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Lecture 8

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MUSC 102

MUSC 102 Lecture 8 - How did the Wozzeck plot reflect Expressionist art? - Alven Berg was a student of Schoenberg - Was in the army in WWI - Influenced a lot of his writing, traumatized and disturbed - So perfect for expressionism (disturbed, having hallucinations, etc.) - Wozzeck is the first atonal expressionist opera, 1924 - Called it freely atonal (combined sounds of late Romanticism with atonal passages) - Brings it in when he wants to, very carefully controlled - Uses a lot of pre-existing forms, very carefully controlled - Sometimes he’d use a fugues, sometimes a sonata form, sometimes a rondo, etc. - Take existing forms and write them in an atonal way th - 4 scene- variation on a hexachord (contains six notes) - Scene 5- variations on a rhythm - Triplets in 6/8 time - Terrifying and horrible scene, but also expressionist - Children’s song while the children don’t know what’s happening - Contains leitmotif, like a little theme that’s a sign for each character - The music is affected by Wozzeck’s own disturbance and mental anguish - Emotion painting, like word painting extraordinaire - Listening Guide, p.228 1) Ascending strings- his perspective - 2:35, rising strings give perspective of rising water as he drowns 2) Musical distortion, extremes- in the volume - Extremes happen, from really soft to really loud- meant to show anguish - 2:08, looking up at the moon, listen for harp glissando, word painting, very depictive - Interlude, very loaded and tonal, very Romantic with big orchestration and full chords - Even in a particular key, D minor (important favoured key at end of era) - Very typical of late Romantic work - Scene 5, small orchestra, meant to represent the children - All becomes very delicate at the end - Everyone is kind of indifferent at the end that the parents are dead, very expressionist - The plot is about one man’s internal situation, starts imaging things, is also massively mistreated by those around him, himself grappling with himself, inner distortion and breaking under the strain - Realism th - Towards end of 19 century - Artists start to paint more scenes of what’s actually around them - What’s available to them, not just what’s in their fantasies - “Everything that is outside the retina is out of the range of painting” – Gustave Courbet - Wagner - Went for the big Romantic sound, developing and bringing new instruments into orchestra - Wanted his operas to be performed in one city so that it could become a mecca for people to come and listen to operas - His operas are very myth-based (The Ring Opera) - Verdi - Into the big orchestra, but his plots started to change - New translations of Shakespeare, made it popular among many composers - Makes a big comeback - More for the people - Realism is the next level after that - Set things that are more current and more real - End up with composers like Puccini - Starts writing operas about real people - Puccini - Operatic god in Italy - Moves to Milan, incredibly important opera town - Writes his operas in a verismo style (another way of saying realistic, depictions of everyday life in a dramatic form) - Verismo: 1) Plot- highly realistic, nothing too fantastic, no subject is too ugly, the nitty-gritty of life, don’t sugar-coat it 2) Alot about human emotion- revenge, passion, love, what grips people 3) Melodies are soaring/lush/thick- heading into big melodies, the ultimate Romantic opera but about real plots and real life stories 4) Lots of doubling- whatever the voice is singing, the orchestra will double and play the same line, possibly in other octaves, someti
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