Listening 2

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  1. O Magnum Mysterium
    Listening: O Magnum Mysterium

    • It's part of a larger motet that was written for Christmas
    • Written by Giovanni Gabrieli 
    • Harmonies are still old fashioned but alternating sound, monophonic sound, and monodic style are new

    Uses two choirs 

    • Each has 3 voice parts 4 instrumental parts plus organ
    • Homophonic texture
    • Instrumental and vocal soloists singing monody
  2. The coronation of Poppea
    Listening: The coronation of poppea 

    • Written by Claudio Monteverdi
    • Opera (based around monody and a very varied pallet of monody)

    Story is about Poppea a mistress of the roman emperor Nero. 

    • Poppea wants to have his wife deposed and his advisor (also female) killed
    • She succeeds by seducing Nero and becomes crowned empress of Rome


    Poppea trying to convince Nero to stay after a night of lovemaking. She convinces him go return

    • Nero has an extended passage where he is evading her called an arioso (mini aria)
    • He eventually agrees to return 


    Nero leaves and Poppea shows here true colors with a "victory dance"
  3. Dido and Aeneas
    Listening: Dido and Aeneas 

    • Written by Henry Purcell
    • His only true opera (and his most famous)

    • No extremely difficult passages 
    • Performed at a girls school
    • He tailors the idea of an opera and fixes it to English

    Very hard to do


    From the Aeneid

    • Aeneas (man/ soldier) and the queen of Carthage (dido) fall in love. 
    • Jove (king of gods) tells Aeneas to move on
    • He leaves and dido commits suicide 


    • Dido expresses doubts to her confidante Belinda
    • Dido is about to kill herself with a knife  
    • Vocal line goes down

    First sign of a lament 

    Aria - " when I am layed"

    • Usually known as Dido's lament
    • Very mournful 
    • Words are repeated a number of times to allow the music to develop
    • Binary form AABB

    B section makes the messo soprano sing very high (this is done on purpose to make her sound insane/uncomfortable) 

    • Features a descending ground bass
    • Lots of dissonance

    Chorus - " with drooping wings"

    Dido and her couriers mourning together

    Even more meaningful because the chorus was for the match before

    • Descending lines with lots of dissonance
    • General style is a madrigal (polyphonic with homophony and word painting) but still has rhythmic accuracy and tonal harmony (some polyphony in small sections) that characterize baroque opera
  4. Suite
    Listening: Suite (canzona, balletto, corrente, and passacaglia)

    Suite is actually a group of stylized dance movements so it is really not a suite

    By Frescobaldi

    Miniature suite made up of 2 short dances (balletto and corrente) and closed with a set of variations (passacagila) 

    It is opened as Frescobaldi may have done why one of his canzonas

    Canzona - opens with a point of imitation (imitative polyphony)

    • A canzona is a sectionalized contrapuntal piece
    • Sections of imitative polyphony

    • 4 entries of this theme before a new theme is introduced
    • New theme forms counterpoint with the first and he brings the two together to form a cadence

    Balletto and corrente 

    Two related dances (tones in bass line are same although the rhythm and meter  are different)

    This changing of meter from one dance to another becomes common in suites from the late renaissance on (see pavan and galliard

    Binary form (both are)


    Set of variations on a brief series of chords/ bass line

    Repeating baseline/harmonic pattern

    Harmonies and bass line are from vocal music

    • He does change the bass line while retaining the harmonies
    • He is great at creating variations
  5. Violin concerto in G
    • Listening:  Violin concerto in G, La Stravaganza, Op. 4, No. 12
    • Vivaldi

    First movement - spiritoso e non presto

    • Triple meter
    • Violins echo each other brightly

    Lots of SEQUENCE

    Repeated melodic motive at different pitch levels

    Opens with Ritornello in 3 short segments

    Catches attention and sets tempo

    Very fast violin movement 

    Jumping from string to string and fast playing

    Ritornellos get more and more free until it pulls back together at the end

    Second movement - largo

    • In ground bass variation form (see below)
    • Real melody is in the bass and cellos where a moving theme repeats

    We double listen to the violin and the bass

    • Violin variations add in 
    • Continuo drops out except for violins who play the ground bass figure

    Solo violin shows off expressive capability

    Third movement - allegro

    Fast and in Ritornello form 

    Orchestra enters later creating the Ritornello
  6. Brandenburg concerto no 5
    • randenburg concerto no. 5 
    • bach

    For flute, violin, harpsichord, and orchestra

    • First time that harpsichord was used in an orchestra as a solo instrument
    • Harpsichord part was also completely written out NOT FIGURED BASS

    • Concerto grosso 
    • Lots of alternation between orchestra and soloist
    • Rapid movement through circle of fifths

    First movement - allegro

    • Ritornello form
    • Motoristic rhythm
    • Changes key ALOT
    • Lots of sequence
    • Solo instruments form imitative polyphony with each other

    • Introduce new motives and patterns each time they enter
    • Ends with a harpsichord cadenza 

    "Solo break" in a concerto

    Second movement - affettuoso

    • Minor mode
    • Slower and more emotional
    • Only the three solo instruments and the orchestra cello playing continuo bass

    Third movement - Allegro

    • 6/8 metered
    • Fugal style
  7. Prelude #1
    Listening: Prelude and fugue no 1 in C major

    From the well tempered clavier book 1 by JS Bach (1722)

    • These books are an encyclopedia for fugues each book has a fugue in each key as well as a fugue in each mode (minor or major)
    • 24 fugues and preludes total

    Preludes are an improvisatory piece


    Has a single musical gesture that is repeated over shifting harmony

    In this case it's an arpeggio


    • Subject is introduced (this fugue has no episodes)
    • This is all about stretto with voices coming in quickly after the exposition

    There is a cadence in the middle in a minor mode to keep. Order

    Fugue ends with a large cadence then the soprano flowing up to the highest note we have heard
  8. Fugue #1
    Listening: Prelude and fugue no 1 in C major

    From the well tempered clavier book 1 by JS Bach (1722)

    • These books are an encyclopedia for fugues each book has a fugue in each key as well as a fugue in each mode (minor or major)
    • 24 fugues and preludes total

    Preludes are an improvisatory piece


    Has a single musical gesture that is repeated over shifting harmony

    In this case it's an arpeggio


    • Subject is introduced (this fugue has no episodes)
    • This is all about stretto with voices coming in quickly after the exposition

    There is a cadence in the middle in a minor mode to keep. Order

    Fugue ends with a large cadence then the soprano flowing up to the highest note we have heard
  9. Minuet and tamboruin from Castor et pollux
    Minuet and tambourin from Castor et Pollux prologue

    • Written by jean-Philippe Ramea
    • Minuet that is danced In an opera

    Ballet music from the opera

    • Almost every measure of b echo some fragment of a 
    • No trio but runs into a fast dance called a tambourin

    This one is in a duple meter
  10. minuet from the royal fireworks
    Minuet from the royal fireworks music

    • George Frederic Handel
    • Written to celebrate the end of a war in the 18 the century it's a suite
    • The minuet in this suite was not meant to be danced to
    • Was rehearsed and performed at London's Vauxhall Gardens 
    • The rehearsal was attended by 12,000 people

    Caused a historic traffic jam

    Actual performance was set off by 100 brass cannons

    The stage caught fire, the crowd stampeded, two people died, and the head of the fireworks had a mad fit
  11. gigue from cello suite no 2
    JS Bach

    • Likes cello, lute, keyboard suites
    • He loves chromatic, contrapuntal, virtuosic music

    Also likes motorized rhythm

    • Uses a lot of double stop in the cello to create the contrapuntal line
    • Provides exhilaration by racing up and down 3 whole octaves
    • Leaps and wide range in this piece are typical of a gigue
    • Binary form
  12. la giustizia
    • Listening: Julius Caesar (Giulio Cesarean in Egitto)
    • handel


    Roman history of Cleopatra seducing Julius Caesar

    Lots of fake information thrown in in order to make it more interesting

    Aria "la giustizia" 

    • Sextus promises revenge on Ptolemy 
    • Aria is set up by recitative 
    • Begins with Ritornello in the orchestra
    • Apart from the Ritornello it is in strict de capo form (ABA)

    De capo aria
  13. Messiah
    Listening: Messiah

    • Written by Handel and is his most famous work as well as one of the most famous in western music.
    • Produced in Dublin in 1741-2

    Converted Handel from opera to oratorio composer

    Does not have actual characters 

    • Soloists are a group of anonymous narrators relating episodes from the life of Jesus  
    • Chorus has many roles 

    • Speaks as a chorus of angels
    • Comments on the story of Jesus
    • Or to praise god


    part 1(secco)

    Boy soprano narrator with cello and organ

    Part 2 (accompanied)

    • Accompanied recitative used for special effect
    • Angel appears and sings to the glory of god

    Part 3 (secco)

    Angel speaks more urgently than the narrator

    Part 4 (accompanied)

    Pulsating string parts paint the picture of the wings of lots of angels

    Chorus- "glory to god"

    • High parts sing "glory to god in the highest"
    • Low voices sing " and piece on earth"
    • Full chorus. Creates a fugue on "good will toward men"
    • Then homophonic again
    • This is a turba chorus

    The chorus is part of the story

    Hallelujah chorus

    • Brings act II of the messiah to a close
    • Uses monopsony, homophony, and polyphony

    Amazing transition between each

    King George stood when he heard it so now everyone has to
  14. cantata no 4
    • Listening cantata no 4 - "Christ lag in todesbanden"
    • Bach

    • "Christ lay in deaths dark prison"
    • For Easter

    It is quite dark

    • It may have been his audition piece for Weimar
    • Every movement is based on a  chorale 

    • Simple orchestra - string orchestra with continuo
    • Lots of symmetry 

    • AAB + hallelujah 
    • Or bar form  

    • Not every voice sings in every verse
    • Stanza 3

    • Tenor sings gapped chorale with the violin filling in the gaps 
    • Continuo accompaniment 
    • Completely stops then slows to show how death has no power 

    Word painting

    Stanza 4

    • Alto doubled by organ sings the gapped chorale 
    • Continuous music is in the other voices with imitative polyphony
    • Bach works the chorale into this polyphony

    Stanza 7

    • No longer gapped and is played/sung as if the congregation had sung it with some beautiful harmony
    • Chordal homphony
  15. symphony no 40
    Listening: symphony no 40 in g minor k550

    Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 

    • Born in a musical family and traveled with his father who was a composer
    • He premiered his first symphony when he was 8 years old
    • He took his fathers position in the court where he was born with his father but hated it and left 

    Because of his father and the archbishop 

    He moved to Vienna

    • Wrote his best operas here
    • Including the magic flute

    • Died while composing a requiem mass
    • May have been poisoned 

    First movement

    • Homophonic accompaniment
    • First theme is played twice then stops
    • Second theme is divided between the strings and woodwinds
    • Development section modulates and stops .

    Uses fragmentation to bring back the first theme


    Has many small changes in the origional theme
  16. symphony 95
    • Listening: symphony 95 in c minor 
    • Haydn

    First movement 

    • Sonata form 
    • Starts in minor but the recapitulation takes it to major
    • His recapitulation is much more free than Mozart 

    Second movement 

    Using variation form

    He varies the sequence of the variations 

    Binary form

    With some slight edits

    Listening: symphony number 95 in c minor

    Franz Joseph Haydn 


    Bars are in sets of four or eight except for the very end which would have thrown off any real dancers


    • Written more like a country dance
    • Cello solo has to take a que from violins before continuing 


    Returns except for the repeats

    Rondo form

    • Introduce a tune and come back to it after episodes
    • Many forms but the listening is ABACA coda
    • Listening: symphony number 95 in c minor


    We hear the delicate A section

    Form of the A section is |:a:||:bc:|

    The b section is a fugue 

    Very free 

    • The a section returns without repeats 
    • C starts with a fugue but turns into an explosive piece of music

    • This was a joke for the audience
    • This is extremely different than traditional classical style

    We touch A again before the piece closes
  17. sonata in F
    Listening: sonata in F, op 1 no 3

    By Francesca Lebrun 

    • Born to a musical family in Mannheim
    • She was brought up to be a soprano
    • She was married to an oboe virtuoso and was one of the best divas of her time

    Second movement: rondeau allegretto

    • The a section of this rondeau is sparkling and keeps us interested
    • B uses the same motives
    • C changes to minor mode with variations in rhythem
    • Return to a then a coda

    • Transparent
    • Homophonic
  18. Don Giovanni
    • Is written by Mozart
    • Text by Lorenzo da ponte (for all of Mozart's comic operas)
    • Background

    • Don Giovanni is the Italian name for Don Juan the Spanish libertine
    • His tales are meant to stir laughter usually quite bawdy undertone
    • But in his pursuit of women Giovanni ignores societal rules, and gods rules 

    Commits crimes and moral sins against the woman he seduces

    Kills one of their fathers

    Once while hiding in a graveyard from his persuers he is joking blasphemously and a statue tells him to mend his ways

    He invites the statue home for dinner and the statue comes and when Giovanni will not fix his ways the statue takes don to his home which is hell 

    Act 1 

    Scene 3

    • Chorus of peasants is celebrating the marriage of masetto and zerlina 
    • He promises masetto favors then tells him to leave
    • Aria ho capito

    • Sung by masetto 
    • Says he will leave only because a lord like Don could make him,
    • Tells his wife zerlina that she was always his ruin
    • Mocks dons promise to turn her into a fine lady 
    • At the end he forgets of don and only attacks zerlina 

    Repeated cadences


    • Only continuo accompaniment 
    • Don invites zerlina to his villa promising to marry her and make her a fine lady

    Duet "la ci darem la Mano

    • Between don and zerlina
    • Section 1 - andante

    • A A' B A''
    • Don sings the tune which zerlina replies with with hesitation 
    • She gets more hesitant until A'' where she is singing with don with the words perfectly synced 

    Once she says yes the lines get together and it becomes a dance

    Section 2 - allegro 

    Zerlina falls into dons arms
  19. piano concerto no 23
    Listening piano concerto number 23 in A, K 488


    He was the one who made the concerto a virtuosic thing

    First movement allegro

    Orchestra exposition 

    First played by strings and woodwinds then answered by the full orchestra it touches a second theme

    Solo exposition

    Piano adds to the origional exposition

    Ends with a cadenza in piano

    A new theme appears in the orchestra with the piano elaborating on it


    Rapid dialogue between orchestra and soloist


    • Orchestra and soloist share theme
    • Ends with a soloist cadenza
    • Orchestra plays its cadence from the orchestra exposition then we end the piece
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Listening 2
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