June 19 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

‘The Magic Flute’ (German name: Die Zauberflöteis Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s final opera, and it contains one of the most well-known arias in music. But what is ‘The Magic Flute’ all about?

 

An animated version:

Played as a piano/organ duo:

 

Arranged by Ferruccio Busoni for 2 pianos:

 

Why Mozart’s Magic Flute is a masterpiece – an introduction (The Royal Opera)

 

The accordion version:

Find this in Piano Pronto: Movement 3, Encore, Mozart: Exploring His Life and Music

June 18 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

 

Today’s assignment is a very popular piece by Johann Pachelbel called Canon in D.

A canon is a technique that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration (e.g., quarter rest, one measure, etc.). The initial melody is called the leader, while the imitative melody, which is played in a different voice, is called the follower. The follower must imitate the leader, either as an exact replication of its rhythms and intervals or some transformation thereof. Repeating canons in which all voices are musically identical are called rounds—”Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Frère Jacques” are popular examples.

The original version:

 

 

Can you see why the cellist is bored?

Here’s what his music looks like

And that repeats over and over for the whole piece!

A bit of humor from a past cellist:

Variations on the theme:

 

Find it in Piano Pronto Finale and Coda

June 16 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

“Ode to Joy” was written in the summer of 1785 by German poet, playwright, and historian Friedrich Schiller and published the following year in Thalia. A slightly revised version appeared in 1808, changing two lines of the first and omitting the last stanza.

“Ode to Joy” is best known for its use by Ludwig van Beethoven in the final (fourth) movement of his Ninth Symphony, completed in 1824. This was Beethoven’s final symphony and lasts over an hour for the whole thing.

The entire final movement:

Beethoven’s text is not based entirely on Schiller’s poem, and introduces a few new sections. His melody (but not Schiller’s words) was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972 and subsequently by the European Union.

 

It is often called Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (You) in hymbooks.

 

Find Ode to Joy in Piano Maestro, Prelude, Beethoven: Exploring His Life and Music and several hym books.

By now, you know I love flashmobs:

 

And Muppets (note the metronome going wild!):

And Barbershop:

 

An animated score:

 

Boomwhackers:

 

The Piano Guys combined Ode to Joy with Joy to the World for a new Christmas arrangement:

 

As the European Anthem:

 

And, finally Joyful, Joyful we Adore Thee by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Do a search on youtube – lots and lots of people have played this famous Beethoven melody.

 

June 13 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

 

Today’s piece is slow and easy going.  The name “Largo” itself means slow.  Antonin Dvorák wrote this as a part of his Symphony No. 9 in E minor,  also known as From the New World, Op. 95, B. 178  or just the New World Symphony.

For Piano

And orchestra

The theme from the Largo was adapted into the spiritual-like song “Goin’ Home”, often mistakenly considered a folk song or traditional spiritual, by Dvořák’s pupil William Arms Fisher, who wrote the lyrics in 1922.

Find Largo in Keyboard Kickoff, Prelude (it’s called River  Road,  Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

Whenever I think of slow things, I’m reminded of this clip from the old TV Show, Taxi

 

 

June 12 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Since we had the Bridal Chorus a couple days ago, it’s time to march the bride and groom back up the aisle with the Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

This Wedding March comes from Mendelssohn’s incidental music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It became customary to play this at marriage ceremonies from about the mid 19th Century, and particularly after the daughter (also called Victoria) of Queen Victoria chose the piece for her own wedding in 1858.

Notice all the triplets (3)!  If you don’t know what they are, be sure to ask at your next lesson.

Find this in Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

 

 

Franz Liszt and Vladimir Horowitz added some variations

On an organ

An organist who needed a bit more practice

With an orchestra

See you tomorrow!

 

June 10 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

It’s wedding season!  Today and tomorrow, we’ll be looking at, and listening to, the music most associated with weddings.

The “Bridal Chorus” from the 1850 opera Lohengrin by German composer Richard Wagner is a march played for the bride’s entrance at many formal weddings throughout the Western world.

The piece was made popular when it was used as the processional at the wedding of Victoria the Princess Royal to Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858.

This piece is available in Keyboard Kickoff, Movement 2 and Piano Maestro.

The original from the opera

A piano version (this book is available for loan, if interested)

Handbells (rehearsal)

On accordion

And pipe organ

A very different wedding entrance in Denmark

 

 

June 9 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Joseph Haydn’s music contains many jokes, and the Surprise Symphony includes probably the most famous of all: a sudden very loud (fortissimo chord) at the end of the otherwise soft (piano) opening theme in the variation-form second movement. The music then returns to its original quiet dynamic, as if nothing had happened, and the ensuing variations do not repeat the joke. (In German it is commonly referred to as the Symphony “mit dem Paukenschlag”—”with the kettledrum stroke”).

In Haydn’s old age, his biographer George August Griesinger asked him whether he wrote this “surprise” to awaken the audience. Haydn replied:

No, but I was interested in surprising the public with something new, and in making a brilliant debut, so that my student Pleyel, who was at that time engaged by an orchestra in London (in 1792) and whose concerts had opened a week before mine, should not outdo me. The first Allegro of my symphony had already met with countless Bravos, but the enthusiasm reached its highest peak at the Andante with the Drum Stroke. Encore! Encore! sounded in every throat, and Pleyel himself complimented me on my idea.

The first time I saw this video during a piano lesson, both my students and I were surprised, too!

 

The melody is pretty basic and sometimes used to teach skips. I remember having it in one of my first books with words similar to See the Happy Little Frog, Hopping now from Log to Log.

Here’s a piano version.

Can you find the “surprise” indicated by the sforzando?  Hint.  It looks like this: Sforzando is one of those Italian words you get to learn in music and means a strong, sudden accent on a note or chord. Sforzando literally means subito forzando (fz), which translates to “suddenly with force.”

 

There’s some information about Haydn and this symphony in this video.

and this one

Beethoven’s Wig added some words

For 2 pianos, 8 hands.  They’ve added their own surprise around minute 3.

 

Have a surprisingly nice day!