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Volume I “Tiemble y estalle la fiesta:” Toward Understanding Alberto Ginastera’s Musical Language in the Final Decade of his Neo-expressionist Phase Through Analysis of the Cello Concerto No. 2 with a Focus on Symmetrical Structures and Symbolism & Volume II Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

  • Author(s): Rodriguez, Joshua Eliecer
  • Advisor(s): Lefkowitz, David
  • Krouse, Ian
  • et al.
Abstract

Volume I

“Tiemble y estalle la fiesta:” Toward Understanding Alberto Ginastera’s Musical Language in the Final Decade of his Neo-expressionist Phase Through Analysis of the Cello Concerto No. 2 with a Focus on Symmetrical Structures and Symbolism

&

Volume II

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

by

Joshua Eliecer Rodriguez

Doctor of Philosophy in Composition

University of California, Los Angeles, 2015

Professor David Lefkowitz, Co-Chair

Professor Ian Krouse, Co-Chair

This dissertation offers the first critical analysis of Alberto Ginastera’s Cello Concerto No. 2 opus 50 (1980-81). It looks at the context of the work’s creation (as a ten-year anniversary gift to his wife, cellist Aurora Natola), and explores the use of allusion, of symmetrical structures, and of its synthesis of musical polarities. While Ginastera’s compositional approach is rigorous and logical, it is apparent that extra-musical influences play an important role in illuminating the work’s musical decisions, embedded symbolism, and contextual significance. The author explores five people who may have influenced the Ginastera’s personal and artistic aesthetics: wives Mercedes de Toro and Aurora Natola, cellist Pablo Casals, and composers Béla Bartók and Olivier Messiaen. Chapter One introduces the topic and explains the scope and methodology; Chapter Two illuminates the concerto’s various non-musical influences and references; Chapter Three presents a musical theoretical analysis; Chapter Four discusses the work’s various interpretive possibilities and significance: each with the purpose of a more integrated understanding of Ginastera’s late style – in particular of the Concerto’s structural and thematic coherence.

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2015) is an original work by Joshua Rodriguez that incorporates large and small-scale symmetrical structures; the Concerto’s structure is, itself, an “interrupted palindrome”. Newly composed music, which works in retrograde similarly to the second movement of Ginastera’s Cello Concerto No. 2, is “interrupted” by an outside source of music – Claude Goudimel’s harmonization of Louis Bourgeois’s melody for Psalm 8 (Genevan Psalter, 1542). Its first appearance alludes (in its orchestration) to the “guiding star” from Ives’s Fourth Symphony; this truncated, retrograde appearance of Psalm 8 (played by a small ensemble in the back of the orchestra) is later “incarnate” within the musical world of the Concerto, played by the clarinet and first chair strings, with musical echoes sounding throughout the rest of the work. It is a multi-sectional, single movement work with a performances time of approximately 24 minutes.

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