Concerto for Violoncello

and Orchestra
on a randomly-generated tone row

P.L. Allen


1. Introduzione - Pił mosso - L'istesso tempo
2. Adagio molto
3. Vivace

Date Duration Listen
2 October 2011 25'11" Realization (.MP3) Score (.PDF)
34.5 MB 556 KB

The Vivace here is an essay in exploiting the full melodic potential of any given tone row. For each of the four major permutations of the row (Forward, Retrograde, Inversion, and Retrograde Inversion) I wrote a single characteristic melody, then varied each of these melodies 33 times by rotating first the tones, then the rhythms, and finally both the tones and the rhythms together through the full gamut of the permutation. Adding to these variations the 48 possible forms of the permutations as simple progressions of eighth notes gave me a store of 184 12-note melodies which I began selecting absolutely at random (yes, at random, totally without reference to what they sounded like) and slapping them into the score in whatever voice I felt deserved a tune at any given moment, using each melody at exactly one point only in the movement and bringing the piece to a close when I ran out of supplies in my melody bag. OK, this is a gross oversimplification of the compositional process the movement underwent; but in broad outline it is true to a fault. Anyone requiring more closely detailed analysis is welcome to confront me directly with whatever burning questions are disturbing their peace of mind.

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