Monday, February 20, 2017

Assignment for Monday, February 27; Chopin continued

Let's continue with the Chopin Preludes; choose one or two from nos. 8-11, and be prepared to hand one of them in. I'm going to re-adjust the course schedule this weekend; we'll try to finish the Preludes quickly.

Also, please read these excerpts from Charles Rosen's wonderful book The Romantic Generation, on the Chopin Preludes. This is the kind of book that you can just dip into at random and learn something new; I highly recommend just browsing through it, looking for pieces you recognize. Or, you can also go to the index and look for your favorite composers & pieces - it's fun.

The entire book is available as an e-book from the Library:

Or you can download excerpts here:

Chapter 2, "Fragments" pt. 1 (p. 78-89)
Chapter 2, "Fragments" pt. 2 (p. 95-98)
Chapter 4, "Formal interlude" (p. 261-265)

One of the claims Rosen makes is that in 19th century music, "attention is deflected away from the bar and to the whole phrase as a unit." Does that ring true with your own experience? Please comment below; think of one example that might back up Rosen's claim, and one counter-example, from pieces that you already know.

Chopin Preludes, op. 28 - Ashkenazy

Assignment for Wednesday, February 22

Please choose one of Chopin's preludes no. 4, 5, or 6, and analyze it as best you can with Roman numerals; also write a sentence or two about the form of the piece (even though it's short). Be prepared to hand in your Prelude analysis.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Assignment for Monday, February 20

Please listen to the Chopin Preludes, op. 28, over the weekend. We'll be looking at the first three preludes on Monday; please try analyzing them, but you don't have to hand in anything for Monday. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, February 8 - Berlioz

Sorry to be late with this - for tomorrow's class, please make an outline of the form of the first movement of the Berlioz Fantastic Symphony. Include at the minimum the following:

  • Introduction
  • Exposition:
    • first theme
    • second theme
  • Development
  • Recapitulation
    • (does it have first theme/second theme?)
  • Coda

And if you can, go into more detail, especially in the development, highlighting important sections.

Also, I have put some of the Norton Critical Score online here, a couple of essays on the piece's composition and premiere by the great Edward T. Cone. Please read this for tomorrow - I'm not going to test you on it, but it is fun reading and it will help you with the piece.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique

Marriss Jansons with the London Proms, 2013

Chicago Symphony with Stéphane Denève

Assignment for Monday, February 6

I'm out of town for Wednesday and Friday this week; so in the meantime I'd like you to work on a larger project, chosen from one of the following:

  1. Compose your own song in the style of Schubert or Schumann, using a text that could have been set by them. You can set a poem already set by one of these composers, or something in another language (Shakespeare, Li Po, etc. - if you decide to compose in Chinese or Korean, please use pinyin or an alphabet that a non-speaker can read). Try to use some exciting harmonies, like Neapolitan and augmented 6th chords, appoggiatura chords, etc. that we have seen. The piano writing should be simple - something that we can play in class.
  2. Or, choose one of the Schwanengesang (any of the minor key songs) or Dichterliebe (songs 6, 9, 10, 12, 16)  to analyze; in addition to your Roman numeral analysis, please write a paragraph or two on the relation of the text to the music.

Have fun with this, especially if you compose a song! If you choose the analysis project, you can think of this as a dry run for your final project.

And finally - please get a score for Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, and listen to the entire piece - we start it next week.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Assignment for Monday, Jan. 30

If you haven't done so already, please listen to the entire Dichterliebe cycle (about a half hour). Also, please either print out or get from the library the score, so you have it for class. Then, read Berthold Hoeckner's article, "Paths through Dichterliebe" (19th-Century Music, 2006), available on JSTOR; we discussed part of it today in class.

Finally, I'd like you to consider the following quote from Hoeckner's article:

Since Schumann worried that the dissection of musical compositions would turn them into dead bodies, he sought to reconcile his respect for the living artwork with his keen interest in compositional structure. In his criticism, he combined analytical and poetic modes in order to remain close to the condition of making music. As the first major modern writer about music, Schumann knew that both hermeneutic analysis and performance involve feeling and understanding; that both strive to be captivating as well as plausible; and that interpretive conviction is more likely to persuade an audience than interpretive coercion.

What do you think this means? What is hermeneutic analysis, anyway? Do you agree with him? Please respond in a comment to this post. And don't forget to introduce yourself in the Course introductions post if you haven't already done so!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Assignment for Friday, January 27

Please analyze songs 2-5 in Dichterliebe, with Roman numerals; be prepared to hand in your choice of song 3, 4, or 5 on Friday. In other words, I'd like you to analyze all of them, but you only have to hand in one of them (but not 2, since it's so short).

Please write in a translation for the song you hand in, as well.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, January 25

Please listen to Schumann's Dichterliebe; here is a video with score, sung by the great Fritz Wunderlich. Also, find a translation for the first song, and think about the words. For Wednesday you don't need to analyze the music, but I would like to ask you: what is the key of the first song? We'll spend part of the day finishing the Schubert (and the Cohn article), but I also want to get started on the Schumann.

Update - here is the score.
Fritz Wunderlich, with Hubert Giesen (1965)

Ian Bostridge, with Julius Drake (1998)