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(#12) The Symphony
Transcript of (#12) The Symphony
& The Rise of the Symphony
The development of the symphony genre
It was during the Classical era that symphonies developed as we know them. Although the style, number of movements, and the forms employed today have changed, the genre has remained identifiable for over 200 years.
Movements of the Symphony
A Classical Symphony generally has four movements.
Sonata form is a very standard form. The opening movement of most symphonies is sonata form, and this movement is generally considered an "intellectual" movement.
Other Classical Music Forms
Theme and Variations
Minuet Form- written in the style inspired by the minuet dance, but intended for listening rather than dancing. This form is often used for middle movements of symphonies. Usually triple meter with a form of: aa bb or aa' bb'
Rondo- The rondo is a relatively simple form in which the same material is repeated with different material in between. Could be: ABA, ABACA, or ABACABA.
Example: Haydn Symphony No. 95. Mvt 4. can be diagrammed as a rondo.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart was born in Salzburg, in central Austria, which today is famous for its music festivals.
One reason that the symphony developed was that as more and more people went to concerts, there developed a need for a genre that would become a substantial part of each concert.
With the development of symphonies, came the expansion and development of symphony orchestras.
So what is a symphony?
I. Opening Movement: fast/ moderate
sonata form (sometimes with an intro)
II. Slow Movement: slow/ very slow
sonata form, variations, rondo, others
III. Minuet and Trio: moderate tempo
IV. Closing Movement: fast/very fast tempo
rondo or sonata form
But, this template was only a
general form and there were lots
of exceptions to this pattern.
When all is said and done, sonata form is a complex ABA form.
|: A :| B A'
What makes sonata form different from regular ABA
form, however, is the nature and function of each
musical section: in sonata form, we have the
exposition, the development, and the
In the exposition, the main material is presented.
First, the "primary theme" is presented in the home key. It may be a tune or a group of motifs that will grow into a tune.
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Examples of Direct Modulation
After the primary theme, there is a key change, or
modulation, which occurs in the bridge, or transition between the first theme and second.
Next is the secondary theme, that contrasts
with the primary theme.
Then the closing theme, which
makes a solid ending prior
to the big repeat.
The development heightens the tensions set up
by the constrasting themes and keys of the exposition.
Now the themes are "developed," that is broken up, recombined, reorchestrated, extended, and passed through more turbulent keys.
The general feeling is of turmoil.
After considerable tension has been built up, the last
modulation takes us to the first key we started with (the home key).
The tool that takes us to the home key
is the retransition.
A step-by-step review of the exposition,
except, it stays in the tonic key all the way through. (This means that the secondary themes stay in the home key).
Sometimes there is extra finishing material at the end, called a "coda" if it's a lot of material, and a "codetta if it's not so much material.
Mozart Symphony No. 40, Mvt 1. (an example of sonata form)
Carnival of Venice (Theme and Variations)
Mozart showed extraordinary talent at a young age and he and his sister Nannerl toured all over Europe as small children. Mozart's first symphony premiered in London when he was eight years old.
It was actually harder for Mozart to make a living as an adult musician. He started working in the court of Salzburg, which was ruled by an archbishop. The archbishop was a disagreeable sort, so Mozart left (not without an ugly scene) and became a freelance musician.
He wrote symphonies, concertos, and operas, and taught. Everyone sensed he was a genius, but his music was difficult and he was somewhat of a difficult personality. He was also financially irresponsible. He dropped out of popularity for unknown reasons, however, and after 1787, his life became a struggle.
In 1791, he scored a hit with his opera "The Magic Flute" and just when it seemed as though he was going to be financially stable again, he died at age 35.
from The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute
Franz Joseph Haydn
This opera, premiered in 1791, is done in the Singspiel style, which means it uses both spoken dialogue and singing, not recitative-aria.
It is also written in German, rather than Italian. Mozart embraced the language of his own people for this opera.
The Magic Flute, aside from being a charming opera with a good story, is famous for using Masonic elements. Mozart and the librettist of the opera, Schikaneder, were both freemasons. The opera can also be an allegory promoting enlightenment values.
For example, the Queen of the Night is supposed to represent
obscurantism, or perhaps the anti-Masonic Empress Maria Theresa, whereas Sarastro is supposed to represent rulers who rule using the principles of wisdom, reason, and virtue.
The story itself is supposed to represent the progression of mankind from superstition to enlightenment.
Don Giovonni is an opera in two acts by Mozart, with the libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. It was billed as a "drama giocoso," which suggested both serious and comedic elements in the opera. It premiered in 1787.
Don Giovanni is based upon the legend of Don Juan- a fictional libertine and seducer. In the opening scene of the opera, Don Giovanni rapes/seduces (depending on the interpretation) the Commendatore's daughter Donna Anna. The Commendatore appears to claim vengeance on Don Giovanni, who kills him.
At the end of the opera, Don Giovanni's hubris and wicked ways end up condemning him to Hell.
Unlike so many musicians, Haydn did not come from a family of professional musicians. His father was a wheelwright in an Austrian village.
As a boy, Haydn had a beautiful voice and was sent to Vienna to be a choirboy. After his voice broke, he spent several difficult years as a freelance musician before obtaining the position of Kapellmeister in Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy's court.
Haydn made his career during a time of change, when some musicians were still making their livings from court patronage, and some were making their own way by having works performed at concert halls.
Haydn's output is staggering. He is probably our most prolific composer, having written 104 symphonies, 83 string quartets, numerous divertimentos, trios, sonatas, and over 80 operas.
In the 1780's he was also friends with Mozart, and the two actually played together in an amateur string quartet.
Haydn Trumpet Concerto in Eb
means "choir master,"
and refers to someone
who was in charge of the
music making in a court or
Magic Flute Synopsis
A symphony is an elaborate work for orchestra,
usually in four movements, the first of which is
traditionally in sonata form.
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The 2nd movement
Mozart Requiem, Lacrimosa
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String Quartet Op 76. No. 2
Queen of the Night Aria, from Mozart's Magic Flute.
Dialogue is about Mother wanting to regain her powers after Sarastro is killed. She tells her daughter to kill Sarastro to prove her love for her mother.
The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame about me!
All the bonds of nature,
If not through you
Sarastro becomes pale! (as death)
Hear, Gods of Revenge,
Hear a mother's oath!
If Sarastro does not through you feel
The pain of death,
Then you will be my daughter nevermore.
Disowned may you be forever,
Abandoned may you be forever,
Destroyed be forever
Similar to the Ritornello form, common in the Baroque concerto. The difference being that the "refrain" in the rondo (the A section) is always in the same key.