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)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Assignment for Monday, January 23

Please analyze Schwanengesang XIII, "Der Doppelgänger," I'm going to ask you to print this one yourselves, sorry for the inconvenience. As before, write in a translation - this song is one of Schubert's most emotionally intense. Harmonically, be on the lookout for augmented sixths, Neapolitans, etc. Lots of good stuff here.

I would also like you to read this article by Richard Cohn, "Maximally Smooth Cycles, Hexatonic Systems, and the Analysis of Late-Romantic Triadic Progressions" from Music Analysis, Vol. 15, No. 1. (Mar., 1996), pp. 9-40. This is a tough article with lots of math; but you can skip the math and still get the main point. It's a clear introduction to the hexatonic cycle, with some great examples from Brahms, Mahler, Wagner and others (not to mention some ingenious stuff about enharmonic spelling, which we've already encountered with Schubert).

If you have a question about the article please post it as a comment below, and I'll try to answer if I can (but you're not required to comment on this post).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Assignment for Friday, Jan. 20

For Friday's class I'd like you to do two things:

1. In a comment to this post, please introduce yourself to the class. Say a few sentences about where you're from, what your major is, and what you're hoping to learn from this course. Any requests for repertoire?

2. Study Schubert's song "Am Meer," Schwanengesang no. 12. Research translations and write in your own, above the text; and analyze as much as you can with Roman numerals. Be on the lookout for non-chord tones, especially appoggiaturas. I will collect this on Friday.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The LiederNet Archive

Here is a good source of translations for Schubert lieder; try using this plus tools like Google Translate to figure out the words for these songs; the words are just as important as the music.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Schubert, "Ständchen" (Serenade) from Schwanengesang

Here are a couple of performances of Schubert's late song "Ständchen," the fourth song in his final collection Schwanengesang.

Christopher Maltman, with Philip Thomas (1997)

The incredible singer Nana Mouskouri