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19th Century Vocal Music

Romantic spirit, German Lied music and poetry
amature musician, choir interest - composers drawn to choral works
new opera styles, bel canto - aria virtuoso, Italian verismo nationalism exoticism - Wagner revolutionism


Robert Schumann years



Schumann Bibliography - early years

1810 Zwickau, Germany
father author - Robert loved literature
at 18 sought our poet Heinrich Heine
1829 law school, preferred piano and composition
1830 piano lessons w/ Freidrich Wieck in Leipzig, live-in, met Clara his daughter (9)
theory, counterpoint - Heinrich Dorn Leipzig opera
injured his hand, stopped playing


Schumann Bibliography - established years

op1: Abegg Variations solo piano, 10 years piano music
heard Chopin 1831 op2; pen name Eusebius, Florestan
cofounded Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik (new journal) with teacher
met and admired Menelssohn 1835
loved Clara, father opposed
1840 doctorate UoJena, year of song 150 songs
married on Clara's 21st bday, petitioned courts
1843 professor Leipzig conservatory
7 children; Robert mental instability tension
Clara advocate for his music


Schumann Bibliography - final years

Robert/Clara toured Russia, Baltic, Scandinavian regions
family moved to Dresden, Robert's mentally off
1850 political unrest, move again to Dusseldorf
1853 met Brahms(20) - wrote article boosted fame
1854 attempt suicide bridge, final years in asylum, Clara not allowed to visit
1856 July 29 died


Robert Schumann Style

Bach counterpoint, Beethoven structural innovation
admired contemporaries Schubert, Chopin, Berlioz
romantic; heighted emotions, pathos, programmic elements descriptive titles
formal structure experiments form by context
thamitc transformation
syncopation, hemiola, cross rhythms, chromaticism
literary interest Jean Paul papillons, ETA Hoffmann
not virtuosity alone


Robert Schumann Titles

Lieder: cycle Dichterliebe, Frauenliebe und Leben, Liederkreis; poets Hein, Goethe, Nikolaus Lenau
Piano collections; Abegg var, Papillons, Carnaval, Scense from childhoos, Kreisleriana, symphonic etudes
concertos: piano, cello, violin
orchestra: 4 symph. 1 Spring, 3 Rhenish, overtures, indicentals
chamber; 3 violin sonata, 3 piano trios, 3 SQ, piano Q piano Quin, several duos
1 oper Genoveva, several choral works


Schumann Und wussten die Blumen general

song cycle
German laungauge
Lyrisches Intermezzo; Heinrich Heine
solo voice and piano
A minor; modified strophic
4 versus, no tempo marking 2/4 time


art song

the musical setting of poetry
solo voice, generally piano accomp
any language



musical setting of German poetry
solo voice and piano usually
flourished in 19th century


strophic form

a song structure same music for each verse
little connection b/w words and music


modified strophic form

song structure allows some repetition of music
some changes to melody, harmony to reflect text, tonic major/minor shifts
Ex: Brahms Vergebliches standchen



through composed
song structure avoids repetition of sections
better reflect text


song cycle

collection of art songs united central theme or narrative
performed together
poetry same author


Schumann Und wussten die Blumen - poem narrative summary

narrator; if flowers, nightingales and stars were to know of his suffering they could each in their own way comfort him. Alas, only she who has caused his unhappiness can truly know his sorrow


Schumann Und wussten die Blumen - Versus 1-3

melody short 2-measure phrases
opening short descending scale frag
repeat melody and harmony for 3 versus
momentary pass through Neapolitan key (2b) 'cry'
rustling 32nd notes - narrator inner turmoil
RH traces vocal line support


Schumann Und wussten die Blumen - Versus 4-postlude

V4 starts raised 3rd brief major mode
controlled strophic is altered; repetition of word 'zerrissen/torn'
postlude: piano abandons tumultuous close
RH triplet 16th note fig dramatic LH octaves
heightened dissonance - lover's anguish


Johannes Brahms year



Johannes Brahms Biography - Early Years

1833 born Hamburg Germany
father Jakob bass/wind player amatuer - Hamburg Phil
Johanna mother seamstress older
money troubles, moved frequently
piano, horn cello early, lessons Eduard Marxsen leading teacher
influenced by Marxsen's Bach Viennese Classical
reader, folklore, ETA Hoffman, Jean Paul
1848 first solo recitals Bach and Beethoven


Johannes Brahms Biography - Middle Years

taught, accompany local theater, gigs for money
19yr: toured Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi; met Joseph Joachim - life fiend
1853 friend Robert and Clara Shumann article launched his career
1854 Lived with Schumanns while Rober in asylum
feelings for Clara close relationship
1857 went home to Hamburg; god job as pianst choir director court Detmold
1862 turned down as direcotr Hamburg Pil, moved to Vienna


Johannes Brahms Biography - Late Years

conducted Vienna Singakademie
1865 concert tours for money
1869 work on Ein deutsches Requiem premiered Leipzig acclaim
1872 director Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (society musical friends)
respected, financially successfull, guest appearances
awards, medals, honorary degrees
charity; fmaily members, young musicians Dvorak
via conductor Hans von Bulow, Meiningen ORchestra work to compose last two symphonies
1896 Four Serious Songs op 121 in anticipation of Clara's death
1897 died of liver cancer


Brahms Style

Classical - sonata form, theme/var, passacaglia
german symphonic tradition
choral polyphony historical styles Handel/Haydn
contrapuntal elements; imitation, voice leading, wellcrafted bass lines, frequent pedal points
romantic: modal, chromatic harmony; unexpected modulations
littler program music, no opera or stage
German nationalism folk-song settings and dances
rhythm: cross-rhythms, syncopation, hemiola, augmentation at cadence
piano- wide spaced chords, parallel chord motion, chrom, contrapuntal, orchestral, not idiomatic challenging


Brahms Titles

Orchestra; 4 symphonies Academic Festical Overture, Tragic Overture
concertos: violin, V+cello, piano(2)
vocal+orches: Ein deutsches Requiem, Alto Rhapsody
vocal: 200 solos
Lieder: song cycles, collections Magelone, Four Serious Songs, Liedeslieder, partsongs, folksongs
chamber: SQ, trios, Q, Quintets, duo sonatas
piano: sonatas, variations, ballads, rhapsodies, fantasies, intermezzi, piano duos Hungarian Dances


19th Century Choral music

build of Baroque and Classical;
masses, oratorios, cantatas, and part songs


Ein deutsches Requiem Mov 4 - general 1

' mass for the dead' unorthodox approach not in latin - german old new testament. Blessed are they that mourn - hopefully message
originally 6 movements
inserted 5th Mov. in memory of his mother: soprano 'as one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you'

sacred choral
1868 - 6 mov, 1869 - 7 mov finished
Sop, Bar solos, SATB chorus, orchestra


Ein deutsches Requiem Mov 4 - general 2

seven movements symmetrical structure
Mov1 - pastoral choral
Mov2 - dark robust march
Mov3 - Bar solo
Mov4 - vision of heaven - center piece
Mov5 - Sop solo
mov6 - dark robust march +Barsolo
Mov7 - pastoral choral


rondo form

classical sonata
A recurs, alternating sections for contrast
A returns 3 times or more in tonic key



thematic material upside down


homorhythmic texture

all voices sing same rhythm
results blocked chordal texture homophonic
text clarity,emphasis



temporary shift metric accents
notes groups in threes are momentarily group in twos or vice-versa


Ein deutsches Requiem Mov 4 - general 3

Psalm 84
Eb Major
ABACA rondo
maddig bewegt, moderately fast

How lovely is they dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts!
My soul longs and years for the courts of the lord
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will always be praising thee.


Ein deutsches Requiem Mov 4 - parts

A: flutes/clarinets soft inverted opening sop melody dolce
word painting; ascending line heaven
sopranos trace arch conjunct melody
homorhythmic texture
B: imitative passage open, each voice , sop emphasize 'longs and years' fugual
drama; crescendo
more ecstatic homothrythmic climax high registers, acommp delicate arpeggiated pizzicato down to fp accents
A1: returns enriched orchestra
C: robust forte joyful
imitative fugal
climax they will always be praising thee' hemiola
A2: abbreviated, calm close


Giuseppe Verdi year



Giuseppe Verdi Biography - Early Years

1813 - born in Parma Italy
Farther - tavern-keeper, supported Giuseppe
1825 - lessons with Ferdinando Provesi, church musician, local phil director
1831 - moved Busseto, live with Antonio Barezzi gave lessons to daughter whom he married
Barezzi welathy, funded Verdi's music ed in Milan
not accepted to conservatory Milan, studied privately with Vincenzo Lavigna until 1835


Giuseppe Verdi Biography - Middle Years

Milan - conductor Piccolo Scala (beside La Scala)
1836 - married Margherita , 2 kids
Moved back to Busseto, directed local phil
1839 - moved to Milan; first opera Oberto - committsion three more (first commission failure Un giorno di regno)
Wife and kids all died within 2 years
1842 - opera Nabucco success return
*creative period, new opera every 9 months
1847 - moved in with opera singer Giuseppina strepponi, married 12 yrs later
Surge of nationalism: VERDI kind Victor Emmanuel


Giuseppe Verdi Biography - Late Years

1861 - Italian unification; parliment served for 4 years
1871 - opera Aida exotic, Cairo
Messa de Requiem for writer Alessandro Manzoni
publisher Giulio Ricordi brought Verdi together with librettist Arrigo Boito - OTello and Falstaff
1901 - died of stroke; gave $ to retirement home for musicians in Milan


Verdi Style

Greatest Italian opera composer 19th century
influences from all opera styles seria, buffa, bel canto
conventional numbers approach overture, recit aria chorus
Unity - signature themes - curse Motive in Rigoletto
Colourful orchestra special effects
Virtuoso coloratura areas, spectacular runs - Violetta close of Act 1 La Traviata
Diatonic harmonic language, moderate chrom
Structure - well-defined sections, balanced phrasing
Nationalism - chorus, arias, O patria mia from Aida
librettos dramatic - love passion date
ten operas librettist Francesco Maria Piave
other sources: Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, William Shakespear


Verdi Titles

Period 1: grand evolution Italian Opera
Oberto, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, La Traviata
Period 2: influenced by French grand opera
longer, larger, grandiose
La forza del destino, Don Carlos, Aida
Messa de Requiem
Period 3: Twilight, new approaches form, continuous less numbers approach
Otello Falstaff
(28 operas, Macbeth, Un ballo in maschera
vocal: messa de requiem, sacred choral, solos
Chamber: string quartet


La traviata - Background

1853 first performance Teatro La Fenice
initially a failure
play by Alexander Dumas 'la dame aux camelias *real story Maris Duplessis
Librettist Francesco Maria Piave
3 Acts
Violetta Valery - coloratura - courtesan
Alfredo Germont -tenor - young aristocrat
Giorgio Germont - baritone - Alf-Father
Baron Douphol - bari - Viol lover
Flora Bervoix - mexxo - Viol-friend


La traviata - Summery of plot

Act 1: Paris, Violetta's Home
- party despite declining health
- meets Alfredo who loves her, she gives him camellia flower
Act 2-1: Country house near Paris
-Viole/Al happy in love,
- Al's father comes and convinces Viol to leave
- Al assumes she has left him for former lover Baron
Act2-2: Paris Violet's friends' house
- party with Baron
- Al arrives to spoil, Violetta reaffirms her love
Act3: Paris, Violetta's apartment
- lying on deathbed, Al and father return with blessings
- Violetta dreams of happy future as she collapses and dies.



Italian for air, old english for song
solo song orchestral accompaniment
emotions, virtuosic, lyrical dramatic character


bel canto

beautiful singing
19th century italian opera
Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, early Verdi
purity of tone, lyrical melodies highly ornamented



text of an opera
written by someone other than composer



speach-like song
dialouge between characters advance plot
precedes arias usually



musical number in opera, feature smaller group soloists
musical/daramtic climax
each soloist express emotion directly to audience


coloratura soprano

female voice especially high range
trained to execute difficult passages great agility


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - name the eight recits/arias once Violetta is alone at the party

1. Invitato a qui seguirmi - I've asked him to follow me
2. S'ei cadra per mano mia - I were to kill him
3. Ogni suo aver tal femmina - Al shames Violetta
4. Oh, infamia orribile - chorus
5. Di sprezzo degno - Father repremands son
6. Ah si! che fecit - Al deep remorse
7. Alfredo, Alfredo, di questo core - Al you will know
8. Combined chorus and solos


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - first two songs

Invitat a qui seguirmi: Violetta alone nervous to save Alfredo, asks him to leave
-opens in Db, urgency, soft clarinets basson string
flurry 16th notes violins Alfredo entry
Db Major exchanges between them tension mounting
S'ei cadra mano mia- Alfredo broad phrase doubled by woodwinds strong 1st beat emphasis
suggests jealousy and reckless bravado
*Violetta says she made a vow then in desperation falsely says she loves Baron


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - second two songs

Ogni suo aver tal femmina: 'for that lady' i lost it all. C major common time, Allegro sostenuto
simplicity Alfredo-self rightousness contrast to:
Oh, infamia orribile - party guests shocked, demand he leaves
C min, 2/4 Velocissimo, unison chorus+orchestra
sudde shift to minor mode; conveys fury disapproval


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - third two songs

Di sprezzo degno- Giorgio Germont reprimands his son
Eb Major, Con dignitoso fuoco 'with dignified passion'
Ah si! che fecit - sobbing, Al feels deep remorse
Eb minor
'what have I done? in short breathless phrases


La traviata Act 2 Scene 2 - finale

Alfredo di questo core - exhausted Violetta says one day Al will known why con voce debolissima e con passione 'fragile voice, passion'
Large Ensemble: Al's solo remorse song, with guests chorus, father's reflections and Violetta's bel canto caressing melody soars above everything else
Eb Major
Lastly Baron challenges Alfredo to a duel, Violetta collapses.



total art work - german
idea used in Wagner's writtings
perfect union of text, music, stagecraft


music drama

term used by Wagner synthesis of music and drama
distinguish his operatic style from traditional operas



leading motif - german
perfected by Wagner in music dramas
melodic fragment with meaning, representing a character, place, object or emotion
undergoes thematic transformation throughout work


Chromatic harmony

greek for colour
liberal use of chords based on notes outside of the key
modulations to distant keys
expressive device



heroic tenor - german
male voice with high range, possessing strength and stamina
associated with Wagner's operas


Tristan Chord

half-diminished 7th chord in Tristan und Isolde F-B-D#-G#
serves as leitmotif for lover's passion
heightened chromaticism in Wagner's harmonic language


Richard Wagner Years



Richard Wagner Biography - Youth Years

1813 - born Leipzig Germany
1/9 siblings, father died at his birth
stepfather Ludwig Geyer-actor painter
studied at St. Thomas (same as Bach teacher)
mostly self-taught, Leipzig University Christian Theodor Weinlig teacher
Beethoven Symp 9 and Fidelio inspiration


Richard Wagner Biography - Early Career

1833 - first profess chorus master theater Wurzburg
music direcotr traveling theater - experience but debt
1834 - first opera Die Feen never performed
1836 - married singer Wilhelmine Minna Planer, but had affairs
conducting in Riga Latvia
1839 - escaping debt, London-Paris writing operas living by music arrangment and journalist - article in Schumann's Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik
1842 - grand opera Rienzi success Dresden Hoftheater


Richard Wagner Biography - Dresden

conductor court of Saxony Dresden; orchestra and opera, compose special court occasions
Operas: Der fliegende Flying Dutchman, Tannhauser dramatic departure from tradition
started Der Ring des Nibelungen


Richard Wagner Biography - Years of Exile

forced to flee b/c of political activism (to Zurich with the help of Liszt)
Switzerland shift to literary focus; essays Art and Revolution, Artwork of the Future, Opera and Drama


Richard Wagner Biography - Munich, Bayreuth, Final Years

romantically involved Liszt's daughter Cosima who was married, had 3 children before getting divorced
1865 - to Munich at request of young King Ludwig II of Bavaria
Tristan and Isolde premiered there
1870 - married Cosima
permanent festival dream becoming reality
1872 - first cornerstone laid for festival theater Bayreuth
1876 - first festival; premiere Der Ring (Saint-Saens and Tchaikovsky present)
Parisfal composed 1882 to help indebted theater
1883 - died in Venice, boy returned to Bayreuth


Richard Wagner Style

Music of the Future, Gesamtkunstwerk
inspiration from Norse mythology, Celtic legends, medieval epic poems, symbolic
wrote his own librettos(before the music)
influenced by Ancient greek drama; long scenes one character with another
influenced by Beethoven weaving vocal orchestra
more through-composed opera structure
less symmetric phrases endless melody
sophisticated chromatic harmony Tristan chord
expanded orchestra 100+ Wagnerian tuba


Richard Wagner titles

opera/music drama: Die Feen, Das Liebesverbot (the ban on love), Rienzi, Der fliegende hollander, Tannhauser, Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, Der Ring des Nibelungen-Das Rheingod, Die Walkure, Seigfried, Gotterdammerung, and Parisfal
orchestra; Faust overture, Siegfried Idyll sympoem
songs, Wesendonck Lieder
litterary; Art of Revolution, Artwork of the Future, Opera and Drama.


Wagner's Die Walkure - Background

2nd of 4 operas in Der Rings des Nibelungen
1870-1876 first performances
German language, Wagner wrote libretto
Norse mythology and epic medieval poem called Nibelungelied
Structure: 3 Acts


Wagner's Die Walkure - Characters

Woten - ruler of the Gods Baritone
Fricka - wife of Wotan goddess of marriage - mezzo
Valkyries - 9 sisters warrior daughters of Wotan and Erda (earth spirit) Soprano and mezzos
Siegmund - mortal song of Wotan - Heldentenor
Sieglinde - twin sister ^ - soprano
Hunding - Sieglinde's husband Siegmund's enemy - Bass
Brunnhilde- The favourite Valkyrie of Wotan - soprano


Wagner's Die Walkure - Plot Summary

Pre-story: Alberich makes all-powerful ring; Wotan steals it, but gives it up to build Valhalla fortress for the Gods. Wotan father's twins to regain possession of the ring

Act 1: Forest Hut: Siegmung frees his love Sieglinde from his enemy Hunding, unaware they are siblings
Act2: Valhalla: Siegmund fights Hunding, Brunnhilde to help, Fricka opposes incestry, Siegmund is killed and Wotan kills Hunding in return
Act 3: Mountain Plateau: Valkyries gather the dead, Brunnhilde foresees Sieglinde to bear child she escapes Wotan. But Brunnhilde is to be punished, softened by compassion Wotan puts her to sleep and surrounds her by fire only a hero can penetrate

Post-story: son of Sieglinde; Siegfried frees Brunnhilde but is killed. Order must be restored by returning the ring; everything goes up in flames, the gods are killed and balance returns.


Wagner's Die Walkure - Wotan's farewell to Brunnhilde

'der augen leuchtendes Paar - your radiant eyes
low strings - Slumber Motive ostinato; light 16th note little syncopation undulating melody
underscore Wotan's farewell
Wotan kisses Brunnhilde - magic sleep Mtoive chromatic harmonies harps woodwinds contrary motion

Then Spear Motive-bold descending figure forcefully trombones - Wotan summons Loge God of Fire
string temolos
Flames encircle Brunnhilde - Magin Fire Motive: staccato 16th notes woodwinds flickering flames

Wotan prophesies rescue using Siegfried's motive-upward-thrusting theme brass

Wotan leaves - slumber motive and magic fire motive co-mingle, curtain falls.