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The Sheet Music Library (PDF) is a non-profit, subscription library of piano, guitar and vocal scores. Sheet music. Partituras. Partitions. Spartiti. Noten. Partituur. Партиту́ра. 망할 음악 Partitur. 楽譜 Musical scores. 乐谱 Nuty. Bladmuziek. Noty. Free SHEET MUSIC PDF for educational purposes only. The Sheet Music Library (PDF) is a non-profit, subscription library working toward the goal of building an open online collection of digitized sheet music, gathered now within this membership online library, that now contains ca. 6,000 music books and single musical scores (>68,000 pages) for piano and guitar, as well as piano/guitar-vocal sheet music.
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Neither the end credits nor the soundtrack album identify the orchestra playing the Ninth Symphony excerpts; however, in Alex’s bedroom, there is a close-up of a microcassette tape, labeled: Deutsche Grammophon – Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphonie Nr. 9 d-moll, op. 125 – Berliner Philharmoniker – Chor der St. Hedwigskathedrale – Ferenc Fricsay – Irmgard Seefried, Maureen Forrester, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Ernst Haefliger.
In the novel, Alex is accidentally conditioned against all classical music, but in the film, only against Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Ninth Symphony, the soundtrack of a violent Ludovico Technique film that Alex is exposed to. The audience does not see every violent film Alex is forced to view during his Ludovico conditioning, yet the symphony’s fourth movement is heard. Later, using the symphony’s second movement, Mr Alexander, and fellow plotters, impel Alex to attempt suicide.
Frédéric François Chopin (b. March 1, 1810, Żelazow, near Warsaw, duchy of Warsaw [now in Poland]—d. Oct. 17, 1849, Paris, France), a Polish-French composer and pianist of the Romantic period, is best known for his solo pieces for piano and for his piano concerti.
Although he wrote little but piano works, many of them brief, Chopin ranks as one of music’s greatest tone poets by reason of his superfine imagination and fastidious craftsmanship. His works for solo piano include about 61 mazurkas, 16 polonaises, 26 preludes, 27 études, 21 nocturnes, 20 waltzes, 3 sonatas, 4 ballades, 4 scherzos, 4 impromptus, and many individual pieces—such as the Barcarolle, Opus 60 (1846); the Fantasia, Opus 49 (1841); and the Berceuse, Opus 57 (1845)—as well as 17 Polish songs.
Early Years in Warsaw and Vienna
Chopin’s father, Nicholas, a French émigré in Poland, was employed as a tutor to various aristocratic families, including the Skarbeks, at Żelazowa Wola, one of whose poorer relations he married. When Frédéric was eight months old, Nicholas became a French teacher at the Warsaw lyceum. Chopin himself attended the lyceum from 1823 to 1826.
Chopin started piano lessons at age 7 with the 61-yearold Wojciech Zywny, an all-around musician with an astute sense of values. Zywny’s simple instruction in piano playing was soon left behind by his pupil, who discovered for himself an original approach to the piano and was allowed to develop unhindered by academic rules and formal discipline.
Chopin was soon invited to play at private soirées, and at age 8 he made his first public appearance at a charity concert. Three years later he performed in the presence of the Russian tsar Alexander I, who was in Warsaw to open Parliament. Playing was not alone responsible for his growing reputation as a child prodigy.
At 7 he wrote a Polonaise in G Minor, which was printed, and soon afterward a march of his appealed to the Russian grand duke Constantine, who had it scored for his military band to play on parade. Other polonaises, mazurkas, variations, ecossaises, and a rondo followed, with the result that, when he was 16, his family enrolled him at the newly formed Warsaw Conservatory of Music. This school was directed by the Polish composer Joseph Elsner, with whom Chopin already had been studying musical theory.
Elsner realized that Chopin’s individual imagination must never be checked by purely academic demands. Even before he came under Elsner’s eye, Chopin had shown interest in the folk music of the Polish countryside and had received those impressions that later gave an unmistakable national colouring to his work. At the conservatory he was put through a solid course of instruction in harmony and composition; in piano playing he was allowed to develop a high degree of individuality.
Chopin made his performance debut in Vienna in 1829. A second concert confirmed his success, and on his return home he prepared himself for further achievements abroad by writing his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor (1829) and his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor (1830), as well as other works for piano and orchestra designed to exploit his brilliantly original piano style. His first études were also written at this time (1829–32) to enable him and others to master the technical difficulties in his new style of piano playing.
Years in Paris
In March and October 1830 he presented his new works to the Warsaw public and then left Poland with the intention of visiting Germany and Italy for further study. He had gone no farther than Vienna when news reached him of the Polish revolt against Russian rule; this event, added to the disturbed state of Europe, caused him to remain profitlessly in Vienna until the following July, when he decided to make his way to Paris.
Soon after his arrival in what was then the center of European culture and in the midst of its own late-flowering Romantic movement, Chopin realized that he had found the milieu in which his genius could flourish. He quickly established ties with many Polish émigrés and with a younger generation of composers, including Franz Liszt and Hector Berlioz. Chopin decided to settle in Paris to pursue teaching and composing.
After his Paris concert debut in February 1832, Chopin realized that his extreme delicacy at the keyboard was not to everyone’s taste in larger concert spaces. However, with his elegant manners, fastidious dress, and innate sensitivity, Chopin soon found himself a favourite in the great houses of Paris, both as a recitalist and as a teacher.
His new piano works at this time included two books of études (1829–36), the Ballade in G Minor (1831–35), the Fantaisie-Impromptu (1835), and many smaller pieces, among them mazurkas and polonaises inspired by Chopin’s strong nationalist feeling.
In 1836 Chopin met for the first time the novelist Aurore Dudevant, better known as George Sand; their liaison began in the summer of 1838. That autumn he set off with her and her children, Maurice and Solange, to winter on the island of Majorca. They rented a simple villa and were idyllically happy until the sunny weather broke and Chopin became ill. When rumours of tuberculosis reached the villa owner, they were ordered out and could find accommodations only in a monastery in the remote village of Valldemosa.
The cold and damp environment, malnutrition, peasant suspiciousness of their strange ménage, and the lack of a suitable concert piano hindered Chopin’s artistic production and further weakened his precarious physical health. Sand realized that only immediate departure would save his life. They arrived at Marseille in early March 1839, and, thanks to a skilled physician, Chopin was sufficiently recovered after just under three months for them to start planning a return to Paris.
The summer of 1839 they spent at Nohant, Sand’s country house about 180 miles (290 km) south of Paris. This period following the return from Majorca was to be the happiest and most productive of Chopin’s life. For a regular source of income, he again turned to private teaching. There was also a growing demand for his new works, and, since he had become increasingly shrewd in his dealings with publishers, he could afford to live elegantly.
Health was a recurrent worry, and every summer Sand took him to Nohant for fresh air and relaxation. Chopin produced much of his most-searching music there, not only miniatures but also extended works, such as the Fantaisie in F Minor (composed 1840–41), the Barcarolle (1845–46), the Polonaise-Fantaisie (1845–46), the ballades in A-flat major (1840–41) and F minor (1842), and the Sonata in B Minor (1844).
He seemed particularly anxious to develop his ideas into longer and more complex arguments, and he even sent to Paris for treatises by musicologists to strengthen his counterpoint. His harmonic vocabulary at this period also grew much more daring. He valued that quality throughout life as much as he abhorred descriptive titles or any hint of an underlying “program.”
Family dissension arising from the marriage of Sand’s daughter, Solange, caused Chopin’s own relationship with Sand to become strained, and he grew increasingly moody and petulant. By 1848 the rift between him and Sand was complete, and pride prevented either from effecting the reconciliation they both actually desired. Thereafter Chopin seems to have given up his struggle with ill health.
Broken in spirit and depressed by the revolution that had broken out in Paris in February 1848, Chopin accepted an invitation to visit England and Scotland. His reception in London was enthusiastic, and he struggled through an exhausting round of lessons and appearances at fashionable parties. By now his health was deteriorating rapidly, and he made his last public appearance on a concert platform at the Guildhall in London on Nov. 16, 1848, when, in a final patriotic gesture, he played for the benefit of Polish refugees. He returned to Paris, where he died the following year.
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Robert Fripp, the amazing guitarist (4): KING CRIMSON and Brian Eno
The Formation of King Crimson III
King Crimson II disbanded after the “Earthbound” tour, whose last gig was in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 1, 1972. Fripp was looking for something new. In November he was to say of the Earthbound period, “Having discovered what everybody [in the band] wanted to do, I found I didn’t want to do it.” (YPG 21, quoting from Sounds, Nov. 4 1972) On the following page is a condensed chronology of activities taking us from this point to the end of the King Crimson III period.
References to the printed booklet included in The Young Persons’ Guide to King Crimson are herein indicated by the abbreviation YPG followed by column numbers. The booklet itself, however, contains neither page nor column numbers. Therefore, if you wish to find the exact location of a YPG quotation listed in these Notes, you must number the columns in YPG yourself. Begin with “1” at the first column (1968-June 1).
Immediately following the Earthbound tour, in May 1972, Fripp set about forming a new King Crimson. This time, you can practically hear the man muttering under his breath, it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy. In point of fact, Fripp was determined to make a break from the chaos and instability of KC II as well as from some of the musical styles of that “interim” period, to get back somehow to the intangible spirit of King Crimson that was continuing to haunt him like a demon. Perhaps as a symbol of the changes to be made, Fripp cut his long frizzy hair around this time and sprouted a neat little beard – changing his visual appearance from latter-day hippie to fastidiously groomed young intellectual musician.
A man like Fripp does not believe that things happen by accident, but rather looks for synchronistically significant signs, reading the screen of his perceptions as a metaphorical psychic tableau. In the late spring of 1972 a number of such signs seemed to present themselves in an auspicious constellation, and Fripp’s confidence was high.
To begin with, there was the matter of enlisting the talents of experimental percussionist and notorious mystical crazy man Jamie Muir, whose list of avant-garde credits included work with saxophonist Evan Parker, guitarist Derek Bailey, the Battered Ornaments and Boris. Muir’s name had been crossing the screen of Fripp’s awareness for several years. Fripp had felt it inevitable that some day they would work together. He told an interviewer in 1973, “When I finally phoned him up, we talked as if we’d known each other for a long time. He expected to be in King Crimson and had been waiting for my call.” (Crowe 1973, 22)
Then there was the matter of bassist/singer John Wetton, who, like Muir, had been on Fripp’s mind for some time. Wetton was, like Fripp, Greg Lake, and several other musicians in the King Crimson circle, from the Bournemouth area – Fripp and Wetton had known each other in college – and had worked his way up in local bands before joining the eclectic progressive rock group Family in 1970. Wetton left Family to briefly join Mogul Thrash, and when that band fell apart in early 1971, Wetton, looking for work, called Fripp up in late January, a week after Fripp had concluded his torturous and lengthy auditioning of bass players by choosing Boz. By October 1971, Fripp had a proposition for King Crimson II members Collins, Boz, and Wallace, as well as for Wetton: Wetton would join the band, freeing Boz to concentrate more on his vocal duties. The band members rejected the idea; they wanted Boz to continue on bass.
For his part, Wetton declined; he later said, “I didn’t think I’d get on with that band at all. Fripp was just using me then as an ally. Saying ‘Listen, I’m outnumbered; there are three people who want to play this kind of music and only me who wants to play this kind of music. Help.’ I didn’t think that was a very good pretext for joining the band so I said no.” (Rosen 1983, 22) Score one for Wetton’s strength and independence; so far so bad for Fripp’s designs on Wetton’s talents. But when KC II finally came apart, the time was ripe: what had been out of sync now fell together, and Fripp and Wetton finally seemed to need each other at the same time.
Wetton later said the idea was to rebuild the band from the ground up: “We totally re-designed the band, we updated it. I felt that the band before ours, the Islands band, was a little dated. They were trying to play pseudo kind of pop funk and it just didn’t gel. So we put it back on the rails again and headed it in a progressive direction with Larks’ Tongues in Aspic.” (Rosen 1983, 22) Wetton, who after KC III was to play with Uriah Heep and Asia, had a vigorous, muscular touch with the bass and was known for his habit of breaking strings.
Then there was the business of Yes drummer Bill Bruford, who had also been filtering in and out of Fripp’s line of vision ever since March 1970, when Yes had asked Fripp to join the band to replace guitarist Peter Banks. Fripp had declined, intent on pursuing his musical goals within the framework of King Crimson (even though King Crimson at that point in time was rather in disarray). From then to the spring of 1972, Yes went on to do what many, feel was their best work, culminating in the epic rock sonata “Close to the Edge.” Around May or June 1972, Fripp, guitar and amplifier in tow, joined Bruford for dinner at the latter’s house one evening. After the repast they played a bit of music together at Fripp’s suggestion, and before you could say “incredible drummer – obvious choice,” Bruford had accepted a post in King Crimson.
Thus was born a musical collaboration which in a sense endured for over a decade, since Bruford was back when King Crimson was born again, mark IV, in the 1980s. Perhaps more than most of the musicians who have played in King Crimson, Bruford bought into the Frippian philosophy ever hovering somewhere amid the shadowy columns of the Court – a philosophy for which Fripp, of course, refused to take direct credit (or in a sense responsibility), preferring to reserve that honor for the mythical entity of “King Crimson” itself.
When KC IV broke out in 1981, for instance, Bruford, simultaneously endorsing and distancing himself from the philosophy, would say that despite the endless personnel changes over the years, “basically this thing, King Crimson, continues, because there was a spirit about it and an attractive way of thinking about music, some ground rules, which continue. Robert will talk endlessly about icons and things, but to us plain Englishmen it just seems a very good idea for a group and we’ve re-harnessed this, we’ve kind of gone back into it.” (Dallas 1981, 27)
There were those in the music press who wondered aloud why Bruford would choose to quit Yes, a group that precisely then was sitting on top of the pinnacle of commercial and artistic success, to join King Crimson, a somewhat suspect band, not quite on the same rank from a sales viewpoint – a band which had by this time become almost a joke in terms of its perpetual instability and volatility, and whose music was perceived as uneven, risky, and of dubious commercial value.
But for his part, Bruford felt he had learned all he could musically from the Yes lineup; an artistic adventure with Fripp and company held out potentially greater personal rewards than continuing to beat time for one of progressive rock’s unquestioned supergroups. He was also eager to work with percussionist Muir, who appeared to Bruford as a direct link with “the world of free jazz and inspiration,” as he put it. (Crowe 1973, 22)
Fripp, as part of his overall effort to banish immediate musical memories and habits, to rejuvenate his imagination, decided against using a reed player, saxophone had been a big part of the whole King Crimson sound right from the beginning, one reason why the group was so strongly associated with jazz-rock. Fripp instead opted for a violin and viola player who could complement his own melodic guitar work with a new range of tone color, and who could also double on mellotron and other keyboards in certain situations.
That player was David Cross, a musician with a classical background who had floated around the music scene and had worked with a pop-rock singer named P.J. Proby and folk-rock band the Ring. Cross described his recruitment casually: “Yeah, Robert came down and we got it together and had a couple of blows.” (Corbett 1973, n.p.) Like Bruford, Cross found the prospect, and then the reality, of working with percussionist Muir exciting; in 1973, he was to say, “We all learned an incredible amount from Jamie. He really was a catalyst of this band in the beginning and he opened up new areas for Bill to look into as well as affecting the rest of us.” (Corbett 1973, n.p.)
By July 1972 King Crimson III – Fripp, Muir, Wetton, Bruford, and Cross – was complete. Rehearsals commenced on September 4. The following year, Fripp would tell Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe: “I’m not really interested in music; music is just a means of creating a magical state … One employs magic every day. Every thought is a magical act. You don’t sit down and work spells and all that hokey stuff. It’s simply experimentation with different states of consciousness and mind control.” (Crowe 1973, 22) This from a man who had made (and to this day still makes) a deliberate practice, even a personal crusade, of not using drugs – from a musician some have perceived as the world’s most rational rock star.
Robert Fripp viewed King Crimson as something outside himself, an entity, a being, a presence, which he could respond to, whose instrument he could become, but which was somehow intrinsically beyond him, not of his own creation, and over which, in spite of his dogged efforts to serve, he could ultimately exercise no real control. Fripp could say King Crimson was “too important to let die,” and devote the better part of his life energy to keeping it alive, but in the final analysis he acknowledged it had a life and will of its own.
Struggling mightily with this force, a force perceived to be other, outside the realm of the personal ego, making journeys into the realm of the magical, the unknown, the unconscious, Fripp repeatedly persevered and brought back fragments of the world lying below or beyond everyday awareness. King Crimson, a name coined to stand for Beelzebub, the devil, prince of demons, was a power that Fripp felt called to contend with. Fripp was, in the latter half of the 1980s, to formulate and officially promulgate the image of a more benevolent presence to whose call he had responded: he would call it simply “music.” But in mid-1972, music’s alter ego, or shadow, or compellingly seductive twin, or bastard offspring, or fallen angel, still commanded the twenty-six-year-old Fripp’s imagination: he called it “King Crimson.”
Fripp and Eno
Throughout his tenure with King Crimson in the 1970s, Fripp found time to do session work with other musicians. He guested on Van der Graaf Generator’s H to He Who Am the Only One (1970) and Pawn Hearts (1971), as well as on Peter Hammill’s solo 1972 album Fool’s Mate. As a producer, Fripp’s credits included Centipede’s Septober Energy (1971), Matching Mole’s Little Red Record (1972), and Keith Tippett’s Blueprint (1971) and Ovary Lodge (1972). Fripp met many musicians in his travels; one planned collaboration that didn’t pan out was to have been an album with former Procol Harum guitarist Robin Trower, a project Fripp mentioned in a 1974 interview. (Dove 1974, 14)
One evening in September 1972, around the same time as KC III was commencing rehearsals, Brian Eno invited Fripp over to his home studio and showed him a system of producing music by using two tape recorders set up so that when a single sound was played, it was heard several seconds later at a lower volume level, then again several seconds later at a still lower level, and so on. The system permitted adjustments of various kinds, having to do with volume levels and length of delay; further, the live signal could be disconnected from the loop, so that the already-recorded sounds would repeat indefinitely while a live “solo” line could be played over the top. With this simple set-up, the two musicians set gleefully to work, and within forty-five minutes had produced a long (20’53”) piece they called “The Heavenly Music Corporation,” which was to become Side One of their No Pussyfooting album, released the following year.
Fripp had the highest respect for Eno, in spite of the fact that the latter’s instrumental skills were minimal. Fripp said in 1979, “Eno is one of the very few musicians I’ve worked with who actually listens to what he’s doing. He’s my favorite synthesizer player because instead of using his fingers he uses his ears.” (Garbarini 1979, 32)
With its drony opening, its rhapsodic modal guitar melodizing, its hypnotically returning cycles of phrases, and its sheer duration, “The Heavenly Music Corporation” could be called a
classic mixture of raga, minimalism, and rock, were it not for the fact that Fripp wasn’t using Indian scales in any systematic way, nor had he yet had much exposure to the American minimalists. A guitarist’s and technician’s tour de force, the piece rewards close listening with its slow changes of color, emphasis, and tonality. For once, Fripp did shut out all distractions, remove all superfluous musical elements, and just play his guitar. No Pussyfooting was a major point of departure for both musicians, and Fripp seemed to recognize it instantly as such. So much did Fripp like “The Heavenly Music Corporation” that when King Crimson went on the road in the fall of 1972, he would play the tape before the band came onstage and after they left. Fripp and Eno would continue to collaborate throughout the 1970s: 1975 saw the release of their joint ambient album Evening Star, Fripp’s first major release following the demise of King Crimson III, and Fripp guested on Eno’s solo albums Here Come the Warm Jets (1973), Another Green World (1975), Before and After Science (1977), and Music for Films (1978). A number of brilliantly inspired Fripp guitar solos are stashed away in these albums, notably on the songs “Baby’s On Fire” (Here Come the Warm Jets) and “St Elmo’s Fire” (Another Green World).
The “Larks’ Tongues” Period
With scarcely a month of rehearsals behind them, King Crimson III played four gigs in October at Frankfurt’s Zoom Club, followed by one at the Redcar Jazz Club. Between November 10 and December 15 they toured Britain, playing twenty-seven gigs. There was a renewed emphasis on improvisation in live performance in King Crimson’s music of this period – but not the kind of improvisation common in jazz and rock, where one soloist at a time takes center stage and riffs and rhapsodizes, running through his chops while the rest of the band lays back and comps along with set rhythm and chord changes.
In its best moments, King Crimson improvisation during this period was a group affair, a kind of music-making process in which every member of the band was capable of making creative contributions at every moment. Mindless individual soloing was frowned upon; rather, everyone had to be listening to everyone else at every moment, to be able to react intelligently and creatively to the group sound. This was a period when Fripp stressed the “magic” metaphor time and again; for to him, when group improvisation of this sort really clicked, it was nothing short of bona fide white magic.
Violinist/keyboardist David Cross described the process this way:
“We’re so different from each other that one night someone in the band will play something that the rest of us have never heard before and you just have to listen for a second. Then you react to his statement, usually in a different way than they would expect. It’s the improvisation that makes the group amazing for me. You know, taking chances. There is no format really in which we fall into. We discover things while improvising and if they’re really basically good ideas we try and work them in as new numbers, all the while keeping the improvisation thing alive and continually expanding.” (Corbett 1973) Bruford stressed the group participation in improvisation, using the image of “a kind of fantastic musical sparring match.” (YPG 22, Sounds, Nov. 18 1972)
Other than in the memories of those who went to King Crimson concerts in the Larks’ Tongues period, in the published reviews, and in bootleg tapes of the music, there is no record of what was by most accounts a musical phenomenon that had to be experienced to be believed. Bill Bruford, for one, was surprised by the positive reaction to the group’s playing: “After all, we walk on stage and play an hour and a quarter of music which isn’t on record, and they haven’t heard before, often with no tonal or rhythmic centre.” (YPG 23, MM, Dec. 2 1972)
Following the first KC III British tour (which concluded on December 15), in January and February of 1973 King Crimson went into Command Studios in London to make the album that would become known as Larks’ Tongues in Aspic. It was Muir who came up with the title. When the group was playing back a tape of an instrumental piece they had just made, Muir was asked what it reminded him of; he said without hesitation, “Why, larks’ tongues in aspic, what else?” (Crowe 1973, 22) (Aspic is defined as a jelly used to garnish or make a mold of meat or vegetables, or a lavender yielding a volatile oil. Take your pick.) The degree to which the music of Larks’ Tongues reflects King Crimson’s live playing of the period is open to debate, yet it seems that the two collectively-composed instrumental pieces, “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part One,” and “The Talking Drum,” contain, even in their studio versions, significant elements of group improvisation.
The other instrumental, “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part Two,” is listed as a Fripp composition, and the remaining three pieces are more or less carefully worked-out songs with lyrics by Richard Palmer-James. However well Larks’ Tongues represents or does not represent the live Crimson sound, though, at least the album was made in what Fripp considered to be the proper organic sequence: first you go out and make live music and get the audience’s feedback, then you go into a studio to record the music you have created in a live situation – rather than first composing and recording an album in sterile conditions and then going on the road to “promote” it.
Furthermore, with Larks’ Tongues King Crimson was decisively back in a situation of collective authorship; the music of the previous two studio albums, Islands and Lizard, had been entirely by Fripp (even the composition of Poseidon had been mostly Fripp’s affair). Cross put it this way: “We all did contribute equally to the ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspic’ album, although Robert was definitely the unifying force behind it.” (Corbett 1973, n.p.) The album’s cover sported a symbolic tantric design of the moon and sun embedded in each other – a union of masculine and feminine principles.
LARKS’ TONGUES IN ASPIC
• David Cross: violin, viola, mellotron • Robert Fripp: guitar, mellotron and devices • John Wetton: bass and vocals • Bill Bruford: drums • Jamie Muir: percussion and allsorts Side One
LARKS’ TONGUES IN ASPIC, PART ONE (by Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, and Muir). Opens with Muir rapidly stroking a thumb piano. Bells/cymbals and a high flute enter. Crescendo of cymbal trill, descrescendo of thumb piano. Repeated notes on violin; fuzz guitar careens through diminished harmonic areas; Bruford warms up on drums, then whole band slams in. Shall I go on? In essence, what follows is an impressive and somewhat scarifying display of group togetherness, in a number of sections set off by contrasting instrumentation, textures, harmonic premises, dynamics, and mood. Conflict and contrast continue to be dominant issues in King Crimson music, in this piece there is everything from solo fiddle to crashing fusion band and quasi-oriental unison lines. (I don’t believe it – I just played the whole thing at 45 RPM while writing this – daughter Lilia was playing speeded-up Switched-on Bach this morning, as is her wont. So it wasn’t just that cup of dark French roast – I thought “Larks’ Tongues, Part I” was longer than that. Actually sounded pretty good, though – the structure was more evident than I’ve ever heard it before.)
BOOK OF SATURDAY (by Fripp, Wetton, and Palmer-James). An evocative, melancholy minor ballad. Not like earlier Crimson ballads however: more energy, movement, pluck, and a few little twisty harmonic and rhythmic complications to take it out of the 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 phraseology that dragged down some earlier songs.
EXILES (by Cross, Fripp, and Palmer-James). Strange burblings and percussives lead into another moody song, sung verses alternating with freer pulseless sections. The sung bridge contains some remarkable (for rock) modulations – Wetton taking a tip or two from the Brahms/Procol Harum harmonic cookbook. One thing one notices is how Bruford is able, and here willing, to keep himself out of the way more than previous KC drummers – more the Ringo Starr school of percussion, which in a song like “Exiles” is entirely appropriate.
Side Two EASY MONEY (by Fripp, Wetton, and Palmer-James). Funny thing, having the accompaniment in 4 and the vocal in 7. Makes you feel like there’s a fifth wheel on the cart somewhere. But clearly, metrical complications do not in themselves music make. In spite of valiant “funny sounds” efforts by Muir, the long instrumental portions never really take off.
THE TALKING DRUM (by Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, and Muir). Sound effects move to tritone bass ostinato over softly percolating percussion and drums, Cross and Fripp come in with modal soloing (and a funny mode indeed it be) tonic of A, scale A-Bb-C-C#-D#-E-F-G#, with other notes from time to time), gradual crescendo, suddenly broken off molto appassionato by horrific squeals, which launch directly into …
LARKS’ TONGUES IN ASPIC, PART TWO (by Fripp). On the one hand, an intellectual metrical exercise (O.K. fellows, can you count this?) and an arcane study in whole-tone, tritone, and other exotic chord root relationships, and on the other hand a stingingly original and strangely rousing piece of instrumental rock and roll. Yeah, you can say that the rhythmic organization is “studied,” “labored,” “unnatural,” and so forth. But for Fripp music like this offers the opportunity for players and audiences to concentrate, to concentrate in that peculiar way only difficult music can make us. Try playing it at 45 (turning up the bass to compensate for lost low frequencies) – I just did (intentionally this time), and it sounds much more “musical.”
Dynamic contrast is of the essence in the music of Larks’ Tongues. There is a psychological difference between loud and soft, after all, and in an age when compressors and limiters have squashed the dynamic range of recorded popular music down to the point where a delicately plucked acoustic guitar note or sensitively crooned vocal phrase comes out of your speakers at the same actual volume level as the whole damned synthesized band when it’s blowing away at top intensity, listening to Larks’ Tongues’ startling contrasts of dynamics is a tonic for the ears. It’s more real, it’s more true. Y’know what I mean?
The “Starless” Period
King Crimson played two gigs at London’s Marquee on February 10 and 11, 1973 – dates booked, according to Bruford, for “pure enjoyment and relaxation” to take some pressure off the band during the period of the intense Larks’ Tongues recording sessions. (Crowe 1973, 22) At the first gig, Muir dropped a gong on his foot, causing an injury of sufficient seriousness to prevent him from playing the following night. Bruford, who viewed Muir’s presence as fundamental to King Crimson, assumed that they would have to cancel the gig, but the other members convinced him that they should carry on as a quartet. (Although Muir occasionally sat down behind a trap set to augment Bruford’s drumming, his primary role seems to have been to provide dynamism with his animated stage presence and to gloss the music with an assortment of unusual sounds from a wide variety of percussion instruments, chimes, bells, mbiras, a musical saw, shakers, rattles, and miscellaneous drums.)
King Crimson, minus Muir, went ahead and did the Marquee date, and shortly thereafter Muir left the group permanently, to pursue other – shall we say perhaps related – interests: he became a monk in a monastery in Scotland.
When the recording of Larks’ Tongues was finished, King Crimson – Fripp, Bruford, Wetton, and Cross – embarked on an extensive series of tours: Britain (nine gigs, March 16 – 25); Europe (nine gigs, March 30 – April 9); America (forty-four gigs, April 18 – July 2). Back in London, Fripp took time out from King Crimson to record “Swastika Girls” (Side Two of No Pussyfooting) with Eno at Command Studios on August 4 and 5. King Crimson rehearsals in August laid the foundations of four new pieces, “Lament,” “The Night Watch,” “The Great Deceiver,” and “Fracture,” all of which were to appear on the 1974 album Starless and Bible Black. Soon Crimson was back on the road again, with tours of America (nineteen gigs, September 19 – October 15), Britain (six gigs, October 23 – 29), and Europe (eighteen gigs, November 2 – 29). The live band continued to astound audiences and critics with their virtuosity, the scope and power of their music, and their unique outlook.
Fripp, King Crimson’s acknowledged leader, puzzled many and delightedothers with his inscrutable attitude and onstage banter. He reportedly told a Milwaukee audience on September 28, “We’re not to be enjoyed – we’re an intellectual band.” (Commenting on this remark and the sarcastic reaction it elicited from a Milwaukee critic, Fripp wrote in the Young Persons’ Guide to King Crimson, “We were surprised that so many people took everything we did so seriously.”) (YPG 27-28, Milwaukee Sentinel, Sept. 29 1973) The funny thing about Fripp, though, was that he could be so funny when he was on and when the audience was tuned into his peculiarly pontifical sense of humor. At the April 28 concert at New York’s Academy of Music, for instance, a Variety writer reported that Fripp delivered “a short comic rap plugging their new album” (Larks’ Tongues) that was “uproarious.” (Kirb 1973A, 245) When King Crimson returned to the Academy of Music on September 22, things weren’t so jolly: a breakdown in their complicated sound system caused a delay of more than two hours as a new system was hastily procured and set up. (Kirb 1973B, 272)
The exhaustion of touring, the technical problems, the surreal conditions of road life, the ever-questionable band-audience relationship, and the problematic nature of making music under such circumstances were beginning to take their toll on Fripp.
It was a pair of gigs at Italian sports arenas on November 12 and 13 that he was later to call the “turning point” for him in terms of his ability to “put up with the nonsense” that goes along with putting on a rock show. In one of his 1981 articles for Musician, Player, and Listener Fripp described the Felliniesque insanity that surrounded those two days in Turin and Rome: Maoists protesting for free admittance to the first show and crashing through a glass wall; Cross and Bruford getting drunk at an expensive dinner, throwing open wine bottles through the air and insulting the promoter’s homosexual partner; concert ticket collectors stuffing their own pockets with cash receipts; backstage machine-gun-toting security police; a stoned hippie who in full view of the audience was beat bloody by the promoter’s gun-carrying right-hand man for wandering onstage; and a desperate attempt at an encore almost scotched because members of the audience had pulled out the power cables. Fripp’s account of the whole fiasco is a miniature classic of rock tragicomedy, but the moral here is that the Italian gigs were the real beginning of the end for King Crimson.
As Fripp concludes his story, “A few months later King Crimson ‘ceased to exist’ and I began to talk a lot about small, mobile and intelligent units.” (Fripp 1981B, 48)
The frantic tours of 1973 concluded, King Crimson retired to London’s AIR Studios in January 1974 to produce their next album, Starless and Bible Black. (The title is a phrase borrowed from Dylan Thomas. By way of injecting some levity into a band situation that tended toward gravity, Bruford was fond of renaming Crimson albums; this one he called “Braless and Slightly Slack.”) (DeCurtis 1984, 22) Although edited and mixed in the studio, all but the first two pieces on Starless were recorded live at King Crimson gigs in the fall of 1973. The essentially live nature of Starless received little if any attention in the press, who treated it as a studio album; the recording quality is superb, and all audience noise save a stray distant shout here and there has been skillfully deleted. Perhaps no one knew this was a live album until Fripp spilled the beans in the fine print of the Young Persons’ Guide.
Starless was the first King Crimson album other than the live Earthbound not to provide the lyrics on the cover or inner sleeve – perhaps intentionally to de-emphasize the verbal content?
STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK
• David Cross: violin, viola, keyboards • Robert Fripp: guitar, mellotron, devices • John Wetton: bass and voice • William Bruford: percussives
THE GREAT DECEIVER (by Wetton, Fripp, and Palmer-James). Studio recording. Slams off with a bluesy riff at hyperspeed. Sectional song contrasting instrumentals and vocals. Oblique references to the Devil. “The Great Deceiver” contains the only lyrics ever penned by Fripp for a King Crimson song: “Cigarettes, ice cream, figurines of the Virgin Mary” – a comment, he explained in 1980, on the woeful commercialization of Vatican City, which he’d visited on a Crimson tour in 1973. (Watts 1980, 22)
Reminding now a passage from the autobiography of spiritual teacher J.G. Bennett, who was to become a major influence on Fripp in 1974: “I can see how necessary it is to establish a new understanding of the Incarnation. The Church is equally astray in its conservative and in its modernist wings, nor is the center any better. The Catholic Church is the custodian of a mystery that it does not understand; but the sacraments and their operation are no less real for that.” (Bennett, Witness, p. 354)
LAMENT (by Fripp, Wetton, and Palmer-James). Studio recording. Slow Beatlish ballad that breaks out into rather more manic territory as the song progresses … a la Lennon in the White Album period. The Beatles never had a coda that jammed out for a few bars in seven, however.
WE’LL LET YOU KNOW (by Cross, Fripp, Wetton, and Bruford). Live recording. Instrumental. Gradually coalesces, as so many King Crimson pieces do, out of sensitively random, intentionally chaotic points of noise, into motives, rhythms, melodies: into music … of a sort.
THE NIGHT WATCH (by Fripp, Wetton, and Palmer-James). Introduction/beginning, live recording. Deftly spliced to the studio-recorded body of the song. Classic King Crimson minor ballad. Effectively understated ending.
TRIO (by Cross, Fripp, Wetton, and Bruford). Live recording. Peaceful, contemplative, tonal, somewhat out of character for a King Crimson III improvisation. Although Bruford does not play on “Trio,” he is listed as one of the co-composers. Fripp later wrote in admiration of his drummer’s restraint in this instance, explaining that Bruford was awarded joint authorship on the basis of his having “contributed silence.” (Fripp 1981B) The same role – the conscious embodiment of the presence of silence – would later occasionally be assigned to a particular member of the League of Crafty Guitarists in their live performances.
THE MINCER (by Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, and Palmer-James). Live recording, with a few overdubs. Another example of what Crimson III was liable to sound like in the throes of improvisation. The song ends unaccountably in the middle – it sounds like the tape ran out.
Side Two STARLESS AND BIBLE BLACK (by Cross, Fripp, Wetton, and Bruford). Live recording. More gradual coalescence out of chaos. The piece recalls the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” A lot of the high melodic stuff you hear is not Fripp but David Cross cranking up the distortion on his electric violin. Fripp ruminates meanwhile on his mellotron. Tonal center?
Pieces like this can sound totally improvised until, miraculously, everyone slams into a downbeat at precisely the same moment. You never know with King Crimson. As Bruford said, “What we’re really trying to do is to abolish the distinction between formal writing and improvising. Some of our most formal passages sound improvised and vice versa.” (Rosen 1983, 23)
FRACTURE (by Fripp). Live recording. Fripp lays down a typically edgy angular ostinato. There’s a lot of whole-tone-scale action going on in here. One of the most extensively worked-out pieces of the KC III period, “Fracture” places severe demands on technique. “One of the reasons I wrote ‘Fracture’ in the manner which I wrote it,” said Fripp, “was to put myself (and the band) in a certain situation where I had to practice every day because it’s so difficult.” (Rosen 1983, 23)
The “Red” Period and the Dissolution of King Crimson III
Inspiration continued to pay calls from time to time, but improvisation in the latter stages of King Crimson III grew increasingly frustrating. In February 1974, for instance, David Cross was reportedly having reservations: “It sometimes worries me, what we do – we stretch so far and our music is often a frightening expression of certain aspects of the world and people. It is important to have songs as well, written material, to counter-balance that so that they’re not actually driven insane … We’ve only had one moment of true peace in improvisation with this band, which was a thing we did with just violin, bass and guitar at a concert in Amsterdam. Most of the time our improvisation comes out of horror and panic.” (YPG 29, Sounds, Feb. 9 1974) (The “moment of peace” Cross refers to is probably “Trio” as heard on Starless; he got mixed up as to the instrumentation, which is actually violin, flute-mellotron, and guitar.)
In an interview published in May, Fripp went public with his own reservations. The group was still trying out improvisational formats in live situations, Fripp explained: “What we do live is maybe just say, ‘Bill, you just start playing, and we’ll follow you.’ But since this band isn’t very sensitive or interested in listening to everyone playing, the improvisation in the band at the moment is extremely limited and more concerned with individuals showing off than in developing any kind of community improvisation … I find it most frustrating that I can’t make the other players in the band take as much interest in my playing as I do in theirs.” (Rosen 1974, 35) With what was, from his perspective, one of King Crimson’s primary raisons d’être having stalled, it is not surprising that Fripp was beginning to lose interest in keeping the band alive. But there were other reasons too, as we shall shortly see.
Although not even Fripp was fully aware of the fact, King Crimson III after the Starless studio sessions in January 1974 was on its last legs. The band undertook three more road trips: Europe (eleven gigs, March 19-April 2); America (seventeen gigs, April 11-May 5); and a final U.S. tour (twenty-one gigs, June 4-July 1). The live album USA, released around April 1975, was recorded toward the end of this final U.S. tour: the song “Asbury Park” at the Asbury Park (New Jersey) Casino on June 28, and the rest two days later at the Palace Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island.
• David Cross: violin and keyboards • Robert Fripp: guitar and mellotron • John Wetton: bass and voice • William Bruford: percussives
USA clearly shows that in terms of sound, at any rate, there was little or no difference between live and studio King Crimson of this period: as the band runs through “Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Part II,” “Lament,” “Exiles,” and “Easy Money,” there are few discernible musical differences between these and the previously recorded studio versions. Very slightly choppy around certain edges, less dynamic range, not quite so beautifully recorded as the studio tracks, USA nevertheless demonstrates that very late KC III was eminently capable of delivering the goods live.
The one new track, “Asbury Park,” represents King Crimson improvising straight ahead in 4/4 with Fripp and Cross getting in some vintage licks over Wetton’s razor-sharp melodic bass lines and Bruford’s crisp drumming – but one does sense a certain lack of group consciousness: for long sections it’s four individual virtuoso musicians, each blowing his own horn.
The crowd’s rowdy shouting through the soft introduction to “Exiles” gives some indication of one predicament Fripp was finding himself in, namely, how to break their expectations down sufficiently to get them to shut up and listen.
USA closes with a rendition of “Schizoid Man.” Since the album was actually released after “Red,” one has the feeling that Fripp was seeking something of a framing effect for King Crimson’s total recorded output, which had begun six years earlier with the same song. In small print at the bottom of USA’s back cover are the letters: “R.I.P.”
King Crimson life was indeed finished with the “USA” tour, but no one recognized it at the time, not even Fripp, who said of the final gig, in New York’s Central Park on July 1 1974, “For me it was the most powerful since 1969.” (YPG 30, July 1) A week later the band – minus David Cross – was back in a London studio, at work on the album that was to become Red. Red would not be released, however, until after Robert Fripp had unilaterally disbanded King Crimson and talked to the press, offering three reasons why the King had to die: “The first is that it represents a change in the world. Second, whereas I once considered being part of a band like Crimson to be the best liberal education a young man could receive, I now know that isn’t so. And third, the energies involved in the particular lifestyle of the band and in the music are no longer of value to the way I live.” (YPG 31, MM, Oct. 5 1974)
At the cosmic level – the level of the changing world situation – Fripp spoke of a radical transition from the old world to the new. The old world was characterized by “dinosaur” institutions, social organizations, corporations, rock bands – as Fripp put it, “large and unwieldy, without much intelligence.” (Ibid.) Looking to the future, Fripp foresaw “a decade of considerable panic in the 1990s – collapse on a colossal scale. The wind-down has already started … It’s no doomy thing – for the new world to flourish the old has to die. But the depression era of the Thirties will look like a Sunday outing compared to this apocalypse. I shall be blowing a bugle loudly from the sidelines.” (Dove 1974, 14)
On the level of the music industry, Fripp had developed grave reservations: a dinosaur itself, “the rock & roll business is constructed on wholly false values, impermanent and mainly pernicious, although not in an obvious way.” (Dove 1974, 14) Later, toward the end of the 1970s, Fripp would develop a systematic critique of music industry practices, write it up, and publish it in Musician, Player, and Listener magazine. For now he simply knew that he had had enough, and was looking to a future of “small, independent, mobile and intelligent units” to replace the lumbering Mesozoic automaton behemoths that passed for rock acts in 1974. (SMALL, INDEPENDENT, MOBILE, AND INTELLIGENT UNIT became the Frippism par excellence of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its first appearance in print is apparently YPG 31, MM, Oct. 5 1974.)
On the level of the role he himself was playing in the rock and roll circus, Fripp had long felt frustration. At gigs like the ones in Italy already discussed, for instance, in which, as Fripp put it, “the performance itself went quite well,” King Crimson’s artistic method had itself become brutal: “We battered the crowd with sound for forty minutes to make enough room for ten minutes of experimenting. Then, as attention wandered, we built up another level of pounding for twenty or thirty minutes, so a pulped crowd would feel it had its money’s value and go home happy.” (Fripp 1981B, 114)
Elsewhere Fripp spoke with despair of his perception that the marijuana and LSD of the sixties had been gradually replaced by the cocaine, speed, and alcohol of the seventies, and that along with that shift went a corresponding change in audience demeanor.
This is art? This is magic? This is music? Beating the audience back, an audience either in a blind stupor or artificially stimulated, fighting the collective aggression of five thousand people, having to use your own limited energy to do it, night after night – this was accomplished, as Fripp expressed it, only “at the expense of creating something of a higher nature.” (YPG 31, MM, Oct. 5 1974)
At the personal level, there was the matter of continuing his own “education”, as he later described his predicament, he felt he had to disband King Crimson “because I could not see how it was possible to be a musician and a human being simultaneously.” (Kozak 1981, 10)
But there was a deeper, and perhaps decisive reason why King Crimson had to be put to rest – an overwhelmingly powerful personal experience which so far as I know Fripp did not venture to disclose publicly until some five years after the fact, probably because it took him that long to understand what had actually happened. When he did talk to Melody Maker writer Allan Jones about it in 1979, he said that in the interviews done immediately following the Crimson break-up, he hadn’t known how to explain it.
I had a glimpse of something… The top of my head blew off. That’s the easiest way of describing it. And for a period of three to six months it was impossible for me to function … My ego went. I lost my ego for three months. We were recording “Red” and Bill Bruford would say, “Bob, what do you think?” And I’d say, “Well-” and inside I’d be thinking, how can I know anything? Who am I to express an opinion? And I’d say, “Whatever you think, Bill. Yes, whatever you like.”… It took me three to six months before a particular kind of Fripp personality grew back to the degree that I could participate in the normal day-to-day business of hustling … (Jones 1979A, 19)
Given the pressure-cooker atmosphere into which commitment to the ever intangible yet fervently embraced idea of King Crimson had plunged him for five years – the surging and dashed hopes, the sensitive perception of false values all around, the perpetual instability of the band, the press filled with acclamation and denigration by turns, the uncertainties about his own accomplishments, aims/ends, and means of attaining them – it would perhaps not be difficult to explain away Fripp’s loss of ego in banal psychological terms. But to do so would be to miss and trivialize the fundamental point, which is that Fripp, to put it simply, had a revelation.
The proverbial straw was reading the text of a lecture by J.G. Bennett the night before the Red recording sessions were to begin; the “Second Inaugural Address” to Bennett’s International Academy for Continuous Education in Sherborne. The Text was printed in the appendix to Bennett’s book Is There Life on Earth? This was the first time Fripp had come into contact with the teaching of Bennett, who had been a disciple of the infamous George Gurdjieff and had met many of the twentieth century’s leading mystical seekers. (REPORTEDLY THE FIRST TIME Schruers 1979, 16) Bennett and Gurdjieff taught that people ordinarily go through their lives in a state of relative unconsciousness; some of the methods Bennett and Gurdjieff used to “wake up” their students will be discussed in the next chapter. Fripp’s first encounter with Bennett’s ideas was electrifying, precipitating a major change of direction in his life.
Wetton and Bruford were both to express regrets with regard to Fripp’s unilateral decision to break up the band. Bruford, who had quit the highly successful Yes to join King Crimson, and who had viewed Crimson as a unique opportunity to expand his horizons as a musician, did his best to be philosophical: while pointing out that Crimson’s enviable position in the music world was the result of years of hard work by musicians, management, and devoted road crew, and that to have all that dashed at a stroke was “mildly irritating,” Bruford said nevertheless he could cope with his irritation since it ultimately represented a “false adherence to [materialistic] things.” (YPG 32, Sounds, Oct. 12 1974) Below his stoic surface, however, Bruford was profoundly disappointed.
By his own estimation, Wetton had not made the kind of commitment to King Crimson that Bruford had, and had not had to give up so much to join the group. But in retrospect, he admitted being “pretty pissed when it broke up. I didn’t admit it at the time … Robert called up and explained why he couldn’t go on in the manner that we had been. He felt the world was going to come to an end and he wanted to prepare for it. And I said, ‘Yeah, sure, OK, but let’s get a good tour in first.’” (Rosen 1983, 23) (There had been, in fact, plans for another King Crimson tour, with founding King Crimson member Ian McDonald back in the band. Rehearsals had already begun when Fripp pulled the plug.)
• Robert Fripp: guitar and mellotron • John Wetton: bass and voice • William Bruford: percussives With thanks to: • David Cross: violin • Mel Collins: soprano saxophone • Ian McDonald: alto saxophone • Robin Miller: oboe • Marc Charig: cornet
Backtrack to July 1974. Fripp had had the top of his head blown off, and in an ego-less state carried on, with Bill Bruford and John Wetton, with the studio production of Red. A number of previous King Crimson members (David Cross, Mel Collins, Ian McDonald) and sidemen (Robin Miller, Marc Charig) made contributions to the album. Red is a peculiarly retrospective album: glancing through the song titles (“Red,” “Fallen Angel,” “One More Red Nightmare,” “Providence,” “Starless”) one is struck as if by the facets of a diamond with the King Crimson myth/metaphor smoldering at its core.
The striking black-and-white cover photograph of Wetton, Bruford, and Fripp (first ever cover photo of band members on a King Crimson record) in lighting that casts half of their faces into shadow harks back, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to the cover of Meet the Beatles, in 1964 an image indelibly stamped into the minds of a generation. (According to Fripp, the photo of the band was Mark Fenwick’s idea; Fenwick was one of the three directors of EG Management. Fripp didn’t want the musician’s faces on the jacket; it reminded him less of Meet the Beatles than an album by Grand Funk Railroad.) On Red’s back cover is a stark photograph of a gauge with the needle pointing into the red (danger, overload) zone. Red was released in early October.
Side One RED (by Fripp). A divinely lurching, infernally flowing instrumental that exploits Fripp’s by-now entrenched penchant for odd metrical schemes and whole-tone-scale root relationships and melodic turns. In the recurring main theme, the predominant interval between guitar (soprano) and bass is the tritone – also the sonority that ends the composition. In traditional tonal music theory, the tritone – so named because it spans three whole steps or tones, in this case the thematic example being the interval E to A# – is classed among the most dissonant of the thirteen fundamental intervals in music: if you turn in your college harmony assignment and have idiotically included a tritone in the final chord, you’ll get it back marked in red.
Because of its searingly harsh, problematic sound, the tritone was called the diabolus in musica (“the devil in music”) by medieval theorists, and some forbade its use entirely. The King Crimson metaphor – it goes deeper than one might think.
FALLEN ANGEL (by Fripp, Wetton, and Palmer-James). You think it’s going to be just a genteel McCartneyesque ballad; then the distorted guitar comes careening in, in a middle section utilizing the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale; transition back to the ballad theme; harmonic minor fade-out.
ONE MORE RED NIGHTMARE (by Fripp and Wetton). That darned tritone outline again, those gnarly whole tones, those insane metrical changes, those fabulous fills by Bruford, hammering on a piece of sheet metal. It seems almost impossible that this was the same Fripp who had made the delicate Islands a few short years previously – a record that one of KC II’s members had reportedly called “an airy-fairy piece of shit”: this music has real muscle. (Malamut 1974, 69)
Side Two PROVIDENCE (by Cross, Fripp, Wetton, and Bruford). This was recorded live at the Providence, Rhode Island Palace Theatre on June 30, 1974 – the gig at which most of USA was taped, the day before King Crimson III’s final performance in New York City. It begins with a delicate violin solo and goes into free-form improvisation, recalling the spaciness of “Moonchild” – but “Providence” has a ballsiness and level of aggression or even evil that “Moonchild,” in its benighted innocence, seemed to lack.
STARLESS (by Cross, Fripp, Wetton, Bruford, and Palmer-James). More retrospection, and not merely on account of the song’s title: at the outset, the mellotron’s minor tones and the stately drumming recall “Epitaph.” But “Starless” turns out to be more than just another gloomy minor mellotron epic, although clocking in at over twelve minutes it has the requisite duration. “Starless” is a grand synthesis, in one unified (if collectively authored) composition, of several of the styles Fripp and his various cohorts had cultivated since 1969: slow, melancholy minor-key epic/ballad; medium-tempo, abrasive riff-based linear counterpoint; extremely fast, frenetic group playing; and improvisational and compositional elements bound together in such a way that the seams are exceeding difficult to detect. “Starless” is more than all that, though: in my opinion it is simply the best composition King Crimson ever committed to record. It is also the only King Crimson piece that has ever made me weep – those tears that tend to issue out of a direct confrontation with what we feebly call “artistic greatness” but is really a portentous and rarely glimpsed secret locked away at the heart of human experience.
It is the curse of the scholar/writer/musician to be driven to rip apart that which he loves, dissecting and disemboweling, in a vain and perhaps pointless attempt to reduce the primal musical experience to words, formulas, theories, charts, diagrams, numbers, and so on – an exercise pleasing enough to the intellect and yet somehow painful for the heart. What follows, therefore, is not for the faint of heart, and if the reader does not give a hoot about formal musical analysis, she or he would probably do just as well to skip it. On the other hand, lest I paint myself into a corner of total futility, let me affirm my belief that at its best, analysis can be a valid form of translation – from the language of the heart into the language of the head. And inasmuch as head and heart are generally not so much in the habit of conversing amicably with each other as they could be, the translator’s enterprise is perhaps not entirely meaningless.
From listening to the music itself you can tell something about what the musicians are feeling, and open a door into that world of feeling within yourself; through analyzing the music seriously you can get some inkling of how the musicians think (and believe me, think they do, and think they must, in order to produce as coherent a piece as “Starless”), and in that process allow your intellect to go into sympathetic resonance with the intellects of those who are making the music.
Head and heart. Fripp would later develop a system of musical practice based on “hands, head, and heart,” where the “hands” represent the physical contact with the instrument and indeed with the physical world of sensation itself. We can address the head and the heart when we write a book like this, I’m not so sure about the hands, that is, about addressing the very physical presence of music in a live situation. I incline to suppose that the most we can do along those lines is to be aware of, or at least try to avoid completely losing touch with, our body as we are writing and reading.
“Starless” is a long (12’18”) sectional composition in a form that breaks down into essentially three parts; though “Starless” is not exactly a textbook example of classical sonata form, an analogy with sonata form’s three part structure (exposition, development, recapitulation) is tempting:
Song – Exposition Structured Instrumental Crescendo – Development Free Recapitulation of Song (without vocal)
As in classical sonata form, the opening section of “Starless” sets out a number of musical ideas (themes); the structured instrumental crescendo has something of the free, fantasia, associative, spinning-out, through-composed, quasi-improvisational nature of a development section; and the recapitulation contains both themes of the exposition material in a new, transformed aspect.
The opening “song” section remains in a single key (instead of containing a modulating bridge to a second key as in sonata form); and the structured instrumental section does not develop ideas from the opening song (as a sonata development ordinarily develops themes from the exposition), but rather stands on its own, with entirely new material. But these facts do not disqualify “Starless” from being considered a sonata form in the large sense; Mozart’s sonata forms were one thing, Beethoven’s another, Schoenberg’s something else again, Bartok’s a different species too. As music history went on, sonata form became something quite malleable indeed. Nor do I think it particularly relevant whether or not Fripp and his co-authors set out to compose a sonata form, nor whether some of them even knew what a sonata form was (Fripp and Cross probably did – the others may not have). Brian Eno said once in 1988 with a chuckle, “I didn’t know that piece of mine was in the Dorian mode.” But it was, and he was pleased to know about it with his head, though he had composed it entirely with his ears. The sonata analogy can perhaps enable those who are familiar with the sonata form process in music history to hear “Starless” in a more thorough, integrated fashion.
A more detailed formal outline of “Starless” is shown in Chart 7.
“Starless” as a whole can be seen as a carefully graded swell of energy: by the end of the instrumental crescendo, things have reached such a desperate peak that you think there’s nowhere else to go – but as happens so often in Beethoven codas, for instance, you are seized at that peak moment and hurtled into hyperspace. The recapitulation integrates and transforms the materials of the exposition and the crescendo, forcibly kicking them onto an entirely new level of intensity by means of dynamics, tempo, and orchestration.
The strange melancholy expressed initially in the words of the song (“Old friend charity / cruel twisted smile / and the smile signals emptiness for me / starless and bible black”) is deepened and purified in the recapitulation, when the words are left behind. The restatement of the instrumental first theme and the final minor ending carry the weight of tragedy.
In its dark intensity, in the singularity of its formal conception, in its emphasis on extreme contrasts within a single piece, in its drive to associate specific musical gestures with states, qualities, gradations, and degrees of psychic energy, and – perhaps above all – in the blinding power of its execution, “Starless” is a fulfillment of tendencies in Fripp’s music manifest from the beginning. With the final, hair-raising cadence of “Starless,” the door slams shut on King Crimson’s first period of activity, and, one could say, on the early era of progressive rock as a whole. When Fripp would emerge in the late 1970s with his solo projects, and in the early 1980s with a new, exceptionally streamlined King Crimson, the musical scene would have changed dramatically.
Jim Brickman’s distinctive piano style and captivating live performances have revolutionized the popularity of instrumental music, making him a driving force behind modern American music.
The hit-making songwriter is the best-selling solo pianist of our time earning 21 Number One albums and 32 Top 20 Radio Singles in the industry bible, “Billboard Magazine.” He’s garnered two Grammy nominations, gospel music’s Dove Award, two SESAC Songwriter of the Year Awards, and the Canadian Country Music Award. He also has a music scholarship named for him by his alma mater, the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music.
Born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Brickman began his music training at the age of five. But young James wouldn’t conform to the rudimentary regulations of piano lessons. “He didn’t have the knack for it,’ his first teacher would say. That didn’t discourage the tenacious pianist from creating his own unique brand of musical storytelling.
Brickman is one of pop-music’s most fascinating success stories. He jumped from a career as a jingle writer of famous tunes for advertising, to reviving the romantic standard of the popular song. His first album release was 1995’s “No Words,” and he’s gone on to sell eight million albums worldwide.
His star-studded vocal collaborations have crossed genres to feature luminaries like, Martina McBride, Carly Simon, Lady Antebellum, Michael W. Smith, Herb Alpert, Michael Bolton, Donny Osmond, Kenny Rogers, Olivia Newton-John, Johnny Mathis, Kenny Loggins, Jane Krakowski, and a host of country, R&B, Broadway, pop, and jazz musicians.
He’s written three best-selling books, starred in four TV concert specials, and is in the 20th season of hosting the popular syndicated radio show: “The Jim Brickman Show.”
“Hope,” “Faith” and “Peace” are truly at the heart of Jim Brickman’s passionate songwriting. “I write music to be shared — to soothe, to inspire, to celebrate, to love. To me, music is the pure and simple soundtrack to life’s most memorable moments.”
As a true artist that lives and breathes the music he creates, Jim Brickman is thrilled to introduce fans to his most recent songs and perform them live in concert halls across the world.
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André Gagnon (2 August 1936 – 3 December 2020) was a Canadian composer, conductor, arranger, and actor, known for his fusion of classical and pop styles, including compositions Neiges, Smash, Chevauchée, Surprise, Donna, and Mouvements in the disco and pop fields. Gagnon also composed for television, including La Souris Verte, Vivre en ce Pays, Format 60, Format 30,Techno-Flash, and Les Forges de Saint-Maurice as well as for theatre with such productions as La Poudre aux Yeux, Doña Rosita, Terre d’Aube, La Dame de Chez Maxim’s, and Wouf-Wouf. Some of his most notable songs are “Pour les Amants”, “Turluteries”, and “Mes Quatre Saisons”.
Gagnon was born in Saint-Pacôme-de-Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada. The youngest of nineteen children, Gagnon began composing at the age of six and according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, “He took theory lessons with Léon Destroismaisons in Ste. Anne-de-la-Pocatière from 1952-53 and studied at the Conservatoire de musique à Montréal with Germaine Malépart (piano), Clermont Pépin (composition), and Gilberte Martin (solfège) from 1957 to 1961.”
According to Gagnon’s official website, “In 1974, André Gagnon released Saga, his first album, composed solely of original instrumental pieces” .
In 1975, the album Neiges stayed on the American Billboard’s Top 10 for twenty-four weeks and sold 700,000 copies worldwide. In May 1976, Gagnon did four concerts in Mexico and in September of the same year, Neiges was released in New York under the title Driven Snow. In 1977, Neiges won a Juno award for the most purchased album in Canada while Gagnon’s album Le Saint-Laurent rapidly reached 100,000 sold copies. In 1978, André Gagnon was made an officer of the Order of Canada.
In the fall of 1979, Gagnon received his first Félix, an award created by the Quebecois music industry in the instrumental category for the album Le Saint-Laurent. He also began to add film scores to his repertoire, among them the soundtracks to Running (1979), the John Huston film Phobia (1980), and The Hot Touch (1981), directed by Roger Vadim. Gagnon went on world tour in 1981 to the United States, Venezuela, Mexico, Greece, and Romania. During this year, he also composed original music for the film Tell Me That You Love Me, a production of Astral Films. In October, he recorded Impressions in the famous Abbey Road studio.
In February 1990, the opera Nelligan was released, for which Gagnon wrote the music. The opera was presented first at the Grand Theatre of Quebec and then the Place of the Arts of Montreal and finally at the National Centre of the Arts of Ottawa. Following the opera’s Canadian release was the release of the studio-recorded double album, Nelligan.
In January 1992, Gagnon composed the music for the film The Pianist. In 1999, the album Juliette Pomerleau was released. In 2011, the album Les chemins ombragés was certified a gold album having sold 40,000 copies.
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy—or Felix Mendelssohn—was a German composer, pianist, musical conductor, and teacher who was among the most celebrated figures of the early Romantic period. In his music Mendelssohn largely observed Classical models and practices while initiating key aspects of Romanticism— the artistic movement that exalted feeling and the imagination above rigid forms and traditions.
Among his most famous works are Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1826), Italian Symphony (1833), a violin concerto (1844), two piano concerti (1831, 1837), the oratorio Elijah (1846), and several pieces of chamber music.
Early Life and Works
Felix was born of Jewish parents, Abraham and Lea Salomon Mendelssohn, from whom he took his first piano lessons. Though the Mendelssohns were proud of their ancestry, they considered it desirable, in accordance with 19thcentury liberal ideas, to mark their emancipation from the ghetto by adopting the Christian faith. Accordingly Felix, together with his brother and two sisters, was baptized in his youth as a Lutheran Christian.
The name Bartholdy, a family property on the river Spree, was held by a wealthy maternal uncle who had embraced Protestantism. When the fortune of this relative passed to the Mendelssohns, his name was adopted by them.
In 1811, during the French occupation of Hamburg, the family had moved to Berlin, where Mendelssohn studied the piano with Ludwig Berger and composition with K.F. Zelter, who, as a composer and teacher, exerted an enormous influence on his development. His personality was nourished by a broad knowledge of the arts and was also stimulated by learning and scholarship. He traveled with his sister to Paris, where he took further piano lessons and where he appears to have become acquainted with the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Mendelssohn was an extremely precocious musical composer. He wrote numerous compositions during his boyhood, among them 5 operas, 11 symphonies for string orchestra, concerti, sonatas, and fugues. He made his first public appearance in 1818—at the age of nine—in Berlin.
In 1821 Mendelssohn was taken to Weimar to meet J.W. von Goethe, for whom he played works of J.S. Bach and Mozart and to whom he dedicated his Piano Quartet No. 3. in B Minor (1825). A remarkable friendship developed between the aging poet and the 12-year-old musician. The next year he reached his full stature as a composer with the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Mendelssohn also became active as a conductor. On March 11, 1829, at the Singakademie, Berlin, he conducted the first performance since Bach’s death of the St. Matthew Passion, thus inaugurating the Bach revival of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Meanwhile he had visited Switzerland and had met Carl Maria von Weber, whose opera Der Freischütz encouraged him to develop a national character in music. Mendelssohn’s great work of this period was the String Octet in E-flat Major (1825), displaying not only technical mastery and an almost unprecedented lightness of touch but great melodic and rhythmic originality. Mendelssohn developed in this work the genre of the swift-moving scherzo (a playful musical movement) that he would also use in the incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1842).
In the spring of 1829 Mendelssohn made his first journey to England, conducting his Symphony No. 1 in C Minor (1824) at the London Philharmonic Society. In the summer he went to Scotland, of which he gave many poetic accounts in his evocative letters. Describing, in a letter written from the Hebrides, the manner in which the waves break on the Scottish coast, he noted down, in the form of a musical symbol, the opening bars of the Hebrides Overture (1830–32; also known as Fingal’s Cave).
Between 1830 and 1832 he traveled in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland and, in 1832, returned to London, where he conducted the Hebrides Overture and where he published the first book of the piano music he called Lieder ohne Worte (Songs Without Words), completed in Venice in 1830. Gradually Mendelssohn’s music was becoming the most popular of 19th-century composers in England.
Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 3 in A Minor–Major, or Scottish Symphony, as it is called, was dedicated to Queen Victoria. And he became endeared to the English musical public in other ways. The fashion for playing the “Wedding March” from his A Midsummer Night’s Dream at bridal processions originates from a performance of this piece at the wedding of the Princess Royal after Mendelssohn’s death, in 1858. In the meantime he had given the first performances in London of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Emperor and G Major concerti. Later the popularity of his oratorio Elijah, first produced at Birmingham in 1846, established
Mendelssohn as a composer whose influence on English music equaled that of George Frideric Handel. Later generations of English composers, enamoured of Richard Wagner, Claude Debussy, or Igor Stravinsky, revolted against the domination of Mendelssohn and condemned the sentimentality of his lesser works.
In 1833, he was in London to conduct his Italian Symphony (Symphony No. 4 in A Major–Minor), and in the same year he became music director of Düsseldorf. At Düsseldorf, too, he began his first oratorio, St. Paul. In 1835 he became conductor of the celebrated Gewandhaus Orchestra at Leipzig, where he not only raised the standard of orchestral playing but made Leipzig the musical capital of Germany.
Marriage and Maturity
In 1835 Mendelssohn was overcome by the death of his father, Abraham, whose dearest wish had been that his son should complete St. Paul. He accordingly plunged into this work with renewed determination and the following year conducted it at Düsseldorf. The same year at Frankfurt he met Cécile Jeanrenaud, the daughter of a French Protestant clergyman. Though she was no more than 16, they became engaged and were married on March 28, 1837.
Mendelssohn’s sister Fanny, the member of his family who remained closest to him, spoke kindly of her sister-in-law. Indeed, Fanny was not only a composer in her own right—she had herself written some of the Songs Without Words attributed to her brother—but she seems to have exercised, by her sisterly companionship, a powerful influence on the development of his inner musical nature.
Works written over the following years include the Variations sérieuses (1841), for piano, the Lobgesang (1840; Hymn of Praise), Psalm CXIV, the Piano Concerto No. 2 in D Minor (1837), and chamber works. In 1838 Mendelssohn began the Violin Concerto in E Minor–Major. Though he normally worked rapidly, this final expression of his lyrical genius compelled his arduous attention over the next six years. Later, in the 20th century, the Violin Concerto was still admired for its warmth of melody and for its vivacity, and it was also the work of Mendelssohn’s that, for nostalgic listeners, enshrined the elegant musical language of the 19th century.
In 1843 Mendelssohn founded at Leipzig the conservatory of music where he taught composition. Visits to London and Birmingham followed, entailing an increasing number of engagements. These would hardly have affected his normal health; he had always lived on this feverish level. But at Frankfurt in May 1847 he was greatly saddened by the death of Fanny. His energies deserted him, and, following the rupture of a blood vessel, he soon died.
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Suite No. 1 In G, BWV1007 16:54 1-1 Prelude 2:28 1-2 Allemande 3:40 1-3 Courante 2:32 1-4 Sarabande 2:22 1-5 Menuet I & II 3:14 1-6 Gigue 1:50 Suite No. 2 In D Minor, BWV1008 19:41 1-7 Prelude 3:43 1-8 Allemande 3:54 1-9 Courante 2:16 1-10 Sarabande 4:06 1-11 Menuet I & II 3:19 1-12 Gigue 2:35 Suite No. 3 In C, BWV1009 20:14 1-13 Prelude 3:28 1-14 Allemande 3:45 1-15 Courante 3:14 1-16 Sarabande 3:30 1-17 Bourrée I & II 3:23 1-18 Gigue 3:04
Suite No. 4 In E Flat, BWV1010 22:29 1-19 Prelude 4:15 1-20 Allemande 3:45 1-21 Courante 3:55 1-22 Sarabande 4:09 1-23 Bourrée I & II 3:37 1-24 Gigue 2:35 Suite No. 5 In C Minor, BWV1011 22:31 2-1 Prelude 7:18 2-2 Allemande 3:17 2-3 Courante 2:03 2-4 Sarabande 2:45 2-5 Gavotte I & II 4:29 2-6 Gigue 2:20
Suite No. 6 In D, BWV1012 27:58 2-7 Prelude 5:06 2-8 Allemande 7:31 2-9 Courante 3:42 2-10 Sarabande 4:17 2-11 Gavotte I & II 3:04 2-12 Gigue 3:59 – 2-13 Adagio In A Minor From Toccata, Adagio And Fugue In C Major, BWV 564 Arranged By – Siloti* 3:53 2-14 Musette (Gavottes I And II) From English Suite No. 6 In D Major, BWV 811 Arranged By – Pollain* 3:45 2-15 Komm, Süsser Tod, BWV 478 Arranged By – Siloti* 3:27 2-16 Andante From Sonata No. 2 For Unaccompanied Violin, BWV 1003 Arranged By – Siloti* 3:36 2-17 Air From Suite No. 3 In D, BWV 1068 Arranged By – Siloti* 3:47 Companies, etc.
Composed By – Johann Sebastian Bach Engineer [Restorations] – Ward Marston Liner Notes – Tully Potter Notes Tracks 1-1 to 1-6: Recorded 2.VI.1938, Paris Tracks 1-7 to 1-18: Recorded 25.XI.1936, Abbey Road Studios, London Tracks 1-19 to 1-24: Recorded 13.VI.1939, Paris Tracks 2-1 to 2-6: Recorded 13-16.VI.1939, Paris Tracks 2-7 to 2-12: Recorded 14, 15..VI.1939, Paris Tracks 2-13 to 2-17: Recorded 3.VI.1938, Paris Total playing time: 148:47
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Pau Casals biography
“Music, this marvellous universal language, would have to be a source of communication between all people. “
Pau Casals (Pablo Casals as he was commonly called in English) was one of the 20th century’s greatest cellists, internationally recognized as one of the finest performers and orchestra conductors of his times.
Born in El Vendrell on 29 December 1876, he showed a great sensitivity for music from childhood. His father, himself a musician, taught Pau his first notions of music, which Casals would go on to extend through studies in Barcelona and Madrid. At the tender age of twenty-three, he started out on his professional career and performed in the world’s most famous concert halls. As a performer, he made innovative changes in the way of playing the cello, introducing new technical and expressive possibilities. As a conductor too, he sought depth of expression – the musical essence which he achieved with the cello. Pau Casals was also a teacher and a composer, writing works such as the oratorio “El Pessebre” (The Manger), which became a veritable hymn to peace.
The outcome of the Spanish Civil War obliged him to go into exile, settling first in Prades (France) and later in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In addition to his extraordinary career as a musician, Pau Casals was always a staunch defender of peace and freedom. His numerous benefit concerts, his commitment to humanitarian actions and his various speeches at the United Nations characterized him clearly as a man of peace.
Pau Casals died in 1973 at the age of ninety-six in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His remains now rest in the cemetery of El Vendrell.
Over the course of his life, Pau Casals struggled constantly for peace, justice and freedom. In recognition of his stance, in 1971 the Secretary-General of the United Nations, U-Thant, awarded Pau Casals the U.N. Peace Medal. The speech that Pau Casals gave to express his gratitude for this distinction, and afterwards his performance of “El cant dels ocells” (The Song of the Birds), form one of the most impressive testimonies to his human dimension.
WORDS OF PAU CASALS AT THE UNITED NATIONS – 24 October 1971
This is the greatest honour of my life. Peace has always been my greatest concern. I learnt to love it when I was but a child. When I was a boy, my mother – an exceptional, marvellous woman -, would talk to me about peace, because at that time there were also many wars. What is more, I am Catalan. Catalonia had the first democratic parliament, well before England did. And the first United Nations were in my country. At that time – the Eleventh Century – there was a meeting in Toluges – now France – to talk about peace, because in that epoch Catalans were already against, AGAINST war. That is why the United Nations, which works solely towards the peace ideal, is in my heart, because anything to do with peace goes straight to my heart.
I have not played the cello in public for many years, but I feel that the time has come to play again. I am going to play a melody from Catalan folklore: El cant dels ocells – The Song of the Birds. Birds sing when they are in the sky, they sing: “Peace, Peace, Peace”, and it is a melody that Bach, Beethoven and all the greats would have admired and loved. What is more, it is born in the soul of my people, Catalonia.
(English translation of the original version in Catalan, from Enric Casals’ book “PAU CASALS, dades biogràfiques inèdites, cartes íntimes i records viscuts”, Ed. Pòrtic, Col. Memòries, Barcelona, 1979.)
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Dans Wigmore, il y a “More” et en effet la fameuse salle de récitals située à Londres s’engage, malgré la situation sanitaire catastrophique, à proposer -très probablement- plus de concerts que partout ailleurs :
100 concerts en 100 jours et plus encore : le confinement étant prolongé au Royaume-Uni, le Wigmore Hall (prestigieuse salle de concerts londonienne) prolonge sa série -presque- quotidienne de concerts gratuits (avec retransmission en direct, puis disponible pendant 30 jours).
Dans un premier temps, le Wigmore Hall prévoyait une jauge de 56 spectateurs (soit seulement 10% de sa capacité) montant progressivement à 112, mais pouvant tout aussi bien et à tout moment retomber à 0. C’est effectivement la jauge nulle qui sera la règle jusqu’à mi-février au moins dans ce Royaume terrassé par le nouveau variant du Coronavirus.
Nous vous donnons ainsi rendez-vous pour suivre l’intégralité de cette série de concerts : vidéos déjà disponibles et rendez-vous à venir.
C’est le fameux baryton Christian Gerhaher qui ouvrit les festivités en chantant le retour à la musique grâce à un programme Schubert et Berg accompagné par le pianiste Gerold Huber. C’est d’ailleurs un autre fameux baryton qui refermait ce premier cycle de concerts (le 22 décembre 2020) : Sir Simon Keenlyside accompagné par Malcolm Martineau.
Une soirée réunit même un trio à cordes, deux pianos, l’acteur Simon Callow et la soprano Lucy Crowe, une autre le trio vocal Sarah Fox (soprano), Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano) et Alessandro Fisher (ténor) accompagnés par Joseph Middleton au piano. Montrant un certain optimisme vis-à-vis de l’évolution sanitaire, le Wigmore Hall programme même des chorales pour la fin décembre : Tenebrae, Stile Antico et The Cardinall’s Musick.
The Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31, No. 2, was composed in 1801–02 by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is usually referred to as The Tempest (or Der Sturm in his native German), but the sonata was not given this title by Beethoven, or indeed referred to as such during his lifetime.
The name comes from a reference to a personal conversation with Beethoven by his associate Anton Schindler in which Schindler reports that Beethoven suggested, in passing response to his question about interpreting it and Op. 57, the Appassionata sonata, that he should read Shakespeare‘s Tempest; some however have suggested that Beethoven may have been referring to the works of C. C. Sturm, the preacher and author best known for his Reflections on the Works of God in Nature, a copy of which he owned and, indeed, had heavily annotated.
Although much of Schindler’s information is distrusted by classical music scholars, this is a first-hand account unlike any other that any scholar reports. The British music scholar Donald Francis Tovey says in A Companion to Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas:
With all the tragic power of its first movement the D minor Sonata is, like Prospero, almost as far beyond tragedy as it is beyond mere foul weather. It will do you no harm to think of Miranda at bars 31–38 of the slow movement… but people who want to identify Ariel and Caliban and the castaways, good and villainous, may as well confine their attention to the exploits of Scarlet Pimpernel when the Eroica or the C minor Symphony is being played (pg. 121).
Innovations in Beethoven’s Op. 31 No. 2 “Tempest” Sonata
The Op. 31 No. 1 & No. 2 sonatas were most likely written in Heilegenstadt, as is suggested both by their presence in the Kessler sketchbook (dating them to 1801-1802) and Ferdinand Ries’s accounts. According to Czerny, after writing his Op. 28 sonatas, Beethoven said to his friend Krumpholtz: “I am not very well satisfied with the work I have thus far done. From this day on I shall take a new way”, which Czerny later associated with the Op. 31 sonatas. Beethoven’s comment about the “new way” has created a lot of controversy, and different scholars have had different interpretation of what it meant.
Nonetheless, the sonata Op. 31 No. 2 is unquestionably one of the greatest classical sonatas and occupies an important place within Beethoven’s career. Rosen calls the opening of the Op. 31 No. 2 sonata “the most dramatic that Beethoven had yet conceived, with a contrast of tempos and motifs, and a radical opposition of mood.” The Op. 13 sonata “Pathétique” also starts off with a similar juxtaposition of tempos and motifs, but in that case, the materials present in the starting Grave/Allegro molto con brio do not germinate the rest of the movement as will be shown to be the case in Op. 31, no. 2.“The opening motif…is a motto and it will govern the entire work”.
This opening is constructed in a set of antecedent/consequent phrases. The first phrase, in Largo and pianissimo, is an upward arpeggiation of an A major chord in first inversion that starts out as a rolled chord. Nonetheless the top note of the rolled chord – A – continues melodically into a rhythmicized horizontalization of the A chord. The consequent to this is a dynamic Allegro phrase characterized by falling two-note slurs in the right hand that are contrasted by a rising bass line.
This material repeats bar 7, now transposed into F major, but there is no clear cadence to be found until bar 21, where, in a seemingly new thematic material, the last four notes of the Largo antecedent phrase are now taken up in the bass register while the right hand accompanies by tempestive fast triplets in forte.
An important aspect to keep in mind here is the registral space that is opened up between the iterations of the main thematic material in the bass and the melodic responses in the right-hand line. At bar 41, the two-note slur motivic figure of the consequent phrase from bars 2-5 returns, but in a different melodic and harmonic guise.
Thus, the first two pages of the sonata generate from the first five bars, as the closing theme of the exposition (bars 75-87) derives its melodic content from the 5-4-3-2- 1 descent of the initial Allegro motive, though now in the dominant key. As Jones notes, even the chromatic turn around of bars 5-6 returns in new guises but with the same melodic pitches in bars 22 and 55.
Thus the first two pages of the sonata generate from the first five bars, as the closing theme of the exposition (bars 75-87) derives its melodic content from the 5-4-3-2-1 descent of the initial Allegro motive, though now in the dominant key. As Jones notes5, even the chromatic turn around of bars 5-6 returns in new guises but with the same melodic pitches in bars 22 and 55.
The development starts with a re-interpretation of the Largo rolled chords as arpeggios, which are longer (i.e. containing more notes) and thus allow for higher expressivity. After three permutations of the Largo motive, very unexpectedly the material of bars 21-40 (based on the Allegro part of the main theme) returns now in F# minor and fortissimo, thus completely skipping the actual Allegro theme, as it appears on bars 2-5.
Even the earlier (and sometimes not most convincing) analyses of the piece have noted the unusual nature of this development section, which is not constructed, as most developments in classical sonatas were, upon sequences and breakdown of motives, but rather it moves to a hole new key area. The idea of keeping the exposition materials practically intact (though transposed to a foreign key) is thus definitely a new element that Beethoven brings with this sonata.
Nonetheless, what does happen as expected in this development section is an increase in tension, which is in part achieved through a gradual and carefully paced ascent in the bass line, from F# to D. Rosen notes that “the use of a rising bass at moments when the tension must be heightened is indispensable to Beethoven starting with op. 2, no. 2”. In the first movement of Op. 31, no. 2, the bass rises gradually over 20 bars (98-118) as the development section gets underway. An implied augmented sixth chord based on Bb propels the piece into a 12-bar prolongation of the A major dominant in fortissimo (bars 121- 132). Then a 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 melodic descent (for A major) in whole notes, with an A pedal in the bass, brings us to bar 137, where we get a hint of the recapitulation, through the C# and E grace notes that create an A chord.
The sforzando B flat in bar 139 then implies a dominant ninth chord, which is never played out vertically but is rather filled in horizontally as the 9th interval is outlined on the strong beats of bars 139 through 143 . It is interesting to note here that the dominant ninth plays an extremely important role in Beethoven’s compositions in preceding the recapitulation (as will also be shown even more prominently in the second and third movements) and it plays that same role here of creating a tension and an expectation of future release.
Nonetheless, it should be remembered that the main “theme” in the exposition did not include a single root position tonic chord, and thus the recapitulation at bar 143 reinstates not the stability of the tonic but rather the instability of the dominant, as present in the exposition.
Yet, we are now in a very different place than we were in the beginning, and the Largo is a much longer and more convoluted version of the first two bars. This is possibly the most extraordinary moment of the entire sonata, where the “expressive implications [of the mysterious arpeggios] are made explicit”. Within the recitative passage, the dominant ninth chord is again horizontally implied as the tension is not released but rather increased in a moment where, though in pianissimo, uncertainty of expectations is heightened to the edge.
With the second iteration of the Largo motive (starting with the original first inversion C major chord) the piece comes to a halt at the tonally ambiguous Ab of bar 158. Beethoven swiftly enharmonizes the Ab to a G# that is part of a first inversion C# major chord leading to improvisatory arpeggios in F# minor. What is lacking in this recapitulation section is the strong tonal arrival on D minor that came originally at bar 21. In fact the whole passage of bars 21-40 is not recapitulated.
The material that was originally in the dominant (starting at bar 41), as expected, is now recapitulated in the tonic, but it should not go unnoticed that the only strong cadence and arrival in the tonic (after that of bar 21) comes at the end of the movement (bar 217). This concept is very important not only for the development of Beethoven’s personal style and that of classical music but also in its role in the birth of romanticism. It is noteworthy that already in 1802, with Op. 31 No. 2 Beethoven creates a “sense of an unstoppable transformation process by constructing the music in unprecedentedly long spans, avoiding strong cadential closure”.
This sense of unstoppable transformation in the first movement is also due the “processual” character of its structure. I have thus far described the different musical phrases as being in the exposition, development, or recapitulation, thus conforming to the generally accepted notion of sonata form. Nonetheless one of the things that make Op. 31 No. 2 special is its redefinition of sonata form in terms of a transformational process, rather than a neatly divisible form.
It has already been mentioned the motivic relationsbetween the different materials in this movement, but it is also important to note howthese materials function structurally. At the outset of the piece, the rolled/arpeggiated A major chord in the first two bars appears to be more like introductory material that precedes the main theme than the exposition of the main theme itself.
It is only later in the piece, when this material returns, both reworked (as in bar 21) and verbatim (as in bar 143) that its significance is realized. In Dahlhaus’ words: “bar 1 first presents itself as a prelude lacking in thematic significance, later (when viewed in retrospect from bar 21) as the anticipation of the theme and finally (after it has emerged that bars 21-40 are a modulating developmental passage) as the actual exposition”. “Bars 1-2 ‘are’ not either prelude, or anticipation or thematic exposition” but they set in motion a “dialectic process, where earlier meanings continue to coexist on equal footing with later ones”.
The listener thus “follows the process of transformation” in which the motives/themes fulfill several functions at a time and the processual aspect of structure coexists with, if not supersedes the theoretical divisions of sonata form. In this case, in fact, the fact that bar 1 cannot easily be identified as either introduction or exposition is in no way a weakness. Rather, “ambiguity should be understood as an aesthetic quality” as it is “the very contradictions of the form that constitute its artistic character”. While the motivic relationships and their transformations are probably the clearest within the first movement, there are notable connections between the movements as well.
The second movement “transforms elements from the first movement in a warmer context”. The arpeggio from bar one of the first movement is now re-taken in the warmer and more stable Bb key (in root position), while the “double dotted rhythms are reminiscent of the recitative”.
continue to coexist on equal footing with later ones”12. The listener thus “follows the process of transformation” in which the motives/themes fulfill several functions at a time and the processual aspect of structure coexists with, if not supersedes the theoretical divisions of sonata form. In this case, in fact, the fact that bar 1 cannot easily be identified as either introduction or exposition is in no way a weakness. Rather, “ambiguity should be understood as an aesthetic quality”13 as it is “the very contradictions of the form that constitute its artistic character”14.While the motivic relationships and their transformations are probably the clearest within the first movement, there are notable connections between the movements as well.
The second movement “transforms elements from the first movement in a warmer context”15. The arpeggio from bar one of the first movement is now re-taken in the warmer and more stable Bb key (in root position), while the “double dotted rhythms are reminiscent of the recitative”. It is quite striking to note that the last two notes (F – D) outlined in the melody of the final chords of the first movement are also the same exact notes that are outlined in the first melodic passage of the second movement (bar 2), though now in the new harmonic context.
As Taub notes, it is quite important as a pianist to voice the last two chords of the first movement to the top, in such a way that they will remain in the listener’s auditory memory until they are picked up again in the second movement.
In contrast to the first movement’s design, the structure of the second movement is much simpler and more easily and unequivocally identifiable as a sonata form withoutdevelopment. On the other hand, there are several subtle compositional links with the first movement. One of the key characteristics of this movement is the registral space that is opened at the very beginning, which is reminiscent of the technique used in the first movement (bars 21-40 and 99-121). Similarly to the first movement, “the opening thematic statement is richer in what it implies than in what it actually contains”. As the first theme material repeats at bar 9, what was essentially hollow space in the first eightbars starts to get filled in, as the rhythmic pace also picks up.
The transition passage, with its relentless and tension-building character provided by the drum-roll figure in the bass leads into the second theme (at bar 31, in the dominant, F major), which is by contrast the most serenely beautiful material of the entire sonata. Nonetheless, after only eight bars, the tension starts building, as Beethoven introduces again the dominant ninth chord that had such a prominent role in the opening movement to prepare for the return of the tonic in the recapitulation.
The second time through the first theme (bars 51-59) Beethoven completely fills in the initial registral gap with cascading and notes that embellish the main melodic line. After the recapitulation in the tonic of the second theme and a quick motion to the subdominant (bar 85), the main theme returns for a final time at the coda (bar 89), where the registral gap again widens and the texture gets thinner. The last bar is a very concise distillation of the motivic material that as made up most of the movement and in the same time it foreshadows the melodic motion ( 3 – 2 – 1 ) that the main theme of the third movement is made of.
The second movement, both because it is cast in the most traditional form of the three movements, and because of its relatively symmetric form serves as a central axis for the outer two movements, which share several characteristics, especially in terms of their harmonic language. While, in contrast to the first movement, the third movement starts with a clear tonic D in the bass, the pedal A in the tenor voice does introduce a tonal ambiguity that, as in the first movement is really only resolved at the end. While from the very beginning the 3/8 Allegretto sets up perpetum mobile-type rhythmic activity, it is only at bar 30 that the true “Sturm und Drang” nature of the first theme appears.
Here, now in forte (while the first eight bars were in piano) the melodic content of the first theme is transferred to the low register of the bass while the right hand imitates the left hand rhythm but off by two eighth notes, thus creating an incredible pull and tension in the rhythmic structure.
appears. Here, now in forte (while the first eight bars were in piano) the melodic content of the first theme is transferred to the low register of the bass while the right hand imitates the left hand rhythm but off by two eighth notes, thus creating an incredible pull and tension in the rhythmic structure. After this figure repeats transposed down to C major, through an augmented sixth chord on F we arrive at the second theme (bar 43), which is yet another reconfiguration, in a different metric and harmonic context, of the two note slur figure from the first movement theme.
We have now clearly modulated to the dominant A minor, butas in the first movement, Beethoven avoids a strong cadential closure (here in the dominant) through “elision” (bar 51) and “interruption” (bars 59 and 63). Even when A minor is reached through a perfect cadence (bars 67 and 73), the subito piano transforms the phrase endings into the start of a new forward-propelling phrases. Anotherdominant ninth chord at the last four bars of the exposition lead (after the repeat) to an unexpected F# diminished chord that starts the development section.
As Jones notes, this development section is very characteristic in its persistence of the same rhythmic pattern, derived from the first theme – in fact the second theme material appears nowhere in the development. The first theme material does appear almost verbatim and the choice of the key to which Beethoven transposes it here (bar 150) – B flat minor– is quite intriguing. After a long transitional section including, at its end (bars 189-214), a 26-bar longprolongation of the dominant ninth sonority (whose importance in preceding the recapitulation has been noted in the previous movements), the opening theme returns again in the tonic.
As expected of a recapitulation the second theme is nowrestated in the tonic. Nonetheless, the original “Sturm und Drang” material from bar 29 is nowtransposed to the key of B-flat minor.As noted earlier, in the first movement, Beethoven first uses F# minor in the beginning of the development section (bar 98) and then returns to this foreign key in the middle of the recapitulation (bar 161), where improvisatory material replaces the theme of bars 21-40, which is not recapitulated. Of course, the theme of bars 21-40 preceded the recapitulation, but it was there constructed in F# minor, the key that returns at bar 161.
A similar maneuver happens in the third movement, whereBeethoven uses in repetition the key of Bb minor. Starting in bars 130 of the development section, the key of Bb minoris emphasized until finally, at bar 150, the first theme suddenly reappears (bars 150½- 157½ are a direct transposition to Bb minor of the first theme). As in the first movement, in the third-movement recapitulation section, Beethoven breaks out of the normal sequence of keys to go back to Bb minor (the “foreign” key, as F# minor was in the first movement).
As Rosen remarks (p. 172), Beethoven again uses this idea of returning, in the recapitulation, to the most unusual key of the development section in his “Hammerklavier” Sonata, but Op. 31 No. 2 is his first attempt at such a technique and thus represents a very important innovation.
It is important to note here Beethoven’s merits with regards to establishing key-relationships as an important compositional element. Toveyobserves that “the darker colors, such as Ab to C (Vi to I) are often evident in Mozart” while “the brighter key relations, such as C to E (I to III) are apparent in Haydn’s late works”. But “neither Haydn nor Mozart took the risk of giving a remote key an essential function in a continuous and highly organized movement”.
It is only after Beethoven, especially with Schubert that we see the major third key relation becoming typical. For example, in the exposition of the String Quartet in G Schubert goes through a tonal sequence D-F#-Bb-D. Curiously, these are the same keys that Beethoven goes through in his Op. 31 No. 2 sonata, but in the sonata they are all in their minor mode.
Nonetheless, it must be noted that Beethoven was experimenting with key areas for some time and the innovations did not start with Op. 31 No.2, rather they continued in the path of Beethoven’s search for an individual style. In the sonata Op. 26 (written 1800-1801) Beethoven tries the idea of remaining in the same key of Ab throughout the four movements (the third movement being in the minor mode). Op. 27 No. 1 (written 1800-1801), on the other hand goes from Eb (movement 1 – Andante) to C minor (movement 2 – Allegro molto e vivace) to Ab (movement 3 – Adagio con espressione) and back to Eb (movement 4 – Allegro vivace). The sonata Op. 27, no. 1 is one of the set of two sonatas subtitled by Beethoven “Quasi una fantasia”, the second of which is the slightly more celebrated “Moonlight” sonata. In both these sonatas Beethoven tries out new models for the different component movements defying the general expectations of what a piano sonata was supposed to be.
While the “Moonlight” with its contemplative first movement possibly gave way to more speculation, Op. 27 No. 1 is definitely worthy of attention. Two elements particularly in this sonata are an important precursor to Op. 31 No. 2. Firstly, the key relations (especially in major thirds) are present not only betweenthe movements but also within the movements. Jones shows very clearly the big-scale tonal scheme of the sonata:
Secondly, in an unprocessed way, we find here an attempt to integrate the movements within a unified work by means of using the same motive in two different movements. The first 6 bars of the third movement are largely cut and pasted before the coda in the fourth movement, transposed by a fifth up. Obviously this relationship is not extremely subtle, but it can be seen how Beethoven then reuses this idea of motivic unity in Op. 31 No. 2 in a less apparent but exceptionally consistent manner.
In the sonatas Op. 27, no. 2 and Op. 28 Beethoven goes back to the idea of one-key for the entire work, with C# minor (Adagio sostenuto) – Db (Allegretto) – C# minor(Presto agitato) in Op. 27 No. 2 and D (Allegro) – D minor (Andante) – D (Scherzo) – D (Rondo)in Op. 28. Then he returns, with Op. 31, no. 1, to the 3-movement sonata with G-C-G the keys of the respective movements, but he uses the “foreign”, major third-related key of B major for the second subject at the first movement’s exposition (bar 66), after the first subject’s G major. “The Op.20’s sonatas confirm that for Beethoven the piano sonatas were a field of experimentation”.
Especially with the “quasi una fantasia” sonatas Beethoven attempts to unite the different movements as one continuous composition and, after having toyed with the number, quality and inter-relation of the movements, Beethoven concentrates his experimentation in Op. 31, no. 2 on the inner workings of each movement. In a way, within the general goal of creating a unified sonata, his focus shifts from the outer appearance of the movements (in the Op. 20’s) to the inner workings of each movement (Op. 31).
A final note about Beethoven’s experimentations in the Op. 31 sonata has to do not with structure, but with sound. It is fascinating that the three movements of the Sonata Op. 31, no. 2, as well as Op. 31, no. 1, end quietly, without the classical formal ending with big chords31. Considering the fact that both these sonatas were written during Beethoven’s permanence in Heilegenstadt, it would not be a very far-fetched theory to say that this experimentation with sound might have been at least in part due to Beethoven’s increasing awareness of his hearing loss32.
Nonetheless, the soft ending of each movement also serves to “prolong the atmosphere beyond the final chords”. This not only imbues a greater meaning to the short moments of silence between the movements but it also aids in creating the feeling of the sonata as a continuous work, to which end also serve, the motivic relationships within and between movements as well as the avoidance of cadences.
Thus, whether autobiographically induced or not, the experimentation with sound eventually has an effect in the structural unity of the piece. Many scholars have considered Beethoven’s realization of his future permanent hearing loss in Heilegenstadt during 1802 as a crucial point that defined his compositional style. Solomon claims that Beethoven’s this served as a “fresh start”, a turning point in his style.
Nonetheless, such absolutist claims should be read with caution. Kinderman points to letters of Beethoven to Wegeler and Amenda in 1801 where it is clear that already for at least a couple of years before that he has been seriously preoccupied with his hearing loss. Thus it is very hard to identify within a moment or even a few weeks/months Beethoven’s personal crisis associated with his hearing loss. In Jones’ words, “rather than representing a turning point [the Heilegenstadt testament] may be seen as continuing a crystallization of thoughts that Beethoven had been exploring for some time”.
On the musical side, it has also been shown here that, while the Op. 31, no. 2 sonata presents multiple innovative compositional techniques, many of such techniques were already used or toyed with in previous works. Further, to say that Beethoven’s “new way” started suddenly in this one piece would be a very simplistic and even offensive way to regard music of such stature. Perhaps closer to the truth is the notion that in his long artistic life of improvement and innovation, Op. 31, no.2 is but oneof many noteworthy examples.
(Tovey 1931; Tovey 1944; Thayer 1964; Sonneck 1967; Tyson 1973; Webster 1978; Kerman 1983; Broyles 1987; Solomon 1988; Wolff 1990; Dahlhaus 1991;Kinderman 1995; Lockwood 1996; Jones 1999; Rosen 2002; Taub 2002; Lockwood2003)Broyles, M. (1987). The Emergence and Evolution of Beethoven’s Heroic Style. New York, NY, Excelsior Music Publishing Co.Dahlhaus, C. (1991). Ludwig van Beethoven: Approaches to his Music. Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press.Jones, T. (1999). Beethoven: The ‘Moonlight’ and other Sonatas Op. 27 and Op. 31. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Kerman, J. T., Alan (1983). The New Grove Beethoven. New York, NY, W. W. Norton & Company.Kinderman, W. (1995). Beethoven. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, University of California Press.Lockwood, L. (1996). “Reshaping the Genre: Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas from Op. 22 to Op. 28 (1799-1801).” Israel Studies in Musicology 6: 1-16.Lockwood, L. (2003). Beethoven: the Music and the Life. New York, NY, W. W. Norton & Company.Rosen, C. (2002). Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas: A Short Companion. New Haven, CT, Yale University Press.Gjergji GaqiMU 48317Solomon, M. (1988). Beethoven Essays. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.Sonneck, O. J. (1967). Beethoven: Impressions by his Contemporaries. New York, NY, Dover Publications Taub, R. (2002). Playing the Beethoven Sonatas. Portland, OR, Amadeus Press.Thayer, A. W. (1964). Life of Beethoven. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.Tovey, D. F. (1931). A Companion to Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas. London, UK, The Associated Board of the R.A.M. and the R.C.M.Tovey, D. F. (1944). Beethoven. London, UK, Oxford University Press.Tyson, A. (1973). Beethoven Studies. New York, NY, W. W. Norton & Company.Webster, J. (1978). “Schubert’s Sonata Form and Brahm’s First Maturity.” 19th Century Music 2(1): 18-35.Wolff, K. (1990). Masters of the Keyboard: Individual Style Elements in the PIano Music of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Brahms. Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press.
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The 100 most inspiring musicians of all Time: Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert (b. Jan. 31, 1797, Himmelpfortgrund, near Vienna [Austria]—d. Nov. 19, 1828, Vienna) was an Austrian composer who bridged the worlds of Classical and Romantic music. Although especially noted for his songs (lieder) and chamber music, he also wrote symphonies, masses, and piano works.
Early Life and Career
Franz Schubert’s father was a schoolmaster, and his mother was in domestic service at the time of her marriage. Franz was their fourth surviving son, and he had a younger sister. The family was musical and cultivated string quartet playing in the home; Franz played the viola. He received the foundations of his musical education from his father and his brother Ignaz. In 1808, he won a scholarship that earned him a place in the imperial court chapel choir and an education at the Stadtkonvikt, the principal boarding school for commoners in Vienna, where his tutors included the composer Antonio Salieri, then at the height of his fame.
Schubert played the violin in the students’ orchestra and was quickly promoted to leader and sometime conductor. Schubert’s earliest works included a long Fantasia for Piano Duet, a song, several orchestral overtures, various pieces of chamber music, and three string quartets.
An unfinished operetta on a text by August von Kotzebue, Der Spiegelritter (The Looking-glass Knight), also belongs to those years. Eventually Schubert’s work came to the notice of Salieri; when his voice broke in 1812, and he left the college, he continued his studies privately with Salieri for at least another three years. During this time he entered a teachers’ training college in Vienna and in 1814 became assistant in his father’s school. Rejected for military service because of his short stature, he continued as a schoolmaster until 1818.
The numerous compositions he wrote between 1813 and 1815 are remarkable for their style, originality, and imagination. Besides five string quartets, there were three full-scale masses and three symphonies. His first full-length opera, Des Teufels Lustschloss (The Devil’s Palace of Desire), was finished while he was at the training college. But at this period song composition was his chief interest.
On Oct. 19, 1814, he first set to music a poem by Goethe, “Gretchen am Spinnrade” (“Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel”), from Faust; it was his 30th song, and in this masterpiece he created the German lied (art song). The following year brought the composition of more than 140 songs.
The many unfinished fragments and sketches of songs left by Schubert provide some insight into the working of his creative mind. The primary stimulus was melodic; the words of a poem engendered a tune. Harmony (chordal structure of a composition) and modulation (change of key) were then suggested by the contours of the melody.
But the external details of the poet’s scene—natural, domestic, or mythical—prompted such wonderfully graphic images in the accompaniments as the spinning wheel, the ripple of water, or the “shimmering robe” of spring. These features were fully present in the songs of 1815.
During that year Schubert also was preoccupied with a number of ill-fated operas. In 1816 Schubert took a leave of absence from his duties as school headmaster, and during his teaching hiatus he met the baritone Johann Michael Vogl. As a result of this meeting, Vogl’s singing of Schubert’s songs became the rage of the Viennese drawing rooms. But this period of freedom did not last, and in the autumn of 1817 Schubert returned to his teaching duties.
The leave, however, had been particularly fruitful. Songs of this period include “Ganymed,” “Der Wanderer,” and the Harper’s Songs from Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister. There were two more symphonies: No. 4 in C Minor, which Schubert himself named the Tragic (1816), and the popular No. 5 in B-flat Major (1816). A fourth mass, in C major, was composed in 1816. The year 1817 is notable for the beginning of his masterly series of piano sonatas. Six were composed while staying at the home of life-long friend Franz von Schober, the finest being No. 7 in E-flat Major and No. 11 in B Major.
Schubert’s years of schoolmastering ended in the summer of 1818. He had found the position frustrating, and in the spring of that year he had produced only one substantial work, the Symphony No. 6 in C Major. In the meantime his reputation was growing, however, and the first public performance of one of his works, the Italian Overture in C Major, took place on March 1, 1818, in Vienna.
In June, he took up the post of music master to the two daughters of Johann, Count Esterházy, in the family’s summer residenceat Zseliz, Hung. In the summer months Schubert completed the piano duets Variations on a French Song in E minor and the Sonata in B-flat Major, sets of dances, songs, and the Deutsche Trauermesse (German Requiem).
On his return to Vienna he composed the operetta Die Zwillingsbrüder (The Twin Brothers), but the production of the work was postponed, and in June 1819 Schubert and Vogl set off for a protracted holiday in the singer’s native district of upper Austria. There he composed the first of his widely known instrumental compositions, the Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 664, and the celebrated Trout Quintet for piano and strings. The close of 1819 saw him engrossed in songs to poems by his friend Johann Mayrhofer and by Goethe, who inspired “Prometheus.”
In June 1820 Die Zwillingsbrüder was performed with moderate success in Vienna, Vogl doubling in the parts of the twin brothers. It was followed by the performance of incidental music for the play Die Zauberharfe (The Magic Harp), given in August of the same year. The melodious overture became famous as the Rosamunde overture. At the close of the year 1820, Schubert composed the Quartettsatz (Quartet- Movement) in C Minor, heralding the great string quartets of the middle 1820s, and another popular piece, the motet for female voices on the text of Psalm XXIII.
In December 1820 he began the choral setting of Goethe’s Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (Song of the Spirits over the Water) for male-voice octet with accompaniment for bass strings, D. 714, completed in February 1821.
During September and October 1821 Schubert worked on the three-act opera, Alfonso und Estrell. It was completed in February 1822 but was never performed. In July 1822, he produced the document called Mein Traum (“My Dream”), describing a quarrel between a music-loving youth and his father. The autumn of 1822 saw the beginning of the Symphony in B Minor (Unfinished). In November of the same year Schubert composed a piano fantasia and completed the Mass in A-flat Major.
At the close of 1822 Schubert contracted a venereal disease, and the following year was one of illness and retirement. He continued to write almost incessantly. In February 1823 he wrote the Piano Sonata in A Minor, and in April he made another attempt to gain success in Viennese theatres with the one-act operetta Die Verschworenen (The Conspirators), the title being changed later to Der häusliche Krieg (Domestic Warfare).
The famous work of the year, however, was the song cycle Die schöne Müllerin (“The Fair Maid of the Mill”), representing the epitome of Schubert’s lyrical art. Schubert spent part of the summer in the hospital and probably started work—while still a patient—on his most ambitious opera, Fierrabras. The year 1823 closed with Schubert’s composition of the music for the play Rosamunde, performed at Vienna in December.
Schubert was ill, penniless, and plagued by a sense of failure early in 1824. Yet during this time he composed three masterly chamber works: the String Quartet in A Minor, a second string quartet in D Minor containing variations on his song Der Tod und das Mädchen, and the Octet in F Major for strings and wind instruments. In desperate need of money, he returned in the summer to his teaching post with the Esterházy family and in May 1824 went again to Zseliz. Once more his health and spirits revived.
The period was marked by some piano duets, the Piano Sonata in C Major (Grand Duo), the Variations on an Original Theme in A-flat Major, and the Divertissement à la hongroise (Hungarian Divertissement).
During these years his songs were frequently performed. Publication proceeded rapidly, and his financial position, though still strained, was at any rate eased. This is the period of the Lady of the Lake songs, including the once popular but later neglected Ave Maria. Instrumental compositions are the piano sonatas in A Minor and in D Major, the latter composed at Badgastein. He sketched a symphony during the summer holiday, in all probability the beginnings of the Symphony in C Major (Great), completed in 1828.
The resignation of Salieri as imperial Kapellmeister (musical director) in 1824 had led to the promotion of his deputy, Josef Eybler. In 1826 Schubert applied for the vacant post of deputy Kapellmeister, but in spite of strong support by several influential people he was unsuccessful. From then until his death two years later he seems to have let matters drift. Neither by application for professional posts nor submission of operatic work did he seek to establish himself.
The songs of 1826 include the settings of Shakespeare’s “Hark! Hark! the Lark!” and “Who is Silvia?” Three fine instrumental works of this summer and autumn are the last: String Quartet in G Major, the Piano Sonata in G Major, and the beginning of the Piano Trio in B Flat Major. In 1827 he composed the first 12 songs of the cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey).
Beethoven’s death in 1827 undoubtedly had a profound effect on Schubert, for there is no denying that a more profound, more intellectual quality akin to that in Beethoven’s music appears in his last instrumental works, especially the Piano Trio in E-flat Major (1827) and the Piano Sonata in C Minor (1828). In September 1827 Schubert spent a short holiday in Graz. On his return he composed the Piano Trio in E-flat Major and resumed work on Part II of the Winterreise. This is the period of his piano solos, the Impromptus and Moments musicaux.
A succession of masterpieces marks the last year of his life. Early in the year he composed the greatest of his piano duets, the Fantasy in F Minor. The Great Symphony was concluded in March, as was also the cantata Miriams Siegesgesang (Miriam’s Victory Song). In June he worked at his sixth mass—in E-flat Major.
A return to songwriting in August produced the series published together as the Schwanengesang (Swan Song). In September and early October the succession was concluded by the last three piano sonatas, in C Minor, A Major, and B-flat Major, and the great String Quintet in C Major—the swan song of the Classical era in music.
The only public concert Schubert gave took place on March 26, 1828. It was both artistically and financially a success, and the impecunious composer was at last able to buy himself a piano. At the end of August he moved into lodgings with his brother Ferdinand. Schubert’s health, broken by the illness of 1823, had deteriorated, and his ceaseless work had exhausted him. In October he developed typhoid fever, and his last days were spent in the company of his brother and several close friends.
Moment Musical Op. 94 D 780 12. No. 1 Moderato in C major 1:26:42 13. No. 2 Andantino in A flat major 1:29:44 14. No. 3 Allegro moderato in F minor 1:35:20 15. No. 4 Moderato in C sharp minor 1:36:53 16. No. 5 Allegro vivace in F minor 1:40:44 17. No. 6 in A flat major 1:42:43 18. “Polonaise” in B flat major D 580 1:47:46 19.
Piano sonata n. 19 in B flat D 960 1:50:37 20. Scherzo No. 1 1:53:51 21. “Rosamunde” Intermezzo in B flat major 1:57:56 22. Ave Maria 2:07:59