Art Blogging Contest

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

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"Neue Liebe, neues Leben" by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel

Roman Numeral Analysis:
Text example 18.15 – m. 1-4: B flat Major: I, V6, vi, iii6, IV, I6, V43, I, V64-53 – Analysis from text
Text example 18. 23: m. 69-71: B flat Major: ii, V6/flatIII, flatIII, V65(3-# passing harmony)/IV, IV, (IVaugmented, ii6, VL chord – this is chromatic movement of voices to further lead to the V64-53, so measure 71 could be seen as one big IV with passing harmonies) text states m. 69-71 is ascending seconds with 5-6 LIP
The whole end, m. 56-77
m. 56-61: B flat Major: I, V6, vi, iii6, IV, I6, V43, I, V64-53, I, V6, vi
m. 62-66: B flat Major: iii6, IV, I6, ii, V74-3, I, IV6, V6, I, V43, I6, vii65/ii
m. 67-71: B flat Major: ii6, V64-53, I(7-8)(2-3), V65/ii, ii, V6/flatIII, flatIII, V65(3-# passing harmony)/IV, IV, (IVaugmented, ii6, VL chord – passing harmonies in one big IV of m. 71)
m. 72-77: V64-53, I, (I64), V7, I64, V7, I64-53, vii65/ii, ii6, I6, V7, I(9-8)(4-3)

The harmonic analysis of the first eight measures shows that there is a falling thirds with alternating first inversion chords in both the first phrase (m. 1-4) and the second phrase (m. 5-8) .The first phrase ends in a half cadence, while the second phrase ends in a perfect authentic cadence in the tonic key, B flat Major. The two phrases together make a parallel period. Passing tones and harmonies in the first phrase include the alternating first inversion chords (V6, iii6 m. 1-3), the V43 (m. 4), and the V64-53 motion for the half cadence (m. 4). For the second phrase, passing tones and harmonies include first inversion chords (V6, iii6, m. 5-6), the second chord of m. 7 (strictly analyzing notes of that beat, it spells a vii6 chord, but listeners probably will not hear that. Rather, it is probably heard as expansion of I6), and the V7(4-3) motion leading to the perfect authentic cadence (m. 7-8). Melodically, the same quarter note-eighth note-eight note-quarter note-qaurter note motif (from anacrusis to second beat of m. 1 for example) is repeated several times in these first eight measures, as the melody is largely built upon this motif. Aside from the first phrase ending in a half cadence and the second ending in a perfect authentic cadence, the differences in the end of the each phrase are in the change in melodic contour and notes at the end of each phrase. The cadences for each phrase match the text well also. The first phrase (m. 1-4) ends in half cadence due to its representation of the singer asking his heart the question, “What is besieging you so?” The singer is compelled to ask this question, as he is shattered in a loss and the troubles of loving the woman he loves, as is suggested in the text throughout the piece. The perfect authentic cadence of the following phrase supports the statement that he does not know his life anymore.
M. 56-63 leading up to m. 64 exhibit nearly identical harmonic and melodic contour as m. 1-8, save for a few extra melodic chromatic passing tones in the voice and piano (m. 61 and 62, for example) and different text. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the cadence of m. 63 ends deceptively in a IV6, going along with the text that the cadence ends in, “laß mich los,” which translates to, “set me free!” The singer’s desire to be free grows, and the singer continues repeat this text, building in tension and dynamics. An IAC is met in m. 68, but the singer is compelled to proclaim his (or her) desire to be free once again and builds up to a larger fortissimo in m. 71 on to end in a full perfect authentic cadence in m. 73. Indeed, the singer wanting to be set free from his love is portrayed well in the music. Frequently changing harmonies ascending stepwise in pitch occur (refer to harmonic analysis and m. 64-77), the singer’s quarter note-fifth down quarter none- sixth up-quarter note motif whenever “laß mich los” is stated ascends in pitch when it is repeated (m. 64, 65), and the arpeggiating patterns in the piano always arpeggiate upwards, ascending in pitch along with the voice and harmonies. A large shift in dynamics (from forte to fortissimo m. 68-71) and ascending chromaticism also are present, especially in the harmonic changes and the stepwise motion of the bass notes of the piano in m. 68-71. All these factors create a feeling of much movement, and a desire to change and be set free. The piano continues the forward motion created in m. 73-75 and finally slows down to conclude the piece in an IAC (m. 76-77). I feel the performance on the CD ends too softly; there are no dynamic markings in the score after the fortissimo in m. 71, and the pianist in the recording ends in a piano dynamic. To match the great motion created from m. 64-73 and respect the markings in the score more closely, I think the performers should end the piece in m. 76-77 with a more firm and full sound.
The two phrases from m. 64-73 both create tension and excitement, but at different levels. In the first phrase (m. 64-68), tension begins building right at the beginning of the repetition of “laß mich los,” with the aforementioned continuous ascending pitches, harmonies and arpeggiations and stepwise bass of the piano up to its imperfect authentic cadence in m. 68. Accented dissonances (m. 68 on I(7-8)(2-3) and first beat m. 67), diminished vii chords (vii65/ii m. 66) and chromaticism (m. fourth beat m. 66, first and fourth beat m. 67, and first and third beat m. 68) add to the excitement. However, the amount of excitement in the second phrase builds up even further than the first did, with the continuous ascending motion becoming chromatic (in the bass of m. 68-first beat of m. 72), chromatic passing tones (fourth beat of m. 70), augmented chords (IVaugmented of second beat m. 71), and a large shift of dynamics to fortissimo (m. 71) creating the greater tension. The increase in the colors of harmonic qualities and great shift in dynamics stress the desire of wanting to break free of the singer’s troubles through love. The text, “Liebe, Liebe” (m. 66-67) are words that display strong emotional meaning and are at the climax of both the first and second phrase of m. 64-73. Therefore, the dissonances of the each phrase should be made present with a full, firm sound in performance. However, I do not think there should be rubato during the first “Liebe, Liebe” (m. 67), as the piece still has to build up to the largest climax of the piece, the “Liebe, Liebe” of m. 71. When the performers finally get there (m. 71), progressively more emphasis on each chord is a possibility, as the chords in the piano of m. 71 are special and making the second pronunciation of “Liebe, Liebe” quite meaningful. With text being repeated a second time like this, the singer is really serious about what he is singing. Then, the piano can resume tempo at the perfect authentic cadence of m. 73.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Organize the essay into paragraphs to make it easier to read. Otherwise an excellent analysis.