Topic: ArtMusic

Last updated: December 6, 2019

An overview of Musical CompositionsFrank Schubert was an Austrian composer who linked together the worlds of classical music and romantic music.

He composed over 600 pieces during the course of his brief career, with Erlkönig being one of the best-known pieces by far. The art-song, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was written for two performers, a singer and a pianist. The lied, like many supernatural poems of the romantic period, has its roots in a Scandinavian folktale. Goethe’s poem tells the story of a boy being carried home at night by his father on horseback. He becomes frightened when he encounters the Erl-King, a powerful and creepy supernatural being.

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The boy’s father tells his son it’s his mere imagination and just a fear of a story night. When the Erlkönig eventually seizes the boy, the father runs home, but unfortunately by the time he arrives, his son is dead. Schubert carefully crafts the music by deftly placing each character in a different vocal range and with each having their own rhythmic nuances. Such as the triplets at the beginning of the piece to represent a sense of urgency and simulate the horses galloping. What makes this piece part of the romantic period is the difference in trend. It encouraged individualism and connection with the spiritual realm. Bach visited Berlin in 1719 for an errand. On his trip, he met Christina Ludwig, margrave of Brandenburg.

As a possible plea for employment, Bach collected a group of his works titled “six concertos for several instruments to Ludwig. Because the collection was dedicated to margrave of Brandenburg, they became collectively known as “Brandenburg concertos”. The Brandenburg concertos represent a popular genre of the baroque era. They changed music by demonstrating the potential of a traditional form. The concertos give us a glimpse of the evolution of modern orchestral composition. The opening theme of the Brandenburg 5th movement contains three parts. The first part clearly establishes the tonality.

The second part moves away from the tonality and finishes with the third part. A conclusion that contains a clear, strong cadence. It is also only one of the six pieces to have any solo material given to the harpsichord. It appears to hold the composition together. There are episodes throughout the concerto where everything is halted except the harpsichord. In other measures, near the end, the other soloists supported the free-flowing harpsichord line.

This piece not only demonstrates Bach’s imitable strength as a contrapuntist while retaining the constraints of the form of the baroque music. Don Giovanni is a superior musical work that not only is a balanced opera between comic and serious; but it’s also Mozart’s most brilliant portrayal of the inner emotional states of each character throughout the piece. As the duet beings Giovanni and his prey have alternate verses, but as the conquest continues, they begin to blend in harmony reflecting emotional unison.

Near the end of the opera is the entrance of a vengeful ghost, more specifically a stone statue come to life. He has come to demand repentance of the villain; otherwise he is prepared to take Giovanni to hell. Ave Maria is an example of a motet. A single movement polyphonic vial works with religious Latin texts. Josquin wrote vocal lines that strove for clear tonal centers and dense counterpoints. It allowed clarity and fluidity in counter and form. He used devices like shifts in tessitura, melodic contour, texture, and harmonic construction to elaborate on the emotions of the words.

This work opens with what is called imitative counterpoint. Imitative counterpoint is the sequential introduction of the same melodic line in each of the four voices of the ensemble. This process repeats three times, then after the last voice enters, the counterpoint becomes independent as it leads to the end of the phrase.

This is followed by a brief call and response, leading into a section of rhythmic unison. Josquin’s Ave Maria is a classic that simultaneously demonstrates the restraint and formal control of Renaissance art generally, while it projects the best of Josquin’s early compositional style.


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