Seven, originally for solo piano, is based on the arch form, ABCDCBA. The Prelude is one-part, the March two-part, and the Waltz three-part. The Rondo is in classical rondo form. The final three movements, Waltz Retrograde, March Retrograde, and Postlude (Prelude Retrograde) are as the titles indicate–the first three movements backwards. Harmonies are mostly quartal throughout.
Listen to March (2nd movement)
Approx. 13 minutes
2+1,2+1,2,2/4221/timp perc(2) harp pno cel strgs(9,8,7,6,5)
The “Conflict” of the title refers to separate conflicts between the first violins and the doublebasses and the second violins and the violas. The cellos represent the reconciling force. The short work opens with dissonant chords from the conflicting groups from which rise fragments of the “Reconciliation” theme in the cellos. Then the violin/bass conflict begins, followed quickly by the violin/viola conflict. The cellos seek to interject portions of their theme. Gradually the cellos lead the other groups to a unison sounding of the reconciliation theme. The first violins repeat this theme with the other groups providing a more consonant harmonic background. However, conflict breaks out once more. Again the cellos seek to reconcile the conflicting groups. The cellos succeed, bringing a final sounding of the reconciliation theme in unison and augmentation.