Chapter 48 wolfgang amadeus mozart - vocal musicPresentation Transcript
CHAPTER 48 WOLGANG AMADEUS MOZART:VOCAL MUSIC
Mozart was fascinated by the magic of thetheater.In all, he composed 20 operas. - 8 are of the type called Italian opera seria - 7 opera buffa - 5 are of a type called Singspiel —a German light comic opera with spoken dialogue.
• During his mature period in Vienna, Mozart composed three masterpieces: Le nozze di Figaro (1786) Don Giovanni (1787) Così fan tutte (1790).• Each is an opera buffa .•The librettist for all three was Lorenzo da Ponte .
Lorenzo da Ponte (1749-1838) was born of an Italian-Jewish family, but became a Catholic priest.As part of his training in a Catholic seminary, da Pontebecame an expert in classical languages andItalian poetry.In the 1780s he served as the official librettist for EmperorJoseph II in Vienna.After Mozart’s death, da Ponte’s fortunes declined, and hemade his way to London and then the United States, wherehe became the first professor of Italian at ColumbiaUniversity.
Le nozze di Figaro• Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) is based on a play by French playwright Beaumarchais .• In it an honest manservant (Figaro) outwits a philandering, mostly dishonest nobleman (Count Almaviva).• Because it depicted the nobility as ignoble, Beaumarchais’s play was at first banned inFrance and soon in the Holy Roman Empire as well .• Mozart and da Ponte toned down the anti- artistocracy element of the play , and Emperor Joseph II allowed them to present the subject as an opera.
The American soprano Renée Flemingof Rochester, New York, singing the role of Countess Almaviva
Mozart begins his aria “Voi, che sapete” with an instrumental introductionfashioned as antecedent (A) and consequent (B) phrases .When the voice of Cherubino enters he inserts a new four-bar phrasebetween the first two.This aria is a fine example of Mozart’s capacity to write music that is sublimelybeautiful, yet sublimely simple.
Ensemble Finales in Mozart’s OperaThe glories of Mozart’s opere buffe are found in thisensemble finales .In these Mozart pushes the drama along at breakneckspeed by having two, three, four, or more soloistssing separate contrapuntal lines to separate texts,each expressing a particular point of few.When placed at the end of an act, the ensemblefinale provides a rousing way to bring downthe curtain.
During the final year of his life (1791),Mozart composed a conventional operaseria (La clemenza di Tito ) for thecrowning of Emperor Leopold II in Pragueas king of Bohemia.He also composed a very unconventionalSingspeil (Die Zauberflöte ) for asuburban theater in Vienna.Singspeil is a German light comic opera withspoken dialogue rather than recitatives
MOZART’S REQUIEM MASS• The Requiem Mass is the funeral music for the Roman Catholic church.• Mozart was commissioned to write one by a mysterious Count von Walsegg in the summer of 1791.• Because Mozart was ill at this time, he came to see the Requiem as his own Requiem Mass.
THE DIES IRAE• At the core of almost every Requiem Mass is the Dies irae (Day of Wrath), a lengthy, phantasmagorical text originating in the 13th century within a Gregorian chant.• The Dies irae speaks of the pain and torment of hell and the Day of Judgment.
BEGINNING OF THE DIES IRAEDies irae, dies illa, Day of wrath, that day,Solvet saeclum in favilla, When the ages shall be reduced to ashTeste David cum Sibylla. As foretold by David and the Sibyl Prophet.Quantus tremor est futurus, What terror will occurQuando judex est venturus, When the eternal judge arrives,Cuncta stricte discussurus. To loosen the chains of those in hell.
THE “TUBA MIRUM”A subsequent verse of the Dies irae, the “Tuba mirum”(“Wonderous trumpet”), recalls how the trumpetshall sound on the Day of Judgment .Here Mozart creates perhaps the most famoustrombone solo in the entire literature.In the history of orchestral writing in opera, the soundof the trombone had frequently been associatedwith those of Hell .
The beginning of the “Tuba mirum” of the Dies irae of Mozart’s Requiem Mass
THE “CONFUTATIS”• Perhaps the most graphic moment in Mozart’s Requiem is found in the “Confutatis” of the Dies irae .• Here Mozart creates music that reflects the contrast between the hellish cries of the damned (“Confutatis”=those confounded) against the heavenly sounds of the elect (“Benedictus”=those blessed).
THE “LACRIMOSA DIES ILLA”The Dies irae concludes with the text “Lacrimosadies illa” (“Ah, that day of tears and mounring”).For this Mozart creates a musical funeralprocession in the midst of which he makes aremarkable musical gesture.The soprano line ascends in a mostlychromatic scale for more than an octave , likethe just man or woman rising from the ashes of Hell.
The portion of the “Lacrimosa diesilla” in which the just soul arises to be judged
Death prevented Mozart from completing his Requiem . It was left to hisstudents, most notably Franz Süssmayr (1766-1803), to compose a few unfinishedportions and flesh out the orchestration.This figure shows some of the opening of the “Lacrimosa”; these notes are last noteswritten by Mozart.