“Blood Rite” for orchestra
Partain, Randolph L.
Doctor of Musical Arts
Blood Rite is a single-movement work for full orchestra, seven-and-a-half minutes in length. After a rhythmic introduction characterized by low clusters that appear and fade with regular pulsations, two melodic themes are transparently introduced; these melodies compete for dominance throughout the piece. Although the two themes do not initially occur simultaneously, they are brought into closer proximity as one melody becomes an accompaniment to the other. As the struggle takes its toll, the two melodies become increasingly fragmented, and after a short recurrence of the opening pulsations, the final section of the piece holds the culmination of the conflict. Although many examples can be cited in which two musical ideas meld into coexistence or in which one musical motive achieves dominance over another in the final strains of a piece, this work is an exploration of two melodic ideas which both suffer from the competition for primary importance. Various facets of the two melodies are examined, including their potential to coexist as melody and accompaniment, but at the climax of the drama the work holds only snatches of the two melodies, fragmented into gestures which build to an explosive finish, devoid of either theme in its entirety. Setting apart more rhythmic sections of the piece are two echoes of the introduction, the first focused on the low clusters which swell and fade. The second echo precedes and foreshadows the final section in at least two facets: the low clusters begin to lose their stability as an increasing number of tones sink into glissandi, and the initial pulsations mimic this motion in a descending ornamented scale which maintains a prominent place through the end of the piece. After a rhythmically altered iteration of the first theme, the remainder of the final section is dominated more by a complex rhythmic ostinato than by either of the melodies which held the limelight in previous sections of the work.
Music; Communication and the arts; Orchestra Original composition