Composers followed specific rules regarding chord structure and form. However, during the mid to late 19th century, a shift from an emphasis on structure to an emphasis on expressiveness started to occur. This shift towards freedom of expression is what marks the Romantic era. Some of the characteristics of this time include: freedom of form, chromaticism, great virtuosity, and a variety of other trends.
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Composers followed specific rules regarding chord structure and form. However, during the mid to late 19th century, a shift from an emphasis on structure to an emphasis on expressiveness started to occur. This shift towards freedom of expression is what marks the Romantic era. Some of the characteristics of this time include: freedom of form, chromaticism, great virtuosity, and a variety of other trends. Throughout this piece, many of the characteristic of this era can be seen.
Some of the prominent features of the Romantic era that can be observed in Solo De Concours is the freeness of form, variations and sequences, and the use of Chromaticism. Form During the Romantic one of the main characteristics is freedom of form.
Andre Messagers primary occupation was writing operas. French opera has characteristics that make it unique from other styles of opera. French opera always opened with a French Overture characterized by a flowing melody with the use of Double Dotted rhythms which help accent the downbeats. French opera also had to have ballet in the opera. Ballet was popular in France and was iconic in French opera.
The opera would have various solo features that showcased the virtuosity of the soloists. Then, at the end, the opera would close in an exciting finale. Each section of the piece is unique in and of itself and there is very little repetition of material within sections. Wright 3 Within the Overture section there are two main melodies as seen in example 1 and 2. The first melody in example 1 shows the French march style with the use of Double Dotted Rhythms.
These rhythms are specifically characteristic of French overtures and French marches. French overtures usually took on a fast-slow-fast shape. The second melody, shown in example 2, demonstrates this slow section of this overture.
It is marked cantabile in the score to show the contrast in character of this section. The rest of the overture section is fast paced and ultimately serves as a modulation to the ballet section. Example 1: Overture Theme 1 Example 2: Overture Theme 2 The Ballet section demonstrates a single melody, shown in example 3, which is played first by the clarinet while the piano accompanies.
After the melody is presented by the clarinet, the piano takes over the melody with slight variation and the clarinet accompanies with a 6-tuplet figure. The last section of the ballet modulates back to the original key for the cadenza. Example 3: Ballet Theme Wright 4 The clarinet cadenza serves to showcase the virtuosity of the performer. The cadenza, shown in example 4, seems to have been wrote idiomatically for clarinet. Each phrase follows natural finger patterns that help the performer play smoothly and efficiently.
The ending of cadenza sets up a series of trills to reestablish the key. Example 4: Cadenza Wright 5 The transition section begins with a transitional sequence, shown later in example 11, which modulates in thirds back to the original key of the overture.
This sequence will be discussed later. After the sequence, material from the overture is referenced and the style of the overture is present throughout this section. The transition section ends on a dramatic half cadence, in example 5, in preparation for the finale. Example 5: Transition Half Cadence BbM: I64 iio7 V7 The finale features the clarinet performing exciting 16th note runs while the piano plays a light 8th note accompaniment at the beginning and sustained chords toward the end.
Example 6 and 7, on the next page, show the two kinds of texture that Andre Messager uses in the Finale section. Example 6: Finale Opening Texture Wright 6 Example 7: Finale Closing Texture Even though there is not a structural form represented in this piece, each of the sections of Solo De Concours are well thought out and put together in a way that makes sense to the performer and audience.
Andre Messagers use of operatic themes and styles plays a huge part in the overall form of the piece. The use of similar techniques and slight repetition of material connect each section and make this piece unique in its own way.
Variations and Sequences One of the distinct characteristics of the Romantic period is song-like melodies and a flowing form. The themes in Solo De Concours are all flowing and lyrical. Even the accompaniment parts when the piano has the melody are flowing. Variation is used in the Overture and Ballet sections. In the Overture, Messager uses variation on the opening theme.
The opening theme and variations are shown in Example 8 on the next page. The opening theme is the first 4 measures. Variation 1, in Measures , uses the same melodic idea as the opening theme and use many of the same chords, but the melodic idea is up a third. The second variation, in measures , elaborate the opening theme with a triplet figure over the same chord structure in the piano as the opening theme.
The final variation of this theme, in measures , elaborates the 1st variation Wright 7 with the same triplet figure as seen in variation 2; also, the chord progression is the same as variation 1 as seen with variation 2 and the opening theme. This theme, shown in example 9, is another 4 bar phrase just like the opening theme of the overture.
Just like the first theme, Andre Messager uses variation and writes this theme up a fourth. In this variation, the piano has the same texture as in the theme, but with different chords. Example 9: Overture Theme 2 Variation Theme Variation Wright 9 In the Ballet section, the clarinet plays the opening melody while the piano accompanies with syncopated chords. After the clarinet finishes the theme, the piano plays the theme while the clarinet plays an arpeggiated 6-tuplet figure.
Andre Messager uses this figure to create a variation in the texture. Halfway through the variation the clarinet and piano switch roles and the clarinet has the remaining melody while the piano continues playing the 6-tuplet figure. In example 10, on the following pages, the theme and variation are labeled. In the Overture and Ballet sections of Solo De Concours, each theme has had a variation applied to it; either the melody changes to different mode or there is a change in texture.
In the Wright 14 transition and finale sections, Andre Messager uses sequences to expand the phrases instead of using variation. The following examples will show transitional sequences that are employed to expand the harmonic progression and lead to the next idea.
Just like the variations in the overture, the sequences in the transition and finale are used at the intervals of thirds and fourths. At the beginning of the transition section, shown in example 11, on the next page, the piano plays a 4 bar phrase which goes through a progression from the key of Db to the key of F. The next 4 bars is exactly the same as the previous 4 bars. The progression then goes from the key of F to the key of A, which is the secondary dominant of the third in the key of Bb.
This A Major chord leads us to the first variation from the first theme in the overture. Example 12 shows the sequence and chord progression. The first sequence is replicated at the fourth and is a series of dominate seven chords that lead to ii. Then the second sequence takes this and goes up in thirds until it reaches tonic again. Example 13 shows these two sequences and their harmonic progression.
Using theme and variation, Andre Messagers either writes the melody up an interval of a third and fourth, or varies the texture with the use of triplet and 6-tuplets. The use of these figures gives his music a sense of a flowing feeling.
Chromaticism Another characteristic of the Romantic period is the use of chromaticism. Andre Messager uses chromaticism within the harmonic structure. The use of these chromatic notes enable the use of a wide variety of chords that would not be used earlier in music.
These chords add an extra dimension to the music. In many sections, the bass line moves up or down diatonically in seconds. There are a few sections where the bass moves up or down chromatically.
In the overture, during the second theme, the bass line steps down chromatically. Example 14 shows this passage. Another section that uses this technique is in the transition section. Right after the sequence mentioned earlier, the Bass line moves down chromatically while the melody in the clarinet moves up chromatically.
This section is shown in example The freeness of form, flowing melodies, and use of chromaticism show how Solo De Concours reflects the trends from this era in music. Related Papers.
Solo de Concours
Solo De Concours
When very young I learned the piano; but later on my intentions to become a composer met with such opposition from my father". The names of both the composers are in small print just below the title. At his invitation, Messager resigned from the Folies in and became conductor of the Eden. Messager was invited to complete it; he orchestrated the entire work and composed between twelve and fifteen numbers. It ran well into the following year in Paris, and he was able to sell the British rights immediately, though the work was not staged in London until It ran for three months and was successfully produced in Britain the following year with a cast including Florence St. John and Marie Tempest , running for more than performances.