Drei Rilkegesange
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Program notes for Drei Rilkegesänge:

The imagery and structure of Rilke's poems played a major role in the compositional design of the Drei Rilkegesänge. At that time, I began exploring compositional techniques which make use of non-tonal harmonies as the basis for the pitch language of the entire work. As the images of the poem develop, the pitch language mutates and grows accordingly. Although the relationship between text and music is not as intense as it is in Wagner, the concept of leitmotif is similar to these techniques. Musical motives are associated with poetic images as a means of creating a bridge between the two. These motives and images interact with each other to form a coherent statement, unifying both pitch and text.

Rilke's sense of complex form motivated me to construct large-scale temporal relations that reflect the surface detail. In An Die Musik, there is an implied acceleration of images as the poem nears its climax. At the same time, the grammatical structure and poetic structure progress at different rates, out of synchronization with each other; they coincide at the climax. This is a typical device used by Rilke and one which has musical ramifications which I chose to exploit on many different levels. Other similar relationships were discovered and utilized throughout the three songs.

-Anthony Cornicello