It is Sept. 17th and I am now sitting at a picnic table at our campsite at Assateague National Seashore struggling to see my computer in the bright sunshine and to keep my score from blowing away. Extreme conditions, but nothing like what I’m trying to represent in the second movement.
The movement begins by depicting the barren landscape with open fifths in the violins that are answered by a triplet figure in octaves using the low range of the piano. A solo cello introduces a melancholy theme. The last part of the theme uses the triplet idea from the piano. This triplet idea is expanded in viola and cello at m. 14, by the French horns at 17, by the English horn and bassoons at m. 19, and by the upper strings at m. 21. The harp accompanies the last two instrument combinations to add additional contrast. Most of this section disguises the beat through shifting rhythmic patterns and the use of duple and triple figures. At m. 23, the French horns introduce a syncopated pattern that is joined by the trumpets after one measure. This accompanies a plaintive oboe melody that is later stated in imitative counterpoint with the flute. This section builds in intensity leading to m. 32 where the brass section introduces a 16th note sextuplet figure that is answered by descending and swooping strings. The woodwinds enter with a variant of the plaintive melody but this time it is more intense as this whole section depicts the harsh environment. At 43, the woodwinds take over the repeated 16th note sextuplets and the strings have the woodwind melody that climaxes at 49 on a repeated chord figure reminiscent of the introduction to the 1st movement. A timpani roll returns the listener to a quieter mood while two trumpets in imitation ponder how we have gotten to these challenging living conditions. The movement now reverses itself by returning to the syncopated section and then the rhythmic free section, therefore creating an arch form (ABCBA). The ending sections have been altered slightly to create smooth transitions for the last part of the arch form.
To see and hear what is discussed, go to http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/index.php?sm=home.score&scoreID=133682