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Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky was born in Oreindaum, Russia in 1882. His father was a highly
respected opera signer for the Mariinsky Theatre at St. Petersburg, Russia. His mother was also
musically talented, she was a competent singer and a fluent pianist. Surprisingly, Igors parents
did not want him to pursue a career in music.
When Igor Stravinsky went to law school at University of St. Petersburg, he also signed
up for private music lessons. At law school, Stravinsky met Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov, son of
famed Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Through this connection, Stravinsky met the composer and
was mentored by the senior Rimsky- Korsakov in music for several years. Stravinsky decided to
pursue a career in music and never graduated from law school.
Stravinskys early orchestral piece, Fireworks, attracted the attention of Sergei Diaghilev,
the director of the Ballet Russia in Paris, France. Diaghilev decided to form a partnership with
Stravinsky and this collaboration lead to the commissions of the Firebird and Petruska. The
premiere of Le Sacre du Printemps in 1913 shocked audiences due to the unconventional
choreography and musical style. The premiere was so shocking that a riot was started. Many
refer to that moment as the door of the modern era.
Due to WW1 that broke out in 1914, Stravinsky and his wife Katerina Nossenko were
obliged to seek refuge in Switzerland. After the war, Stravinsky returned to Paris in 1920; he
collaborated with Sergei Diaghilev and met Pablo Picasso. When his wife died in 1938, he remarried Vera de Bosset in 1939 and moved to the U.S., he lectured at Harvard, University of
California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. He settled in Los Angeles. In
the 1940s, he met and became friends with Robert Craft, an American composer. When he died
in 1971, his body was buried in Venice beside his friend Sergei Diaghilev.
Igor Stravinskys musical style changed numerous times over the time of his
lifespan.These changes can be roughly categorized in 4 periods.
In Stravinskys Early Period his music featured rich orchestration, a trait learned for
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and primiritism characterized by primal energy and aggressive
accents. He also made use of harmonic dissonance. Notable works from this time include
Pertushka and Le Sacre du Printemps. His musical elements include use of folk dance and
music and choice of subjects.
Stravinsky went through a brief Transition Period in which his music had a more
emotional quality in response to the devastation wreaked by WW1. Elements of Neoclassicism
are present at this time. Works like The soldiers Tale come from this time.
In Stravinskys Middle Period, Stravinsky embraced Neo-Classicism. His music at the
time was balanced, showed emotional traits, sophisticated and elegant. Works like the Ebony
Concerto and Symphony of Psalms were composed at that time.
In Stravinskys Late Period, he embraced Schoenberg's twelve-tone method.
Throughout Stravinskys life, he tried many genres, most notably, the Ballet genre.
Though his style changed many times, he is still a great composer.

Madama Butterfly
Puccinis Madama Butterfly is a sad tale of a geisha and her love for an American. It is of
the genre opera and was premiered in Paris in 1904. At the time the opera was premiered,
exoticicm was a popular musical style; Europeans were fascinated with foreign lands and
cultures and it reflected their music as well. The plot is about a 15 year old geisha named CioCio San or Butterfly, her friend Suzuki, B.F. Pinkerton, Sharpless, Trouble and Kate Pinkerton.
In Act 1, B.F. Pinkerton reflects on the renting of a house and this Japanese wedding. He
will remain faithful to her until he finds a real American wife. Butterfly enters, she sacrificed
much for this wedding. She turned her back on her family and religion for her unrequited love for
Pinkerton. The two are married as Butterfly and Pinkerton sing a rapturous duet. In Act 2, scene
1, Butterfly and Suzuki wait for Pinkertons promised return. After 3 years, Suzuki doubts that
Pinkerton will ever come back but Butterfly angrily defends her husband in the aria Un Bel Di
Vedremo. Sharpless, Pinkertons friend and U.S. consul in Narusili arrives to break the news
about Pinkertons return but does not have the heart to when he sees that Butterfly bore a
beautiful son named Trouble. He leaves and gunshots are heard announcing Pinkertons return.
In scene 2 it is slowed down and Butterfly is persuaded to rest for a while. Kate, Pinkertons
American wife and Sharpless come to claim Butterflys son. When Butterfly returns she guesses
the circumstances and pleads that PInkerton comes to claim the son himself. Butterfly prepares
to suicide but Suzuki pushes Trouble into the room. Butterfly tearfully sends Trouble off to play
and just as she stabs herself, Pinkertons voice is heard from the distance.
This tale is made even more tragic because real life stories like Butterflys exist.
The Act 1 prelude to the opera is relatively short, only 67 measures and in the key of C
minor, allegro and the texture is polyphonic in contrast to the operas later. The prelude is
contrapuntal and has an agitated quality to it.
In the Act 2 Un Bel di Vedremo is in the form ABAC. In section A it begins with Un Bel
di Vedremo and with Puccinis characteristic melody front down with frequent leaps of 3rds and
4ths. Section B begins with Italian for I wander to the crest of the hill. It is marked con semplici
for simpless. In the return of section A, it begins with Italian so I wont die at the first encounter.
It is marked con forza and recommences on high G flat on the word die. In section C, Butterflys
voice slowly builds up both in pitch and volume until she reaches high B flat.

Symphony 5
From its compelling opening motive to its triumphant final cadence, Beethovens 5th
symphony is one of of the most well known compositions of all time. It was composed during
1807-1808. This symphony has 4 movements, the outer 2 movements are both sonata form, the
second movement is theme and variations and the third movement is scherzo and trio.
The first movement opens in C minor with its famous four note motive which occurs
frequently in the first theme, in the bridge it gradually grows out the first theme and shifts to E
flat major, in the second it is very smooth and legato in contrast to the majestic first theme, the
codetta is dominated by first theme material. The development opens boldly with the french
horns and draws principally on the first theme. Tension is builded by varying theme one such as

breaking it down and expanding the theme through forceful repetition etc. At the end of the
development the four note motive is played fortissimo by the whole orchestra in unison and then
the first theme returns in the returns in the recapitulation followed by a short oboe solo that
resembles a cadenza, the bridge follows which stays the same. The second theme reappears in
C major instead of E flat major, after there is a lengthy coda that starts in C major but ends in C
minor which builds around theme 1 and resolves in a final cadence
The second theme consists of 2 themes, 4 variations and a coda Theme A begins with
ascending and descending broken triads played by the low strings it is marked dolce(sweet) and
is played legato. Theme B is introduced by woodwinds and violins which is based on the 4 note
motive, it begins in A flat major but then shifts to C major. In variation 1,theme A is played by the
violas and cellos in running sixteenth notes and theme B follows unchanged. In variation 2
theme A returns in running 32nd notes played in the low strings and theme B follows
unchanged. In variation 3 theme A is presented by the woodwinds in contrary motion, suddenly
theme B recurs in C major. In variation 4 theme A is played in A flat minor in a march-like
fashion. The coda is marked piu mosso (faster) and bassoons play theme A material.
The third movement scherzo opens in C minor with a pianissimo rocket theme played by
the low strings, the second theme recalls the 4 note motive from the 1st movement and is
played fortissimo by the french horns.The trio is in C major and it is light and energetic in
contrast to the dark scherzo, the double basses play the initiative melody. When the scherzo
returns theme 1 is abbreviated slightly and theme 2 returns pianissimo and played now by
pizzicato strings and staccato winds followed by a deceptive cadence that leads into a blazing
crescendo that leads into the fourth movement without a break.
The fourth movement opens in C major with fortissimo tonic chords played by the
trumpets, the bridge is played by the french horns and leads to G major, in the second theme
there is dramatic contrast - fortissimo and piano - between the ascending and descending
triplets, the codetta is played by violins and woodwinds and there are descending 4-note
fragments. The development is based on the second theme but expanded and varied, toward
the end of the development, the second theme is unexpectedly recalled, now played pianissimo
by pizzicato strings and woodwinds which is then followed by a dominant chord which leads into
the recapitulation. In the recapitulation everything stays the same but it stays in C major the
whole way through. In the coda the piccolo plays rapid ascending scales, then it gets twice as
fast and the codetta theme is played quickly leading into the final tonic chords and then one final
tonic chord which resolves the symphony.

Fryderyk Chopin
Fryderyk or Frdric Chopin was born in Zelazowa Wola, Poland in 1810. His father was
french but emigrated to Poland as a teenager and worked as a tutor for upper class families, his
mother was polish. Chopins family moved to Warsaw shortly after his birth.
Chopin gave his first concert at the age of six and was considered a child prodigy. He
started composing at age 7, his first composition was the Polonaise in G minor. In Chopins
early teens he began lessons with lessons with Jsef Elsner, director of Warsaw Conservatory
whom he studied harmony, counterpoint and composition with after high school. In Poland,
Chopin was exposed to Polish folk music and traditions such as Polonaises and Mazurkas. In

Warsaw he played in salons of Polish aristocrats who later become his supporters. In 1829 he
took a trip to Vienna where he performed his op.2 Variations on Mozarts La Ci Darem (Don
Giovanni) to great success, he returned to Warsaw as composer and pianist.
Chopin departed for another concert tour in Vienna, while he was in Vienna, Russians
forces invaded Warsaw. Chopin was devastated and expressed his shock in his diary and
music. After, Chopin settled in Paris along with other exiled Polish countrymen and did not
return to Poland because of political unrest and instability. In Paris he met many important
musicians, artists and writers. Chopin did not give many recitals but he played frequently in
royal salons. In 1836 he began a ten year relationship with Aurove Dudevant who was a novelist
who used pen name George Sand. In 1838 he spent the winter holiday in Majorca but he
became very ill but eventually recovered, in the summer he would spend long periods at George
Sands summer home in Nohant, those were happy, productive years. In 1847 Chopins
relationship with George Sand fizzled out. In 1848 Chopin traveled to England and Scotland for
performances organized by his devoted student Jane Stirling, Chopin was very weak by the end
of the trip. Chopin died on October the 17th, 1849 surrounded by friends and admirers. He was
buried at the Pre Lachaise Cemetery in Paris but his heart was returned to Poland where it
rests at the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw as Chopin requested.

August the 2nd and 3rd, 2016