THE NEGRO SPEAKS OF RIVERS by BONDS
The song is Through-Composed. The piano is used continuously, making links between the vocal entries - always flowing like a river. Some of the melody is spiritual and some lyrical, representing the geographical changes.
A1: Piano intro - slow, low, deep chords, using octaves and getting higher dark and minor voice - strong clear phrases, repeating.
A2: Piano link - provides background, the voice continues in the same style but changes to a melisma on 'sleep. The piano intro returns, with a crescendo as it rises in pitch and thickens in texture. There is a high point as the voice reaches the Nile, with the highest note on 'above'.
B: Piano link - changing the mood; livelier; major; more modern. Voice in a lyrical style
A1: Piano link The voive is then a repeat of the opening text. Piano - brooding chords of the beginning are continued to the end with a Tierce de Picardie.
MY SOUL, THERE IS A COUNTRY by PARRY
Choral work for all men.
Texture: Not completely homophonic at the beginning (parts move individually but are similar), then homophonic, and then polyphonic with the imitative section.
- 'One who never changes' - long passage of imitation between parts ending with a rising sequence, expresses the sense of endlessness in the text.
- 'Oh my soul awake' - change to a more lively tempo and decisive rhythms with a more declamatory homophonic tecture.
- 'To die..' - dark minor harmonies with dissonant suspensions in the treble line, also homophonic.
Tonality: Free use of passing notes and suspensions (7th chords and 9th chords as well as chromatic ones). However each section is in a recognisable key, defined by imperfect and perfect cadences. Use of a circle of 5ths following the rising sequence to return to D, so in spite of the 'change', things are stable after all.
CREON'S ANNOUNCEMENT from OEDIPUS REX by STRAVINSK
Oedipus Rex - an opera-oratorio (both tell a story and characters express feelings in elaborate solos). In an opera, action and scenary are important as the dialogue is sung in a less expressive recitative. Oratorios use characters which do not act and the dialogue element is reduced, but the chorus plays an important role in commentating on the action. Opens in a 'declamatory' style, each note is marked with an accent, like a fanfare (he is announcing something). This is doubled by the trumpet=royal.
Most of the melody is doubled throughout without clear reason. But the wide octaves in the piano give breadth and stature to the singer. The independent accompaniment figures do not seem to have any specific word-painting purpose, but they help to push the music on in a busy and self-important way.
The music seems to be in C major until bar 13 where the dissonances undermine this. It settles into E major but returns to C, confirmed by timpani rolls. The music cannot be described as atonal but it does not establish its keys using perfect cadences. It makes free use of dissonance.
JOCASTA'S ARIA from OEDIPUS REX by STRAVINSKY
A recitative and area in G minor. The aria develops the text of the first section.
Vocal line features:
- ascending sequence
- rises and hangs up in the air in the same way of a question, the chords beneath are inconclusive
The plainer more declamatory style of the recitative returns at the end.
There are no examples of word painting and the accompaniment does not set out to paint an explicit scene. The use of a harp may suggest feminine qualities.
Stravinsky uses a neoclassical style - draws on forms, styles and techniques of the past, without returning to exactly the same approach to tonality or melody and rhythm.
I WAS GLAD by PARRY
Choir and orchestra. Coronation piece.
Orchestral introduction, royal sounding and homophonic. Major opening. Choir enters forte, in harmony and homophonic with the organ. Trumpet fanfare provides a link. Female and male voices enter into an imitative section rising in pitch and dynamic, modulating to minor and ending on a dominant chord. Imative section between higher and lower voices again. Every choir entry is followed by an orchestral section. The trumpets have another fanfare. The choir are then in unison before the 'Vivat Regina', where the sopranos sing their highest note in octaves with the rest of the choir which is accented, the orcestra have long dominant chords. Then there is a chord followed by a choir 'Vivat' interjection for a few bars.
There is another orchestral section. The quieter,dolce, section follows which is contrapuntal.
The choir is then doubled by the brass. And the orchestra finishes the piece on a perfect cadence.
CARMINA BURANA by ORFF
Based on 24 poems - forming a 25 movement cantata ( vocal composition with instrumental accompaniment)
Orff's style demonstrates a desire for directness of speech and of access. Carmina Burana contains little or no development in the classical sense, and polyphony is also absent. Carmina Burana avoids overt harmonic complexities. Some of the solo arias pose bold challenges for singers.
O fortuna - homophonic choir throughout. The brass double the choir at the begining. The bassoon provides movement in quiet passages to add tension. Diction is clear and the words are staccato. The second time the chorus is heard it is doubled by the strings. There is a tierce de picardie with the brass fanfare and cymbol crashes at the end.
SUMMERTIME from PORGY AND BESS by GERSHWIN
Solo and orchestra. in A minor
It was intended to sound like a folk song but the slow harmonic progression also suggests a blues feel. The idea of a folk song is reinforced by the use of a pentatonic scale (C-D-E-G-A) in the context of the A minor tonality. Has the form ABAC. Movement is primarily skips of 3rds and 4ths, there is some stepwise movement.
The accompaniment is using legato strings and an oboe and flute.
THE VAGABOND by VAUGHAN WILLIAMS
One of the song cycle 'Songs of Travel' for baratone voice and piano. In C minor.
"The Vagabond" introduces the traveller, with heavy "marching" chords in the piano that depict a rough journey through the English countryside.
The piano right hand doubles the voice for the most part of the piece.
The mood changes with the talk of autumn falling apon the singer and the dangers that may have.
Word painting on the word 'Below', there is a minor 7th drop on the '-low' and on 'linger' where the rhythm is drawn out to minims and then a semibrieve. Major on 'warm the fireside haven' - word painting.
At the end the piano plays the plodding motif (staccato crotchets on each beat) and then only on first and third beats with rests in between, finishing with open 5th C-G. The Vagabond's journey slows to a halt.