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Symphony No.7 in A - 'Allegretto' (2nd Movement)

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Niall O' Flaherty

on 7 May 2014

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Transcript of Symphony No.7 in A - 'Allegretto' (2nd Movement)

Symphony No.7 in A - 'Allegretto' (2nd Movement)
Analysis
Opening - A minor chord, played by oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns. This establishes the key. Forte to pianissimo.
Analysis Cont.
Bar 75 (Letter A) - Full orchestral fortissimo. WW and horns play Theme 1, first violins play Theme 2 while the string section supports with arpeggios. Lower strings accompany with a triplet figure against quavers in second violins. Trumpets and timpani punctuate with loud tonic / dominant crotchets. Long dim. to end.
Analysis Cont.
Bar 139 - Imitaive phrases from the flute, oboe and bassoon. Beethoven closes the section with downward triplet scales through the orchestra, emphasisng the rhythmic quaver figure fortissimo leading directly into...
Ludwig van Beethoven
Born: December 1770, Bonn, Germany
Died: March 1827, Vienna, Austria

Beethoven wrote 9 symphonies in total. Work for this one began in 1811 and it was completed in 1812.

A Symphony is a work for orchestra in 4 movements. Mvmnts. 1 and 4 are traditionally Allegro, Mvmnt. 2 is quieter and slower and the 3rd is light and playful.
First performance took place in Vienna in 1813 with Beethoven conducting.

Composed for a "Classical Orchestra" - 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani & strings.
Written in 4 Movements:
I - Poco Sostenuto - Vivace
II - Allegretto
III - Presto - Assai meno presto
IV - Allegro con Brio

While the symphony is in A major, this movement is in A minor.
Main characteristic is the repeated crotchet / two quaver ostinato that continues throughout the piece.

3 Main Themes alongside this ostinato.
Bar 3 - Theme 1 on violas. Theme is 16 bars long: 2 phrases of 8 bars with the second phrase being repeated. This is against a strong rhythmic pulse of crotchet and 2 quavers which continues throughout the movement.
Bar 27 - Violas and cellos introduce Theme 2 while second violins play Theme 1. Cellos and DBs are continuing the regular pulse in an 8ve version of the opening rhythm. Theme 2 is also 16 bars long with the second 8 bars being repeated.
Bar 51 - At this point the first violins take Theme 1 an 8ve higher while the second violins play Theme 2, with the violas and cellos playing a quaver accompaniment with a modified version of the rhythm. Gradual crescendo as the music approaches the climax of this part of the movement.
Bar 67 - The oboes and bassoons add off-beat chords.
Bar 99 - 2 bar cadence is repeated quietly on oboes, clarinets bassoons and horns. One beat silence leads to second part of movement in A major (Bar 101).
Bar 101 - Theme 3 is much more lyrical. Descending and ascending crochets played by clarinets and bassoons moving to the other wind instruments. While melody is more lyrical Theme 1 is found in the cellos and double basses. A running figuration of quaver triplets in the first violins helps to maintain the restless mood of the piece.
Bar 117 - WW begin to take over the quaver triplets using sequeces and imitative phrases where the clarinet and horn answer one another and the music quietens with a move to C major
Bar 150 (Letter B) - ... a repeat of the opening themes piano with the woodwind playing Theme 2, the violins and violas answering each other in semiquaver arpeggio-like figures and the cellos and DBs playing Theme 1
Bar 173 - Section closes with a 10 bar tonic pedal in trumpet, timpani and cellos and DBs emphasising the basic pulse again. After a series of short sequences and as the music quietens down...
Bar 183 - ... the first violins begin a fugal passage based on the first bars of Theme 1 against running semiquaver motif in the second violins. After 8 bars cellos and DBs take this up with the violas playing the semiquaver figure. The upper strings continue with a syncopated counter-melody abose. WW joins and sudden surge felt as all strings play semiauqvers above a bass pedal leading to...
Analysis Cont.
Bar 214 (Letter C) - ... a full statement of the first 8 bars of Theme 1 in the tonic by the strings brass and timpani accompanied by semiquavers in the WW.
Bar 222 - After a one beat silence (similar to that at Bar 101) there is a repeat of the lyrical Theme 3, again in the tonic major (exacly like the section after bar 117 earlier). Shorter than before to prepare for the coda.
Bar 248 - Begins after 2 repeated cadences with the familiar opening rhythm of "question and answer" followed by the Coda where this idea continues to the end with cadences in C major and A minor one after the other, followed by a restatement of the Theme 1 (Bar 254) with falling and antiphonal phrases. This is the tonic again exactly as the movement begins i.e. with the oboes, clarinets, bassoons and horns forte with a quick diminuendo.
Information on Form
Rondo Form:
A
- A min, 2/4, Themes 1 & 2, Off beat chords, Beat of silence
B
- A maj, Themes 1 & 3, triplets (restless), imitation of triplets, C maj, downwards triplets to close section
A
- A min, Theme 1 (cello and DB) Theme 2 (WW), semiquaver figures, 10 bar tonic pedal
C
- Fugal passage based on Theme 1, Imitation, Violins Counter melody
A
- Tonic, 8 bar statement of A by strings and timp, WW semiquavers, one beat silence (first A section)
B
- A maj, Theme 3, shorter, prep. for Coda
Coda
- Starts after 2 cadences, Q and A, continuing cadential ideas, cadences in C maj / A min, restatement of A in tonic, Ends on beginning chord
Additional Information
Classical Traits - Modulation to related keys (relevant major / minor). Repetition of motifs.
Romantic Traits - Extended orchestra. Longer lyrical passages. Large dynamic range. Classical period would have a slow 2nd movement, this is marked allegretto.
Use of: Pedal Notes, Imitation, Ostinato, Sequencing, Fragmentation, Variation and Fugal Passages
Homework
Active listening with scores. Make rough notes on appearance of themes on a separate page.
Theme 1:
Theme 2:
Theme 3:
Full transcript