Formal Delineation via Modes of Limited Transposition in Ida Gotkovsky's Sonata for Solo Clarinet
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French composer Ida Gotkovsky, Professor of Music Theory at the Paris Conservatory, studied composition with both Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen. Her Sonata for Solo Clarinet, commissioned by the International Clarinet Society, was completed in 1984 and premiered in 1986 at the society’s international conference, yet there are no extant analyses of the piece. However, Gotkovsky’s works for other instruments have been thoroughly examined by authors such as Carroll (1992), Heim (2011), and Surman (2010). I will provide an analysis of Gotkovsky’s Sonata for Solo Clarinet, focusing on her use of modes of limited transposition to determine formal structure. My analysis outlines how Gotkovsky hybridizes pitch language with historic forms in the Sonata for Solo Clarinet by using modes of limited transposition to create both large-scale and small-scale formal structure in her music. Although Gotkovsky studied composition with Messiaen, her use of modes of limited transposition to determine form is her own innovation. Messiaen did not care for historic forms such as sonata form in his music, preferring to write in mosaic form, and did not use modes of limited transposition to create historic forms in his own music. By highlighting the creation of formal structures through Gotkovsky’s use of modes of limited transposition, my analysis demonstrates that her Sonata for Solo Clarinet is a valuable contribution to the repertoire that deserves to be known not only for its technical demands but also for its meticulously crafted musical materials.
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