Final Exam Spring 2014

The final exam for Understanding Music will be in two parts. The first part will concern the 20th-century composers and music we will be learning about during these last few weeks of class.

40% of your final exam will consist of writing at length about elements found in 20th century music:

Tonality vs. atonality; new treatment of rhythm and meter; presentation of political and social ideas in music; and incorporation of traditional material from various countries in Europe as well as Asia and America.

The next 40% will be to write a paragraph or two about four of the composers on this list: Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Ives, Copland, Bartok, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Gershwin

The remaining 20% will involve an essay that will draw upon the work of the entire semester. All Lake Land College students who are enrolled in Understanding Music will write an essay (or two mini-essays) about two of the topics below. Here is the essay prompt exactly the way it will appear on your exam. Your essay will be read by the other members of the faculty who teach Understanding Music as part of the assessment process. We include this essay in order to determine how well the course is designed and how well the faculty has presented the material.

The composers of western art music whose music we have studied this semester did not live in isolation. They were affected, both as individuals and as composers, by the events that unfolded and the ideas in circulation during their lifetime. Explore this connection: choose TWO of the following topics and prepare a discussion in essay form, referring to specific composers, genres, and musical works in your response.

1. Discuss the impact of the Roman Catholic church on western art music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.

2. Discuss the impact of ancient Greek and Roman societies and their values on western art music.

3. Discuss the impact of the Enlightenment on music in the 18th century (the Classical period).

4. Discuss the connection between music , art, and literature in the Romantic period.

5. Discuss the impact of revolutionary movements and/or the search for national identity (Liszt, Dvorak, Debussy, Ives, Bartok, Mussorgsky, Wagner) upon music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Stravinsky, Prokofieff, and Shostakovich

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Part One of the Rite of Spring

Opening of The Rake's Progress (starring Dawn Upshaw and the late Jerry Hadley)--who are both from Illinois.
No Word From Tom from The Rake's Progress

Pulcinella opening
Here's part of the end of the Firebird.

Sergei Prokofieff (1891-1953)

Gavotte and Finale from the Classical Symphony (the last movement starts at 1'59")
Richter playing the Waltz from Cinderella"
Peter and the Wolf claymation (it is actually a "listener's digest" version of the music), but you can certainly hear the themes and get an idea of the piece.
Alexander Nevsky Battle on the Ice

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Opening of Symphony #9
Last movement of Symphony #5
First movement of the cello concerto
Shostakovich speaks and plays some of his 7th Symphony.

Eighth String Quartet Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Saint Saens, Faure, Debussy, and Ravel

Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)

Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
Second movement of the "Egyptian" Piano Concerto
All of the Egyptian Piano Concerto played by Richter (check out the sleigh bells at 18:19, and the odd harmonics at 13:25 and 19:36).
Here's a bit of the Symphony #3, the "Organ Symphony."
Here's the Introduction and the Lion, and The Cuckoo from the Carnival of the Animals, and here's the Swan. Don't forget the Fossils. All the animals are great in this great chamber music version of the piece.

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)

Pie Jesu from the Requiem (Sung by Lucia Popp).
Here's a bit of his Piano Quartet
This is the very well-known song Apres un reve, and here is the text and an English translation.
Translation of La lune blanche by Paul Verlaine, and here's a recording.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

You can hear Debussy playing "Green," a song set to a poem by Paul Verlaine with Mary Garden singing
Reflets dans l'eau
First Prelude

Pelleas et Melisande Act III, Scene 1 (The sound is not synchronized, but there are subtitles, and the singing is great.)

English Translation (this scene begins on page 21 of the PDF)

Read about the American reaction to the first performance here in 1908!

Here's a performance of the Prelude a l'apres midi d'un Faun with the original choreography.

Here's the way Debussy wrote for string quartet.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

Piano Concerto
Sonatine in a transcription for flute, viola, and harp.
Chansons Madecasses 1
Here's the text and English translation
Chansons Madecasses 2 and the its text and English translation

Here's a 1932 recording of Ravel conducting his own Bolero, and here's part 1 of more recent recording of Bolero, and part 2. Notice the nifty bitonality in the second part, as well as the written-in trombone slides.

This article about Maurice Ravel has some sound clips at the end

Strauss, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Sextet Version of Verklärte Nacht, part 1
Verklärte Nacht, part 1
Verklärte Nacht, part 2
Verklärte Nacht, part 3
Kammersymphonie, Opus 9.
Der Mondfleck from Pierrot Lunaire (This is the poem about Pierrot being all dressed up and being distressed about a fleck of moonlight on the back of his jacket that wouldn't go away!)
Here's the first part of Pierrot Lunaire with the score. Here's the second part, and the third part.

Here's an article about Schoenberg's 12-tone system, and a short video that explains it further.

Here's a familiar example of Schoenberg's influence.

Arnold Schoenberg Center

Alban Berg (1885-1935)

Wozzeck Act 3, Scene 2
Lulu, Opening Scene
Act III Interlude Variations on a Theme
Here's a bit of serious Berg influence in popular culture. Compare with 3:42 of the above Wozzeck clip from Act 3.

Anton Webern (1883-1945)

Five Movements 1
Five Movements 2
Five Movements 3
Five Movements 4
Five Movements 5

Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

Listen to the opening of Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss and pay attention to the deeply tonal nature of the music (which you probably have heard before).

Dance of the Seven Veils, part 1
Dance of the Seven Veils, part two
Salome Final Scene, part 1
Salome Final Scene, part 2
Final Scene, part 3

Here is a film clip of Richard Strauss conducting. The music begins at 1:08.


Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

Here's the opening of Mahler's First Symphony, and the opening of the third movement.
Here's the opening of Mahler's Fifth Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
"Ging heut Morgen übers Feld" sung by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
Kathleen Ferrier sings Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen.