Auric - Passport to Pimlico: 'The Siege of Burgundy'

Revision cards for Auric set work Music A2 2012

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Background

Incidental music for one of the Ealing comedies - dating from late 1940s to early 1950s

During 1920s, Auric was a member of Les Six with Poulenc, Milhaud, Honegger, Taillefaire and Durey.

Aurics reputation rests on ballet scores and film music e.g. La belle et le bete and Orphee

In this piece, comedy is conveyed by:

- Rapid changes in thematic material

- Quick changes of key

- Colourful and apt orchestration

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Rhythm and Metre

  • Prevailing quadruple pulse, with one change of time signature to 3/4 at bar 51
  • A significant tempo change at bar 20 (piu andante)
  • Motor rhythm of semi quavers throughout much of the piece
  • Rhythmic diminuation in bar 3
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Melody

  • Two and four bar phrases dominate
  • Largely diatonic with occasional chromatic alternations (bar 22)
  • Ornamentation (trills and grace notes)
  • Frequent use of scales 
  • Relatively limited note ranges
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Harmony

Functional harmony:

- Frequent perfect cadences

- Added-note harmony (final cadence)

- Occasional whole-tone harmony (bar 27)

- Augmented 6th (bar 26)

- Parallel triads (e.g. bars 47-48) and parallelism in general (e.g. in contrary motion at bar 8)

- Pedals (e.g. 21-25)

- 7th chords of various sorts (e.g. bar 58)

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Tonality

Changes in key are usually sudden

Frequent use of tertiary relationships:

Bar 1: E major

Bar 9: G major

Bar 15: B minor/major

Bar 21: E major

Bar 33: C major

Bar 39: Eb Major

Bar 43: E major

Bar 55: C major

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Texture

Considerable variety in texture:

Bar 5: Melody dominated homophony, with the melody doubled at the 5th and octave accompanied by parallel 3rds

Bar 9: Texture enlivened by counter melodies

Bar 15: Octaves in bass, then dialogue between strings and wind

Bar 21: Melody in the bass with rapidly repeated chords in the upper strings and wind

Bar 46: Homorhythm

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Orchestration

Notated in short score with added indications regarding instrumentation

Auric required a moderate-sized orchestra with celeste, glockenspiel and percussion

Strings are sometimes played pizzicato

Muted trumpet is required (bar 41)

The bright opening has trills in the wind

Low tremolandi are used (bar 52)

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