George Perle

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George Perle
George Perle 1991.jpg
Perle in 1991
Background information
Born(1915-05-06)May 6, 1915
Bayonne, New Jersey, United States
DiedJanuary 23, 2009(2009-01-23) (aged 93)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, music theorist

George Perle (May 6, 1915 – January 23, 2009) was a composer and music theorist. [1]

Contents

Biography

Perle was born in Bayonne, New Jersey. He graduated from DePaul University, where he studied with Wesley LaViolette and received private lessons from Ernst Krenek. Later, he served as a technician fifth grade in the United States Army during World War II. [2] [3] He earned his doctorate at New York University in 1956. [4]

Perle composed with a technique of his own devising called "twelve-tone tonality". This technique was different from, but related to, the twelve-tone technique of the Second Viennese School, [5] of which he was an "early admirer" and whose techniques he used aspects of but never fully adopted. [4] Perle's former student Paul Lansky described Perle's twelve-tone tonality thus:

Basically this creates a hierarchy among the notes of the chromatic scale so that they are all referentially related to one or two pitches which then function as a tonic note or chord in tonality. The system similarly creates a hierarchy among intervals and finally, among larger collections of notes, 'chords.' The main debt of this system to the 12-tone system lies in its use of an ordered linear succession in the same way that a 12-tone set does". [6]

In 1968, Perle cofounded the Alban Berg Society with Igor Stravinsky and Hans F. Redlich, who had the idea (according to Perle in his letter to Glen Flax of 4/1/89[ citation needed ]). Perle's important work on Berg includes documenting that the third act of Lulu , rather than being an unfinished sketch, was actually three-fifths complete and that the Lyric Suite contains a secret program dedicated to Berg's love-affair. [4]

After retiring from Queens College in 1985, he became a professor emeritus at the Aaron Copland School of Music. [4] In 1986, Perle was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Music for his Fourth Wind Quintet and also a MacArthur Fellowship. [4] In about 1989 Perle became composer-in-residence for the San Francisco Symphony, a three-year appointment. It was also around this time that he had published his fourth book entitled The Listening Composer.

He died aged 93 in his home in New York City in January 2009. [4] He was subsequently buried in Calverton National Cemetery. On his headstone are inscribed the words "An die Musik". [3]

A growing number of younger artists have come to express their appreciation for Perle.[ citation needed ] In the run-up to his 100th birthday celebrations the composer-pianist Michael Brown released a well received CD of a sampling of Perle's work for piano. [7]

Perle was married to the sculptor Laura Slobe from 1940 to 1952; the couple were members of the Socialist Workers Party. [8] His second wife, Barbara Philips, died in 1978. Perle was survived at his death by his third wife, the former Shirley Gabis Rhoads, two daughters, and a stepdaughter. [9]

Works

Swift differentiates between Perle's 'free' or 'intuitive', tone-centered, and twelve-tone modal music. [10] He lists Perle's tone-centered compositions:

Partial bibliography

See also

Related Research Articles

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Atonality Music that lacks a tonal center or key

Atonality in its broadest sense is music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality, in this sense, usually describes compositions written from about 1908 to the present day, where a hierarchy of pitches focusing on a single, central tone is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale function independently of one another. More narrowly, the term atonality describes music that does not conform to the system of tonal hierarchies that characterized classical European music between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. "The repertory of atonal music is characterized by the occurrence of pitches in novel combinations, as well as by the occurrence of familiar pitch combinations in unfamiliar environments".

The Second Viennese School is the group of composers that comprised Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils, particularly Alban Berg and Anton Webern, and close associates in early 20th-century Vienna, where Schoenberg lived and taught, sporadically, between 1903 and 1925. Their music was initially characterized by late-Romantic expanded tonality and later, following Schoenberg's own evolution, a totally chromatic expressionism without firm tonal centre, often referred to as atonality; and later still, Schoenberg's serial twelve-tone technique. Adorno said that the twelve-tone method, when it had evolved into maturity, was a "veritable message in a bottle", addressed to an unknown and uncertain future. Though this common development took place, it neither followed a common time-line nor a cooperative path. Likewise, it was not a direct result of Schoenberg's teaching—which, as his various published textbooks demonstrate, was highly traditional and conservative. Schoenberg's textbooks also reveal that the Second Viennese School spawned not from the development of his serial method, but rather from the influence of his creative example.

Chamber music Form of classical music composed for a small group of instruments

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Tonality

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20th-century classical music describes art music that was written nominally from 1901 to 2000, inclusive. Musical style diverged during the 20th century as it never had previously. Consequently, this century was without a dominant style. Modernism, impressionism, and post-romanticism can all be traced to the decades before the turn of the century, but can be included because they evolved beyond the musical boundaries of the 19th-century styles that were part of the earlier common practice period. Neoclassicism and expressionism came mostly after 1900. Minimalism started much later in the century and can be seen as a change from the modern to post-modern era, although some date post-modernism from as early as c. 1930. Aleatory, atonality, serialism, musique concrète, electronic music, and concept music were all developed during this century. Jazz and ethnic folk music became important influences on many composers during this century.

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Interval cycle

In music, an interval cycle is a collection of pitch classes created from a sequence of the same interval class. In other words, a collection of pitches by starting with a certain note and going up by a certain interval until the original note is reached. In other words, interval cycles "unfold a single recurrent interval in a series that closes with a return to the initial pitch class". See: wikt:cycle.

Josef Matthias Hauer

Josef Matthias Hauer was an Austrian composer and music theorist. He is best known for developing, independent of and a year or two before Arnold Schoenberg, a method for composing with all 12 notes of the chromatic scale. Hauer was also an important early theorist of twelve-tone music and composition.

<i>Lyric Suite</i> (Berg) String quartet music by Alban Berg

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A musical line which is the reverse of a previously or simultaneously stated line is said to be its retrograde or cancrizans. An exact retrograde includes both the pitches and rhythms in reverse. An even more exact retrograde reverses the physical contour of the notes themselves, though this is possible only in electronic music. Some composers choose to subject just the pitches of a musical line to retrograde, or just the rhythms. In twelve-tone music, reversal of the pitch classes alone—regardless of the melodic contour created by their registral placement—is regarded as a retrograde.

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References

  1. Lansky, Paul (July 2, 2009). "Perle, George" . grove. Oxford Music Online.
  2. Perle, George (2007). "Biography". georgeperle.net. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  3. 1 2 Find a Grave, memorial page for George Perle (1915–2009). Find a Grave Memorial #72,375,644. Calverton National Cemetery, Calverton, Suffolk County, New York, USA.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Kozinn, Allan (January 24, 2009). "George Perle, a Composer and Theorist, Dies at 93". New York Times . Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  5. Perle (1992).
  6. Chase, Gilbert (1992). America's Music: From the Pilgrims to the Present, p. 587. University of Illinois Press, ISBN   0-252-06275-2.
  7. Schweitzer, Vivien (May 11, 2014). "Paying Homage, Vivaciously and Somberly: From Michael Brown, an Evening of George Perle". New York Times . Retrieved 2017-12-08.
  8. "Guide to the Laura Gray Political Cartoons GRAPHICS.013" . Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  9. Pasles, Chris (January 31, 2009). "George Perle dies at 93; theorist and composer championed atonal music". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  10. Swift, Richard. "A Tonal Analog: The Tone-Centered Music of George Perle", p.258-259 & 283. Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 21, No. 1/2, (Autumn, 1982 – Summer, 1983), pp. 257–284.