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Truman, P. A. (1981). Stravinsky's approach to opera (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Université libre de Bruxelles, Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres, Bruxelles.

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Philip A. ,T.ruman


Foliane Three

Dissertation présentée a

l’Université Xihre de Prunelles pour 1’obtention ûu grade de Docteur en Philosophie et Lettres

Section; Histoire de l’’Art et Archéologie Sous-seotion; îllusicologie

Bruxelles, 1981 Directeur de thèse;

Monsieur le Professeur Robert Vfangenn’ée


Philip A. Truman


Volimie Three


V i

Dissertation présentée à

l'Université Libre de Bruxelles pour l’obtention du grade de

Docteur en Philosophie et Lettres

Section: Histoire de l’Art et Archéologie Sous-section: Musicologie

Directeur de thèse:

Monsieur le Professeur Robert V/angermée

Bruxelles, 1981


The Effect of Stravinsky’s Approach to Opéra

Section Pour

The Opéras


The true expression of both Stravinsky’s musical aesthetics and the techniques of his musical language is to be found, of course, in his musical créations; it is to those créations, in the realm of opéra, that this study now tums. Before doing so, however, a few cautionary, introductory words may be interpolated here. First, it is a basic premise of this study that opéra is a musical form of drama. But, because this form does not stem from purely musical needs - the libretto, for instance, is a potent, extra-musical,

conceptual reference to its inception - from its very beginning, that is, from the period when opéra, or *dramma per musica', was conceived, in its attempts to weld together the extra-musical éléments - libretto, characters, staging, décor, etc., - with the musical, it posed

problems for the composer, problems conceming, for example, the balance between text and music, or whether to résolve his musical ideas in dramatic forms or self-contained, musical numbers - in short, whether to give priority to the musical ideas and how they v/ere to be conveyed or to what,.in terms of the drama, was to be signified or expressed through the music.

As we hâve seen, basic to the musical and aesthetic principles of Stravinsky were the autonomy of music and artistic discipline, indicating, obviously, that he was a ’music first’ composer. This, together with his obsessive hatred of the opposite approach - which, though vastly over-simplified, may be termed that of the 'musical dramatist' - particularly as it was applied in V/agnerian music drama, led him in the direction of 'traditional opéra* or (again, an over- simplification), 'pure opéra', where construction is more inclin'ed to closed musical, 'set ntimber' forms than to forms determined more by the exigencies of the drama. In the context of music for the theatre in general, Stravinsky - as is so often the case - has provided his

OT/n verbal expression of this 'approach' when, during a Prench radio broadcast on 3 June, 1938, in answering questions put to hlm by Georges Auric, he said:

5 3 G1) 0


Whatever may be the destination of a piece of music - whether intended for the theatre, concert hall or cinéma - it is essential it should hâve its proper

intrinsic value, its own existence, its 'raison d'être’.

Otherwise, it is demoted to a lower level and finds itself shom of its independence, thereby becoming nothing better than a kind of 'divertissement'.

That’s why, when I am writing for the theatre, my first anxiety is to nake certain my music has an indépendant existence and to guard it from the danger of subjecting itself to the demands of the other theatrical éléments involved. In my view the relationship between music and these extra-musical éléments can be presented only in parallel, or in association. In this connection, I am in no wise disconcerted by the apparent lack of accord in classical opéra between the form of the musical niunbers (airs, duets, ensembles, and so on) and the

demands of the dramatic action. If in earlier works like The Firebird I did not always follow the precepts I am now preaching, I quickly realized the vital need of doing

so; and as early as Petrushka it will be found that the music is constructed on symphonie lines. My later scores are conceived and constructed as separate musical entities, indépendant of their scenic purpose; and because of that I attach as much importance to their concert performance as

■ to their stage présentations.1

As the following chapters will demonstrate, this 'music first' approach to a composition for the theatre is fundamental to the constructions of his opéras, whether, as in Renard. The Soldier's Taie. Oedipus Rex.

Perséphone or The Flood - what may be termed his ' eicperlmental ’ opéras - where, as a typicaü. représentative of the 20th-century composer's approach to opéra, he incorporated éléments of ballet or oratorio, of popular or folk music, etc., into the foim, or whether, as in The

Nightingale. Mavra and, particularly, The Rake's Progress. he remained doser to the ’ traditional' notion of opéra: "a drama in which music is the essential factor comprising songs with orchestral accompaniment (as recitative, aria, chorus) and orchestral préludés and interludes."2

Neither Stravinsky's words nor the evidence for the primacy of music in his compositions mean, however, that the 'dramatic' element is excluded from his opéras. (The terms 'music first' and drama first', are, it may be stressed again, over-simplifications, and no ’worthy’

composer of opéra, whatever his 'inclinations', forfeits either


'approach' in the compositional processes of his opéras). But, because opéra - with its particularly close association with and dépendance upon the conceptual, and constructional, element of the libretto - is, perhaps, more closely related to an extra-musical stimulant than any other form of music for the theatre, and -because, therefore, this element cannot, or should not be ignored in any

study of a form that was, after ail, conceived as 'dranma per musica', a considérable proportion of the following analyses of Stravinsky’s opéras investigates the nature of, and the extent to which, this extra musical, ’dramatic’ stimulant - whether, libretto, characters,

staging, etc., - is operative or, at least, may be considered as présent in Stravinsky’s approach to opéra. And with such analyses it is the intention to demonstrate that, despite his distortion of words,

despite the ’static* staging of the productions, despite the

’autonomy of the music' and the ’artistic discipline' to which that music is subjected, aind though he has, undoubtediy, created lucid, ordered, balanced and proportioned, ’classical', musical forma,

Stravinsky has met the 'challenge' or 'problems' of the opéra composer and created a form of drama in which the dramatic form, the quality of the action and the characters, indeed, the entire 'dramatic

expérience’, are articulated, revealed and enriched through music and, what is more, through the 'expressive' power of music^ that he has created, in other words, a 'dramma per musica’, or more accurately eight different 'solutions' or 'alternatives' to the idéal of a

drama through music.

Pootnotes to Introduction

1. Quoted in E.W. V/hite, Stravinsky; The Composer and His V^orks (London; Paber and Paber, 1965), pp. 359-360.

2. A définition of opéra (from 7i'ebster*s Third New International Dictionary) cited by D.J. Grout in his article, "Cpera", in the Harvard Dictionarr,’- of ?'usic. Second édition, edited by 'r/illi Apel.

London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1976.



The Hightiiigale, described in the score as a 'lyric taie in three acts*» was Stravinsky's first large-scale composition speoif- ically intended for the theatre,”* and though he later extracted from its music a symphonie poem, The Son^ ef the Nightingale, which, upon the persuasion of Diaghilev, became the basis of a ballet of

the same name, it was as an opéra that The Nightingale was originally 2 conceived.

Choosing Hans Christian Andeirsen’s taie of The Emperor and the Hightingale as a basis for the plot of his opéra, Stravinsky, together vith his librettist and friend Stepan Mltousoff, devised a libretto vhich is divided into three acts and which may be summarized as follows:

Act I - depicts a nocturnal scene by the sea-shore at the edge of a forest. A Pisherman in his beat sings of the Nightingale who inhabits this isolated spot and who, at night, sings so beautifnlly. As the Fisherman slowly moves off, the délicate, ethereal aong of the Night­

ingale is heard from within the wood. The song is interrupted by the arrivai of repi*esentatives of the Chinese Impérial Court - the Chamber­

lain, the Bonze, the Cook, and various other courtiers - who, beceuse the Emperor has been told of the Nightingale*s wonderful sounds, hâve been sent te look for the bird and invite it to sing at the Palace.

Since they hâve never heard the bird sing, the courtiers are at first eestatie about the lowing of a cow and the croaking of frogs, both of which they believe to be the sounds of the Nightingale. When, with the help of the Cook (who has heard the bird sing), they do eventually find the Nightingale, they are disillusioned because it is so small, grey and unimpressive; but when it résumés its song the courtiers marvel at the beauty of the soiuad and the Chamberlain

invites the bird to sing at the Emperor’s palace. Although the Night­


ingale e^^lains that it prefers to sing In the open air, it accepta th.e invitation and aettlcs in tbe Cook* s hand. Âs the group retums to tbe palace, the melancholj eong of the Fisherman is heard again.

- begins with an entr’acte which, behind a gauze ôurtain, shows a pi^ocesaion of torch-bearers and courtiers who, in préparation for

the Nightingale's arrivai, are décorating the Emperor's Palace of Porcelain wlth thousands ef lights and flowers festooned with little silvor bells, The curtain is raised and a magnificent court procession commences* Then the Nightingale, borne on top of a long staff, is led to the throne-iroom and the Emperor, with gi^at pomp and ceremony, follows. He gazes at the bird and gestures for it to begin singing.

The song moves the Emperor to tears and he offers the bird whaxever faveurs it could desire; but the Nightingale replies that the tears in the Emperor's eyes are reward enough* At this point the ladies of

the court attempt to imitate the Nightingale*s souûd by gurgling with

♦ater, but their efforts are interrup>ted by the arrivai of three Japanese envoya bearing a glft from their Emperor - a large, golden box upon which is moxin^d a mechanical nightingale* The sight of the artificial, bejewelled bird fascinâtes the court and as the toy is wousd up and its musio begins to sound, the whele court expresses its dellght* The âaperor indlcatea that he has heard enough of this

mechanical création an'd tums to ask the real bird to sing; but, during the music of its rival, the Nightingale has disappeared.

Angered by wnat he eonsiders ingratitude, the Emperor banishes the Nightingale from his reslas and orders the mechanioal bird to be placed next to the Impezlal bed. He theh signais for the procession

that wlll bear him slowly from the great hall. As the curtain falls, the Fisheman is heard, off«stage, singing of the approaoh of dsath.

Act III - takes place in a hall of the palace that eontains the Emperor's bedehamber whei^ he lays dying. At the side of his bed

sits Death wearing the Impérial crown and holding the Emperor's sword and banner; accompanying Death are the Spectres who represent the Emperor's past deeds and who hover about and peer at the Emperor.



Two settings by Alexandre Benois - top; the Porcelain Palace (Act II)

bottom; the Emperor's Bedchamber (Act III)


THE NIGHTINGALE Costune designs


Alexandre Benois


The Emperor calls for his musiclans to drowa. out the noise of the accusing voioes, but they do not corne. Just as his life ie ebbing, however, the Toice of the real Nightingale is heard outside and its ravlshing song makes even Death beg the bird to continue its music.

The Nightingale agréés, but only on the condition that the Emperor's life Is restored. Death consente; and as the Nightingale sings of the weeping floeers and of the silent graveyards whez^ the moon shines sadly on the tomba, Death disappears.

Now miraculously recoyered from his illness, the Emperor again gratefully offers the Nightingale whatever it desires. As before, the reply is that the tears in the Emperor’s teyes are reward enough, and after promising that eyery night it will rest in the ahadows and sing te the Emperor till moming, the Nightingale flies off.

Thinking that their Emperor is dead, the courtiers gravely approach his bedehamber in a solemn funeral procession; but finding him fully i^stored to health and dressed in the full splendours of his cérémonial rubes, they prostrate themselvea. As the curtain sloirly falls, from the disteince the yoice of the Fisherman is heard for the last time; he sings of the sunrlse and of the song of birds.

In Exposltlona (p.35), Stravinsky relates that he chose Ander­

sen* s taie as a basis for his opéra in an endeayour to recapture boyhood aemories: "...part of a realistic fairy-tale world whose lost beauty I hay« tried to rediscoyer later in life, especially in Hans Christian Andersen." (Tjhe Pairv*3 Kiss is also derived from Andersen).

Though from tne pen of a Dane, the taie, in fact, représenta a type of story commonly fotind in the Russian operatic tradition - folklore in which the superoatural dominated and settings in which

the exotio is exploited. The plots of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko (1896), Tsar Sultan (1900), Kityegh (1906), The Golden, Cockerel (1907) offer


soœe relevant examples. Indeed, the last-named of these works, The Golden Cockerel. written during Stravinsky's apprenticeship with Rimsky-Korsakov, had considérable influence on the composition of The yightlngale; the choice of story, revolving around a king and a eomewhat magical bird whose power sejrves the king, is but one of the parallels to be found in the two works,

Whilst the three acts of Stravinsky's opéra correspond to the 3 three principal sections of Andersen's story, in other respects, the composer and librettist rather fi^ely elaborate, condense, add, and élimina te entire épisodes of tne oidginal taie. The btistling scene of preparaxion for the Emperor's entrance (Act II) and the encounter between Death and the Nightingale (Act III), for instance, receive only brief reference in Andersen's story - a few sentences or a short paragraph - but in the opéra they are expanded into important musical épisodes, each a formally organized number of considérable length.

The longeât single addition to the original taie is the Pisher- man's Song and the poetry of ail its appearances, like that of ail

the Nightingale’s arias, are Mitousoff's invention. And though the Pisherman does hot actually participate in the drama, his song pro­

vides a narrative fi-amevrork for the opéra; it initially sets the scene, and, at the end of the opéra, it delivers the moral. His rôle, in faot, is somewhat analogous to that of the Astrologer in The Golden Cockerel. The Pisherman is also instrumental in estab- lishing the supematural power of the bird’s voice, a gift of "the heavenly spirit," in the opening and closing stanzas:

liisten to them, with them rejoice,

they are the spirit’s heav’nly voice, (fig.134)

No such magical or supematural power, it may be nsted, is attributed to the nightingale of Andersen’s tàle.

As for the omissions, a number of the musical references in the taie seem to hâve been deliberately avoided. For example, no reference is made in the opéra to the xmsuccessful duet between the real and the


mechanical nightingale; and only a very brièf instrumental passage in Act III acknowledges the fact, important to the taie, that the mechanical bird breaks down. Though most of the characters in Andersen’s taie are retained in the opéra, there is one prominent personage missing - the Master of Music. This court musician is

especially significant in the taie, for it is he who fumishes ail the nationale for preferring the mechanical bird to the real one, and his musical scholarship, moreover, provides several anusing incidents.

No doubt Stravinsky felt that the music alone would clarify these points, and in the case of the Master of Music, that such a character

■ïTOuld hâve introduced a comic element beyond the confines of the délicate lyric taie.

Genesis of the work

Begun at Oustiloug in 1908, by the summer of 1909 Stravinsky had completed the orchestration of the first act. Work on the remaining two acts, however, was delayed - the second act being written at Clarens in the autumn of 1913, and the third, at Leysin in the

winter of 1914 - and it was not until 26 May, 1914 that The Ni~htin,~ale received its first performance - given by the Russian Ballet at the Paris Opéra, with Pierre Monteux conducting. (The manuscript of the vocal score is dated Leysin, Grand Hôtel, 14/27 Karch, 1914).

The interruptions to the composition of The ITirhtingale vTere of considérable significance both to the musical language of this

particular opéra and, from a much broader perspective, to the further career of Stravinsky as a composer, The first interruption, a commission from Diaghilev in early 1909 to orchestrate two Chopin pièces - Nocturne in Ab and Valse Brillante in Eb - for the Russian Ballet’s production of Les Sylphides in the spring of 1909, was followed by the death of Stravinsky*s friend and teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, in whose menory he composed Chant Funèbre; the xwo events meant that Stravinsky was unable


to restnne work on The Nightingale until the sunmer of that year. But a second interruption was soon to follow and again, it was a Diaghilev conmission, this tine, to conpose the nusic for a ballet, The Firebird.

a cormnission that signailed the real beginning of Stravinsk;/* s career as a composer and his association -^ith Diaghilev, the Riissian Ballet, Western Europe and, above ail perhaps, vrith the theatre, The prestige of the Diaghilev coamission, of course, partly explains Stravinsky's decision to put aside his work on The Nightinga1e. but that he was ready to do so is also due in no snall measure to the fact that the subjects of The Firebird and The Nightingale hâve much in coaunon; both, for exacple, share a similar fantasy world and ataosphere of magic, and both hâve as a principal character a bird.

Tv/o more ballets, Petrushka and The Rite of Soring. had been completed and had confirmed Stravinsky’s status as a composer v/hen, in the summer of 1913, the Pree Theatre of Moscow asked him to complété his opéra The ïïightinpiale. 'Though attracted by the fee (of 10,000

roubles), Stravinsky was not so attracted by the prospect, for during the five years since he had begim its composition his musical language had undergone considérable changes. Nevertheless, as he records in his Autobiography (p.51), he decided that:

As there is no action until the second act...it would not be unreasonable if the music of the Prologue bore a somewhat

different character from that of the rest. And, indeed, the forest, v/ith its nightingale, the pure soûl of the child who falls in love with its song...all this gentle poetry of Hans Andersen’s could not be expressed in the same way as the baroque luxury of the Chinese Court, with its bizarre étiquette, its palace fêtes, its thousands of little bells and lantems, and the grotesque hunming of the mechanical Japanese nightingale...in short, ail this exotic fantasy obviously demanded a different musical idiom.

Before he had finished the score, however, the Pree Theatre of Moscow enterprise collapsed. But Diaghilev, who had been unhappy to ses Stravinsky working for another company, anyway, seized upon the opportunity to include The Nightingale in his next season at the Paris Opéra. His motives for producing The Pightin~ale were not only based on his friendship with Stravinsky and enthusiasm for


hia music, however, for Riasky-Koraaücoy’s The Goldaa Cockeral was to be pznsduoed in '^e same season and aines this work requimd a aimllar caat, srcbeatra and aumptnouanesa of seenery and costiuuea, It was alao a Sound business proposition.

Two factors, then, dominate the musical composition of The Night­

ingale - the différences in Stravinsky's musical styles as a i^sult of the long gestation pexdod of the opera's composition, and the diffei^- ences within the musical idiom as a resuit of the contrasta contained in the subject nature of the plot.

Musical Language: (i) Harmony and Tonality

When Stravinsky began the composition of The Ni^tingale he was twenty-seven years old and impressioaable; and the first act in partic- ular betrays the varions influences on his music at that time. Quite naturaily, the harmonie and mélodie sensuality and the ’Orientalism*

of Stravinsky’s Russian peers, Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov (who had, Stravinsky says in his Autobiograph.y. p.23, heard and approved the

pi»eliminary musical sketches), for example, may be seen in the nimerous passages involving the intervals of the semitone, perfect and sugaented 4th, diminished. euid augmented 5th (Exs,231a-c) •, many of tnese passages, especially those surrovmded by trills and trémolos, even evoke the so-called ’mystic-chord’ (Ex.232) and other harmonie and mélodie featurcs of Scriabine, about whom Stravinsky said (Mémories. p.196):

"I never could love a bar of his bombastie music." And, delvlng a little further baok into Stravinsky’s Russian musical héritage, the apirit of Chemomor’s maspch in Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmilla can be felt in the Chines# Soperor’s approach (Act II,,figs.77-79 cf. Exs, 233a and b).

From Exirope the pénétration of several aspects of Impressionism - parallel progressions, whole-tone progressions and cherds, repeated, squaza phrase'-structures, the haIf-diminished 7th sound, augmented 4ths,


added notes, root movement by 3rds, etc., - pervade the texture of Act I. In the Nightingale’s song, for eiample, the familiar whole-tone progressions and triplet accompaniments with cross rhythms of

Debussy's nusic are recalled (Ex. 234a), irhilst in the music that introduces the Fisherman's song, the Debussy of Pelleas et Kélisande is evolced in the 9th and 11 th chords of those bars (Ex. 234b). Perhaps the most obvious Debussyism occurs in the sloTf, oscillating 5ths and 3rds of the Introduction to The Nightingale - they seem to be the direct équivalent of the opening of the first of Debussy's Nocturnes.

'Nuages' (cf. Exs.234c and d). Yet another reference to Debussy's Nocturnes. this tine, the third movement, 'Sirènes', is recalled in

the optional humaing chorus of the same Introduction (see Ex. 231c).

On several occasions Stravinslcy has aclcnowledged his debt to Debussy - in Conversations (p.62), for instance, he says: "The musicians of my génération and I myself one the most to Debussy."

And though admitting that he was influenced by Debussy in the

composition of Act I of The Nightingale, at the same time, Stravinsky says in L'emories (pp .256-257) , he asked himself: "Why should I be following Debussy when the real originator of this operatic style iras Kussorgsky." Indeed, the source for both of the passages quoted in Exs. 234c and d may well hâve been Kussorgsky, as Ex. 234e, from the

third song of his Sunless cycle, indicates. Although Stravinsky has 1 never admitted that a direct influence came from’either source, he does acknowledge the presence of Kussorgsky elseirhere in The Nightingale ; in Expositions (?.S9), for instance,, he says: "Something of Ecris survives in my otol first opéra, in the Smperor's deathbed scene, which is certainly the best scene in The Nightingale, as Death's aria and the folklike 'Berceuse' are certainly the best music."

ïïhatever the source, it may be noted to nhat extent and horr quickly many bf these 'plagiarisms' had become an intégral part of Stravinsky's vocabulary. The alternating 5ths and 3rds of the figure in Ex. 234c, for instance, are not only developed into an omament later on in the opéra

(Exs. 235a and b), but also reappear in Stravinsky's setting of Verlaine's poem, 'Un grand sommeil' (in Ttto Poems of Verlaine. 1910), as well as


in Petrushka (Exs. 235c and d).

In general, the harmonie features of the first act of The Nightingale (which, apart from the Introduction and the few

introductory bars to songs elsev/here in the act - for example, the Pisherman's and the Nightingale’s songs - is primarily vocal) tend to follow two patterns:

i, the concept of vertical chord blocks, mostly in the strings and homs, that support the mélodie line - the latter, usually doubled by

one or more solo instruments (Ex. 236). In addition, an obbligato line (most frequently played by solo wood’jind instruments) often appears in counterpoint against the melody, either in canonic

imitation of the vocal line (Ex. 237a), or as an entirely new melody (Sx. 237b). Most of the motives inserted into the obbligato strata are short, and serve the useful function of bridging the gap between the vocal mélodie phrases and, at the same time, avoiding the rather too regular juxtaposition of four-square xinits as -Tell as the tendency for the création and release of the mélodie tension within and between the phrases to coincide; Rimsky-Korsakov, in The Golden Cockerel. it may be noted, solved similar situations in a similar way.

ii. for the dialogue or quasi-arioso épisodes, a lighter texture is more characteristic, with free alternation between chordal and

contrapuntal movement in the accompaniment - as, for example, in the relatively long passage for the Cook v/hen she directs the courtiers to the spot in the forest where she had heard the Nightingale sing (figs.27-29).

The fundamental diatonicism of both melody and harmony, and the non-developmental, static nature of the majority of the numbers in

the first act were to become 'trademarks’ of Stravinsky’s later musical language; at the same time, it may be remembered, these features were also typical of the Russian mélos in general. On the whole, hov/ever, the harmonie and tonal language of this act is essentially that of the ronantic tradition of the iate 19th century with certain Impressionist


tend«ncies also noticeable, or, as Stravinsky, in Memoriea (p.255), describes Act I: "•..the rery evidsnt Dabussyisms, ‘vocalises à la Lakmé’, and Tchnikovsky mélodies too sweet and too cute even for that decade."

When, in 1913, Stravinsky retumed to the composition of the opéra, B more personal idiom had been establisiied, and the changes in his

musical language that had ovolved over the five year period are i^adily perceptible in the tvo later acts.

Fortunately, the scénario of those two acts contrasted with that of Act I, the noctumal scene of seashore and forest edge becoming in Act II the glitter and brilliance of the Emperor's Palace, and the

lyrical aphorlsms of the Fiaherman are replaced by the pomp and csremony of courtiers and court rituai; there is even a mechanical nightingale to contrast «ith the real one; a different musical idiom was, therefore, appropriais. Act III, largely a scene of death, re-cstablishes a sombre, tranquil and lyrical atmosphère, and it is here that the évolution in Stravinsky*s language is most kèenly évident.

Por the splendeur and ceremony of an Emperor of China*s palace it was quite .natural that Stravinsky «hould appropriate such ’chinoiserie*

as the pentatonic scale, and in doing so, the *personality' of his ewn language may be seen at vork. One of the factors basic to that personal language was an inhérent tonality, and in Act II (and also in Act III), though the non'>diatonie, non-tonal pentatonic scale is used frequently, Stravinsky ovex*comes its fundamental hazmonie inertia hy treating it as a property of a key. The *black-notc* pentatonic scale (£x.23ôa), for instance, is seen operating (£x«23Sb) as a function of D:|ir major amongst the typically Stravinskyan features of a bass pedal (D^ - A^

and ostinato patterns (x and y), both of which are enhanced by the friction of the minor 2nd, resulting, in the first case, from the characteristic employaient of simultaneous major and minor 3rd, and in the second case, from the equaily characteristic use of the raised 4th interférence; and there is a third, quaai-ostinato in semiqxiavers

which employa the five notes of the pentatonic scale in varied rhythmic


modlficetions and whleh, in lis descent of a major 3z’d (from Fi^and to D-jf and â4F) and, some four bars later (Ex.233c), its ascent involving the flattened leading»note to tonie progression (Cf- Df), emphasizes the pôle of attraction which is also the * tonie*.

In the same Chinese Uarch occurs another but somewhat different use of the *D^ major* pentatonic soale (Ex.239a). Here, ae the Emperor’s chair is placed on a dais, the first bassoon plays F>. Gjjf, AJ(, C4f,

etc., implying either P4 niajor or Djf minor, whilst the second bassoon, uses the same scale, but with characteristic interférences of lowered

2nd and 7th degi^es of the scale (of P^ and/or D^)} this lower, "shadow scale,implies E minor with the raised 4th interférence. The result of the two scales in combination is a sexdes of parallel major and minor 7ths and produces another characteristic of Stravinsky*s tonal language, apparent bitonality • a form of hitonalitj which was particularly

erident in Petrushka and The Rite; and as in those ballets, the simul- taneous employment of two tonal areas (P# or D4 and E minor) is also attracted to a fxindamental pôle, in this case, D4f, as the cadence bars in Ex.239b illustrate.

Immediately preceding this section is a long passage of simultane- ous ostinati and pedals that offers another interestlng example of this apparent bitonality (Ex.240). Here, over a sustained F4 ~ C pedal, other 5ths are superimposed and augment that pedal to one of P^-C-G-D- A-E, and with accompanying ostinati in semiquarers and demi-semiquavers,

two pentatonic scales on G and £ are presented. That E is the pôle of attraction is suggested by the harpe, which hâve thesa two scales beginning and ending on E, and by the fact that the passage ends on a eherd of superimposed 5ths that suggests a ^ chord in E before proceed~

ing to the passage cited in £x.239.

Another use of the pentatonic within a tonal framework is illus­

tra ted in Ex.241a where the pentatonic scale of P#, G|, A^, C#, is accompanied by its transpositions - derived from the *classical' cycle- of-fifths idea - on B and E, The P -B-E of the piano oatinato empha- sizes this cycle-of-fifths idea, but at the same time suggests that E


could b« the pôle of attraction; thus another feature of the 'pôle of attraction' is seeu In operation here > a dual axis. £ ie eventually confirmed as the prédominant pôle when, some five bars later, though the pentatonic scale is still that of P {harmonized in 'Chinese' 4ths in piano and violins), the ostinato of the two harps clearly belongs to

the diatonic scale (with fourth degree omitted) of E ma;jor (Ex.241b), The simplicity and brevity of the mélodie fragments, the prsTalence of ostinati and the polyjAythms - g against g (though in the score only one métré is indicated) - so characteristic of Stravinsky's 'Ruasian>

ness', need only be mentioned in passing, perhaps.

The foregoing examples demonstrate Stravinsky's use of the penta­

tonic scale not only as an agent of both exoticism and polytonality (apparent) but as an 'objet sonore' that reaults largely fi^>m the harmonie rapport existing between the éléments (quite different from Debussy's use of the pentatonic in, for example. Pagodes). Eiese irreg- ulairities or diversions from the 'trahi.tional' use of the pentatonic are particularly well illustrated when Stiravinsky distinguishes between

the mecnanical and the real nightingale. For the mechanical bird an orthodox, 'mechanical' pentatonic scale is used along with an 'artifi- cial' colouring in the accompaniment - cluster chords, ostinati (com- prising the Eb.^ chord), trémolo pedal points, and a mechanical and

static waltz-like rhythm - necessary to sustain the basic harmonie inertia of the scale (Ex.242). Once again, the pentatonic is seen in a tonal framework, for the ostinati and pedal patterns form an lith chord on C with conflicting major and miner 3rd; altematively, of course, this chord could be interpreted as a bitonal combination of C major and £b minor. This passage occurs shortly after the aovmd of the real nightingale has been heard - a soimd that is fz*ee, fluent and, in need of no stimulant, unaccompanied (Ex.243&)« By comparing

this outburst by the real nightingale with its aong in Act I (Ex.243b), some evidenee of the changes Stravinsky's musical language had under- gone is provided. Though in both cases the interval of a 3rd is the generative eell, as it wez*e, compare the chromatic and oharacteris- tically ambiguous major and minor 3rd, even when the bird begins its verse proper in the second act (at fig.83 in Ex.243a) with the quite


ordinary, ’LakmS-likc* 3rds - derivad fjrom thé flûte interval s in the orchestral introduction (Ex.243c) - of its aong in Aet I. Both

«xamplea. it maj b« noted. are in distinct contrast to the unimagi- native, sequential patterns of the mechanical bird’a song,

llany of these examples reflect the expérience Stravinaky had gained in the composition of The Birebird. Petrushka and The Rite, particularly the prevalence of ostinati and pedal points in those Works. These devicea are by no means absent in Âct I. of couz^e:

large portions of the Pisherman’s aong, for instance, are constructed orer such techniques, some of which (Ex.244a) use the superimposed 5ths mentioned earlier as their foundation and anticipate those used in Qeddpus Rex. Persephone and elsewhere, whilst others illustrate clever déviations froa strict ostinati, as, for example, in the canonic ostinati that accompany th« courtiers as they wait for the Nightingale to sing (Ex.244b), and in nodified forms (fig.39, for

example), this pattern continues to pervade mueh of the acene. In Acte II and III, however, these déviees beoome a dominating factor

- in addition to the vaz*ied appearanoea of the ostinati and pedals that accompany the Fishezmian's song, which acts structuxally, as well as melodically, hairoonically and tonally (its tonal anchor being C major) as a connecting thread to ail three acts, the ostinato is a consistent element of every number.

Beginning with the opening bars of Act II, the tempo and dynamics (Pi*esto, * 144, ff) of which contrast strongly with the tranquil atmosphère of Act I, is a propulsive triplet rhythm in the woodwinds over a trémolo pedal in the piano — an ’embryonic* ostinato - which genesrates other, conatantly varied, motoric-rhythmic ostinato types

(Exs.245a-h) which, as the exemples illustrate, manifest other instances of the pentatonie scale anchored to diatonic pôles of attraction, and which -dominate the whole of this *Entr*acte* until the Cook calma everyone down with her description of the "small and grey” bird (fig.

63); this, hovever, is but a brief respite (8 bars), and the ostinato- pedal texture is resumed as the court continues to enthuse over the splendeurs of the palace décorations. Then follows the 'Chinese March*


(fig.66), again eharaoterized by ostlnati and psdals of whioh the

complexity of oce passage in particular (figs.70-73) bas been ezamlned in an eaxlier chapter.^ The coqplexity of thia passage immediately gives way to another - a double ostinato, deriyed from the intervals of the 9th 6ind 3th in the harp ostinato at fig«72, that accompanies a pentatonic melody for trumpet (Ex.246); then (fig.73)» these saoe interrals take on a new ostinato form (Ex.247). As the tise signature changes to ^ and the ’key* retums to D-lfniajor/minor, the ostinato from the beginning of the Chinese Maroh (sith Petruehka-like fanfares in the trumpets) is recalled and wfaich (at fig.76) combines with the pentatonic mélodie fonn from fig.72 (Ex.246). Seyeral of these patterns are then brought together in a passage of ostinati which, based upon the lntei*val of a 5th (either in horisontal or Tortical, auperimposed patterns)» support long» chromatic mélodie linos whose parallel

haraonization la eharaoterized by the presence of dissonant diainished octaves in an otherwiae conaonant triadic texture (Exs.249a and b).

Ail this musical ’activity’» of course, compléments the bustle» «xcite- ment and magnificence of the activities on stage in préparation for

the arrivai of the Eapercr» an arz*ival which, as may be expeoted» is accompanied by another version of the 'mctorio-rbjthsile’ ostinato

(Ex.250) - here» the pentatonic horizontal line is tonally anchored by a dominant-seventh chord (in effect» at least) on D.

The arrivai of the Japanese envoya (fig.90) is similarly enveloped in an àccompaniment of ostinato and pedal patterns» even their message - presented in quasi-organum lines - is bordering on ostinato-like zepetition (Ex.2510 end b). And coneluding this second aet are the exit of the Bmperor and the retum of the Pisherman’s song, both of which employ these devices: the Emperor’s procession leaves to varied forms of the patterns in the Chinese Marsh» and also at half the speed

(cf. Ex.252 and Ex.246), whilst the Piaherman's song (fig.99) is a modified zepeat of its appearanccs in Aet I (cf. Exs.253a-c).

Ostinati and pedals continue to feeture in the thizd. act; indeed, the act opens with a long pedal and a brief motive (Ex.254) which, tho^^gh modified at several points later on, is ostinato-like in its


perrasiYe presence; shortly afterwards (fig.103), and separating the vax*led appearances of thls ostinato-motive, Is euiother meXodic pattern

(typically Stravinakyan in its bi^Tity and limited pitoh range - Ex.255) which is to fonction in a siaiilar ostinato^lilce capacity throughout a large part of tbe act. Both of these ostinato-like motives, it may be noted, hâve considérable dramatic significance, the first being associated with Death, and the second, with the Spectres, Thus, for example, when the curtain on Act III risea, the relationship between the Spectres* line (Ex.256) ** itself eœbedded in orchestral oetinato and pedal patterns • and Ex.255 is obvions; similarly, though slightly less obvions, perhaps, is the relationship between Ex.254 and Ex.257 - where Daath agréés to retum life to the Emperor - and again, the vocal line is embedded in other, instrumental ostinato patterns. And as the Nightingale singe once again and clutches the Emperor frcm

Death*s gH-Pf there is no abatement in the use of these devices: the vocal line itself Clike the motives of Death and the Spectres, derlved from instrumental figure») is a répétitive but beguiling mélodie,

ostinato-like fragment, and Is accompanied by fluttering, arabesque patterns in the clarlnets and guitar; and again, the eharacteristi.es of Stravinsky*s musical vocabulary - almost a compendium of his inter- vallic and m'otivic practices - are expressed here: naxrrow compass of melody (only four notes), the ambigu!ty of ma^or and minor 3rd, and

the eeonoœy of the accompanying figure of altemately rising and falling arpéggios constructed primarily from the interval of a 4th (Ex.258).

The funeral procession (fig.129) is built entirely from ostinato and pedal devices, including the * standard* m J funeral rhythm,

*Chinese' gong effects, and more personal, Stravinskyan techniques such as the maj’or/minor 3rd ambigu!ty and apparent polytonality (Ex.259). And concluding this final aot, as also the previous acts, is the Pisherman*s song where not only the accompanying pedal and ostinato pattoms emphasiae the importance of these devices to the opéra, but the répétitive phrase structure of the song itself acknowl- edges their significanee.

The ostinati and pedal-points of these final bars demonstrate


another characteristic of Stravinsky’s harmonie vocabulary, the superimposition of chords. Such harmonies hâve been aremarkod on

«everal earlier occasions - the 'highlight* of this devico, perhaps, occurring just before the ISmperor's arrivai at his court (figa.77-79J, where the tonie and dominant of pen ta tonie are combined (?♦,

A<f, Cf, Dlf, and Ctf, Df, P|^, G#, Af; in both horizontal and super- imposed 5ths (Exs.249a and b); as noted earlier, these harmonies support a chromaticism in the other parts, a chromaticism which, as in most of Stravinsky's early compositions, is harmonie rather than thematic. The superimposed 5ths of the Pisherman’s song at the close of the opéra (and at comparable points elsewhere), on the other hand, imply a superimposition of tonie, supertonic and dominant chords and are contained within a purely diatonic G major with, periaaps,

just a hint of a major/minor amblgüity in the B and Bb of the implied dominant (Ex.260).

WheresLs such déviées as the superimposition of chords and inter- vals, ostinati and pedals, and 'oriental* sealea are significant factors in the musical language of The Mightingale. by far the most important agent of organization is the interval, and its incorporation into the vertical and horizontal fabric of the score accounta largely for the eomplex harmonie structure, a structure which minimizes or even abandons ’traditional• triadic formula# with their attendant pxMgzessionSf relationships, functions, and stereotyped expressions.

A significant factor in this lack of 'traditional' harmonie struc­

tures is the prominence given to the intervals of the 4th, 5th, 7th, 9th (and 2nd) , and the tritône; the third and the semitone, it may be noted, theugh uaed lees frequently, tend to be reserved for spécial rôles, irtiilst octaves (as distinct from the doubling of a line or note) are rare and when used - as in the rhythmic side-step of Beath's line in the accompanying clarinets (Ex.261) - usually give the passage a very 'personal* colour. The prevailing parallelism of the harmonie texture of this score undoubtedly aids the prominence of the 'prominent' intorvals, particularly, of course, in passages of 'chinoiserie* where the parallel 4ths and 3ths of the harmonies themeselves engender sériés


of parallel 7the end 9ths (£xs.262a and b); but parallelism Is also a fsatura in passages vhere the 'ohiaolserie* element Is absent (Exs.

263a and b). The fretiuent alternation of these interyals also gives a apecial flavour to many sueh areas: in Ex.264a, for instance, the mujoT Tths (diminished octaves) of the fiirst bassoon are given a piquaney by the alteznate 4ths and 3ths in the contrabassoon, vhilst

the major and minor Tths introduced in the firet ostinato of the

Chinese March (Ex.264b) ettain a partieular excitement in the flourlsh of the two baasooxis at the end of the nunber (see Ex.239&). And in Âct III» the sombre, often gloomy effeet, is in no small measure due

to the altemating 3rds, 4ths and 3ths of the Spectres* ohant-motlve in the Préludé to that act (see Ex.233)* or those of the ostinato

«hioh introduces Eeath (£x.264c), and in the combination of major and

minor Tths wlth altemating relationships produeed by a third line

> second flûte (£x.264d).

Very rarely does Stravinsky build vertical structures by super- imposing any one of these prevailing intervals as, for exemple, the Western tradition has donc for several centuries with the 3rd; the previously citcd superimposed 3ths of the Pisherman’s song, or the accumulation of successive 3ths vhieh builds to a climax in the Chinese Uerch (fige.77-79), fer instance, reaein statie formulae and do not

develop into any kind of functionally related 'System*.

A spécial feature of the score is the almost pointiXlistie way in shich intervals are sometiaes ’thmira’ into the texture and just as quickly retrievsd. The sonorities of the minor 9th and major 7th of the violas and celesta and the diminished 7th chord cf the • celles in the Nightingale’s aria in Aot III (Ex.265), or the celesta chords that eccompany the Spectres* chant (see Ex.. 290) a little earlier in the same aot are but two pertinent illustrations. This pointillism also reçoives horizontal expeneesion in the fom of rapid arpeggios that sometimes interrupt the texture; such figures often contain arbitrary combinations of any number of the score*s prevailii^

intervals (Ex.266).


Into this interval-dominated texture Stravinsky pro^jects such

•spécial* intervals as the semitone as a kind of catalyst or neutral­

iser to the vertical structures. It may be seen in this funotion in chords that include both ma;jor and minor 3rd, of course, or, more particularly, in cases vhere consonant intervals are 'spiced* by the presence of the semitone. In the chords that accompany the Night­

ingale* a description of Death's gardon, for instance, consonant 3ths and octaves are superlmposed in such a way as to produce dissonant semitones and tritones (£x*267a) - an eerie effect enhanced by the inatr\unentation (chiefly by the hanoonies of the string and second harp chords); similarly, in the Spectres’ ‘chant* motive in the Préludé

to Âct III, first and third homs move in parallel 3x^s «hilst the second hozn pro;ject8 a dissonant semitone (augmented oetave, minor 9th or major 7th) into the texture (Ex,267b).

Répétition, of course, particularly by means of the ostinato, is an idéal deviee for alloving such textural éléments as Intervals and

their conséquent chord structures to develop and accrue length; and in this respect, it is noticeable that the ostineti in The Nightingale depen.d as much, if not more so, on their spécifie intervallic structure as on their riiythmic figuration. In Conversatioaa (pp.121-122), thus some fifty years after the composition of The Nightingale, in enlarging upon his statement (cited by Graft) that "the period of harmonie dis- eovery is over," Stravinsky expounds upon coctemporary compositional techniques vhich are as relevant to this vork as much as they are to his later ones:

The présent génération*s interest are directed towards music before the 'harmonie aige'. Rhythm, ihythmic polyphony, mélodie, or intervallic construction are the éléments of musical building to be explored today. When I say that I still compose *hamioni- cally* I mean to use the «ord in s spécial sense and vithout reference to chord relations.

The absence of chord relations (in the conventxonal sense), the constructions based on intervals (other than the 3rd), and the pre-

"harmonic âge" referrod to in this statement are particularly pertinent to the *evolved' language of Acts II and III of The Nightingale. Whereas


the harmonie and tonal language of Act I is formed largely from the late 19th centnry and Impreasionism, the chromaticiam of Acta II and III • th« freedos of vhich aometimea bordera on atonality (as In 2bô ■> ;]u8t before the Nightingale flie* off) » along nith the employ­

aient of polytonality (apparent), superimpoaitions of major and minor 3rds, 4ths, 3ths, etc., not only rëflects anû. x^newe the language of The Rite but also that of nniaic prier to that "harmonie âge."

That StravinsJcy was very much aware of the évolution of his musical language is indicated by the faet that irhen he transformed his opéra into the symphonie poem, The Song of the Nightingale, but for the Pisheiman'a song, he omitted ail the music from Act I.

(il) Melody

The nature of the mélodie idiom also betrays evidence of the - change in Stravinsky’s musical évolution during the period that separated the composition of Act I and that of the two later acts.

Despite the diffcarences, however, and despite the pénétration of such foreign influences as Debussy and ‘chinoiserie’ (apart from the équivalences, principally harmonie, with Debussy's Nocturnes already observed, there are also mélodie analogies: the mélodie fragment of four notes played by the cor anglais at the beginning of the Puneral Proceeaion - Ex.269a — for instance, evokes the motive, similarly scored, near the beginning of 'Nuages*, Ex.269b;

the 'chinoiserie* mélodie pénétration is largely the resuit of Stravinsky's use of the pentatonic scale, particularly évident in Act II),-the mélodies in The Nightingale reveal nany of the distinctly Personal, Stravinskyan features aentioned in Chapter 11; and in that

these features are common to both earlier and later composed portions of the opéra, they pxrovide a thread of imity in the musical language of the vhole score.


Ab already observed, Tha Nightingale ia, primarily, a voice- dominatad work and thls, itself, brings to tha fore several degrees of Stravinaky* 8 mélodie in-rentiveness; long-lined lyirLcism, arioso, parlante, dramatic dialogue, and recitative. Generally speaking, a

latc Romantic and ImpreBsionist hamonic languaga détermines tha mélodie outlines of Âct I, whaz*eas non-tonal lines of wide intervals and angular contour, or a free interlocking of snall intervals are more ch.arectezd.stic of the last two acta. The mélodie line is also deter- mined by the demands of the dranaturgy; the whole-tone pentatonic scale, for exemple, is used for the Chinene colour of the cérémonial maz*ehes and the Entr’acte, as well as for the umimaginative, ’mechanical*

sounds of the toy nigh-tlngale, whilst the moara • down-to-earth’ élément in the opéra is charactczd.zed by thèmes that appz*oach a folk-like simpllcity.

The firat, substantial mélodie oohtzdLbution to the score cornes from the Pishenaan whose song reveals several Stravinskyan character- istics aad an unvazd.ed mélodie content that is, perhaps, the largest, single factor of unity within a number which, on a broader scale, also functions as a xmifying fzamework to each of the thz*ee aets. It is constznacted front tvo contrasting sections, almost eq.ual in length:

Section 1, (figs« 8-10) is of 19 baia - in G ma^or Section 2, (figs.10-13) is of 18 bars - in Eh major

The first of these sections is then jrepeated in a slightly modified form, and followed by a i^peat of the first five bars of the second 7

section befoz^ the Nightingale intearposes with the first of its songs (fig.17). Both sections reflect the contresting contents of the text, the first section portraying the Pisherman's simple faith in nature in an appropriately simple, folkish mclody, and the second, his antioipa- tion of the Nightingale*a song in an «motive recitative that involves fz^quent mctid.cal changes at first and then a more luxuriantly chro­

ma tic and wide-ranging vocal line.

It is only the first section, however, that prevides the frame-


Work to the opéra by reappearing at the end of each act, Thia section (ËX.270) la also constructed from two parts, A and B » each six bars long - and axong ita typicaily Stravlnskyan mélodie features may be noted:

1. though not an authentic folk song, it has, neverthelesa, that innate sense of the Busslan folk melos «hich in Memories (p.226) Stravinsky desciribes as his "unconscioua folk

il. a narrow range of pitch compass - both halves lying within the intenral of a 4th (A-D and C-E, respectively) ;

iii. simple, i^peated patterns, the second helf consisting almost entirely of a one-bar figurej

iT. rhythmic condensation - in ber 3 occurs a réduction of what would hâve been, ’traditionally', a two-bar conséquent to a two-bar antécédent

V. an early exemple of Stravinsky’s fondness for the interval of the 3rd, here, predominantly minor. (With relevance to Stravinsky’s later, increasing use of the major/minor 3rd ambiguity and préférence for the principles of tonality, it is significant that in b,8-9, when the interval of the 3rd - E-C or C-E - is introduced - either with or with- out an intervening passing note - the ostinato hamonies of auperimposed 5tha in the ’cellos and basses are given a harmonie twist in a progi^s- aion implying V-I in C major, though the Bb in the clarinet obbligato and trombone adds a typicaily Stravinakyan minor ambiguity to the

implied dominant, major chord; the ambiguity, however, is not suggested when thia same interval of the major 3rd recurs in b.11-12; in other respects, the superlmposed 5ths of the accompaniment and the rather fluid tonie of the melody give this song an almost polymodal quality);

vi, the independenee of the irregular riiythms of the obbligato and the staccato ostinato accompaniment from the main melody and the dis- junction of the mélodie phi*ases give the song a disembodied feeling characteristic of the impersonal ’Russianism’ of Stravinsky's musical language.

(It is évident that though the mélodie features of the Eisherman’s song might suggest a folk orientation, its accompaniment patterns


tend to remove the nuinber fron that genre).

In th.e reappearance of the Fishennan*s song - Act I, fig.4S, Act II, fig.99, and Act III, fig.133 - apart fron the prolongation

of the final note, there is no other mélodie change; ail modifications occur in the freer use of harmonie dissonance in the accompaniment (see, for instance. Exs. 253a-c),

Also featuring in each of the three acts is the singing of the Nightingale (the only character to sing formai arias in each act).

Although the mélodie nature of the bird’s song (unlike that of the Pisherman’s song) undergoes considérable modifications in Acts II and III, there is, nevertheless, a distinct consistency in the mélodie content of this song in ail three acts. The aria in Act I is

characterized by simple rhythms and mélodie outlines derived from the acoompanying chordal progressions. It commences, after a six-bar,

'mood-setting* orchestral introduction (flûte and piccolo bird-calls, fluttering strings), at fig.18 with a four-bar vocalise that establishes Gb as the pôle of attraction. ïïhen the actual song gets under way (at fig.19) the vocal line is concentrated in the area of the dominant at first, as are the motivic fragments (derived from the orchestral intro­

duction) in the wood’«Tind; the strings, however, hâve ostinato patterns and pedal points that s-.Ting betireen dominant and tonie areas. Like the Pisherman's song, this, too, manifests typically Stravinskyan features:

i. brief mélodie patterns which, though of a wider mélodie compass and more varied in their répétitions than those of the Pisherman’s song,

share the same static properties - instead of being developed the phrases are merely restated, but vrith typical Stravinskyan rhythmic ingenuity; the phrases of the vocalised "Ah!" (the germinal motive of the song), for instance, appear in varions guises (Eis. 271a-e);

ii. ’breathless' phrases - as in the curtailed sequential ansv/er (Ex. 271f);

iii. the prevalence of the interval of the 3rd or its inversion, the


6th (derived from the initial 'bird-eall' of the flûte in the orches­

tral introduetionj. ïhis interral is particularly noticeable later in the ect vhen the Nightingale accepta the inritation to eing at the palace (figs,42-44).

Although the phrase lengths of the main portions of ail the bird's arias tend to reaain four-square and 'balanced', in. Acta II and III Stravinsky succeeds in creating more of a parlando-rubato style through

the use of smaller simple and compound subdivisions of the beat in both melody and hansony; zhythmic dispositions might be reg^lated down to hemi-dcmi-semiquaver (^) quintupleta« but the relative absence of repeated figures in the accompazilment and the délicate rixythœic subtle-

ties tend to eradicate the feeling of a regulating puise, The pull of a tenal centre, moreover, is aot so strong, primarily because of the interlooking semitonea and thirds in the melody, the free harmonie association of elusters, triais end wide intsrvals, and the parallelism of moving sonorities and pedal-points in the accompaniment. Theae freer xhythmie and harmonie schemes in the later acte, together with the

concertante scoring of sélective, heterogeneous - though ail délicate - colours,. croate a luminous, plaatle, and other-worldly sound qui te approprlste to a créature of nature (Ex,272a) •

The Nightingale's aria in Aot II begins at fig,82, Here, the mélodie line is considerahly more chroma tic than in the first act;

at times, indeed, it gives the impression of quarter-tones, The formai and orgahizational principles remain the same, hoirever: as in Act I, a vocalise begins and ends the song; short, mélodie patterns of limited compass are repeated sith slight modifications (cf. Exs,272a, b and c);

the static, non-developmental nature of the bird’s song in Act I is stlll more emphasiaed here by the almost unvaried one-bar phrase struc­

ture and the similarities of the cadences that so often end on C or B and involve, equally frequently, the interval of a 3rd; the play of the ma^or/minor 33?d, a feature of the vocalise that introduces this manber

(£x»272d), has an even more pronounced rôle in the ensuing song (see

£xs.a-c), There is also a certain amoiint of thematic recall: when, for


instance, the Nightingale tells the Emperor that no re^vard is

necessary for its song (fig.88), the vocal line evokes the descending triplet figure of the bird*s song in Act I (cf. Exs. 272e and 271c).

In Act III the Nightingale’ s aria begins (fig.110) v/ith an abbreviated, though clearly related version of the vocalise that began its song in Act II and which, in tum, is distantly related to its eabryonic fors in Act I. Présent also in this song is the proncunced major/niinor 3rd anbiguity of previous arias: in bar 3, for instance, it

is enployed to expand the pitch area of the ^.70 preceding bars (Ex,273a).

Although this aria begins '.rith a vocalise - which retums in a very much more chromatic and eitended form at fig.111, thus providing a

succinct temary structure of vocalise, song, vocalise, coaparable to the structures of the Nightingale’s songs in earlier acts - its later developaent (beginning at fig,112) - an extended lyrical passage in which the Nightingale continues to relate to the Baperor the beauties of the night and of his garden - is appreciably different, more, in a sense, ’advanced*. The musical language of this passage, for instance, immediately brings to mini the frequent métré changes that characterized The Rite, as well as the manipulation of its brief mélodie cell more in the fashicn of the later composed The Wedding. This cell (Ex. 273b) - in its brevity, limited compass and, to a certain extent, its outline, hot unlike that which generates The Wedding (Ex.4) - is, however, also the agent of unification \7ith the other songs of the Nightingale,

especially with regard to its emphasis on the minor and major 3rd

and triplet figuration, and as \rLth those earlier songs, the properties of this cell hâve gro’jm out of the preceding, ’ introductory bars’

(cf. Exs. 273b and c with Ex. 273a).

The variations to vrhich this cell is subjected are as imaginative and as rhythmically intricate as ever; at fig.113, for instance, it is combined with, among other factors, two mélodie fragments played by the flûtes, that in flûte I being a variant of the générative cell, and that in flûte II recalling the earlier chant of the Spectres

(figs. 108-110) - the whole adding up to a typically Stravinskjran


Intricate rhythmic web (£z*273c). The sffect, bowerer, Is stlll one of stasls, slnoe tbe générative cell and the aooompanying mélodie frsgibents neyer become on>golng p^oe^sses; instead, they and the supporting ostinatl and pedal-points are repeated in non-deTelop- mental patterns.

Eyidently the Emperor ia so affected by the beauty of the Night­

ingale's Bong that ho adopta the musical idiom of the bird in a brief passage of imitative countez^oint that begins the Coda to this number (Ex*274s). How intégral to this song, indeed, to the whole score, the pLay of the major and minor 3rd has been may be seen throughout this Coda, and particularly in the last few bars (Ex.274b). And it is equally significant in the fragment of melody that begins the instru­

mental introduction to the dialogue between Deeth and the Nightingale.

Played by the solo viola, this motive (Ex.


» which Collaer describes Q as a Nocturne and onc of the most grandiose of songs in ail musio, beare the familiar stamp of Stravinsky in its 'miniaturism' - barely two bars long and construoted from four notes lying within the compnss of a major 3rd (and in which the major and minor 3rd are again évident).

It features even more prominently in th« Nightingale's song after Death has retumed llfe to the Emperor. Here, its gentle, serene, but insis­

tent presence, its délicate instrumentation - solo viola and mandoline (varied later in the combination of flûte and voice) - along with that of its accompanying figure of altemately rising and falling arpeggios bnilt around a framework of 4ths in clàrinet and guitar (Ex. 258), give the entire passage a poignancy which fully justifies Collaer's

z*emark that no ether nocturne had moved him as much as this one. Like 9 ail the mélodie content of this work, however, there ia no development of the matcrial in any wayj this static factor, of course, only enhances

the serenity and spiritual qualities of the passage.

Once again the later musical language of Th^^^eddlog (or, for example. Renard) is brought to mind with such passages, for not only are the themes/motives brief mélodie cells of limited oompass and treated with fundamentally unvaried répétition, but the process of


gexninationy so important to the smslcal organlzaiion of the later Works» Is presant» too. The 'Nocturne*, for example, has grown out of the preYious mélodie cell which, as has heen demonstrated, was générated hy earlier mélodie matériel.

Por the Nightingale's last contribution to thia woi^ (fig.127), the descending chromatic line of its vocalise is reealled, and with it, and also in the ensuing song, the play of the ma^]or and minor 3rd and the triplet figuration of its earlièr forma. The effect is that of a Coda to ail of th« Nightingale's songs in this opéra, an cffect enhanced in the last few bars as the biird soars into the sky and its voice reaches high C<T (the highest note of its 'songs* though not of its 'vocalises'), and then descends through a eeides of auijor and minor 3rds to a final reference to the triplet figure (Ex.276) as

the melody evaporates In the "first caress of dama.”^^

Thus, despite the more luxuriant chromaticism and expanded compass of the Nightingale's songs compared with the simple, folk*- like content of those of the Pisherman, both exhibit similar charac- tsriatics - pivoting around a few notes, a static, non-developmental forœ arising from the répétitive- cell-like structure of the mélodie phrases which, in the Pisherman*s songs are basically unvaiied, whilst

these of the Nightingale, though they may oocasionally escape into different reglsters, are largely transpoaed variants of the aame mélodie patteztt.

These characteristies also apply to other mélodie matcrial in

The Nightingale. The concise, again ledding-like motive of the Spectres*

chant in Act III (Ex.256), for instance - three notes contained within the restricted compass of a minor 3rd > ellngs to the central, pivotai note P, and is subjectéd to characteristically Stravlnskyan changes of accent in its litany-like répétitions. The aeeompanying ostinato, however, cairries th-e motive into another dimension through the wide leaps of the double-bass figure and the cycles of minor 9ths in the celesta that, irregularly timed, punctuate the chant. These same


feairures continue - the chant itself beconing a sort of ostinato accompaniment - during the ensuing recitative of the Emperor, in which, it may be noted, the interval of a 3rd and its inversion are promirent components.

Sinilar feaures are found when, largely in the second act, Stravinsky employa the pentatonic or, at least, his version of the pentatonic scale, The fanfare of trumpets at the beginning of the Chinese îâarch, for instance, contains the germ of the mélodie material for the entire orchestral march, including its coda, the 'Largo

maestoso’ procession (fig.96)-that accompanies the Emperor’s peparture from his throne room (cf. Eis. 277a-g). And in the choral passages earlier in the same act, the spirit of folk song retums when the courtiers sing a simple tune constructed from the pentatonic scale and the rhythmic phaseology characteristic of a Russian folk melody (Ex. 278a). This tune recurs as a refrain in ever-changing contents throughout the Entr'acte, often buried amongst a complex of scale passages, repeated figures, pedal points, and so forth (Sx. 27Sb).

Although the lines of most of .the ’lesser’ characters in The Nightingale tend to fall into the category of recitative, the

personages of the Chamberlain and the Bonze (and occasionally other courtiers) hâve a mélodie phrase that does not fall far short of a leitmotivs. The phrase is first introduced by the cor anglais, then, in rétrogradé form, by trombone and clarinet, as the courtiers enter the forest in search of the Nightingale (Exs. 279a and b). This

motive, or a segment of it (the brackets in the examples indicate the portions most frequently employed), is associated with every appearance of these two men - either as an orchestral motive, or in the vocal lines themselves; indeed, it constitutes the major part of the Chamber­

lain’ s lines and much of the Bonze's, too (Exs. 279c and d), and as these examples indicate, it may appear several times in quick succes­

sion andin various guises - in a widely spaced version in the ’cellos, in an incomplète version in hom IV, in a diminished version in first trumpet, followed immediately by its rétrogradé form in the Bonze's





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