Symphonie Fantastique

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Romantic.  Berlioz

-autobiographical symphony that depicts the life of a young man that falls desperately in love with a woman at first sight; the symphony depicts his dreams, despairs and fantasies. (Harriet Smithson) 

-the theme is perfect embodiment of romantic melody-long flexible, yearning upward, falling back, surging, retiring; it breathes as though it’s alive 

-melody appears in the violins with solo flute, first unaccompanied, then with repeated notes in low strings; striving upward, agitated then calming 

Transcendental Etude no. 10

Romantic. Liszt

-Explores every possibility of demanding piano technique, including doubled octave passages, rapid skips, intricate bass trecery, fast runs, massive chords, and widely seperated hands

-Some unusual harmonies and a great sense of surging, with occasional slightly quieter passages serving only to heighten the intensity of the remainder

-power and strength of music are astounding

Symphonic poem:  The Moldau

Romantic.   Smetana

-majestic tone poem that combines several components of romanticism: it is descriptive program music, and it expresses an interest in nature, and above all, nationalism
-title of work refers to a powerful river
-employs the rich color of a large orchestra: Note the use of harp, tuba, piccolo, bass drum, cymbals and triangle. With this vivid palette he creates scenes of contrasting atmosphere
-throughout flwoing water is suggested by smooth stepwise melodies

Symphonic poem:  “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”

Impressionist.  Debussy

-uses large orchestra but without trumpets, trombones, or timpani. The only percussion instruments are antique cymbals.

-strings play very quietly, created a hushed tone, in this context of a piece that is mostly quiet, the few passages of crescendo sound emotional and surging

-melody serves as a basis for much of the piece, it is shaped by a series of curves, gently rising and falling. Debussy deliberately modeled the shape of this melody on medieval plainchant, which he thought could serve as an inspiration for composers in the Modernist Era 

The Rite of Spring

Modern: Primitivist.   Stravinsky

-Uses largest orchestra ever used by Stravinsky and presents bold, daring, and often alarming sounds that shocked the first audiences
-Stravinsky’s idea was to suggest a succession of tribal rites 
-the music is brilliantly imaginative, colorful and striking

Pierrot Lunaire  

Modern: Expressionist.  Schoenberg

-Sets 21 poems by Albert Giraud. The songs represent Pierrot, a deeply troubled clown who seems to have a fascination with the mysterious powers of the moon
-Has been described as an Expressionist art form because it reveals the dark side of human nature and the power of inner emotional expression.
-It is an atonal composition, in a technique called Sprechstimme (speech-song) the singer merges singing with speaking and is accompanied by a small group of instrumentalists

Variations for Orchestra  

Modern: Serial music.   Schoenberg

-employs Schoenberg’s twelve-tone method, and features a tone row, the basic building block for twelve-tone music
-It is used four times to make up the them. the theme itself is in ternary form (it has three sections) and is made up of unusual and irregular phrases of five and seven measures 
-uses a large orchestra, but the scoring is very spare so that the effect is like chamber music in texture

“Putnam’s Camp”  from Three Places in New England  

Modern: “Polytonal–collage.”    Ives

-captures a child’s impression of a fourth of July picnic with singing and marching bands

-a collage of contrasting sounds and textures

-the effect is one of varying successions of vigorous, raucous music 

Fanfare for the Common Man

Modern: “20th C. Neoclassic.”   Copland

-this piece has become almost a sound icon for the spirit of america

-much of the piece’s bold, assertive mood comes from its instrumentation, as it is scored entirely for brass and percussion 

-the simplicity of its motives-using triads, fifths and octaves-gives an open spacious quality to the piece 

Maple Leaf Rag

Modern: Ragtime.    Joplin

-typical of much ragtime music written around the turn of the century

-a steady left-hand accompaniment keeps the march beat going throughout the piece while the right hand plays a lively, syncopated melody against this steady beat

-the sections are repeated in the usual pattern: AA BB A CC DD. Each section is 16 measures long 

Akhnaten, dance (excerpt)
 Modern: Minimalist.   Glass