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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Extended Analysis A or "Hensel and Gretel"

The first eight measures of "Neue Liebe, neues Leben" exhibit an array of varying techniques that slowly weave the story of "New Life, New Love" into a beautiful textile of depth and wonder. Although the first eight measures are filled with unsettling exclamations about the state of the individuals heart, and the lack of clarity he has regarding what he considers his new life, there is a musical contrast seen in the parallel period that comprises the first eight measures. Not only is there structure in the form of the parallel period but the commonplace falling third sequence is not often associated with a lamenting heart, at least not in a major key ( at least not in my experience). Despite the seemingly off color of the melody, the musicality emphasizes the text. The half cadence at the end of measure 4 complements the text as he questions what is ailing his love, and the PAC that concludes the period is a strong close to his thought. In relation to the antecedent, the consequent adapts the same falling third sequence, but the rhythm varies in that the eighth note pattern shifts to a quarter note falling pattern, giving in a firmer, more certain feel, perhaps reflecting the lover's ironic certainty that he is in fact sure that he does not know his love any longer.

In regards to the climax of the piece I would probably divide the conclusion into a two phrases: one from 64b-68a and the second from 68a-73. This is in essence the product of all the pieces build up, when the singer belts his highest note, when he finally realizes he's found his love and the song ends happily ever after, until the next big tenor graces the stage. There is a HUGE dynamic shift in the section attributing to the tremendous joy now felt by our prince charming. the harmonics in our first defined section include a mixture of IAC's to indicate the lack of finality. The repetition of "las mich los" clearly lends to the emphasis of his pleas and these are complemented by the progressing harmonies between the voice and piano, mainly the diminished vii and ii chords in the last build up before section b in measure 68. Once section b takes off, and the mixture chord in 69 launches the singer into his final approach to the money note, the contrast between the two sections is fully fleshed out. Apart from completing the climax, the harmonic progression in a, continues through to b. The greatest effect of all this is to create the needed tension and uncertainty that make the climax that much more effective and exclamatory. The chromatic passing tones in the build up to the climax highlight the textual painting that the music successfully portrays.


Scott said...

Good point about the contrast between musical emotion and poetic emotion. I don't see the rhythmic pattern shift you mention, other than at m. 7 where the first bass note is a quarter contrasting the eighth notes at the beginning of m. 3.

The second climactic phrase starts at 64b (the second half of 64). Your second sentence of the second paragraph has an unclear pronoun: "This" Replace with "This second phrase"

Your last sentence doesn't make sense. The chromatic passing tones are the textual painting, they don't highlight the textual painting. And the music doesn't portray textual painting, Hensel utilized text painting to make the music and text cohesive and to comment on the poetry.

Scott said...

I forgot to include that your interpretation of "las mich los" is good, but I'd like more specific ideas on how you would perform it.