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Pulcinella Suite

A whirlwind tour of the Sinfonia, Gavotta and Vivo by Stravinsky Daniel Laverick Framwellgate School Durham
by

Daniel Laverick

on 19 April 2010

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Transcript of Pulcinella Suite

Pulcinella Suite
Context
Serge Diaghilev formed the Ballet Russes,
a Russian company bringing the most talented dancers, designers and composers.
Igor Stravinsky wrote large scale ballets for the company in 1910, 1911, 1913
But then tragedy struck the group with the First World War
and the Russian Revolution interrupting their work.
Lacking resources, he asked an Italian composer by the name of Tommasini
to produce orchestrations of baroque keyboard sonatas by Scarlatti. This was a success!
Diaghilev repeated the formula giving Stravinsky pieces wrote by Pergolesi
Stravinsky adapted these pieces for a 32 piece chamber orchestra,
like one that you would see in the baroque period.
There are also 3 singers which perform from the orchestral pit
and a trombone part which is added, which sounds like something from a circus
Pulcinella was premiered by the Ballet Russes in 1920.
It has never entered mainstream ballet repertoire, with a weird plot
and disjointed successions of 21 tiny movements.
So it is more popularly known in concert halls, through the suite of 8 movements.
Sinfonia : Movement 1 - Overture of the ballet
Gavotta : Movement 6 : No.16 in ballet
Vivo : Movement 7 : No.17 in the ballet
Neoclassicism
20th century style popular between the two world wars.
This movement, was a reaction to the
overblown and very emotional romantic
period
They looked to create more
detatched and a 'pure' type of
music, so they went to the
basics of 18th century
music
The term 'Neoclassical' can be confusing since composer
usually found their inspiration from Baroque music in the 18th century (early)
compared to the Classical music in the 18th century (late).
Some composers call it 'Neobaroque'
Pulcinella is unusal among the Neoclassical works
as it is baded on 18th century music.
Composers, like Prokofiev wrote new material
Pulcinella isn't a pastiche, nor a set of arrangements.
Stravinsky described this as a 'Re-composition'
The orignal parts were two/three part textures, which
Stravinsky retained
He did add....
> Unusal timbres with innovative instrumentation
> Vivid contrast in dynamics
> Precise articulation marks
> Addition of syncopation with highlighting (accents, doubles)
> Adding ornaments and melodic decoration
> Thickening the musical texture with additional harmony, and new parts.
> Inserting of new bars to change phrase lengths.
> Destablizing cadences, dissonanes and weakening the bass line, to create hamony ambiguity
Sinfonia
The Sinfonia is in Rounded Binary Form
Two main sections which are based on similar material
The first 15 bars are in G Major (the tonic) - Section A
The longer section (15-44) begins in the dominant and then arrives back at the tonic through a range of keys. - Section B
The opening section though returns at bar 33 - Section A - which rounds off the rounded binary section
This piece was originally the first movement of a Trio sonata by Domenico Gallo.
Stravinksy adds detailed performing directions.
including bowing in parts.

Stravinksy though retains Gallo's first violin and
Cello parts largely intact. The second violin part
is treated more freely.
Baroque trio sonatas contain a fourth part, a continuo part. It is not needed in the Pulcinella suite. The orchestra offers chances for doubling parts and adding extra notes to chords.
For example, Stravinsky in bar 3 adds an
A to the G major chord of beat 1, and G to the
D major chord of beat 2.

He uses this to have Bare 5th chords
G - D - A.

Second Oboe repeates a low B throughout this Bar, adding
extra thickness
Stravinsky also adds new countermelodies to the texture (See basson, second violin and solo cello parts).

He also changes the timing of the bar by adding a 2/4 and a 3/4 which = 5/4.

This allows the repition of Gallo's cadence figure.
Stravinsky adds one more addition, a whole bar this time. Bar 18.
It is based on the same cadence figure as the one seen in bar 10-12
He still adds new notes and enriches the texture

Bars 24-26, the original lines of Gallo, are assigned
to the second violins and violas, so the Violins can
be given a newly invented counter-melody of a
descending scale that intertwines with Gallo's suspensions.
In most binary form movements, the second sections modulates more widely.
These keys include....
G Major - 21

A Major - 22

B Minor - 23

Circle of Fifths - 24 - 27

B minor - 26(4) - 28

E Minor - 29

D Major - 30

A Minor - 31

G Major (Tonic)
- 32
Bar 33 - The original sections returns, but
without any definement, with only the horns and bassons playing. The loud tutti entry of 35 though defines that we are back in section A - which is in G Major.
The Sinfonia has a largely homphonic texture, with a main melody supported by subordinate parts.
The thickness varies throughout the piece from 3 part writing (29-30), to passages like the beginning which are very thick in texture.
Gavotta
This was originally part of a Keyboard suite by.....
Carlo Ignazio Monza
The Gavotta is a fairly fast duple metre dance.

Monza had 6 variations on his Gavotta, but Stravinsky only used the
first and fourth
This is in Simple Binary Form!
The Gavotte's A section (1-10) is established in the tonic key of D Major and modulates to the dominant.
The B section, like in the Sinfonia, modulates more widely
G Major - 11 - 14
A Major (repeat of G) - 15 - 18

F# Minor - 19 - 20

E Minor - 21 - 22

D major - 23 -24

Final 8 bars remain in the tonic
(D major)
Gavotte
The variations are similar, being in binary form
The second Variation however
has shorter note values, so can be
compresed into half of the number of bars
Monza's original work has a mainly two part texture except in bars 19-26, where the left hand has chords.
Stravinsky adds many distinctive additions.

For example, the first ten bars, the melody is in the first oboe part, the alberti bass
is in the left hand, and everything else is added by Stravinsky.
Later additions are bassoon glissandi (bar 15) and the horn part
at bar 11.
Bars 25-28
Stravinsky moves the melody in sustained notes above and below, and then adds an inverted tonic pedal, which weaked the effect of a perfect cadence.

The last 4 bars are what Monza wrote.
Notice the original trill being notated in full.
Variation 1
This is in the style of a gigue, which is a lively baroque dance in 6/8.
At the beginning, the oboe plays Monza's melody, with the second horn playing the bass part which has been slightly simplifed. Stravinsky adds a countermelody to the first horn
In bars 43-46
Monza's very simple I and IV harmonies, are defined and clashed by Stravinsky
having an entire tonic chord in the brass, which clashes with chord IV
at bar 44.
Contrapuntal interest is then added to the piece at
bar 51, with the addition of oboe 2 and basson 1.
Variation II
The melody is shared between the Horn in F and the flute.
The bassoons have the alberti-like bass accompaniment.
Bar 69, highlights how Stravinsky likes to weaken cadences.
Monza has a Ic - V - I progressions in A Major. Stravinsky undermines that
modulation, with retaining a G natural in the bassoon part.
Stravinsky also uses octave displacement to change the shape of the melody.
To finish : Stravinsky adds some exuberant
ornamentation, with upward rushing scales in bars 73 - 76 - 78. He also adds extra countermelodies
within the second and first oboe parts.

These though are no in the baroque style, with unprepared dissonances, and consecutive 5ths.

These show it is a re-composition, not pastiche!
ViVo
Full transcript