Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name


Department (Legacy)

Department of Music Theory and Composition

Committee Chair

de Zeeuw, Anne Marie

Author's Keywords

Musical analysis; Contemporary music; Grawemeyer award; York Holler; Organic musical form; Canon


Höller, York. Sphären


"Regen-Kanon" is the fourth of six pieces or "sound images" in the orchestral cycle Spharen, composed by York Holler between 2001 and 2006. The first four movements, namely "Wolkengesang" ("Song of the Clouds"), "Windspiel" ("Wind Chimes"), "Erdschichten" ("Layers of Earth"), and "Regen-Kanon" ("Rain Canon") are related to Holler's experiences of particular landscapes and consequently to associated impressions of nature, whereas the fifth and sixth movements, "Feuerwerk" ("Fireworks") and "Spharentrauer" ("Sorrow of the Spheres") convey different kinds of images. Holler cites the influence of the philosophers Empedocles, Henri Bergson, and Peter Sloterdijk on his musical language and on Spharen in particular. Three ideas derived from their work are applied to the analysis of "Regen-Kanon": Empedocles' and Sloterdijk's idea of "sphaira," meaning a self-contained whole and all-encompassing totality; Bergson's idea of the "aggregate image"; and Holler's idea of the realization of the Gestalt as an organic form.