Presentation on theme: "Click to continue Giuseppe Verdi Giuseppe Verdi. Please Note You can also move forwards and backwards through the slides by using the arrow keys on your."— Presentation transcript:
1813–1901 Giuseppe Verdi was born Italy in 1813. His musical career had a bit of a shaky start as young Giuseppe wasnt offered a place to study music at the Milan Conservatoire (apparently he was rejected because of his poor piano playing). Luckily he wasnt discouraged and Verdi went on to become a hugely popular composer. He is best known for writing operas, and is considered to be one of the greatest operatic composers.
Opera – a drama set to music, with text that is sung to an instrumental accompaniment. A key feature of opera is that the music defines the drama rather than simply providing a soundtrack.
In the 19 th century Opera was written and performed to have huge public appeal. It was a phenomenally popular entertainment and Verdi really knew how to please an audience with his music. Opera often deals with emotional extremes and Verdi was a master in creating music that brilliantly emphasised the drama on stage. Falstaff was Verdis final opera, written when he was 80 years old. However, it is one of the most energetic and youthful comic operas. Opera
Falstaff Falstaff is based on several plays by William Shakespeare and brilliantly fuses them together into a madcap plot. As with many comic operas, the action is fairly complex. However, Falstaff can be summarised with just four adjectives: its simply about deception, jealously, love and revenge. It is basically an Elizabethan soap opera! Falstaff also contains a brilliant example of a fugue.
Fugue – a complex musical composition written for either instruments or voices – a type of contrapuntal music (music that is able to say more than one thing at a time) – a piece where each voice or part enters in succession with a theme (usually called the subject).
fugue The finale of Falstaff contains a good example of a fugue in action. This presentation will look specifically at the beginning of the fugue. Not only is this where Verdi introduces the main musical ideas, but it is also where the fugue mechanics are most visible. The first section of a fugue is called the exposition. This is simply where the composer exposes the listener to the main musical ideas. The first idea is called the subject or fugue subject: it is simply the main theme.
Subject The subject is first sung by the character Falstaff. He sings the lines Everything in the world is a joke. Man is born a jester. Since Verdi was Italian, his opera is of course sung in Italian.
FUGUE SUBJECT You can hear the excerpt below at the beginning of Track 4 of the MUSICWORKS CD.
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 Falstaff Fenton Mistress Quickly Alice Meg Nannetta Ford Dr Caius 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 Eight different characters sing the fugue subject.
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 Falstaff Fenton Mistress Quickly Alice The first four characters play the most important role in the exposition and clearly demonstrate fugue structure. Here is how it works.
1 1 Subject The 1st voice enters singing the subject.
Then a 2nd voice enters singing the subject but transposed into a new key. This is called the answer. Answer 2 2 1 1 Subject
At the same time the 1st voice continues with an accompaniment. This is called the counter subject. Answer 2 2 Counter Subject 1 1 Subject
3 3 2 2 1 1 Counter Subject Answer When a 3 rd voice enters, the subject returns to the original key and voice 2 moves to the counter subject.
When the 4 th voice enters it is also transposed. So the 4 th entry is also called the answer. 4 4 Answer 3 3 2 2 1 1 Subject Answer Subject Counter Subject
At the same time, Voice 3 moves to the counter subject. 4 4 Answer 3 3 2 2 1 1 Subject Answer Subject Counter Subject
& The 2 nd voice begins a 5th higher on the note G. G G 1 C C 2
& 1 C C C C C C The 3 rd voice starts also on C, one octave higher than the 1 st voice. 2 G G 3
& 1 C C C C 3 C C 2 G G G G 4 G G The 4 th voice is also on G, one octave higher than the 2 nd voice.
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 Falstaff Fenton Mistress Quickly Alice Meg Nannetta Ford Dr Caius 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 For the next four entries, Verdi uses a special technique called stretto. Find these entries in the score.
Stretto – an overlapping of fugal entries to increase the sense of excitement in the music.
Stretto 8 8 7 7 6 6 5 5 Voices 5 to 8 overlap; they dont wait for the previous entry to finish. This is stretto.
Episodes After the exposition is complete, Verdi develops the musical material. He creates further sections of music called episodes. Each episode is based very heavily on the subject and counter subject.
Imitation A key concept used in the episodes is imitation. Short phrases are copied from one voice to the next, or sometimes echoed by the entire orchestra.