Philosopher's Stone (Hardcover)

Essays in the Transformation of Musical Structure

By Barbara Barry

Pendragon Press, 9781576470107, 256pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2000

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Description

The Philosopher's Stone is a collection of case studies in compositional process; not so much about how the music was arrived at through its sketch stages, but more are construction of issues of form as the defining features of a genre, and structure as the individual realization in a particular work. Great musical movements and works are seen as highly creative solutions to problem-solving. The contexts of the works differ considerably. Some were written against the background of a specific precedent or model, as with Mozart's Haydn quartets via Haydn's Op. 33 set. In other cases, as with Beethoven's middle period style, the composer reconsiders a comprehensive range of implications about style and construction, of how, after earlier successes now outworn, to make a new and significant contribution to the genre without duplicating earlier solutions. The essays are grouped into three sections: on Beethoven studies, Mozart in retrospect, and nineteenth-century music. All the movements and works in these chapters pose in their different ways these issues of structural reinterpretation and re-formation, where the reworking of the form leads to a distinctive and higher level transformation.