Composition Seminar

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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
Music
Terms offered: 
Fall
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Prerequisites: 

One or more semesters of composition and/or harmony, counterpoint, or advanced theory. Students should possess basic analytic skills of musical scores. Assignments and projects will be customized with students' goals and backgrounds in mind.

Description: 

The Composition Seminar offers exposure to a broad set of perspectives and issues encountered during individual composition lessons. Sharing the planning and progressive crafting of structured composition projects in class exposes each student to a level of verbalization, debate, and graphic synthesis that is directly proportional to the self awareness necessary to achieve these tasks.

Each semester, the projects will focus on the instruments and/or voices available in the Performance Workshop ensemble: including exploration of timber, chord voicing, texture, range, attack modes and new techniques. This will be done through the analysis of some especially meaningful Italian scores of the 20th as well as 21st Century.

Taking advantage of the course's setting in the city of Milan, the course will include visits from local composers who will present some of their work to the class. Field study opportunities include many concerts around the city and a visit the Museo della Scala, the Ricordi Edition Archive.

Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day, including course-related excursions.

IES Abroad Milano allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per semester. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of two points off (2/100) on the final grade. SEVEN absences per course (including 2 excused absences) will result in a failing grade for that course. Furthermore, an absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle you to recover/reschedule such tests. Failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will result in an F grade on that paper/exam.

Learning outcomes: 

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Recognize and interpret harmony, counterpoint, instrumentation, and style, in the medium of the ensemble assigned.
  • Analyze and "resynthesize"--observe characteristics of an existing musical model, derive generative rules from those characteristics, and produce a new example from that generative hypothesis.
  • Develop innovative concepts and approaches to composition for the assigned instruments/voices.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how Italy has contributed to contemporary composition on an international level, as well as the specific nature of the Milanese cultural context that produced such favourable outcomes.
Field study: 
  • Boccadoro, Donatoni, Verrando, Del Corno etc. Teatro Dal Verme Sentieri Selvaggi
  • Stockhausen, Andriessen, Boulez, Reich Auditorium S. Fedele Sentieri Selvaggi
  • Gardella, Verrando Palazzina Liberty Divertimento Ensemble
  • Henze, Lombardi Teatro Dal Verme Pomeriggi Musicali
  • Spectral Composers Palazzina Liberty Divertimento Ensemble
  • Andreoni Palazzina Liberty Milano Classica
  • Xenakis, Corrado, Reich Teatro Dal Verme Pomeriggi Musicali
  • Stroppa, Aperghis Palazzina Liberty Divertimento Ensemble
  • Gubaibulina Auditorium di Milano Orch. Verdi
  • Strauss, Mahler Auditorium di Milano Orch. Verdi
  • Dusapin, Nieder, Pesson Sala Fontana Divertimento Ensemble
  • Berio Teatro Dal Verme Allievi Conservatorio
  • Manca, Ligeti, Di Bari Teatro Dal Verme Pomeriggi Musicali
  • Ciceri, Stanczyk, Tzortzis Auditorium S. Fedele Divertimento Ensemble
  • Fuentes, Laganà, Kurtag Palazzina Liberty Divertimento Ensemble
  • Ligeti Auditorium S. Fedele  Alfonso Albertiom, Anthology of Twentieth-Century Music, 1969
Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Completion of several short technical studies as assigned.
  • Completion of analyses of selected masterworks of the 20th century as assigned.
  • Completion of one substantial composition for the ensemble assigned.
  • Performances or rehearsed readings of completed works.
  • Late work is not acceptable. Group-Projects are acceptable.

Assigned exercises, readings and analyses to learn specific composing concepts and techniques (40%); Final ensemble composition project (40%); and participation in class work, discussion and rehearsals (20%).

Required readings: 
  • Lester, Analytic Approaches to XX Century Music, Norton, 1989
  • Berio, Remembering The Future, Harvard Univ. Press, 2006
  • Berio, Folksongs, 1964
  • Berio, Sinfonia, Universal, 1968
  • Penderecki, Passio, Moeck, 1966
  • Carter, Harmony Book, Fisher Ed, 2002
  • Griffiths, Modern Music and After, Clarendon, 1995
  • Sciarrino, Le Figure della Musica, Ricordi, 1998
  • AA.VV. – Burkhart, Anthology fir Musical Analysis, Harcourt Brace College Publ, 1994
  • AA.VV. – WennerstrConcerts: Jan 27 Fedele, Francesconi Palazzina Liberty Divertimento Ensemble
Other Resources: 

Excerpts from the following works:

Berio

Cries of London

 

Chemins II (su "sequenza V..)

 

Chemins IV (su "sequenza V..)

 

Corale (su "sequenza VIII"..)

 

Points on the curve to find

 

Folk Songs, 6. La donna ideale (Italy)

 

Linea (1973) for two pianos, vibraphone and marimba

 

Sequenza VII for oboe

Schubert-Berio

Rendering For Orchestra

Bach-Berio

Contrapunctus XIX (Die Kunst Der Fuge)

Brahms-Berio

Sonata for Clarinet and Orchestra in F minor

Boccherini-Berio

Quattro Versioni Originali Della "Ritirata Notturna Di Madrid"

Battistelli

Vendetta

Boccadoro

Royal Garden Music

Maderna

Don Perlimplin

Castagnoli

Cloches En Noir Et Blanc: II - Cloches À Midi

Castiglioni   

Inverno In-Ver - Undici Poesie Musicali Per Piccola Orchestra (1973)

 

Quodlibet (Da "Figure")(1965)

Corghi, Azio

Mazapégul

Dallapiccola

Canti di prigionia/3: Girolamo Savonarola's farewell

Carter

Con Leggerezza Pensosa – a homage to Italo Calvino

Mozart-Berio

Divertimento per Mozart Variations on the Papageno's Aria "Ein Mädchen Oder Weibchen"

Donatoni

Prom

Vacchi

Dai Calanachi Di Sabbiun

Romitelli

Dead City Radio. Audiodrome (2003)

 

En Trance (1995)

 

Flowing Down To Slow (2001)

Fedele

Scena Per Orchestra

 

Concerto per Pianoforte

Francesconi

Cobalt Scarlet

 

Ballata del Rovescio del Mondo

Gervasoni

Due Poesie Francesi Di Rilke - Chemins

Scelsi

Trio Cordes (1958)

 

Quatuor cordes n 5 (1974/85)

Gorli

REQUIEM

Marianelli

Atonement

Marinetti

Musica Futurista

Morricone

The Untouchables

 

The Mission

Nono

A Carlo Scarpa, Architetto, Ai Suoi Infiniti Possibili Per Orchestra In Microintervalli

Petrassi

Serenata Per 5 Strumenti (1958)

Respighi

Feste Romane: Harvest Festival in October

Russolo

Risveglio di una città

Sciarrino

Perduto in una città d'acque

 

Sei Capricci (1976)

Solbiati

By my window II (2001)

Sollima

Madonie

Verrando

Agile for Orchestra

Andreoni

3 Tales by Kafka – installation music

 

Spazi Infiniti – ballet music

 

Bausch-Labour&Pulse – ballet music

 

Passaggio alla Luce – art installation

 

A-B-Cell – Video installation

 

Parole in libertà - video

 

...E noi che una notte vegliammo

 

Il Vento, le Vele – for flute orchestra

 

Miguel Mañara – stage music

 

Primordial Background

 

Vola!

 

Kaiser Soze

 

Slinking Around Midnight

 

Una Finestra, a Betsaida

 

Bardo

 

Quattro Luci sul Lago di Notte

 

Sì – Opera

 

Concerto per Archi

 

Three Trees

 

Little California Suite

 

Blitz

 

911 Blues

 

Scattering

 

Conflitto in Trio

 

The Antennae of Thought That Listens

 

Slinking around Midnight

 

Sacred Folk Songs per Vno e Archi

 

Crescendo – movie soundtrack

Andreoni-Tadini

Elogio dell’Imprevisto – Homage to Eugenio Montale