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Thursday, March 20, 2008

To repeat or...wait, to repeat! we go. we go. we go. we go!
Sorry, just trying to get into the feeling of this piece, that is, saying the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and OVER again!

This is an...interesting piece. Actually, I believe with the right performer, it could be very interesting and dynamic, despite its repetitiveness. This is a textbook example (seeing as it's in our book!) of a passacaglia. The bass repeats 21 times, with a couple of slight variations. However, it is mostly the upper three voices that vary and create interest in the piece.

m1. - i
m2. - V
m3. - iv / V 6-5,4-3
m4. - i

m 53. - i 6-5
m 54. - i64 / vi7 / vi42
m 55. - viifulldim43 / V
m 56. - i

I find it interesting, that, though the bass part is exactly the same, the upper voices change the chords, to create interest even within an extremely reptitive piece. In the performance of this piece, it would be important to bring out all the differences, the singer would need to emphasize the the differences between the 21 repetitions. For example, in measure 27, the "ah Belinda" differs from the previous three times the singer has sung it, rising in eighth notes. The singer should emphasize this new variation, bring out the angst and pain in the notes and words.
I feel that the repetition of this piece actually works quite well with the text. When on eis in pain and agony and "anguish," the words would tend to repeat, especially when you first start to speak, "ah" might be the only thing that you can muster to say. I feel that the reptitive nature of the music continues this difficulty to speak and illustrates Purcell's intentional, almost painful reptition to make the listener feel the singer's emotions. So, even as the singer manages to find the words to express their feelings, Purcell continues to repeat the bass line to keep the long, anguished feeling alive within the music.
Okay, that's it, I'm out...I'm now officially on Spring Break!

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