Baroque - key points: Chorus

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Domine Filli Unigenite - from Vivaldi's Gloria

  • Joyful - celebrating Jesus, 'only begotten Lord and Son of God, Jesus'
  • Ritornello form
  • Joyful F major
  • Opening ritornello introduces 'skipping' dotted rhythm in form of rising melodic motif
  • Sequential falling bass line in 3rds - drives sense of elation
  • Hemiola gives a rhythmic lilt which creates a joyful lift, adds to 'skipping' feel
  • Melody made up of rising melodic motif, 'domine filli' and melisma on 'Jesus' to elaborate/glorify his name
  • Melody is introduced in pairs - alto/bass then soprano/tenor. The lighter timbre of soprano/tenor facilitate the dominant lift to C
  • There is then a section of imitative counterpoint, the polyphony representing the spreading of joy (melodic material in different places/pitches). Imitated firstly between sopranos and altos with a triadic tenor line and bold descending bass line
  • The use of voices in 3rds also adds to the harmonious feel
  • Exploration of various keys - Am, Bb, F then cycle of 5ths builds anticipation and use of different keys shows spreading of joy
  • Melody in Bb on tenor/bass which swap round
  • Ends with chain of suspensions in soprano and dotted melisma 'Jesus' on alto, doubling instruments - most elaborate at the end
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The King Shall Rejoice - Handel

  • Corination anthem for King George II, 1727 - late baroque
  • Worships both the King and God, text from the king James bible
  • Begins with a linking movement in D to modulate from A to Bm
  • Huge D major chord on 'glory' - a joyful, uplifting key and idiomatic for baroque trumpets which denote regality
  • Homophonic texture - large choir and orchestra (large event at Westminster Abbey), split basses and altos, oboes, 3 trumpet parts, timpani playing a roll - intensity helps portray the 'glory'
  • Underneath this, independant violin parts play swirling, ornate semiquavers (regal, glory)
  • Ends with 7-6 suspension on chord IVb, creating anticipation for the fugue in Bm/what is to come (spiritual)
  • Minor key as subject matter is more serious/spiritual
  • Fugal subject introduced in altos/tenors, doubled by violas (doubling adds intensity)
  • Subject conjunct with rhythmic feel of a hemiola, based on a descending melodic minor scale - beautiful/free ('thou hast prevented him')
  • Counter subject - melisma/descending sequence on 'blessing' - spreading the blessing
  • Fugal busyness denotes the spreading of God's glory (different moments and registers)
  • Subject in bass voices/cello
  • After fugal exposition, first episode based on the fugal ideas
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The King Shall Rejoice - Handel

  • Modulates for a section in D major 'and hast set a crown of pure gold upon his head', joy and regality as it is talking about 'crown of pure gold', focus on corination and regal crown
  • Independant instrumental parts again
  • Upper strings play rising quaver figures
  • Regal instruments back in (trumpet/timps) - emphatic chords on the first beat of the bar
  • Dominant pedal on bass/continuo
  • Voices in powerful homophony
  • Intensity grows as trumpets and timps change to quavers
  • (very brief section based on major fugal subject)
  • Peak of excitement - trumpets play a triadic fanfare (majestic), rhythmic drive with quavers and semiquavers in timps, tonic pedal, oboes in 3rds and 5ths
  • Then returns to Bm fugue
  • 'Crown of pure gold' section returns but now in Bm
  • Timps cannot play, trumpets more limited so Handel splits the alto part for 5 part vocal texture
  • Ends with fugal subject to words 'thou hast set a crown of pure gold upon his head' then descending scale in violins
  • Final chord has no 3rd (avoids too much of a solemn mood?)
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Let Us Not Divide it - 54 from Bach's St John Pass

  • Choir represent crowd fighting at the foot of the cross for Jesus' robe
  • Fugal - counterpoint of fugal texture denotes busyness/bickering, the fugal entries represent everyone interjecting with the same argument
  • Subject 'let us not divide it' is forceful and syllabic
  • Syncopated counter subject adds to sense of disarray
  • Alberti bass on cello adds to disarray and creates a sense of agitation
  • Descending bass line drives tension
  • Bold and definite I V I V progression moves argument forward, drama and drive
  • Modulations to Am and Em after fugal exposition - argument getting more and more sinister
  • Cycle of 5ths builds tension and anticipation
  • Use of diminished chords to create unease
  • Melisma on 'lots' - people wailing/trying to be heard through the crowd
  • Ends on homophony 'who shall have it?'  - indicating perhaps that some kind of agreement has been reached
  • Doubling voices with instruments (violin 1/oboe/soprano, violin 2/oboe d'amore/alto, viola/flutes an octave up/tenor) creates an array of timbres which adds to the busyness
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