilizing rhythms based on primenumbers) on the chordal cascade, with the Victory motive never far away. As ifto prepare for the next section, in measure 1154, there is a veiled referenceto Bach’s Invention in F in Piano2’s left hand. From measure 1155, the Solo joins the Electric Violin until theend of the section. The end of the section is easy to identify. The tarantellastops on the lowest note of the piano. Piano 2 plays an inversion of theVictory motive. There is a peroration of the Victory motive in doubled doubleoctaves in the pianos. The final chord belongs to the Continuo, an A majoraugmented harmony identical to, but spelled differently from, the final chordin Section 2, Messiaen and the Sitar.

 

Part XI (Section 45): Studyafter Bach – The key is Eb major (Bb,Eb, Ab) and it is the Violin’s turn to play. The tarantella rhythm resumes inthe Violin and Piano 1. The Violin riffs on the music from the first part ofthe Presto from Bach’s ViolinSonata 1 in G minor. The Continuo slows itsbasic pulse to four beats every 5/4 bar and adds the Victory motive to itsrepertoire. Piano 2 plays chords in eighth note quintolets – 12 ½notes to the bar. The competing rhythms, in eighth notes, are 15 against 12½ against 10 against 4. Piano 1 plays Gesture 8 slowed down, but in fastbroken octaves. In measure 1192, a chromatic element is added, when theViolin’s key signature changes to Eb and Ab. This sets up a clash between the Bnatural in the Violin and the Bb in the other parts. In measure 1202, bothpianos respond to this chromatic element in different ways. Piano 1 recaps thechromatic scale from measure 319, section 11b, Minimal Aria withDidgeridoo. Piano 2 plays a more extendedpassage of chromatically ascending minor chords, recapping the Continuo insection 6, The Door to Hellfire.While these chords move toward their culmination on an A minor harmony, Piano 1plays an augmented version of Martial Music. After this chromatic episode, theViolin part key signature returns to Eb major. Gestures 3, 6, 8, 12 and 13continue to be developed within the framework of the basic rhythmic oppositionslisted above, until a concluding cadence in G minor.

 

Part XII (Section 46): ABurlesque, A Tarantella – Thissection is bipartite. The first sub-section revolves around the Violin, whichcompletes it traversal of the Bach Presto. Piano 2 maintains its tarantella music but changes rhythmic gearsfrom steady eighth note triplets to triplets with a quick, limping gait –each triplet has a rest on the middle eighth note. The composer refers to thisas a “Scherzo; Tarantella.” This tarantella reminds this listener of thetarantella in Mr. Violette’s Sonata 3. Piano 1 plays the Martial Music (Gesture 12) very slowed down andsmoothed out. The Solo shores up the bass. In measure 1282, the Violin cadencesplaying Db and C major chords (recalling the Minimal Aria) over a long sustained E minor chord in theContinuo. This sets the stage for the entrance of the Electric Violin and thebeginning of the second sub-section, Burlesque. Mr. Violette has characterized the Burlesque as “a solo much like a Mozartian overture to a comicopera.” The tarantella continues in Piano 2 to the end. Piano 1 maintains itsmassive, slow chords, an elegiac statement of the Martial Music. The ElectricViolin, using spiccato bowing,thumbs its nose at the other instruments, playing distorted sixteenth notesagainst the tarantella’s triplets.

 

Part XIII (Section 47): AWaltz with Ostinato (Part 1) – Thissection is a recomposition of the Minimal Aria with Didgeridoo. It also marks the beginning of a group of sectionsin which a new level of rhythmic complexity is achieved. The time signaturestays in 5/4 (15/8 for the Electric Violin and the Solo). The Continuo returnsto playing six even beats against the underlying 5/4. The Electric Violin, intandem with the Solo, plays a waltz tune (derived from Gesture 6) in a 3/4 timesub-division of the 15/8 measure such that each group of six eighth notesequals one measure of 3/4 time. Thus, every five bars of 3/4 corresponds toevery two bars of 15/8. Piano 2 plays an ostinato on three chords centeredaround B minor, derived from Gesture 5. The ostinato is also in 3/4 time,beginning, except for an upbeat, on beat 3 of the 5/4 measure. This rhythm, too,crosses the barline and does not coincide with the Electric Violin downbeats.Piano 1 continues its heavily chorded and sustained version of the MartialMusic, also in 3/4 time, but with the left hand starting on beat 1 and theright hand starting on beat 5, also non-coincident with any of the downbeats ofthe other parts. Toward the end of this section, the Continuo chords becomeeven less frequent, settling in to a three against five pattern. The Violin istacet in this and in the following section. The Victory motive is absent fromthe texture for the first time since Part 2 began.

 

Part XIV (Section 48): A Waltzwith Ostinato (Part 2) – Once againthe Solo and the Electric Violin work together playing the Waltz music, andonce again they play in 3/4 time against the 15/8 measures. The Continuo playslong, held, periodic chords, usually in cycles of five. Piano 2 plays adifferently harmonized version of the ostinato, also, as before, in 3/4 timeand beginning on the third beat of the 5/4 measure. This version has the feelof C minor, a half step up from the ostinato in the previous section. (Hence,these two sections bear a half-step relationship with each other that on alarger time scale mirrors the C#/D half step of the Minimal Aria – section 11b.) Piano 1 continues itsmeditation on the Martial Music made mournful – the music slowly descendsand then slowly ascends. In measure 1375, Piano 2 initiates a differentostinato, beginning this time on beat one, also centered around C minor, andincorporating a clear reference to the Victory motive. In measure 1385, asequence of trills starts, recalling section 2, Messiaen and theSitar. (Bit by bit, from here until the Coda, the sound of the music resembles more and more thematerial from the start of Rave.)The trills are joined by tremolos outlining a C minor sonority; these continueto the end of the section. The Martial Music in Piano 1 begins to slowly getfaster, and takes on characteristics of Gestures 3 and 5. The speed-up involvesboth the Piano 1 left hand, which plays quarter note triplets (15 per every twobars), and the right hand, which shifts from predominantly half notes topredominantly dotted quarter notes. Ten measures before the end, the ElectricViolin alights on a low, held G, in what the composer calls a “color changecoda.” It is up to the electric violinist to change color on the G as often ashe or she likes, but continuously, throughout. The music comes to a close onrepeated C and Db octaves, a final reference to the Minimal Aria.

 

The next three sections form agroup of homages to the pianist and composer, Robert Helps. From a polyrhythmicstandpoint, they probably represent the apex of the piece. Each section is in adifferent mode, and each explores aspects of two Chopin etudes. But the etudesthemselves merely provide the scaffolding for what is in essence a preparationfor the return of the beginning of the piece. These sections also carry forwardthe concept of “getting faster,” hinted at toward the end of the previoussection. For the next 75 measures, the Violin plays gradually ever faster,starting at four notes per measure and increasing to ten notes per measure.(There is, by the way, in the first movement of Mr. Violette’s Sonata 5 – available on Innova Recordings 641 –another striking instance of a gradual tempo change, in this case, a long ritardando.) The Electric Violin and the Solo are silentthroughout; nor can the Victory motive be heard.

 

Part XV (Section 49): DuelingChopin Etudes – The dueling etudes inthis section are Op. 25 #9 (“The Butterfly”) and Op. 25 #5. Only the middle, PiuLento, part of the Op. 25 #5 etude is used.The time signature is 5/4 (15/8). The Continuo plays a slowed down version ofthe Martial Music in four; that is, four (or eight) even beats per 5/4 measure.Piano 1 plays Op. 25 #5 in 3/4 – five measures of 3/4 for every twomeasures of 15/8. The left hand melody in Piano 1 is a variant of Gesture 1,from Rave’s opening. Piano 2plays a modalized version of the Butterfly Etude in two (half notegets the beat) – five measures correspond to four measures of 5/4. TheViolin plays a figure derived from the waltz music (Sections 47 and 48). Itstarts by playing four even notes within each 5/4 measure. In measure 1446, theContinuo switches to sustained chords. In measure 1447, the Violin changes fromfour notes per measure to five notes per measure. And in measure 1455, theViolin accelerates again, to six notes per measure. In measure 1458, theContinuo figure changes to a harp-like, plucked sonority whose rhythm isderived from the scherzo-tarantella in section 46, but still dividing each 5/4measure into four even beats. In measure 1463, the Violin accelerates again, inanticipation of the next section, to seven notes per measure.

 

Part XVI (Section 50): MoreDueling Chopin Etudes – The duelingetudes here are Op. 10 #1 and Op. 10 #11, both studies of the arpeggio. TheContinuo maintains the 4 against 5 scherzo-tarantella rhythm. The Violin playsits waltz 7 against 5, then, in measure 1471, 8 against 5, and finally, inmeasure1478, 9 against the underlying 5 beat meter. Piano 2 plays Op. 10 #11.The original etude is in 3/4 time. This feeling is preserved here by placingthe arpeggiated chords in a triplet rhythm – three half notes in theduration of a whole note. Because the meter is 5/4 this causes the triplets tocross the barline. Every fourth measure, the triplet chords coincide with thebarline. Piano 1 plays a modal version of Op. 10 #1, in the original 4/4 meter.The right hand arpeggios are based on groups of seven per half note; thus, theycross the barline as well, coinciding with the barline every two bars. The bassoctaves in Piano 1 sound out another, slower, variant of Rave’s opening Gesture 1. Here is an excerpt from thescore: measures 1476-1478. This section moves too fast for this excerpt to bepinpointed to the exact second. Curious listeners should focus on the entiresection. It begins 53 seconds into track 19.

 

 

Part XVII (Section 51): StillMore Dueling Chopin Etudes – Thissection’s dueling etudes are a return to Chopin’s Op. 25. We hear Op. 25 #1(the “Aeolian Harp”) and the concluding section of Op. 25 #5. The Continuocalms its rhythm to a straight five beats per 5/4 bar, playing broken chords.The Violin enters in the second measure playing ten eighth notes per bar,consistent with the 5/4 meter. Piano 1, with a time signature of 15/8, playsOp. 25 #1 mostly in two (i.e., six eighth notes per half note). Piano 2 playsOp. 25 #5 mostly in three (i.e., three quarter notes per phrase grouping). Inmeasure 1506, Piano 2 finishes its etude while Piano 1 continues “harping.”Piano 2 then plays a sequence of chromatic octaves, framing the interval of atritone. This is followed by an upward scale in a mode of Bb minor, and thenanother upward chromatic octave passage (over a C augmented chord in theContinuo) that recalls the chromatic scale from measure 319, section 11b, MinimalAria with Didgeridoo.

 

Part XVIII (Section 52):Russian RecapThe RussianSection (Section 4) from Part 1 is given avaried recap using a different mode (Ab, Bb, Db). While the pianos are bringingthe listener’s attention back to this lush, neo-romantic material, the Violinenters with a dramatic statement of Gesture 1, this time tinged with theRussian element. The Electric Violin and the Solo remain silent.

 

Part XIX (Section 53): TheLong Descent – The Electric Violintakes up a slowed down variation of the opening theme (Gesture 1) in adifferent mode (Bb, Eb, Gb). Piano 2 plays coruscating alternating octaves intriplets, emphasizing the tritone, the chromatic scale, and this Eb “minor-ish”mode. Piano 1 plays heavy, anthemic chords based on Gesture 11, also sloweddown. With its chords, the Continuo is dividing each 5/4 measure into three. Inmeasure 1549, without warning, the texture changes. The Solo enters in the deepbass. The Electric Violin begins losing altitude, playing a long, slow,continuous bowed glissando starting on a high Db and continuing for five and ahalf octaves to a low G. This glissando actually concludes in the next section.Piano 1 adds Gesture 3 to its chordal material in the right hand, andscampering single-note octave leaps in the left hand. These are reminiscent ofboth the scherzo-tarantella and the harp-like plucked figuration from Section49. The Continuo’s chords become more sustained and more regularly paced. Thetonal feeling shifts toward D minor/F major toward the end of the section, alsoa look back at Rave’s beginnings.

 

Part XX (Section 54):Country/Martial Music – As theElectric Violin concludes its flight downward, the other instruments recap in Dmajor (but with a C natural in the key signature) the Contradance and theMartial Music. The Violin re-enters to play a permutation of the Contradancewhile the Pianos play the Martial Music. The Continuo makes reference to theVictory motive. Within the context of these gestures there are also quickallusions to Gestures 3, 4 and 7.

 

Part XX1 (Section 55): Coda – All clarity and light from here to the end.The instrumentation is especially transparent, with the Solo and Continuoregistrations reinforcing the bell-like clarity in the scoring of the ensemble.The Coda is almost exclusively inpure C major. There is a momentary detour into the C minor of the Victorymotive (key signature of Ab, Eb – C melodic minor) in measures 1589through 1596. Most of the gestures in the piece return, however fleetingly orcompressed. For example, there is just a passing reference to Gesture 1implicit in the voicing of the chords and octaves in Piano 1, just before andafter the key change to C melodic minor. The Violin’s material is mostly shapedby reference to the Contradance and the Martial Music, but also receivessignificant input from the Piano 2 sixteenth note passages in Section 35, Beethoven’sFifth, which opened Part 2. Piano 2 isdancing the tarantella, then, in measure 1607, hops to join the Violin in theContradance. Also beginning in measure 1607, Piano 1 plays a last chromaticpassage, starting on a D minor chord and continuing down a ninth to a C majorchord. This time the chromatic notes are mere passing tones in between chordsleading to the key of C: D minor, A minor, E minor, F major, G major, D minor,E minor, G major, A minor, B diminished, F Major, E minor, B diminished, Aminor, G major. This passage reflects in microcosm the progression of Rave from D minor to C major, that began over an hourearlier. It’s C major non-stop from measure 1611 to the end. The ElectricViolin joins forces with the rest of the ensemble in measure 1613. A laststatement of the Victory motive on a dominant G in measure 1617 leads to atriumphal C major tutti in 4/4. Seven quarter note C’s, the last four of whichhave added octaves, act as final fanfare in salute of the Victory motive,ringing the piece to a close.

 

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