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Thursday, April 03, 2008

I feel warm all over?

Is this really a wedding piece...uuuummm- I can feel the romance? (Think Princess Diana and that funky looking guy she was married to...hmmm) Jeremiah Clarke's "Trumpet Voluntary" is a five part rondo. It is composite with the A section acting as a rounded binary. The overall form looks like: Section A1: a m1-4 HC, a1 m5-8 PAC, A repeats m9-16. Episode B: b m17-20 PAC, b1 m21-24 HC, B repeats in the organ part m25-32. Section A2: same phrase structure as A only embellished by the performers. Episode C: c m49-52 HC, c1 m53-56 HC, C repeats in the organ part, only with the voicing an octave higher m57-64. Section A3: (played by organ first this time!) a m65-68 HC, a1 m69-72 PAC, a2 (trumpet) m73-76 HC, m 77-80 PAC.

Although Clarke never officially modulates in this piece, he does flirt with other keys by adding secondary dominants in the B and C episodes. (measures 17,21,25,55). One thing I liked about Clarke's composition is in the B episode he ends his first 4 bar phrase with a PAC and his second with a HC. This way he creates an unstable ending of the B so the listener knows to expect a return of the A or more new material. Another interesting observation about this piece is the trumpet/organ connection. Whenever the trumpet plays, the organ has a part that is pretty much strict accompaniment- it's straightforward and the reason to it is just to provide harmonic support for the trumpet. Then, when the organ gets to repeat the trumpet's material, that's the organ's turn to shine. The organ can then ornament, add pedal, and the marking is fortissimo. To me, it just makes it sound very "baroque" by giving each instrument their "show-off" time... almost in a vocal style.

Performers should pay careful attention to the markings and the organist should make sure that the balance is right when the trumpet is playing- you don't want to obstruct the ornamented return or compromise tone. Also, to emphasize the changing sections, I would try to stress the downbeats (as marked) in the differing sections almost as a cue to the listener "hey- look at me! I'm wierd!" I would also try to bring out the secondary dominants- I think those are an important part of the piece. Overall, I think Clarke is just trying to have a juxtaposition of the trumpet and organ parts playing the theme louder and more "maestoso."

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