Helping for analysis the song of leo brouwerDescrição completa
Hika, Leo BrouwerDescrição completa
Helping for analysis the song of leo brouwer
Descripción: Concierto para guitarra y orquesta del compositor Leo Brouwer. Partitura de la parte de viola.
Brouwer - Micro Piezas
Tócalas, están chidas
Descripción: Guitar part to Leo Brouwer's quintet
Hika (Leo Brouwer)Descripción completa
Léo Brouwer, pedagogia e guitarra clássica, música cubana.
Música clásica Leo BrouwerFull description
Brouwer - Micro PiezasFull description
Nick Norton July 2009 Characteristics Defining the Three Compositional Periods in the Solo Guitar Music of Leo Brouwer Introduction Leo Brouwer (b. 1939, Havana) is widely considered to be the most significant living composer of art music for the guitar.1 He is also the composer of numerous film scores, operas, large-scale orchestral works, and chamber pieces, and has worked in popular music and jazz. Numerous interpreters of his work have divided his compositional output into three phases, and have titled and dated these phases “Nationalistic” (1955 – 62), “Avant Garde” (1962 – 67, with some arguing until 1980), and “New Simplicity” (1980 on).2 This paper will catalogue the characteristics of the musical language of each phase, focusing solely on the solo guitar music to create a control group and limit variation in the music that could be attributed to instrumentation or technology. I will analyze music of each period’s form, pitch usage (or Brouwer’s choice and manipulation of harmonic and melodic material), and rhythm. In each section I will first explain the common characteristics, and then a few examples of each will be given. I will examine each period individually to illuminate the differences between them, and the remaining characteristic similarities between the different phases can then be considered as the underlying compositional tendencies that uniquely define Brouwer’s music. These characteristics ultimately will serve to highlight the unique status of Brouwer’s music as a fusion of elements usually thought oppose one another dialectically, such as tradition and innovation, or community and independence.3
Clive Kronenberg, “Guitar Composer Leo Brouwer: The Concept of a ‘Universal Language,’” Tempo 62, no. 245 (2008): 30. 2 Victoria Eli Rodríguez, "Brouwer, Leo." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/04092. 3 Edward D. Latham, “Binary Oppositions in Arnold Whittall’s Exploring Twentieth-Century Music: Tradition and Innovation and Their Implications for Analysis,” Music Theory Online 10 no. 3 (2004): table 1b.
First Period – Nationalistic, 1955 - 61 Form Brouwer’s earliest works for solo guitar show a direct engagement with traditional form. Fuga No. 1, from 1957, for example, makes no attempt to expand upon the common understanding of fugue, perhaps except for allowing an extended episode (b. 38 – 44) before the coda (b. 35). Pieza Sin Titulo No. 1, also from 1957, uses a stark ternary structure with a very short ending coda (b. 30 – 33). This ABA form, immediately apprehensible to the listener, is also used in the next two numbered Piezas Sin Titulos (1956/62), and in nine out of the ten pieces in his first two sets of Estudios Sencillos (1960). While the music of this early period shows nothing remarkable in the music itself with regards to form, this neo-classical preoccupation has an explanation central to many other aspects of Brouwer’s composition of this early phase. From an early age Brouwer was a member of the Grupo de Renovación Musical, which was founded in Havana by the composer Jose Ardevol in 1942. Ardevol’s purpose was ‘to create a Cuban school of composers that could reach the same degree of universality as found in other countries,’ and to achieve a universal form of expression for Cuban composers without losing the innate qualities of Cuban culture.4 Thus, the philosophy of the Grupo emphasized the cultivation of classical forms and their employment in new works, and the mastering of musical techniques found in more developed countries.5 As such, one could say that Brouwer intended the use of traditional form in his early works as a mere vehicle, or a sort of transparent medium, for the expression of his nationalist musical persona, which emerges in his harmonic and melodic material
Paul Reed Century, “The principles of pitch organization in Leo Brouwer’s atonal music for guitar” (PhD diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1991), 7, cited in Kronenberg, 33. 5 Kronenberg, 34.
and Afro-Cuban rhythms. In this early usage of form Brouwer’s role as an intermediary figure between community (the community of the European tradition) and independence (that of Cuban music as existing outside of that tradition) comes into focus.6
Pitch Material Brouwer’s solo guitar music from the first period makes use of modal thematic material inspired by traditional African ritual music, but sets this material in a contemporary harmonic structure. Though usually tonal, Brouwer’s early harmony often hinges on his use of highlighted minor-second dyads, tritones, and chromatic coloring.7 Chords or sonorities based on diatonic clusters are common. His early music sometimes makes simultaneous use of multiple tonal or modal centers, or rapid changes of mode (or simultaneous use of multiple modes) based on the same pitch center. (Estudio Sencillos #1, #6, Pieza Sin Titulo #1, #3). Numerous pieces are governed by quite basic triadic harmony (Pieza Sin Titulo #1 – 3), though this often occurs with added notes (Preludio), and is broken by surprising modulations (usually through a common tone), while juxtaposed against changing modal melodies. These features bring Brouwer’s harmonic language into the ‘common practice’ of extended tonality of the twentieth century, not dissimilar to that practiced by composers such as Bartok or Stravinsky. The first piece in his Estudios Sencillos, a series of pieces aimed at students of the guitar incrementally increasing in difficulty, provides a clear example of his modal manipulation of African inspired melodies, as well as his attraction to pedal points (ex. 1). The short and rapid melody in the bass begins by leaping up a minor
Arnold Whittall, Exploring Twentieth Century Music: Tradition and Innovation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 48 – 49. 7 Kronenberg, 36.
seventh from the guitar’s lowest E before peaking at the F# a third above that (outlining a ninth) and winding back down through a C natural to B, firmly establishing the mode of E Aeolian, especially when set with the inverted G and B pedal on the open treble strings. The figure is immediately repeated (b. 3 – 4); however this time the C natural rises to a C#, expressing E Dorian for a bar, before a the melody begins to make rhythmic leaps between F natural and C, allowing the modality to settle into E Phrygian (bolstered by the continuing G and B pedal) for a few bars:
In his early guitar pieces, Brouwer commonly uses pedal points in this way. In the first two sets of Estudios Sencillos, composed from 1959 – 61, he uses pedal points beneath a changing harmony in eight of the ten pieces. In Fuga No. 1, Brouwer quickly establishes the opening D as a pedal tone, and governs a large scale background harmonic progression from D (I, bar 1) to A7 (V, b. 13) and back (b. 21). When the A dominant seven harmony arrives in second inversion in bar 13, Brouwer repeats the major second dyad between G and A in semiquavers, creating yet another inverted pedal while the E in the bass begins a restatement of the theme in E Aeolian. Here the inverted pedal simultaneously expresses the dominant key area and this mode for the melody. At other times it is used as a tool for contrast, such as in bar 15,
when the repeated semiquavers rise through a series of chromatic transformations while the E Aeolian melody remains constant. As mentioned, Brouwer’s early guitar music often features chromatic modulations to surprising new tonal keys. One clear example of this is the fifth piece in Estudios Sencillos. The piece opens with a bare C major arpeggio, which then descends through a series of tonal chords with a few chromatic passing tones, over a pedal tone C. Early on (b. 5), he begins to raise the sixth scale degree to A sharp, although this spelling appears to have more to do with clarity for performance than a harmonic purpose, as it tends to sound as a lowered seventh (from the B natural immediately preceding it), creating a C Mixolydian modality. Brouwer gradually isolates the A sharp, however, as the other notes disappear (b. 9). It suddenly becomes the fifth degree of a clear E flat major triad, followed by a modal triad built on its dominant B flat (a D flat hinting at E flat Mixolydian), and decorated by a few chromatic neighboring tones (b. 10). Brouwer uses similar technique to return to C major to close the piece, as an apparently decorative B natural (part of a highlighted minor-second dyad with B flat, spelled as an A sharp) becomes isolated and then is filled in from below to become part of the dominant chord in C (b. 17 – 18). Here again one can observe Brouwer’s position in the middle of an apparent dialectic between tradition and innovation. On one side, his music pays tribute to tradition, holding itself together through largely tonal means including the inherited common practice usage of dominant chord tendencies to establish key. In a sense, however, this inherited usage subverts itself, leading in its ‘usual’ convincing way to unexpected, highly unconventional (yet still tonally governed) key centers, achieving complete chromaticism by tonal means within local movements (ex. 2).
Rhythm Brouwer’s early guitar music is full of Cuban dance rhythms, nested at various depths between the foreground and background of the texture and often placed in juxtaposition against a steady metric pulse. Two rhythmic groupings in particular are especially prominent (ex. 3): the tresillo, or a syncopated three-note group, and the cinquillo, a similarly syncopated group of five notes.8
Tresillo and common variations:
Cinquillo and common variations:
One method that Brouwer uses to achieve the aforementioned aims of the Grupo de Renovación Musical is generous use of these rhythms in pieces based on inherited traditional structures- especially when juxtaposed against a steady pulse, as one might find in a Baroque dance suite. This also serves as another example of his synthesis of
Fernando Ortiz, La Africania de la Musica Folklorica de Cuba (Habana: Editora Universitaria, 1965), cited in Kronenberg, 34.
the Apollonian (community [European], tradition, stability) and Dionysian (respectively: individuality [Cuban], innovation, instability) sides of the twentieth century musical dialectic.9 Preludio, from 1956, is written in 6/8 time, but by the second bar a duplet has already appeared, implying that when the 6/8 pulse is divided it can be heard as a tresillo figure. Clive Kronenberg, a frequent commentator on Brouwer’s guitar music, points out that ‘at times in the piece 2/4 is implied, while 3/4 also features periodically.’10 The tresillo figure appears most prominently in bars 31 through 32, and again in the accented four-note chords at bars 53 and 54, marking the beginning of the brief coda, which also momentarily features this rhythm (ex. 4).
Bars 29 – 32:
Bars 51 – 54:
Latham, table 1a. Kronenberg, 38.
Pieza Sin Titulo No. 1 (1956) uses a similar juxtaposition of syncopated rhythmic groups against a steady pulse, but instead features the cinquillo rhythmic group (although the tresillo can be found as well). In this case, however, he cleverly conceals these rhythmic groups beneath the surface, or tactical, pulse of the piece. Pieza Sin Titulo No. 1 maintains a 7/4 meter, which is periodically expressed through its 3/4 and 4/4 subdivisions.11 A variation of the cinquillo appears in the opening melodic pitches, but is offset by an extended duration of its final note before a repetition, which cleanly hides the rhythm in the 7/4 meter. Brouwer is often attracted to odd meters in his early guitar music. This can be observed plainly in Estudios Sencillos Nos. 1 and 4, Tres Piezas Sin Titulos (which include the aforementioned piece), Danza Del Altiplano, and Elogio de La Danza, in which the second movement rapidly alternates between 2/8, 3/8, and 4/8.
Second Period – Avant Garde, 1961 (arguable) – 1980 Toward the end of his early period (1959 – 1960) Brouwer traveled to New York to spend a year studying composition at The Julliard School under Vincent Persichetti. While there he came into contact with the work of Darius Milhaud, Lukas Foss, and Paul Hindemith. The next year Brouwer attended the Warsaw Autumn Festival in Poland and was present at the premiere of Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. He also began to cultivate a relationship with Hans Werner Henze. These experiences cemented his awareness of, interest in, and admiration for the avant-garde techniques the most advanced contemporary composers of the day practiced. Brouwer’s adoption of these techniques such as aleatoricism, the use of extended instrumental technique, and the adoption of a nearly atonal harmonic language, could be viewed as leap toward the innovation side of the twentieth-century
musical dichotomy, but this would be an oversimplification. One must keep in mind the tenet of the Grupo de Renovación Musical that seemingly guided his early musical thought, that Cuban composers had to master the techniques being used in more developed countries. In light of this, one can interpret Brouwer’s turn to the avantgarde as an attempt to bring his music into alignment with the new tradition forming in Europe and the United States. One might even cite this concept of a ‘tradition of innovation’ in reconsidering the divisions of the commonly accepted dialectical understanding of composition in the twentieth-century. While Brouwer quickly adopted European avant-garde techniques to his compositions in other mediums (his Sonograma I for prepared piano was the first aleatoric work from a Cuban composer and received a premiere at the Union of Cuban Writers and Artists in 1961), it took significantly longer for these techniques to make their way into his guitar music. The common understanding is that Brouwer’s avantgarde period abruptly began in 1961, but the solo guitar piece Elogio de la Danza, from 1964, exhibits- with the slight addition of a few extended techniques- all of the characteristics of pieces from his early period and therefore refutes this notion.12 The first guitar piece that fits squarely into his avant-garde style, Canticum, did not appear until 1968, hinting that Brouwer’s transition into his second phase was more gradual than is regularly assumed.
Form The use of aleatoric or indeterminate form appears in the guitar music of Brouwer’s avant-garde phase. In many cases the structures of pieces are left to the discretion of the performer, in a sort of musical “choose your own adventure.” Tarantos, from 1974, is made up of seven numbered “statements [enunciados],” six lettered 12
Kim Nguyen Tran, The Emergence of Leo Brouwer’s Compositional Periods: The Guitar, Experimental Leanings, New Simplicity (senior honors thesis, Dartmouth College, 2007), 30.
“redoubles [falsetas],” and an ending [para final]. The performance instructions state that the numbered statements are to go before and after each lettered redouble, and separate the last redouble from the ending. Within this framework, the statements and redoubles can be performed in any order, so long as none are repeated. Brouwer gives the following “example of structure” in the performance instructions: V – B – I – A – VI – C – III – D – VII – E – IV – F – II – FINAL Within each section all of the musical material is pre-composed, so leaving only the structure of the piece open. Those pieces from Brouwer’s second phase that do not have an open or indeterminate form usually take on a linear, episodic structure, with little or no repetition direct repetition. La Espiral Eterna (1972), which may be the archetypal piece from this period, for instance, is presented in the form of four large episodes. Each uses similar pitch material (and motives occasionally reappear, such as the rapid, spiraling three-note cluster pattern in the opening and second sections). The sections are completely different, however, in terms of texture, rhythm, tempo, and style, and are heard one after another without transition. This is typical of the episode-form pieces from the second period, and is also observed in Parabola (1973) and Canticum, though in Canticum, the earliest of these works, material is more often repeated.
Pitch Material The chromatic colorations of extended tonal harmony that characterized Brouwer’s early guitar music become the focus of the music of this middle period, as functional harmony effectively disappears. Brouwer’s taste for seconds and sevenths is thrust to the forefront, and clusters, or sonorities made out of semitones, become central devices in his harmonic language. He transforms chromatically designed melodies
into vertical harmonies (again, primarily made out of major seventh intervals), and begins to use unpitched, percussive sounds generously. These sounds are an important addition to his musical language of this period, as their use emphasizes how Brouwer’s composition has moved away from functional tonality, and toward a concern for the qualities of sound in and of itself.13 This likewise signals a move away from the traditional- German even- hierarchical, integrated structure of music, toward a compositional mode of thinking based on atmosphere, variety, and (in the case of La Espiral Eterna, at least) fracture. Perhaps the conventional view that during this period Brouwer moved more strongly from tradition toward innovation has merit after all. The usage of sevenths and seconds in La Espiral Eterna, as well as Canticum (from 1972 and 1968 respectively) demonstrates how Brouwer deals with pitch in this period. After the opening of Canticum, a brief, unmeasured melody closes with a downward leap of a major seventh, before the first sustained sonority of the piece, an open cluster of A, B flat, and B natural, approached from above via G sharp. This sonority turns into a structural feature, as the first movement closes with a leap up a minor ninth from F to F sharp, up another to G, then down nearly three octaves to the guitar’s lowest A flat. Viewing this transposition and augmentation of the first open cluster as a structural element is justified by the end of the piece, in which the A-B flat-B cluster appears in its original form, is repeated, and is finally supplanted by a D descending to a low E flat (achieved by a scordatura tuning of the sixth string E). La Espiral Eterna stretches Brouwer’s use of clusters even further, as they become the element linking its four episodes and ultimately lend a sense of coherence 13
As a simple guide, the extended techniques and percussion sounds that Brouwer added to his language during this period include scratching the wound strings with the fingernails, tambora (striking the strings with the hand), golpe (striking the sound board), simultaneous right-hand and left-hand hammered on pizzicato, left-hand ‘surface pizzicato,’ in which the left hand lightly damps the strings and moves toward an approximate pitch, and Bartok or snap pizzicato playing.
to the piece. The piece could be heard as four methods of expressing the same growing and shrinking cluster of seconds. The opening episode (shown in ex. 7) is based on a slowly changing but rapidly plucked cluster, beginning on D, D sharp, and E. Brouwer adds pitches one at a time, incrementally, to the bottom of the cluster as he gradually removes them from the top. By halfway through the section, we find that the cluster has moved down to A sharp, B, C, and D flat, before it finally bottoms out on a grouping of F sharp, G, A sharp, and B. From this point, Brouwer removes pitches one at a time until we are left with a lone B natural. A very similar motion of pitch governs the second section, however this time the cluster rises, and is heard in irregular, pizzicato groupings. Again, as the movement progresses, Brouwer removes notes one by one until the listener is left with two pitches (E and F) on the treble strings, which then rise via a surface pizzicato to an indeterminate but very high pitch, beyond the neck and even the sound-hole of the guitar (ex. 5)
This leads to a completely unpitched episode, in which the sound of clusters is reflected in the rapid, irregular rhythmic hammering of the string against the fingerboard (ex. 6).
In this case the use of these extended sounds demonstrates that Brouwer now uses sound itself, rather than functional tonality, to govern his musical language. When the pitched cluster finally reappears- thus beginning the final episode- we find that its pitch content has been expanded via inversion. The F sharp, G, and G sharp group (again a lift in pitch from the ending of the second episode) is now expressed in a spread of major sevenths. Yet again, Brouwer expands these as the group grows to stretch from E, rising through D, C, and C sharp, to a high G. As opposed to the delicate sound world of the opening episode, the process of pitch removal is this time felt as an explosion of sound. Brouwer removes pitches until the guitar finally ends up on a Bartok pizzicato minor second between F# and E, marked sfffz as well as ‘let it vibrate until the sound ends.’ The pizzicato clusters of the second episode briefly return (interrupted by the Bartok pizz. again), before the ethereal opening texture, this time focused on a low cluster of C, C sharp, and D, closes the piece by fading away.14 Because Brouwer uses nearly the same pitch ideas in all four episodes of this piece, he makes the structural divisions instead with regards to the sound itself, defined by the use of varying regular and extended techniques. This again blurs Brouwer’s position in the diametric conception of twentieth century music history.
For a more in-depth analysis of the piece see Eduardo Fernandez, Cosmology in Sounds, 1988, http://www.seiscuerdas.com/fernandez/?Articles.
While the similar, unified usage of pitch material in all four episodes seems to place him on the side of tradition, the variety and contrast achieved through other meansmainly in the realm of technique- points toward his status as that of an innovator.15
Rhythm A key feature of Brouwer’s rhythmic practice in his middle period is his use of approximate rhythms. These appear in the form of proportional and spatial notation for durations, groupings of stemless noteheads marked with terms such as ‘fast, irregular,’ and expanding and contracting beams denoting drastic accerlerando and ritardando. He also sometimes expresses durations in seconds. Meterless music is often his norm in this period, although some of the Cuban dance rhythms used in his early period do surface from time to time. The opening of Canticum, Brouwer utilizes time (in seconds), rather than beats, to specify the durations of events. He gives a chord a harsh rasgueado (strummed) attack, with a duration marked below it as six seconds. This is followed by four seconds of silence, before another six-second attack, this time followed by a three second pause. Eventually this pattern gives way to a large section marked tempo libero, without any bar lines of regular meter. The Cuban dance rhythms of the earlier period do make a veiled appearance however, as the cinquillo becomes embedded in the otherwise seemingly ‘pulseless’ texture of the first movement.16 Brouwer’s use of a ‘pulseless’ rhythm becomes even more pronounced in La Espiral Eterna. In the opening episode the previously discussed cluster appears as a group of stemless notes, marked ‘as fast as possible,’ repeated for a duration indicated by a zig-zagging line leading to the next grouping of pitches. A similar line follows each successive cluster. The proportional lengths of these lines indicate the amount of 15 16
time for which each cluster is repeated (ex. 7), with the total duration marked simply as two minutes at the end of the section.
Brouwer divides the figures in the second episode by a series of fermatas and breath marks of an unspecified length, while the third episode is simply marked ‘irregular,’ and consists of a series of accelerating and decelerating percussive groupings (ex. 6). The climax of the piece in the fourth episode is similarly unmeasured, and also features the unspecific breath marks and fermatas. But this episode opens with the only specified tempo and clear rhythmic notation in the piece, which bears an uncanny resemble to the aforementioned Cuban dance rhythms Brouwer employs throughout his oeuvre (ex. 8, see ex. 3).
Example 8 Brouwer’s usage of these rhythms is another example of the nationalist tendencies inherited from the Grupo that influenced his early musical thought. It also shows that the switch from his early phase to his middle one was less drastic than previously thought.
Third Period – New Simplicity, 1980 on With the composition of El Decameron Negro in 1981, Brouwer announced that he had entered a new phase of his composition, described in the liner notes of the second volume in the Brouwer: Guitar Music series of recordings issued by Naxos Records as his ‘national Hyper-Romantic’ style.17 This new phase is a return to the tendencies of his early phase, though certain elements developed during the avant-garde period, such as the use of extended technique, freedom of form, and unmeasured rhythms continue to appear. His music from this period begins to draw on the influences of popular music and New York minimalism, and also occasionally takes on clear programmatic schemes. The titles of the three movements of El Decameron Negro provide an example of this: ‘The Harp of the Warrior,’ “The Flight of the Lovers through the Valley of Echoes,’ and ‘Ballad of the Love-sick Maiden.’ Ultimately, this music of this late period is a blending of and expansion upon the musical ideas of Brouwer’s first two phases.
Form Brouwer chooses his forms in this phase sporadically, moving freely from a linear series of episodes reminiscent of his middle period in some pieces (El Decameron Negro, 1981, Paisaje Cuban con Campanas, 1987) to strict passacaglia form in others (An Idea, 1999). But his music makes a general return to the traditional structures of the early period. After a short introduction, Viaje a la Semilla (2000) takes on the ‘verse-chorus-verse-chorus,’ structure found in the majority of popular music (although this is accomplished through texture, not pitch usage), while strict traditional forms again appear in Variations on a Theme of Django Reinhardt (1984) and Sonata (1990). 17
Steven Thachuk in Leo Brouwer, Guitar Music Vol. 2, Elena Papandreou, Naxos compact disc 8.554553.
Pitch Material The majority of analytical studies published on Brouwer’s oeuvre tend to glaze over his pitch usage in the late period. There is good reason for this, as the harmonic language of this phase seemingly regresses to the tonal one of his first period, with chromaticism again used solely for color or effect, rather than as a central feature. Brouwer himself offers a sound explanation for this harmonic regression, and in doing so illuminates his own conception of dichotomy in twentieth-century music: …I became saturated with the language of the so called old avantgarde…the atomized, crisp, and “tensional” language of this kind suffered, and still suffers today, a defect related to the essence of compositional balance, a concept that is present in history: Movement, tension, with its consequent rest, relaxation. This “law of opposing forces” – day-night, man-woman, ying-yang, time to love-time to hate – exists within all circumstances of mankind….The avant-garde lacked the relaxation of all tensions. There is no living entity that doesn’t rest. This is one of the things I discovered….In this way, I made a kind of regression that moves toward the simplification of the compositional materials. This is what I consider my last period […which] encompasses the essential elements from popular music, from classical music, and from the avant-garde itself. They help me to give contrast to big tensions.18 Viaje a la Semilla demonstrates Brouwer’s fusion of these elements. As stated, the piece is largely tonal, governed by a drawn out V-I progression in E, opening with a third-inversion B dominant seventh chord. A series of rapid, chromatically-decorated arpeggios (b. 5) leads to a subdominant A major 9 in bar 11, spaced in consonant sounding fifths with a sixth on the bottom. A dominant pedal B is rapidly pluckedalluding to the sound world of Steve Reich- through the majority of the piece (the ‘verse’ sections, b. 22 – 33 and 68 – 96, for instance). Characteristics from the avantgarde period appear in his use of extended techniques, as tonal material is attacked
Leo Brouwer, interviewed by Rodolfo Betancourt, A Close Encounter with Leo Brouwer, 1997, http://www.musicweb-international.com/brouwer/rodolfo.htm
with a series of Bartok pizzicatos (b. 2), and chords are built completely out of harmonics (b. 14 – 16). Rhythm One can also see this fusion of elements in the rhythmic aspects of the music of this period. Cuban dance rhythms are as prevalent as they were in earlier phases (El Decameron Negro, Mvt. 2, figure G), while the unmeasured, approximate rhythms of the avant-garde period continue to make appearances (An Idea, b. 18 – 20). Brouwer develops a penchant for extremely repetitive rhythmic material- such as the repeated B in Viaje a la Semilla- though he considers this a combination of the influence of minimalist music and the African roots of Cuban music.19
Conclusion While commentators (and even Brouwer himself) have generally divided the composer’s output into three distinct compositional categories, it seems more pertinent to instead consider the trajectory of his work as following a single, linear continuum, as innovative elements were continually added to his nationalist language, first as an effort to bring his music to an international standard (as the tenets of the Grupo demanded), then simply as a means for increased expression. It could be argued that these extended techniques signify an increased knowledge of his medium (the guitar) throughout the course of his career. The consistently complex yet completely playable fingerings of his early music (Estudios Sencillos are a veritable treatise in technique) however, show that his intimate knowledge of the guitar as a medium was present all along. Except for a laying bare of chromaticism and experiments with form in the middle period, his extended tonal language and use of chromaticism as a coloristic element, combined with the various usage of Cuban 19
Brouwer, Betancourt interview.
dance rhythms and traditional forms, are characteristics that are all present through his entire oeuvre. This blend of elements, from the purely traditional to the completely avant-garde, places Brouwer in a unique central position in the twentieth century music dichotomy: not because he avoids venturing too far in either direction, but because he ventures in both. Perhaps we must take scale into account when considering this composer’s work. While in the global history of post-tonal music his output can be considered quite traditional, in Cuba, it represents the forefront of innovation.
Bibliography Brouwer, Leo. Elogio de la Danza. Mainz: Gitarren-Archiv Schott, 1972. ---. Canticum. Mainz: Gitarren-Archiv Schott, 1972. ---. La Espiral Eterna. Mainz: Gitarren-Archiv Schott, 1972. ---. El Decameron Negro. Paris: Edition Musicales Transatlantiques, 1982. ---. Interviewed by Rodolfo Betancourt, A Close Encounter with Leo Brouwer, 1997, http://www.musicweb-international.com/brouwer/rodolfo.htm (accessed 25 August 2009). ---. Viaje a la Semilla. London: Chester Music, 2000. ---. An Idea (Passacaglia for Eli). London: Chester Music, 2002. ---. Guitar Music Vol. 2. Elena Papandreou. Naxos compact disc 8.554553. ---. Guitar Works. Paris: Editions Max Eschig, 2006. Century, Paul Reed. “Leo Brouwer: A Portrait of the Artist in Socialist Cuba.” Latin American Music Review, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Autumn Winter, 1987). ---. “The principles of pitch organization in Leo Brouwer’s atonal music for guitar.” PhD diss., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1991. Fernandez, Eduardo. Cosmology in Sounds (On Leo Brouwer’s “La Espiral Eterna”). 1988. http://www.seiscuerdas.com/fernandez/?Articles (accessed 3 September 2009). Kronenberg, Clive, “Guitar Composer Leo Brouwer: The Concept of a ‘Universal Language.’” Tempo 62, no. 245 (2008): 30 – 46. Latham, Edward D. “Binary Oppositions in Arnold Whittall’s Exploring TwentiethCentury Music: Tradition and Innovation and Their Implications for Analysis,” Music Theory Online 10 no. 3 (2004). http://mto.societymusictheory.org/issues/mto.04.10.3/mto.04.10.3.latham_fra mes.html (accessed 27 August 2009). Ortiz, Fernando. La Africania de la Musica Folklorica de Cuba. Habana: Editora Universitaria, 1965. Rodríguez, Victoria Eli. "Brouwer, Leo." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/04092 (accessed 13 June 2009). Schneider, John. The Contemporary Guitar. The New Instrumentation, edited by Bertram Turetzky and Barney Childs. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. Suzuki, Dean Paul. “The Solo Guitar Works of Leo Brouwer.” Master’s Thesis, University of Southern California, 1981. Tran, Kim Nguyen. “The Emergence of Leo Brouwer’s Compositional Periods: The Guitar, Experimental Leanings, and New Simplicity.” Senior Honors Thesis, Dartmouth College, 2007. Whittall, Arnold. Exploring Twentieth Century Music: Tradition and Innovation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.