Powerpoint - Jeremiah Selvey

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WAR & PEACE
IN THE PSALMS?
Jeremiah Selvey
Music 185
February 28, 2012
University of Washington
FOUR QUESTIONS
 What is a choir?
 Which parts sing in a choir?
 What is “tonal music”?
 What is a “premiere” in music?
WHAT IS A CHOIR?
 Group of singers who strive to create an “orchestra” of voices
 Usually led by a conductor
 Most choristers in the U.S. are amateurs.
CHICHESTER PSALMS
BAC KG RO U N D
 Texts from the Hebrew Psalter
 For choir, orchestra, boy soprano
 By Leonard Berstein (Jewish; Broadway composer)
 Composed in 1965 for Chichester Cathedral
WHAT IS “TONAL MUSIC”?
 Music that uses the common practice and construct of 18th- and
19th- century melody and harmony.
 A single tone or pitch is considered to be “home” and serves as
the “base” for the scales on which the harmony and melody are
based.
 Generally returns back “home.” (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms,
Debussy)
SOUNDSCAPE OF 1960’S
 Expanding to more colorful explorations of composition
 Led to three primary schools in the early 20th century.
• Traditional / Tonal (Stravinsky, Bartòk, Milhaud, Poulenc)
• Serial – dissolution of tonal construct; mathematical construction of
melody and harmony (SchoenbergBoulez, Webern)
• Avant-Garde – use of experimental techniques; re-creating defintions
of music, etc. (Cowell, Varese, Cage)
 Fresh thinking appreciate, but not a warm audience response.
BERNSTEIN’S APPROACH
 Conducted many of these contemporary works with the New
York Philharmonic
 Wrote Symphony No. 3 “Kaddish” in the experimental style
 Rejected the avant-garde techniques for Chichester Psalms
 Use Broadway material as sources for Chichester Pslams  tonal
style (a huge contrast to other concert music of the 1960s)
COMMISSION & WORLD
PREMIERE
 Commission: contractual agreement between an organization and a
composer for a work intended for performance by the organization;
implies the rights for that organization to premiere the work.
 World premiere: the first performance of a composition.
 Chichester Cathedral did NOT get to premiere the work. 
WAR & PEACE?
 Movement 1 – celebration & dancing
 Movement 2 – calmness & then war; calmness during war
 Movement 3 – struggle to find peace; peace found in the “love duet”;
final chorale
“How good and pleasant it is for people
to dwell together in unity.”
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