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Evolution, Symmetrization, and Synthesis : The Piano Sonatas of Alberto Ginastera

Description: When Alberto Ginastera's oeuvre is viewed as a whole, an essential continuity between compositional ideas often appears in different works. This is especially apparent in the three piano sonatas, where each sonata represents an evolution and a condensation of ideas occurring in the previous one. The evolution of ideas throughout the three sonatas takes place through two primary processes. The first is a shift in cultural focus from reliance on Ibero-American material in the first sonata (1952) to Amerindian in the second (1981), to a synthesis of the two cultural elements in the third (1982). The second means of evolution from sonata to sonata is through a process of symmetrization. Along with constructions using symmetrical scales, material in each of the three sonatas is subjected to various symmetrical procedures which correspond musically to basic geometric symmetry types or operations (bilateral, rotational, and translatory, for instance). The decreasing number of movements evidences a negative dilatation of material, moving from four movements in the first sonata to three in the second, to one in the third. In each case, corresponding material from the previous sonata is integrated into the following sonata. Both independently and as a group the three piano sonatas exhibit "invariance under a transformation."
Date: August 1991
Creator: Campbell, Grace M.
Partner: UNT Libraries
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