FA-1401 - Exam #3 - Listening

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  1. Title: Brandenburg Concerto #5 in D Major, 1st mvmt.
    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
    CD & Track: CD 2; Tks. 1-5
    • Has 3 movements
    • Written for a small group of elite soloists called concertino (usually 2-4) which are pitted against a larger group of musicians (usually 8-20 string players with basso continuo) called tutti.
    • It is written for 3 soloists (violin, flute & harpsichord) with string and basso continuo.
    • The use of the harpsichord as a soloist within the concerto grosso was very usual for the first time.
    • It is written in a ritornello form, which is the alternation between brief, relatively loud statements by the tutti and longer soft solo section. 
    • The soloists’ music tends to be more brilliant, ornate, virtuosic and personal as compared to the relatively straightforward tutti sections. 
    • The solo sections are also more polyphonic in texture than the direct homophonic texture of the tutti sections. 
    • The concertino sections also stress imitation between the violin and the flute.
    • These solo sections build tension and make the listener anticipate the return of the tutti sections.
  2. Title: Little Fugue in G minor
    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
    CD & Track: CD 2; Tks. 6-8
    • One of Bach's best known organ pieces.
    • Different melodic lines or "voices," imitate the one main subject.
    • Each of the fugue's 4 voices (soprano, alto, tenor & bass) takes its turn presenting the tuneful subject, which is presented first by the top voice and then appears in progressively lower voices, until it reaches the bass, where it is played by the organists feet on the pedals.
  3. Title: Tu se morta
    Composer: Claudio Monteverdi
    CD & Track: CD 2; Tk. 9
    • This piece shows his complete mastery of the then-new voal technique known as recitative, in which the composer tried to imitate the rhythmic and pitch fluctuation of speech.
    • In this recitative, Orfeo sings an anguished farewell to the earth, sky, and sun as he resolves to bring back his beloved, Eurydice, from Hades as he accompanies himself on the lyre.
    • Orfeo's vocal line, which is accompanied only by basso continuo played by a small organ and a bass lute, is written in a simple Homophonic texture which allows for a clear projection of the text.
    • It is rhythmically free with little sense of beat.
    • Like most composers of the early Baroque period, Monteverdi frequently uses  the technique of word painting to heighten the dramatic tone of the text. For example, words like stelle (stars) and sole (sun) are sung to climatic high notes, while the words abissi (abysses) and morte (death) are sung to low, somber tones in the singer's lowest range.
  4. Title: Dido's Lament
    Composer: Henry Purcell
    CD & Track: CD 2; Tks. 10-11
    • This piece is made up of two parts: (a) a recitative, followed by (b) an aria.
    • the melody of the recitative is accompanied only be basso continuo and sets the sorrowful mood for the following aria sung by Dido.
    • The aria, an extended song for solo voice with an accompaniment, is built on a descending chromatic bass line, known as a ground bass, or basso ostinato, which is played over and over 11 times. (This was commonly done in Baroque music to express sorrow.)
    • The aria reaches its emotional climax as Dido repeatedly sings "remember me."
  5. Title: Concert for Violin & String Orchestra (La Primavera, Spring - from The Four Seasons)
    Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
    CD & Track: CD 2; Tks. 12-16
    • The 1st movement is in ritornello form, and opens with an energetic orchestral ritornello in a major key, which announces the arrival of spring.
    • After the ritornello, the movement alternates between extended solo sections for the violin containing musical tone painting and brief tutti sections.
    • In the 1st solo section, bird's songs are imitated by high trills and repeated notes played by the solo violin and the violins from the orchestra.
    • In the 2nd solo section, murmuring streams are suggested by running notes in the violins. 
    • In the next solo section, string tremolos and rapid scales represent thunder and lightning.
    • Following the storm, the ritornello appears in minor instead of major.
  6. Title: Cantata No. 140: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme
    Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
    CD & Track: CD 2; Tks. 23-26
    • Fourth Movement
    • In this movement, he takes the chorale melody, which is scored for tenors, violins and viola in unison with basso continuo, and sets 2 contrasting melodies against each other.
    • First we hear the unison strings melody, supported basso continuo playing a warm, procession-like melody.
    • This melody is repeated and varied throughout the movement, while the tenors of the choir simply sing phrases of the chorale melody against it.

    • Seventh Movement
    • In this movement, we hear the chorale melody set in a relatively simple homophonic texture for the chorus, with the instruments simple doubling the voices.
    • The rich sound and full harmonies and regular rhythms express praise for God, faith in him and joy in being in His kingdom.
    • No doubt the congregation joined in singing of this chorale as a sign of their unity and firm belief.
  7. Title: Ev'ry Valley shall Be Exalted
    Composer: George Frederic Handel
    CD & Track: CD 2; Tk. 27
    • This aria is based on a verse from the book of Isiah which describes the creation of a desert highway on which God will His people back to their homeland.
    • It also uses striking examples of word painting, which is very characteristic of Baroque music.
    • Some examples of word painting can be heard when on a single syllable, Handel writes a long, melismatic passage of rapidly sung notes that rise from the bottom of the singer's range to its very top.
    • This type of writing was characteristic of the emotion of "joy."
    • Notice, also, the rising and falling direction of the phrase "and every mountain and hill made low," which musically tries to depict the shape of the mountain.
    • In the line, "and the rough places plain," the word "plain" is expressed by sustained tones and a long, legato melodic line.
  8. Title: Hallelujah
    Composer: George Frederic Handel
    CD & Track: CD 2; Tk. 28
    • This piece is one of the world's most famous choral pieces.
    • Handel took his text from the Book of Revelations, which celebrates God as the almighty and everlasting ruler.
    • He repeats words and phrases over and over, which was a common practice in choral music for several centuries.
    • In this chorus, Handel creates variety and contrast by making use of sudden changes in texture, dynamics and mood.
    • The chorus begins with a homophonic texture with the chorus and orchestra proclaiming "hallelujah."
    • The monophonic texture is very full-sounding as all the voices and instruments perform in unison at the proclamation "for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth."
    • The texture becomes polyphonic when this proclamation is set against a joyful exclamation of "Hallelujah" in quick rhythms. 
    • The polyphonic texture and full  dynamics of the previous section gives way to a homophonic texture with a softer, more hymn-like music as the chorus sings, "the kingdom of this world."
    • All this is done to create variety and drama in Handel's music.
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FA-1401 - Exam #3 - Listening
2013-11-14 01:57:33

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