FA-1401 - Final Exam - Listening
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Symphony No. 40 in G minor
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
CD 2; tks. 34-42
- This 1st mvt. of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Symphony #40 in G minor is an excellent example of Sonata form.
- The opening movement of Mozart's Symphony #40 conveys a feeling of controlled agitation.
- A throbbing accompaniment in the violas contributes to the tension of the opening theme, which begins softly in the violins.
- Dominating the violin melody is the rhythmic pattern of short-short-long.
- The persistence of this pattern gives the music a sense of urgency.
- The lyrical second theme in a major key, contrasts completely with the opening theme.
- Mozart exploits the expressive resources of tone color by dividing the theme between strings and woodwinds.
- In the development section, the movement becomes feverish.
- The opening theme is led into different keys and is cut into smaller and smaller pieces. Then a sudden explosion of polyphonic textures increase the excitement and complexity.
- Mozart now takes the opening theme and creates a dialogue between the low and high strings while combining it with a furious staccato counter-melody.
- In the recapitulation, material from the exposition is given new expressive meaning.
Symphony No. 94 in G Major, 2nd mvt.
Franz Joseph Haydn
CD 2; tks. 43-48
- The second movement of Joseph Haydn's' Symphony #94 known as the "Surprise Symphony" is written in theme and variations form.
- Each variation is unique and differs in mood.
- For this mvt, the folk-like staccato theme, is played softly only by the strings in a Major key in a simple Homophonic texture.
- This quiet theme is interrupted by a suddenly loud unexprected chord played by the entire orchestra, thus the "surprise."
- In variation #1, the theme is now played by the 2nd violins and violas, again in a major key, with a distinctive counter-melody played by the 1st violins added the above theme.
- In variation #2, the theme now takes a dramatic shift as Haydn starts developing the theme. The theme is now suddenly plaed in a Minor key plaed in a monophonic texture by the woodwinds and strings.
- As this variation proceeds, Haydn introduces a new countersubject in a minor key played by the 1st and 2nd violins.
- In variation #3, the theme is now plaed by an oboe in faster repeated notes. The theme then moves back to the 1st and 2nd violins while yet another countermelody is played by the flutes and oboes.
- In variation #4, the theme is now in a triumphant major key played by the brass and woodwind sections of the orchestra along with the timpani.
- Haydn closes this mvt. with a coda section in which the oboes playes the theme.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 3rd mvt.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
CD 2; tks. 49-51
- Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is a serenade, which is a work that's usually light in mood, meant for evening entertainment.
- It is written for a small string orchestra.
- This third movement is a courtly minuet dance in A B A form.
- It is in a triple meter and usually in a moderate tempo.
- The A (minuet) section is stately, mostly loud and staccato, with a clearly marked beat.
- In contrast, the B (trio) section is usually quieter, more intimate and legato and requires fewer instruments.
- It often contains woodwind solos.
- Its murmuring accompaniment contributes to the smooth flow of the music.
String Quartet in C minor Op. 18, No. 4, 4th mvt.
Ludwig van Beethoven
CD 3; tks. 1-4
- This exciting rondo is the fourth movement of Beethoven's String Quartet in C minor, Op. 18, #4.
- A rondo features a tuneful main theme (A), which alternates with other contrasting themes.
- The form of this rondo can be outlines as A B A C A B A.
- This rondo's lively main theme (A) is in the style of a Gypsy dance.
- The main theme, which is in a minor key, contrast the other themes, which are all in major keys.
- Theme B is a lyrical legato melody, while theme C is playful with quick upward rushes passed from one string instrument to another.
- At its final return, the main theme (A) has a faster tempo (prestissimo) and leads into a frenzied conclusion.
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, 1st mvt. Allegro con brio
Ludwig van Beethoven
CD 3; tks. 17-24
- Beethoven's Fifth Symphony opens with one of the most famous rhythmic ideas in all music.
- Beethoven described this four-note motive as "fate knocking at the door."
- The motive in C minor dominates the entire first movement and also plays an important role later in the symphony in unifying the entire work.
- This movement is an enormously powerful, concentrated movement in sonata form.
- Its character is built around one single rhythmic motive, (short-short-short-long), from which Beethoven creates an astonishing variety of musical ideas.
- The second theme, in E-flat major, begins with an unaccompanied horn call that recalls the basic motive in a varied form, (short-short-short-long-long-long), and in contrast is legato and calm.
- Throughout this movement, Beethoven manages to generate tremendous tension and creativity from his four-note motive.
CD 3; tks. 42-47
- In this miniature drama, Schubert manages to tell of a father riding on horseback through a storm with his sick child in his arms.
- The boy who is suffering from an extremely high fever, is delirious and is having visions of the legendary Erlking, king of the elves who is the romantic symbolization of "death."
- The opening piano part, with its rapid octaves and menacing bass motive, suggests a horse's wild and frantic gallop through the dark woods.
- Schubert's mastery of composition makes the solo singer sound like four different characters:
- The Narrator (who sings only at the beginning and end in a neutral range, minor key)
- The Father (who sings in a low, reassuring range, minor key)
- The Son (who sings in a terrified, high-pitched voice, minor key)
- The Erlking (who sings in a sweetly-sick voice, trying to entice the boy, major key)
CD 3; tks. 56-58
- A nocturne, or night piece, is a slow, lyrical composition for piano which tried to suggest the atmosphere of night.
- The piece opens with a long, legato melody with graceful upwards leaps.
- The melody is heard three more times.
- With each repetition, it is varied by even more elaborate decorative tones and trills.
- The beautiful melodic line is supported by a gentle waltz-like accompaniment in the left hand.
- The nocturne is reflective in mood until is suddenly becomes passionate near the end.
Etude in C minor "Revolutionary"
CD 3; tk. 59
- This etude, like all etudes, is a study piece designed to help a performer master a specific technical difficulty.
- In this case, the Revolutionary Etude develops speed, dexterity and endurance in the pianist's left hand, which plays rapid passages throughout.
- Chopin's etudes go far beyond mere exercises in technique to become masterpieces of music which are exciting to hear as well as to master.
Symphonie Fantastique, 4th mvt. "March to the Scaffold"
CD 4; tks. 7-10
- The program for the 4th movement, "March to the Scaffold," begins as the young composer convinced that his love for his beloved is unrequited and take an overdoes of opium.
- The dosage, however, is not enough to kill him, but instead plunges him into a sleep accompanied by horrifying visions.
- He dreams that he has murdered his beloved.
- The whole movement is built on two main themes, the first of which is representative of the artist through a descending melody initially stated by the cellos and basses.
- The second theme is the actual march comprised of a syncopated melody, authoritative in nature, which is stated by the brass and woodwind sections.
- Berlioz develops these themes by creating interplay based on the events inherent within the program before the idée fixe appears on solo clarinet preceding the artist's execution.
CD 4; tk. 11
- For Smetana, the course of the river provided a ready-made musical structure; The Moldau is a sort of rondo, with the flowing theme of the river recurring in different forms between colorful episodes depicting Bohemian life and folklore along the riverside.
- The piece begins with two brooks, portrayed by two flutes, form the sources of the river; these flow into the main steam of the river itself, the surging string melody which Smetana is said to have derived from a Swedish folk-song.
- Next we hear a series of musical senses that give us a glimpse into the life by the river.
- Hunting horns are heard in the forests, before the river flows past a rustic wedding celebration where the guests are dancing a polka.
- The next episode portrays moonlight shimmering on the river in magical orchestral color, here Smetana evokes the legend of the Rusalkas, the water-nymphs who feature prominently in Slavic folklore.
- The music accelerates and grows agitated as the river crashes over the Rapids of St. John, above Prague, and finally sweeps through the Czech capital itself.
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