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Tchaikovsky and the Ballet
Transcript of Tchaikovsky and the Ballet
Ballet de cour: What ballet was called in the French Renaissance. Celesta: Described by Tchaikovsky as “something between a piano and a glockenspiel,” it is an instrument that looks like a piano and sounds like glockenspiel. Divertissement: A light piece of music for a small ensemble, usually accompanying dancing or singing. From the French for “diversion.” Intermedio: What ballet was called in the Italian Renaissance.
Masque: What ballet was called in the English Renaissance Pas de deux: The French for “dance for two,” this is a ballet dance for two dancers, one male and one female. Geographical Location Ballet was popular all across Europe from the time of the Renaissance on. It originated in Italy and was introduced to France by Catherine de Medici in the 16th century. It developed independently in Russia. Ballet was performed throughout the Renaissance in Italy, France and England, though it was called many different things (like "masque" in England and "ballet de cour" in France). In Russia and France, ballet experienced the most rapid advances in the 19th century. IN Russia, ballet schools were funded by the czar's family. In France, King Louis XIV provided patronage to aspiring ballet dancers. The Development of Ballet & Tchaikovsky's Work The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy From The Nutcracker, by Peter Tchaikovsky The famous ballerina Tamara Karsavina in 1911, as Russian ballet entered its "Golden Age" This is one of Edgar Degas' ballerina paintings, from the 19th century, when ballet reached a zenith in its popularity and creativity. 1 2 3 4 5 Five things to listen for The unique and ethereal timbre of the celesta Bass clarinet and other woodwinds provide contrasting sonority to celesta The short introduction of the pizzicato string instruments for four measures, followed by the celesta’s introduction of the main theme of the piece. The way that the bass clarinet echoes the main theme played by the celesta in a lower range. (At 0:39) The “question-and-answer” theme between the woodwinds and celesta, and the strings.
Note the grand, arching legato phrases. 1 2 3 4 5 Five things to know about Tchaikovsky Tchaikovsky was born in 1840, and he intended to be a sovernment official before he transferred into studying music at the Moscow Conservatory. He later became a teacher there. Tchaikovsky stayed as a music teacher at the Moscow Conservatory for 12 years. While there, he composed many of his best works. Although Tchaikovsky is arguably best known for his ballets (The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake), he also wrote operas (such as Eugene Onegin), symphonies, concertos and instrumental music for piano and violin. Tchaikovsky was the first Russian composer to have mass appeal to an European and American audience. In fact, he was so popular with the Americans that he was invited to take part at the opening ceremony of Carnegie Hall. Tchaikovsky was opposed by The Five, which was a collection of five famous Russian composers who met regularly in St. Petersburg in order to develop a distinct Russian style of music rather than mimicking European music. Before the 18th century, ballet was mainly a part of other forms of entertainment (eg. operas) for the kings and dukes of Europe. In the 18th century, ballet began to develop into what it is today. By the 19th century, when Marius Petipa created the structure behind the pas de deux and Tchaikovsky wrote his masterpieces, ballet was considered high art. The famous composer Tchaikovsky, who is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of ballet, was born in a small Russian town in 1840, trained at the Moscow Conservatory and became a teacher there. Although his personal life was fraught with disaster, his professional career exploded while he was at the Conservatory. Over the course of his life, Tchaikovsky wrote 8 operas and 3 balletss. In addition to writing music for The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake, he composed music for the ballet adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Tchaikovsky's ballets were wildly popular all throughout Western Europe, and were regularly performed in Paris, Berlin and Vienna. They were also popular in America. Tchaikovsky died in 1893. No one knows how he died, but some think that he committed suicide because of the turmoil in his personal life; he spent much of his life battling the fear of being outed as a homosexual and the social stigma of homosexuality. Tchaikovsky & the Ballet The featured ballet in Black Swan is Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake. and Exoticism in Opera Time Period Exoticism in opera became common in the Romantic period of music The romantic period commenced in 1825 and ended in 1900 Geographical Location Exoticism in opera was popular all throughout Western Europe It was especially popular in Italy and France because of the influence of Bizet and Puccini, who were respectively French and Italian Key Terms Exoticism: A musical style in which melodies, rhythms or instruments invoke the colour and atmosphere of a far-off, exotic land. Habanera: a type of Cuban dance-song that follows a “verse-and-chorus” form and is based on a descending chromatic scale Bizet, Carmen, and Exoticism in French Opera The goal of composers in the romantic era was to please their audience with picturesque settings of far off lands As a result, many operas were set in exotic lands, for example, Spain and Egypt George Bizet is one of the most famous composers of exotic opera He won a prestigious award called the Prix de Roma, which allowed him to live in Italy for 3 years of his life. After his time in Italy, he returned to France to write the first 3 operas of his career. They were: Set in Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka The Fair Maid of Perth Set in Scotland Set in Egypt Though these operas were not exceedingly popular, they established Bizet as a legitimate composer But then, in 1875, Bizet wrote his masterpiece: Carmen was the story of a beautiful Gypsy girl, Carmen, who meets a poor, honest soldier, Don Jose. Don Jose falls madly in love with Carmen and eventually gets ejected from the army for her. However, Carmen doesn’t love him back for very long, and runs off with a matador named Escamillo. Don Jose, mad with jealousy, kills Carmen Because of the realistic nature of the characters, Carmen was one of the most popular operas ever written. Though it is well loved today, it was not well lived when it was written, and this is likely the reason for Bizet's early death. Late Romantic Opera and Puccini Time Period The late Romantic era is usually considered to be the period between 1850-1900 Puccinis works are considered part of the late Romantic period or early post Romantic period, which is from 1900 onward Key Terms Versimo: Operatic “realism,” popular in Italy, which tried to bring naturalism into the lyric theatre. Geisha: In Japan, a woman trained in conversation, dance and music in order to entertain men. Gagaku: A type of traditional court music in Japan. Non drama: a major form of Japanese theatre since the late fourteenth century; based on philosophical concepts of Zen Buddhism. Kouta: A short Japanese song traditionally sung by a geisha for private or theatrical entertainment. Shamisen: A three-string, long-necked, Japanese lute Koto: A long, wooden zither with thirteen strings Kabuki theatre: a type of traditional entertainment characterized by brilliant costumes and spectacular drama. Shakuhachi: A Japanese end-blown flute. Geographical Location Puccini was an Italian composer but his work was popular all over Europe. His work often incorporated elements of Japanese culture Late Romantic Opera and Puccini. In the late romantic era, composers were starting to gravitate towards verisimo, the artistic idea of bringing naturalism and realism into the operatic theatre Operas began to be written so that they could be related to everyday life, and were down to earth This style was very popular in France and Germany Puccini was one of the most famous verisimo composers He was born in 1858, in Lucca, Italy, to a church organist father. As a result, his parents expected him to become am organist, but he himself wanted to be an opera writer He wrote 12 operas in his lifetime, including the famous La Boheme in 1896 and Madama Butterfly in 1904 Madama Butterfly was heavily influenced by Japanese culture Madama Butterfly is the story of a young Japanese geisha, nicknamed "Butterfly," who marries an American naval officer, named Pinkerton. They have a son together. Soon after their marriage, Pinkerton leaves Butterfly because he does not really love her. For three years Butterfly pines his absence. After three years, Pinkerton returns to Japan to tell Butterfly that he has married an American woman, Kate, and that he wants his son back. Butterfly, heartbroken and disillusioned, kills herself with her father's knife because she believes that "Who cannot live with honor must die with honor." thanks for listening!