Published on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 16:04
Written by Bruce Gale
Adam Gorb's Awayday is a high energy concert piece written in the jazz tradition. Unfortunately, it is not easy to play or conduct. As a result, young bands - as well as their conductors - sometimes tend to focus on overcoming the technical difficulties involved in playing the piece at the expense of trying to understand its many interpretative aspects. Structural analysis is certainly not easy. Key signatures are not indicated, and much of the piece is in any case written in constantly changing keys and modes. Moreover, while the work broadly follows the traditional sonata form, Gorb has broken it into sections for the convenience of rehearsal rather than formal analysis.
Analysis is very complex.Sonata form has been typical of overtures and the first movements of instrumental pieces since the Classical period. Typically, there are three sections – exposition, development and recapitulation. However, many such works also have a brief introduction before the exposition and a coda after the recapitulation. This is the general format chosen by Adam Gorb. He also appears to have added bridging passages between the exposition and development, and the development and the recapitulation. In fact, the whole piece is punctuated with little interludes and bridges, making analysis quite complex.
The following discussion assumes that you have a copy of the score in front of you and have at least some familiarity with the fundamentals of harmony and musical form. It would also be helpful to jot down the bar numbers on your copy for ease of reference, since I refer to both section and bar numbers extensively during the discussion.