Dissertation Index

Author: Rust, Douglas, M.

Title: A Theory of Form for Lutoslawski's Late Symphonic Works

Institution: Yale University

Begun: March 1992

Completed: September 1994


This dissertation develops the notions of "musical character" and "musical action" in selected works from Witold Lutoslawski's late symphonic works, to produce a method of form analysis that yields insight into the poetics of the composer's musical creation. One paragraph in Steven Stucky's book (Lutoslawski and His Music [Cambridge, 1981],127) introduces the idea of musical character as a legacy from Lutoslawski's composition teacher, Witold Maliszewski, who would label individual passages in Beethoven sonatas with one of four musical characters: introductory character, transitory character, narrative character, or finishing character. This dissertation applies the same four labels to individual passages in Lutoslawski's late works, based upon the composer's insistence--in a recent interview with the author--that the Maliszewskian concepts continued to influence his compositional designs. Lutoslawski's term "musical action" describes how the interaction of all the individual passages in a piece contributes toward an overall dynamic shape that leads the listener through the form. The interaction of character and action in the form analysis of Lutoslawski's late symphonic works helps us to understand the normative features of his large-scale closed forms and to interpret the meaning of unusual features in individual works.

Keywords: Lutoslawski, 20th Century, Symphonic, Form, Maliszewski, Chain


Prologue, 1. Harmony, 2. Musical Character, 3. Musical Action, 4. Chain Form, Epilogue


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