A stylistic and analytical discussion of Jean Rivier's Concerto for saxophone and trumpet and Concerto for trumpet
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Jean Rivier (1896-1987) was an important French composer, pedagogue, and leader in French musical life. He composed in a highly individual style that bridged the two extremes of the twelve-tone writing of the Second Viennese School and the Impressionism of his French contemporaries. Throughout his career, Rivier sought to write music in a style that emphasized clarity, polytonality, humor, and economy of means. Although he uses twentieth-century harmonic techniques, he avoids harsh, unresolved dissonances and extended developments or recapitulations. Among Rivier’s body of works are two concertos that feature the trumpet in a primary role. The Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Trumpet (1954) and the Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra (1971) are works featuring Rivier’s lyrical melodies, angular lines, polychordal harmonies, and idiomatic writing for the trumpet and are important additions to twentieth-century trumpet literature. As the performances of these two concertos increase in number, a study to determine the harmonic, rhythmic, melodic, and motivic elements that characterize Rivier’s compositions in general and these two works in particular would be useful to trumpeters. This treatise addresses the issue of the concerto genre to determine if Rivier followed the model of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century concerto or if he vi adapted the form to exploit his own compositional techniques of polytonality, bimodality, clarity of lines, and economy of means. A general biography of Jean Rivier is presented, including his childhood, professional career, an overview of his works, and composers who influenced his compositional style. A history of the concerto genre is presented in chapter two, followed by the origins of Rivier’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Trumpet and Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra. Roger Delmotte, the trumpeter involved in the premieres of both works, is profiled. In chapters three and four the two concertos are analyzed, with analyses centering on form, harmony, rhythm, and melodic content. Performance problems are addressed with possible solutions provided.