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									Chapter 9
Baroque
Instrumental Music

 Concerto and
Concerto Grosso:
    Vivaldi
            Key Terms

Concerto           Variation form
Concerto grosso    Basso continuo
Concertare         Chaconne
Movement           Passacaglia
Ritornello form    Ground
Ritornello         Ground bass
Archlute           Double listening
    Baroque Instrumental
         Music (1)
For the first time, listeners & musicians
took instrumental music seriously
Rise of instrumental music paralleled
improvements in instrument-building
 • Stradivarius, Silbermann, etc.
How long should a piece be?
 • With vocal music, when the words are done
 • With instrumental music, no equivalent guide
 • Instrumental forms & genres had to provide
   guidelines
   Baroque Instrumental
        Music (2)
How to extend purely instrumental music
in time in a logical manner?
• Repetition, return, sequence, & imitation
• Begin & end in the same key
How to create interest and drama?
• Contrast & variation
• Modulate to other keys in the middle
• String contrasting movements together
Baroque forms and genres combine these
techniques in various ways
Concerto and Concerto Grosso

 The most important orchestral genres of
 the Baroque era
 Latin concertare = to contend
 Concerto signifies a contest between—
  • Soloist & orchestra (concerto)
  • Group of soloists & orchestra (concerto
    grosso)
  • Virtuoso brilliance of solos & orchestra’s
    power, stability
             Movements

Movement = self-contained section of a
larger work
Many Baroque works create drama &
length by stringing together several short,
contrasting pieces (movements)
A typical concerto has three movements
 • I – bright, extroverted, in a fast tempo
 • II – slower, quieter, more emotional
 • III – similar to 1st movement, often faster
      Ritornello Form (1)

Commonly used in 1st & 3rd movements
of Baroque concerto
Italian ritorno = return (home)
Ritornello form is based on systematic use
of contrast & return
Consistent alternation between two
contrasting sections—
 • Ritornellos & solo episodes
Return of theme more satisfying after
contrasting solos (sense of resolution)
           Ritornello Form (2)

Standard ritornello form
    RIT = complete ritornello statement
    [RIT] = partial ritornello statement
    Solo 1, 2, 3, etc. = solo episodes
        Ritornello vs. Episode

Ritornello                Solo Episode
    Principal theme          Contrasting section
    Solid & forceful         Faster, more brilliant
    Often very tuneful       Free & virtuosic
    For full orchestra       For soloist(s)
    Stable–stays in one      Unstable–modulates
    key, ends with           to another key, flows
    strong cadence           into next ritornello
    Familiarity grows        Always something
    with each return         new, surprising
        Antonio Vivaldi
         (1678-1741)
Famous as violinist & composer
Most popular Baroque concerto composer
• Four Seasons his most popular work
Wrote over 500 concertos
The ―Red Priest‖ was also music teacher
at a Venetian orphanage
• Renowned for quality of musical training
• Famous for student concerts
Frequent travel to perform his concertos &
operas in musical centers of Europe
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in G

Vivaldi concertos often published in sets
of 6 or 12
 • Sets often given descriptive titles—
     La stravaganza (Extravagance), Four Seasons, or
      L’estro armonico (Harmonic Whims)
Op. 4, No. 12 is the last concerto in his
fourth published set (Latin opus = work)
Concerto for solo violin & orchestra
Uses standard three-movement format
 • I & III fast, brilliant, ritornello form
 • II slower, gentler, ground bass form
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in G, I
               (1)
 Tempo ―Spirited, not too fast‖
 Creative use of ritornello form
 Ritornello theme (for orchestra)
  • Subdivides into three short sections–a, b, c
  • Alternates between 1st & 2nd violin sections
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in G, I
               (2)
 Ritornello theme (cont.)
  •   Only Ritornello 1 uses entire theme
  •   Ritornellos 1, 2, & 5 in G major
  •   Ritornello 3 begins in D major; 4 in B minor
  •   Surprisingly free use of theme in Ritornellos 3
      and 4
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in G, I
               (3)
 Solo episodes
  • Feature solo violin, usually with continuo
    accompaniment
  • Solos become progressively freer & more
    virtuosic
 Ritornellos & solos swap roles at times!
  • Ritornello 4 modulates frequently–unstable
  • Solo 3 affirms B minor throughout
  • Orchestral strings accompany Solos 2 & 4
 Ends with literal return of ritornello (b, c)
  Baroque Variation Form

Variation forms rely on repetition &
contrast—simultaneously!
Grew up spontaneously all over Europe;
first improvised, then written out
Preference for short themes: 4 to 8 bars
Uninterrupted repetition of an ostinato:
short melody or chord progression
Names include passacaglia, chaconne,
ground
        The Ground Bass

Features of ground bass form—
 • Systematic, uninterrupted repetition of a short,
   clearly defined melody (basso ostinato)
 • Dynamics, tone color, & some harmonies often
   change with each repetition (variation)
 • Tempo, key, & mode are sometimes varied
 • Even the ground bass can be varied, but its
   identity is rarely obscured
―Double listening‖–try to hear repeating
theme & changing material at same time
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in G,
              II (1)
Slow tempo–Largo
Based on 6-bar ground bass
Continuous feel enhanced by—
 • Uninterrupted repetition of ground bass
 • Steady eighth-note rhythms
 • Dominant harmony at end of ground bass pulls
   to tonic at beginning of next repetition
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in G,
              II (2)
Variety created by—
 • Gradually faster solo figuration in first four
   variations
 • Sudden, dramatic changes in Variations 5-6
     Switch to minor mode
     Ostinato moves to violins
     Continuo drops out
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in G,
              II (3)
To increase coherence, composers often
group variations to make larger sections
Vivaldi creates three sections here
 • Theme & Variations 1-4–Entirely in G major,
   basso ostinato
 • Variations 5-6–Shifts to G minor, ostinato
   moves to violins
 • Final statement of Theme–As at the beginning
Overall ternary feel (A B A)
Vivaldi, Violin Concerto in G, III

  Fast tempo, ritornello form
  Form even freer than in 1st movement
   •   Begins with solo introduction
   •   1st ritornello statement interrupted by solo
   •   2nd ritornello presents new theme
   •   Solo violin constantly changes from one idea
       to another
  3rd & 5th ritornellos provide stability

								
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