Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring break assignment: Bruckner and Tchaikovsky

As I've said in class, I am out of town next week conducting at the Arizona Chamber Music Festival - sorry I have to miss class!

In the meantime I'm giving you a couple of projects I've used for exams (both in class and take-home) in the past, on music by Bruckner and Tchaikovsky. Extra copies are in an envelope next to my office door if you weren't able to be in class today. Recordings below - but it's worth it to hear the whole Tchaik 5 if you don't know the piece!

Please email me if you run into trouble, and I will see you all after spring break. After the break we are on Wagner, Prelude and Transfiguration from Tristan. For this piece you need the Norton Critical Edition, as listed in the syllabus; please get the book, and start reading the introductory material on the genesis of the opera - it is quite the soap opera, no pun intended!

Bruckner, Christus Factus Est (with score)

Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5 second movement;
London Symphony/Igor Markevitch

Tchaikovsky (with score), NY Phil/Bernstein

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, March 8

As I mentioned in class, please "Das verlassene M├Ądchen" by Hugo Wolf: this is probably enough for us to worry about, so I will present the other song in class, if there's time.

Please be prepared to hand in the Wolf - I *might* collect it, but I might not (sorry)!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Assignment for Monday, March 6

Please forgive me for not posting this earlier; tomorrow in class we will be looking at Scott Joplin's rag Solace. We will just go over the piece together, I won't ask you to hand it in or anything. Here is a  beautiful performance by Phillip Dyson. Right around 2:40 begins the most famous part of the piece, which appeared in the 1973 movie The Sting (and the video game Bioshock).

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Assignment for Friday, March 3; Brahms Intermezzi

Please choose one of the two pieces below to analyze:

Brahms Intermezzo in A major, Op. 76 No. 6

Brahms Intermezzo in B minor, Op. 119 No. 1

Try to find out a little about your chosen piece; when Brahms wrote it, what he was up to at the time, etc. Analyze as best you can with Roman numerals, but again, he is doing lots of weird stuff in these pieces. If there isn't a good Roman numeral, then try to describe what is happening as best you can, either with words, diagrams, etc. Be prepared to hand in your piece.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Assignment for Wednesday, March 1: Brahms Lieder

We are bumping up our schedule, so we have to leave the Chopin preludes unfortunately, and move to the wonderful composer Johannes Brahms. Look up his dates, and start assembling a chronology in your head of 19th-century composers. How do Brahms and Chopin compare? Brahms and Wagner, our next composer?

For Wednesday I would like us to analyze two of Brahms's lieder, "Wie Melodien zieht es mir" and "Meine Lieder." Please listen to both, and then choose one to analyze; as we did with Schubert and Schumann, find a translation and copy it into your printout. Analyze with Roman numerals, but look for "non-functional" passages: hexatonic cycles, chromatic progressions, etc. Please have your piece ready to hand in on Wednesday.

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.