Art Blogging Contest

Please vote for Musical Perceptions in the Art Blogging Match of Doom

Monday, April 11, 2005

Purcell: "Dido's Lament" from Dido and Aeneas

We introduce this piece with a small recitative passage, which is separate from the "lament" although it really sets the stage dramatically. Unlike most recitative,however, the melodic line is the basis for the aria. I love the single cello line that moves us from the recit passage to the beginning of the aria. This line (Do-ti-te-la-le-sol-fa-fi-sol-do) serves as the basis for the variation, since this accompaniment is repeated over and over again. As the aria starts, we have a variation on the recitative melody, which by sheer coincidence matches the cello line quite well (well kiss my grits...). Instead of moving to B material, like a da capo aria, we have a return to our original material, or so it seems. This is the variation we've heard so much about, our rhythm remains very much the same, but the melody differs, reaching higher instead of sinking lower. Our words in this section are also different. Throughout it all the bass line remains constant, stabilizing the whole piece and allowing the singer to pursue new notes and harmonies. At the very end we have a recapitulation of the introduction, this time with violin and viola accompanying the cello. This song is so slow and sad, like this creeping darkness that threatens to overtake the listener. God this piece is powerful to me...

3 comments:

Queen_Neopolitan said...

nice analysis, i appreciate the inclusion of the insight to the cello line. very interesting.

Mr. Luxury Yacht said...

Very good analysis. But remember the bass line doesn't always stay consistent in this. There is a little variation around measure 38 and a couple more times to the end. The cool thing about this is that they lie when the vocalist does an extended ah! and that variation helps to strength the emotion of the singer.

katie said...

I am kind of confused as to where you think the theme first appears, and where you think the variations on it are.