Stravinsky used two sequences for this work, and used the customary prime, retrograde, inversion, retrograde inversion, inverted retrograde inversion. The choice of two sequences for a short work (15 minutes) seems to be simply a way to generate notes, rather than as a unifying factor.
Stravinsky had originally intended this to be an orchestral work, but, perhaps because of the individual and unconnected nature of the movements, decided to introduce a formal text.
The Postlude is the longest movement in the piece. It begins with the chord of death for flutes, pianos, and harp, followed by harmonic progressions on celesta, vibraphone and chimes. Two more flute, piano and harp chords, before the three successive chords of the final cadence, alternate with measures of the bell music.
Stravinsky uses silences to great effect. There are 12 measured beats of silence, suggesting the 12 hours of the day.
Adapted from Craft.
[ Index | Biography | Symphony of Psalms | Mass | Requiem | Links ]