Unit 8 Revolutionary Music (Chapter 33 (Disrupting the Conversation:…
Unit 8 Revolutionary Music
Disrupting the Conversation: Beethoven and the Symphony in Transition
Beethoven's nine symphonies exemplify his experiments with Classical conventions. Best known is his Fifth, built on a famous four-note motive that permeates all four movements.
The transitional place between convention and disruption is one major element that keeps Beethoven's music so compelling more than two centuries after it was written.
Beethoven's music is grounded in the Classical tradition but pushes its limits in a way that helped define the emerging Romantic sensibility.
The symphony provided Beethoven with the ideal medium through which to address his public.
His first two symphonies are closest in style to the two Classical masters who preceded him, but with his third, the Eroica, Beethoven began to expand the possibilities of the genre - the work was originally dedicated to Napoleon, and it was quickly interpreted as a personal narrative of individual heroism.
The Fifth Symphony is popularly viewed as a model of the genre. Perhaps the best-known of all symphonies, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 can be heard not just as a standard four-movement cycle but as a unified whole that progresses from conflict and struggle to victorious ending.
The finale of the Ninth, or Choral, Symphony, in which vocal soloists and chorus join the orchestra, is a setting of Friedrich von Schiller's "Ode to Joy," a ringing prophecy of the time when "all people will be brothers.
The monumental fourth movement of the Fifth Symphony bursts forward without pause, once again bringing back the unifying rhythmic motive. This unification makes the symphony an early example of cyclical form, in which a theme or musical idea from one movement returns in a later one.
The Symphonic Revolution and Beethoven
3 periods to his music- early, middle, late
Middle- (1803-1814) Symphony 3-8
Originally dedicated to Napoleon
Personal narrative of individual heroism
Symphony 3- “Eroica”- Begins revolution of changing symphonic sound
Symphony 9- adds choir (chorale) with final “Ode to Joy”
Early- (until 1802) Symphony 1 & 2
In style of Mozart & Haydn
Music transitioned from Classical form to Romantic sensibilities
Beethoven wrote 9 Symphonies
Beethoven and Politics
Many composers responded to political climate- they are artists
“Ode to Joy” finale widely used for political aims
Intense, collective endeavor toward a common purpose
Beethoven a supporter of democracy
Napoleon (at first)
Great Britain democratic parliament system (Wellington’s Victory)
Symphony 1 - Before the Revolution
Style of Mozart & Haydn
Form- Sonata Allegro
Begins to explore
Winds becoming more prominent
Musical joke- beginning
Changing Tempo within the form
Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21 (1801)- Movement 1 Focus
Symphony 3 - Uprisings Begin
Classical tradition but…
Uprising Begins with...
Form- Scherzo with a Trio- 1st time Trio appears in a Symphony
Length- twice as long as Mozart & Haydn and scrutinized for in reviews
Harmony & Emotion- 2nd movement is a funeral march
Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major, Op. 55 “Eroica” (Heroic)- 1803-4- Movement 3 Focus
Symphony 5 - Out of Conflict Comes Victory
Four movements but a unified piece
Conflict in movement 1 to victory in movement 4
II. Andante con moto; theme and variations (two themes), A-flat minor
III. Allegro; scherzo and trio, C minor
I. Allegro con brio; sonata-allegro form, C minor
IV. Allegro; sonata-allegro form, C major
Symphony 9 - With Victory comes freedom and new ideas
1st example of using voices/choir in a symphony
“Ode to Joy”- poem by Schiller
His greatest work & one greatest works in classical music world
Large production- more musicians
Symphony No. 9 in d minor, Op. 125 (1822-1824)- “Ode to Joy”
Romantic era established
Listening Guide 23
Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67
Second movement: Andante con moto
Related key: A-flat minor
Flowing triple meter
Variations, with two themes
Varied rhythms, melodies, harmony (major and minor)
Two contrasting themes: smooth first theme
Rising second theme build on four-note idea
Warm strings, brilliant woodwinds, powerful brass
Serene theme and variations
Third movement: Scherzo, Allegro
Some fugal treatment in the trio
Plus a link to the final movement
Dramatic C-minor scherzo
Trio in C major
Wide-ranging dynamic contrasts
Quick triple meter throughout
Insistent focus on four-note rhythm
Plucked (pizzicato) strings at the return of the scherzo
Timpani in transition to the last movement
Themes in low strings
Wide-ranging, ascending scherzo theme
More conjunct, quick trio theme
First movement: Allegro con brio
C minor, with dramatic shifts between minor and major tonality
Four-note rhythmic idea (short-short-short-long) shapes the movement
Concise sonata-allegro from, with extended coda
Repetition, sequences, and variation techniques
Fiery four-note motive, the basis for thematic development
Contrasting, lyrical second theme
Wide dynamic contrasts
Forceful, energetic tempo
Fate knocking at the your door (Beethoven’s description)
Fourth movement: Allegro (without pause from movement III)
Cyclic (return of material from earlier movements)
Remains in major throughout
fp (forte/piano) effects
Intense and spirited
Very fast duple meter
Four-note rhythmic idea
Added instruments (piccolo, contrabassoon, trombones)
Triumphant theme outlining C-major triad
Energetic second theme
Extended coda- LONG final ending
War Is Hell: Berg and Expressionist Opera
Arnold Schoenberg and his students Alban Berg and Anton Webern became known as Second Viennese School, or modernist composition, in the first half of the 1900s.
Berg's music is rooted in the post-Romantic tradition, but he also drew on the twelve-tone system devised by his teacher.
Berg's most famous work is Wozzeck, and Expressionist opera based on a play about a disturbed man who moves between reality and hallucination in a society that has turned its back on him.
Art is sometimes designed to evoke ideal beauty, or to create a place of inspiration beyond the everyday. But other times the artist's goal is to shine a light on social problems and raise questions about inequality and the oppression of disenfranchised people.
"Protest music" may be simple and easily performed as a resource to rally large groups in support of a cause, but it can also be extremely complex and experimental.
Having accepted the necessity of moving beyond the existing tonal system, Schoenberg sought a unifying principle that would take its place. He found this in a strict technique that he called "the method of composing with twelve tones" - that is, with the twelve chromatic pitches, each one carrying equal weight.
Any composition that uses Schoenberg's method, also known as serialism, is based on a particular arrangement of the twelve tones called a tone row.
A transposed row keeps the same order of intervals but begins on a different pitch.
In inversion, the movement of the notes is in the opposite direction - up instead of down, and vice versa - so that the row appears upside down.
Retrograde is an arrangement of the pitches in reverse order, so that the row comes own backward, and retrograde inversion turns the row upside down and backward.
Social Advocacy and Musical Innovation
Replacement of tonality- 12 tone method
Artist’s shed light on social problems
2nd Viennese School
Alban Berg & Anton Webern Students
1st Viennese School- Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven
Schoenberg's pioneering efforts in the breakdown of the traditional tonal system and his development of the twelve-tone method revolutionized musical composition. His innovations were taken further by his most gifted students, Alban Berg and Anton Webern. These three composers are often referred to as the Second Viennese School (the first being the school of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven).
Serialism- method of composing with 12 chromatic pitches (all important)
Tone row- Arrangement of the 12 pitches
Schoenberg developed a system to replace tonality
Alternate forms of tone row
Transposition: same order of intervals; starts different pitch
Inversion: Notes move in opposite direction (up instead of down)- upside down
Retrograde: Reverse order or backwards
Retrograde inversion: Upside down & backward
Alban Berg (1885-1935)
Rose to fame with Wozzeck
Active teacher and promoter of Schoenberg school
Fought in WW1
Works banned in Germany during WW2
Born in Vienna, studied with Schoenberg
Also known for Violin concerto, Lulu, Lyric Suite
Marie- common-law wife of Wozzeck
Son of Wozzeck & Marie
Modern- 12 tone technique & Romantic- German romantic expressionism
Originally a play by Buchner- expressionist play on real life events; Berg wrote libretto
Sprechstimme: speak singing
Opera in 3 acts; 5 scenes; orchestral interludes
Leitmotifs- melody that repeats is symbolic
Wozzeck unhappy in love affair with Marie
Marie cheats on him and Wozzeck cuts her throat.
Wozzeck did this for money
Wozzeck goes insane and returns to her death scene and
Wozzeck a soldier, but is a victim of evil Captain & Doctor- they performed experiments on him.
Ending is the child of the 2 notified of his mother’s death.
Listening Guide 46
Berg: Wozzeck, Act III, scene 4: By the pond
Both tonal and atonal language
Dissonant and free-flowing
Intensely emotional vocal line, supported by dissonance and surging dynamics
Movement alternates between metric and free-flowing
Eerie mood created by a celeste and unusual instrument combinations
Colorful orchestral effects
Use of Sprechstimme (speechlike melody)
Reality Shows: Adams and Contemporary Opera
Operatic composers sometimes choose historical topics, seeking to convey emotional truths through semi-fictional accounts of past events.
American composer John Adam's eclectic approach combines elements of minimalism with traits of neo-Romanticism, forging a post-minimalist style in his recent opera Doctor Atomic.
"Whenever serious art loses track of its roots in the vernacular, then it begins to atrophy" -John Adams
In recent years, several composers have taken recent historical events as the basis for operatic treatment. Operas are not documentaries, however: much of the content of a "historical opera" is based on the creativity of librettist and composer, rather than on documented dialogue between real-life individuals.
The goal of these works is to evoke the intensity and complexity of the time and the emotions felt by the historical actors, rather than to provide a factually accurate amount. One noteworthy example is Doctor Atomic, a collaboration between composer John Adams and provocative playwright/director Peter Sellars.
Minimalism has exerted a great influence on a variety of composers. Perhaps the most versatile of these "post-minimalists" is John Adams, whose works have gained wide appeal in large part because of their combination of accessible melodies and harmonies with intense, deeply expressive contemporary devices. Adams infuses the minimalist style with traits of neo-Romanticism, illustrated in Doctor Atomic.
Not a documentary
Deeper truths found in his stories based on fiction
History represented in opera
John Adams (born in 1947)
1972 moved to San Francisco
Taught at San Francisco Conservatory
Advocate for contemporary music
Neo-Romantic- accessible & deeply expressive
Educated at Harvard
Steeped in serialism, but listened to rock in dorm room
Stage works often topical and controversial
For his third opera, Adams chose as his subject the awe-inspiring creation of the atomic bomb by a team of scientists, headed by physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, working at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico.
The opera focuses on the last days and hours before the first atomic test on July 16, 1945. In Act I, chorus members sing of their hopes and fears about the invention - a twenty-one-kiloton atomic weapon.
In Act II, we learn that the test will go on while scientists worry about fallout: no one really knows what to expect, but one team member speculates that the atmosphere itself might catch on fire.
Tension mounts as the chorus sings, "At the sight of this," a dramatic text from the Bhagavad Gita describing the movement when Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, reveals himself as the Supreme God.
The opera's last scene depicts the moments before the detonation, when a rocket sends out a two-minute warning and Oppenheimer sings, :Lord, these affairs are hard on the heart."
Hugely complex subject, combining science and art & criticized at the time
Listening Guide 65
Adams: Doctor Atomic, "At the sight of this"
Setting: Los Alamos, New Mexico 1945
Librettist: Peter Sellars
Short, choppy phrases with declaimed text, much repetition of ideas
Syncopated, with many offbeat accents
Verse/refrain structure with repeated sections and text
Mysterious electronic sounds
Prominent timpani and brass
Chorus and orchestra
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 11 - Hindu scripture
Focuses on the last days and hours before the first atomic test in 1945
Hopes and fears, awe and trepidation
Sounding a Nation: Grieg and Orchestral Nationalism
Prominent types of Romantic program music include the concert overture, incidental music to a play, and the symphonic poem (a one-movement work).
Political unrest throughout Europe stimulated schools of nationalistic composers in Russia, Scandinavia, Spain, England, and Bohemia.
Edvard Grieg looked to the folklore of his native Norway in many of his works. His incidental music for Peer Gynt was written to accompany a play by Henrik Ibsen about this folk legend, then was excerpted into an independent suite.
Since the nineteenth century, the notion of community has been strongly tied to the concept of nationality: a distinctive culture and heritage shared by people who live in a common territory. But although individuals are associated with a nation by birth or immigration, they can choose whether or not - and how - to highlight that association through their music.
Some operatic overtures became popular as separate concert pieces, which in turn pointed the way to a new type of overture not associated with opera: a single-movement concert piece for orchestra that might evoke a land- or seascape, or embody a patriotic or literary idea.
Another type of program music, incidental music, usually consists of an overture and a series of pieces performed between the acts of a play and during important scenes.
Eventually, composers felt the need for a large orchestral form that would serve the Romantic era as the symphony had served the Classical. Franz Liszt created the symphonic poem, the nineteenth century's most original contribution to large forms. A symphonic poem is program music for orchestra in one movement, with contrasting sections that develop a poetic idea, suggest a scene, or create a mood.
The symphonic poem, also called tone poem, gave composers the flexibility they needed for a big single-movement work.
In nineteenth-century Europe, political conditions so encouraged the growth of nationalism that it became a decisive force within the Romantic movement. The pride of conquering nations and the struggle for freedom of suppressed ones gave rise to strong emotions that inspired the works of many creative artists.
Romantic composers expressed their nationalism in a variety of ways. Some based their music on the songs and dances of their people, others wrote dramatic works based on folklore or peasant life.
In associating music with the love of homeland, composers sought to give expression to the hopes of millions of people.
Several regions throughout Europe gave rise to a national voice through music.
Since the nineteenth century, sense of community tied to the concept of nationality
Distinctive culture and heritage shared by people who live in a common territory
Political conditions in nineteenth-century Europe encouraged the growth of nationalism
Music builds community cohesion
Composers expressed nationalism in a variety of ways
Dramatic works based on folklore or peasant life
Works celebrating national heroes, historic events, or scenic beauty
Basing music on songs and dances of their people
Political expression sometimes banned
Nationalism in the Czech Republic - Dvorak
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
Brahms helped him become famous
Famous during lifetime
Used folk music of Moravia and Bohemia
Write symphonic, chamber, concerti, and operas
New World Symphony- 2nd movement
Slavonic Dance #8
Nationalism in Scandinavia - Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Stipend from Norwegian government allowed him to focus on composition
Goal was to create art accessible to all the public
Born in Norway, attended Leipzig Conservatory
International figure, notable for lyricism and use of folk music and dances
Nationalism in England - Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams
Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Gramophone recordings- important for symphony
Influences from all of Europe- not just England
Enigma Variations- Nimrod
Pomp & Circumstance
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
English folk songs
Wrote operas, ballets, chamber music, symphonic music vocal pieces
The Lark Ascending
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Nationalism in Spain - Manuel de Falla
Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
Studied piano & taught
Wrote operas, piano, orchestral, choral, chamber, guitar works
Three Cornered Hat
Nights in Spanish Gardens
Listening Guide 33
Grieg: Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1 (Op. 46), excerpts
Date: 1874-75 (play); 1888 (suite)
Genre: incidental music to a play by Henrik Ibsen
In the Hall of the Mountain Kingg
Grieg composed twenty-two pieces as incidental music for the play
Play by Henrik Ibsen based on moralistic Norwegian folk tale
Later extracted eight of them, created two four-movement suites
Peer, teenager, is lazy and scoundrel to women. He abducts and seduces a young girl who is the daughter of the Mountain King
Sisters vow to avenge her. Peer becomes a fugitive and takes up with a girl he once loved (Solveig).
But he eventually heads off for more adventures for many years, including cavorting with an Arabian girl, Anitra.
He returns home many years later to find that Solveig, now a middle-aged woman, is still faithful to him.
E major, with many harmonic inflections
Grows to a loud climax
Lilting 6/8 meter
Pastoral instruments (flute, oboe, horn) are prominent
Dreamy melody in an inverted arch shape, with decorative grace notes
In the Hall of the Mountain King
A single theme repeated over and over
Huge crescendo and accelerando to a dramatic ending
Short, staccato notes and offbeat accents
Pizzicato strings and staccato woodwind effects
Offbeats in brass and percussion
Ghostly melody in two phrases, with a rising accent line
Classic Rethinking: Bartok and the "Neo-Classical" Turn
Twentieth-century composers used more authentic folk and traditional elements in their nationalistic music than nineteenth-century composers did.
Hungarian composer Bela Bartok collected traditional songs and dances from his native land and incorporated elements from them into his compositions.
Bartok's music displays new scales and rhythmic ideas and a modern, polytonal harmonic language, all set in Classical forms. In his programmatic Concerto for Orchestra, the whole ensemble is the "soloist."
In the last few decades, a "world music" recording industry has exposed contemporary listeners to more and more musical variety - often combining different traditions and modifying them to suit what producers think will appeal to a particular audience.
Neo-Classical composers turned away from the symphonic poem and the Romantic attempt to bring music closer to poetry and painting. They preferred absolute to program music, and they focused attention on craftsmanship and balance, an affirmation of the Classical virtues of objectivity and control but also of twentieth-century ideals of progress through science.
The new students of folklore (ethnomusicologists, who study music in its cultural and global context) took recording equipment into the field to preserve the songs exactly as the village folk sang them.
Bela Bartok reconciled the traditional songs of his native Hungary with the main currents of European music, thus creating an entirely personal language. His search for authentic folk music led him to collect, with his colleague Zoltan Kodaly, more than 2,000 songs and dances representing various Eastern European cultures.
Music characteristics meaningful in a certain culture may change meaning when added to another art form
Departed from conventions of 19th century music
Integration of traditional & folk music into experimental art music
Captured original music
Composers tried to retain that idea is new music
Phonographs were taken to villages to preserve songs as they were meant to be performed
Bartok & Kodaly collected over 2,000 Eastern European songs & dances
20th Century Neo-Classicism
Revolt again romantic music & symphonic poem
Revival of older forms- fugue & suite
Revolt against traditions and return to 18th century music idealism of Bach, Handel, & Vivaldi
Hungarian Nationalism - Bela Bartok (1881-1945)
Toured remote villages of Hungary to collect native songs
These songs served as “raw” material for his neo-classical style
Moved to New York City in 1940 during WWII
Born in Hungary
Used the features of Eastern European traditional music while adhering to Classical form
Listening Guide 54
Bartok: Interrupted Intermezzo, from Concerto for Orchestra
Genre: Orchestral concerto
Elegia, Andante non troppo; in three episodes
Interrupted Intermezzo, Allegretto; rondo-like form
Game of Pairs, Allegretto scherzando; A-B-A' form
Pesante/Presto; sonata-allegro form
Introduction, Allegro non troppo/Allegro vivace; sonata-allegro form
Fourth movement: Interrupted Intermezzo
Polytonal and atonal harmonies
Rondo-like structure (A-B-A'-C-B'-A'')
Shifting meters (2/4, 5/8, 3/4, 5/8)
Nostalgic and sentimental
Violent interruption at idea of Nazi invasion
Three contrasting themes: folklike and pentatonic (A)
Broad and lyrical (B)
Harsh descending line in clarinet (C)
Solo woodwinds featured (oboe, clarinet, flute)
Darkly colored (violas)
Commissioned in the summer of 1943
Followed by a broad string theme (B)
Mood disrupted by clarinet melody borrowed from Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 (C)
Opening tune evokes Hungarian folk song in pentatonic (A)
Two opening themes eventually return (B’, A’)