The orchestral score
I was asked to create a list of instrument names in other languages, whenever I see new ones within my studies. I will, in addition to keeping a hand written vocabulary book, come back to this page to add new content. The first ones are from Richard Strauss’ “Don Juan” in the following order:
|Große Flöte||large flute|
|Englisch Horn||English horn|
|Trompeten in E||trumoet in e|
|Cornetti (Cornetto)||Cornett/Cornetto/ Corneta Renacentista|
Harold en Italie
For this research point I was asked to listen to the Symphony “Harold en Italie” , by the French composer Hector Berloiz.
I found a score of the piece on the Petrucci Music Library, which can be found under the following link: https://imslp.org/wiki/Harold_en_Italie%2C_H_68_(Berlioz%2C_Hector)
Even though the title „ Harold en Italie, Symphonie en quatre partes avec un Alto principal, Op 16“ and the composer „Hector Berloiz“ are French, the names of the instruments are in Italian, fitting to the title of the piece. It takes about 40 minutes and is written for an instrumental orchestra with one solo instrument, a viola. The pace is given as: One quaver note =76 (adagio).
The composition is divided into four parts, which are similar to the four movements a symphony normally has, with the difference that these ones always resemble a certain scene. The separate parts are called :
- “Harold aux montagnes. Scènes de mélancolie, de bonheur et de joie” (=Harold in the mountains, scnenes of melancholy, luck and joy)
- “Marche des pèlerins chantant la prière du soir” (= March of the pilgrims, which sing the evening prayer)
- Sérénade d’un montagnard des Abruzzes à sa maîtresse (=Evening song from a mountaineer to his beloved one)
- Orgie de Brigands. Souvenirs de scènes précédentes (=Feast of the bandits, reminder of bygone scenes)
Whilst having a look at those parts in detail I found the following aspects:
- The first movement of the piece seems to consist of several independent sounding parts, which are well connected with one another. Berloiz mainly uses chromatic movements for the cello and contrabass to create tension (and a picture of big mountains), he also creates waves between the dynamics. The Solo-viola part only has its entry quite late, but with a sudden change of character, much calmer than the previous introduction. A theme, or clear “motif” can be heard from the viola, firstly only accompanied by the harp, but the rest of the orchestra slowly comes back again as well.
- At the beginning of this movement one can notice a long crescendo, which probably refers to a pilgrimage coming nearer. This theme nonetheless, ends after a while and is replaced by another one. After a while one can hear the solo viola again playing a new motif consisting of arpeggios, followed by a decrescendo from the orchestra, which probably indicates that the pilgrims continue their journey.
- It seems like Berloiz worked with contrapuntal themes for this movement. Having the in the title mentioned warm “Evening song” sometimes working with, and sometimes working more against the theme of the viola. The pace seems to vary but the piece nevertheless stays fluent.
- This movement starts with a long introduction, which includes a few motifs from the former movements, played by the viola. It seems as if the single phrases were always interrupted by a theme, that comes at the very end.
I generally quite enjoyed listening to this symphony. For the time it was written in, it seemed to have a modern character, especially because one could clearly hear a story being told by the music. I would say, that the viola probably resembles Harold, his experiences and emotions as he travels through Italy. I found it interesting to see, that Berloiz seemed to work with Leitmotifs (Themes which are linked to a character or object), even though they were only officially used later on in the musical history. Generally, Beloiz managed it quite well to put this story into a musical piece, even though, I’m not convinced that if one were only given the title of the piece (no subtitles to the movements), whether one would still be able to recognise the different parts of the story. Nevertheless, I especially enjoyed the second movement, because for this one could quite clearly notice what Berloiz was trying to say with the music.
Music and Globalisation
The term “globalisation” generally describes the intregration of markets worldwide. In a coherence with music, one could therefore see it as: How was/ or is music distributed from around the world. 1
A few centuries ago,composers of new music usually stayed within the musical ranges of their cultural circle. Due to globalisation, one can now hear Arabic music as often as Indian Ragas or Rhythms from Africa. Musical globalisation hasn’t only been around for the last few years. The influences between music from different cultures already existed a few decades ago. For example, the folk-music from Switzerland was influenced by Jazz and Rock’n’Roll for the first time in the 1950’s by the USA. These music-genres, anon developed, among other countries as well, in Africa. 2,3,4
The oldest way of “transporting” music, is the movement of people. Around the globe, there were and still are always people travelling. Whenever someone travels, they usually take a part (or most) of their culture with them and therefore their music as well. It is often the case, that, they cause minor changes in the musical style of the new culture and vice versa.
Another, more modern cause of musical globalisation, is the digital production of music. This causes changes in the musical tastes of people and has the advantage that it often doesn’t even have to be performed by someone, which makes it easier to produce it. On the other hand, one could see exactly that (having no one to perform it) as a downside. 5
One can also obviously say, that globalisation, not only concerning music, but any other subject as well, has increased due to modern technology. In addition to that it where especially the following things, which made a major change to musical globalisation:
- The record-industry is controlled by a few important companies from the USA, Japan and Western-Europe. It is those companies, who decide, what is being published on CDs and what isn’t.
- The music made in the USA became more and more a touchstone for nearly the entire world.
- Worldwide, it has become possible, to download any kind of music from a computer ( often even illegally). 2
- Streaming devices give anyone the opportunity to share their music with the rest of the world.
- With the possibility of live-streaming people from all around the world have the possibility to watch one single performance online. 6
Through my research about this subject there was one term “Worlmusic” which I saw more than once. This term is often discussed because it generally describes either (suitable to the name) all the music being written and played around the world or all the non-Western sounding music. It can furthermore be described as the “mixed” music, mentioned earlier, which can occur when two cultures clash with one another, this kind of music is often quite colourful and probably to anyone rather unusually sounding. 7,8
(1) Economics online. (2018). Globalisation. [online]. Available at: https://www.economicsonline.co.uk/Global_economics/Globalisation_introduction.html [Accessed: 5.Jul.2019]
(2)Globalisierung der Musik. (2016). 1st ed. [doc]. Available at: https://www.swisseduc.ch/allgemeinbildung/globalisierung/docs/musikkultur.pdf [Accessed: 6.Jul.2019]
(3) Walshe, J. (2006). Was hat die Globalisierung aus der Musik gemacht ? (Zeit online),[online]. Available at: https://www.zeit.de/2006/18/KS-Komp__Walsh [Accessed: 6.Jul.2019]
(4) Romanou, K. (2015). Globalisation and Western Music Historiography. Crypus. pp. 9-12. [online]. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304419832_Globalisation_and_western_music_historiography [Accessed: 7.Jul.2019]
(5) Letts, R. (2003). The Effects of Globalisation on music in Five Contrasting Countries. [pdf]. Australia: Music Council of Australia: pp. 1-5. Available at: http://www.imc-cim.org/mmap/pdf/int-dl-finrep-brief-e.pdf [Accessed: 7.Jul.2019]
(6) Teyland. (2017). Globalisation in the Music industry. [online]. Available at: https://de.slideshare.net/Teyland/globalization-in-the-music-industry [Accessed: 7.Jul.2019]
(7) J.A (2015). Erklär’s mir: Was ist Weltmusik ?. [online] Available at: https://www.badische-zeitung.de/erklaer-s-mir-was-ist-weltmusik–100723781.html [Accessed: 7.Jul. 2019]
(8) Lunsqui, A. (2012) Music and Globalization: Diversity, Banalization and Culturalization. [online]. Available at: http://revues.mshparisnord.org/filigrane/index.php?id=161 [Accessed: 7.Jul.2019]
Performance Practice – Part 1
For this research point, I had the task to do some research about performance practice as well as musical interpretation:
In the Oxford Dictionary of Music, the term „performance practice “is described as the following:
The way in which music is performed, especially as it relates to the quest for the ‘authentic’ style of performing the music of previous generations and eras. Its study covers notation, ornamentation, instruments, voice production, tuning and pitch, and the size of ensembles and choruses. (Kennedy, Rutherford; 2013)
In order to play a piece historically correct and as the composer had it in mind, performers should first of all know about the era it comes from. The version of the instrument as well as performance directions should be considered. For example, one of the earlier versions of the piano, the harpsichord, wasn’t able to produce huge dynamic variations but had a high range in pitch. Therefore, there are hardly any dynamic changes given from pieces of this era or earlier.1
The older the music, the more difficult it becomes to read scores, not only because fewer scores still exist, but also because performance directions only just developed over time and were virtually non-existent before that.2
Another difficult aspect of performance practice is probably also the use of historical instruments. Almost every instrument has gone through some sort of change throughout the last few centuries, which, in most cases, also affected the sound they made. Therefore, some industries tried to rebuild the “starter”-versions of instruments, to bring back the original sound.3
The meaning of musical interpretation has gone through slight changes over the last few decades. Within the first 100 years of musicology, it was primarily seen as a philological study of texts, history and musical analysis. By now, especially within the last 25 years, the practical side of performing a piece has become a study-term itself, but is still seen together with the other terms named under “musical interpretation“.4
When it comes to the musical interpretation of a piece, it is suggested to follow the following things; Despite following all the rules, a performer can still make a composition to a unique piece of art, by making small adaptions towards their own liking. It is nonetheless still important to understand what the composer wanted to express with his music, this can also depend on the time era a piece was written in.5
Despite the fact, that we have all this knowledge about performance, interpretation and former instruments it is still a question of whether one shouldn’t perform it differently in any case. It obviously makes sense to stay as close as possible to what the composer had in mind. On the other hand, is it the audience which really makes the music of today, one could interpret a big piece in a slightly different way than the original and therefore just make it a bit more interesting. In addition to that, it is impossible to tell, how music, from the Baroque era was actually performed.6
(1) Hsueh, S. (2017). Understanding Style: A Practical Application of Historical Performance Practice. [ebook] Illinois: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, pp.1-3. Available at: https://search-proquest-com.ucreative.idm.oclc.org/docview/1914683810?accountid=14178&pq-origsite=summon [Accessed 10 Jul. 2019].
(2) Seedorf, T. (2019). HISTORISCHE AUFFÜHRUNGSPRAXIS – EINST UND HEUTE [online] Goethe Institut. Aailable at: https://www.goethe.de/de/kul/mus/gen/alt/7999415.html [Accessed: 9 Jul.2019]
(3) Hinrichs, C. (2012). Das Ende der Alten Musik. Rondo Magazin. p. 3.
(4) Hinrichsen HJ. (2013) Musikalische Interpretation und Interpretationsgeschichte. In: Calella M., Urbanek N. (eds) Historische Musikwissenschaft. J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart. Available at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-476-05348-0_9 [Accessed: 10.Jul.2019]
(5) Silverman, M. (2008). Musical interpretation: philosophical and practical
issues. [pdf]. New York University: USA. pp: 17,18. Available at: http://www.marissasilverman.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/M.-Silverman-IJME.pdf [Accessed: 10.Jul.2019]
(6) Hinrichs, C. (2012). Das Ende der Alten Musik. Rondo Magazin. p. 4.
Performance practice – Part 2
For the following research point, I was asked to compare five different interpretations of Chopin’s Nocturne Op.9 No. 3 in B-Major. To the piece itself: It has a simple A-B-A’ form and, suitable to the chapter of this course, chromatic movement is often used. The A parts a generally a bit calmer and one can clearly notice the main voice in the right hand. The B parts tend to be a bit wilder, and due to some chords, which are being played by the right hand alongside with the melody it’s sometimes difficult to define where the main voice is.
I listened to the versions of the piece from the following five performers:
- Arthur Rubenstein: He added many rubati (the first one already in the third bar) which weren’t stated in the score. He seemed to be using them in waves, but always fitting really well. In terms of dynamics he generally stayed rather quiet, even at small crescendo parts, he only got louder for crescendos which went over more than three bars. Within the B-part of the piece he pays more attention to Chopin’s performance directions (concerning dynamics and delays such as fermatas and ritardandos. Compared to all the other performers, I would say Rubenstein managed the B-part in the best way, the chords which are played by the right hand alongside with the melody are barely noticeable. The time it takes him to play the piece is around 6:50.
- Jenny Linn: She played much generally much louder and stronger than any of the other performers. Therefore, one can barely notice a difference where Chopin added Crescendos. Within the A-parts, the only moments were she gets quieter is for longer ornaments. She mainly stays in the same pace (except for fermatas) and therefore doesn’t add many rubati. For the B-part the left-hand chords are being played rather loudly, therefore the melody is not really recognisable. On the other hand, she seems to be adding more dynamic changes for this part. It took her about 6 minutes and 40 seconds to play it.
- Garrick Ohlson: Generelly much quieter but he varies a lot between dynamics. He includes a few rubati but they’re barely noticeable. Whilst playing ornaments, even really long ones, he seems to stay within the same time, which one can notice by listening to the left hand part. Fort he B.part the right hand chords seem to be more penetrating than Rubenstein’s version, but one can still hear the melody. Due to Ohlson not adding any delays for ornaments it only takes him 5:40 to play. Because of the strong dynamic changes, the strong B-part and the pace I personally would say, that from all the interpretations I liked this one most.
- Elisabeth Lenskaja: Her playing technique is rather soft, but not as quiet as indicated. She also often adds crescendos which aren’t stated but it makes the piece sound more vivid. For the longer ornaments she adds perceivable rubati and sometimes smaller once for other parts of the piece. Her fermatas are extremely long. For the B-part the chords stay in the background and dynamic changes vary more. For the last two bars she stretches the ritardando enormously. Due to all those delays it takes Lenskaia around / minutes and 30 seconds.
- Maurizio Pollini: Even though there’s a pace given fort he score (One bar = 66), Pollini plays it incredibly fast. Similar to Lenskaja, he adds his own small crescendos, the longer, indicated ones, are strongly emphasized. Furthermore, he mainly stays within the same pace even for longer ornaments. He seems to even increase the pace for the B-part, but therefore did’t manage to emphasize the music properly. Like for Ohlson’s version, one can barely notice a difference in pace when it comes to ornaments or fermatas. It takes him about the same time as Ohlson.
It surprised me in how many different ways one piece can be interpreted. Even though there were many performance directions given, all of the performers either added a few more, ignored others, or both. Being a pianist myself I wondered whether I would follow all the directions given if I had to perform the piece. After playing a few bars, I came to the conclusion, that would probably add some dynamic changes as well, probably more impulsive, whilst playing, rather than purposely.