Stravinsky - Pulcinella Suite: Sinfonia, Gavotta and Vivo

Flash Cards on the Set Work for Music Edexcel A2 Pulcinella Suite. There are lots of cards cause there is sooo much in these pieces!!

  • Created by: Misha Mau
  • Created on: 08-04-12 16:49

Context/Background information

  • Russian composer who brote this ballet piece after the 1st World War
  • Other compositions The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913) used massive symphony orchestras
  • After war performances had to be less flamboyant
  • Director of Ballet Russes Serge Diaghilec asked Stravinsky to take 18thC composer Pergolesi's work and rearrange it
  • Vivo (cello sonata) is by Pergolesi, Sinfonia (Trio Sonata) is actually by Gallo and Gavotta (keyboard piece) is by Monza.
  • The suite completed in 1922.
  • First performed in 1922 in Boston, USA by Pierre Monteux who championed Stranvinsky's music.
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Represented reaction against overblown emotions and formlessness of late 19thC music. 

  • Movements in neo-classicism were short - suited ballet
  • Structures based of 18thC ritornello, sonata form, variation, rondo, and simple binary and ternary forms
  • Harmonies based on originals with added dischords
  • Rhythms used influence of jazz (syncapation)
  • Used wider variety of instrumentation and techniques than what would have been used in 18thC

This suite is relatively close to 18thC pieces with melodies, structure and basic harmonies kept the same.

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Performance Forces and their Handling

  • Original pieces only had a max of 4 players
  • Wrote for chamber orchestra of 32 players - what haydn might have used in late 18thC
  • Use of solo trombone in vivo not in 18thC piece
  • Separate string group in concerto grosso style has 5 solo string players and no continuo - usually 2 violins and cello with harpsichord/organ continuo.
  • Double bass part was same as cello in 18thC but in vivo there is virtuoso solo part. 
  • Adds many articulations like slurs and staccatos less frequently found in 18thC music.
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Sinfonia: Performance + Handling

  • Standard double woodwind but no clarinets
  • Tutti orchestral sections b1-4
  • Solo quintet doubles the orchestral strings in tutti sections
  • Leaves out bass line sometimes b29-30
  • Passages for solo wind b33-34
  • Double + triple stopping in violins b1-4
  • Multiple stopping requires open strings (b3 violin 2)
  • Consecutive down bows (violin 2 b17-18)
  • Music lies comfortably within standard ranges of instruments cello quite high sometimes (top A b6)
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Gavotta: Performance + Handling

  • Uses solo instruments throughout
  • There are only wind instruments
  • 1st basoon has relatively virtuoso part and un-18thC glissandi b15-17
  • 1st variation begins with unusual timbre of oboe accomp by horn
  • Instrumentation at double bar when trumpet + trombone join accomp. 2 instruments are normally reserved for loud orchestral climaxes, or trumpet solo melodies
  • Variation 2 more technically demanding esp for solo flute and 1st basoon
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Vivo: Performance + Handling

  • Uses full orchestra, including flutes, trumpet and trombone
  • Full tutti is heard on 2 occasions to give sense of suprise emphasised by loud dynamics (b33 + b37)
  • Movement ends with small group of players
  • Light-hearted style of trombone + double bass give circus feel
  • Use of glissando in trombone + double bass parts
  • Double bass music is sometimes unnaturally high (b24-25)
  • Du talon b12 indicated music should be played at the heel of bow to give 'bite' sound.
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  • Sinfonia is melody dominated homophony b37-9
  • Occasionally get a glimpse of trio sonata origins b12
  • Occasional polyphony/ contrapuntal b7
  • 3 part texture b29-30
  • Beginning of Gavotta seems melody dominated homophony or more like 4 part texture
  • Moments of homorhythm b23
  • Broken chord textures b50
  • Alberti bass accompaniment by bassoon at beginning of variation 2
  • Vivo double bass doubles trombone part
  • There is heterophony b38 where flutes play the double bass tune at same time but more elaborate.
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Structure: Sinfonia

  • Movement is in rounded binary form
  • Main theme is in G major 6 bars
  • Cadence in D major (dominant)
  • Second half begins with same theme as beginning but in the dominant for 5 bars
  • b21-22 modulating sequence
  • b24-26 new version of theme 2 played by solo cello
  • Main theme returns in the tonic at the end original 6 bars reduced to 2
  • 4 bars of cadence phrases taken from end of A section, not in the tonic.
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Structure: Gavotta + 2 Variations

  • Italian name for French dance Gavotte
  • Theme and variation structure
  • 6-8 compound time signature 1st variation nearer a Gigue
  • Binary form
  • In theme + variation 1st half is repeated but not second
  • 1st half modulated to dominant 2nd half modulated through related keys to retun to the tonic - no repetition of main theme
  • Variations follow same structure
  • 2nd variation compresses 2 bars of gavotte into single bar
  • 2nd variation repeats 2nd half halfway through b80 overlapping with last 2 notes b82.
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Structure: Vivo

  • Rounded binary form
  • 1st half modulates to dominant C
  • 2nd half begins in tonic key (actually delayed to b25 where theme appears in dominant)
  • Modulating sequence
  • Main theme in tonic key
  • Mock mournful version of theme b46 in Fm
  • Main tune unaccompanied by bass
  • New comic cadence with inversion of original glissando idea
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  • Took original tonality and spiced it up with added note dissonances
  • Other close related keys are followed in the second half of the pieces and ends in the tonic key
  • Sinfonia circle of 5ths b7-9
  • Perfect cadences are used to reinforce a key and Stravinsky retains most of the original cadences. 
  • Sometimes cadences are completely altered like sinfonia like 2nd beat of b2 in sinfonia should be a dom 7th. 
  • One of the most altered cadences is end of Vivo which is like a III-I cadence. There is no 3rd in the mediant chord. 
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  • Underlying harmonies are quite simple (mainly root and 1st inversion)
  • Cadences do exist but often dissonant note chords are added or chords are changed
  • Harmonies are sometimes quite bare (eg beginning of vivo)
  • 2nd inversion chords are occasionally found like Ic in the cadence of Sinfonia. 
  • Suspensions occasionally occur b6-7 cello part Sinfonia
  • Retardations occur sometimes 2nd bar Gavotta
  • Harmonies use 7th chords diss G major 7th at beginning of b7 vivo
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  • Melody lines tend to follow the 18thC originals closely
  • Simple balanced phrase structure
  • Sequences common
  • Ornamentation sometimes is exaggerated
  • Frequent quintuplets in Gavotta
  • Gavotta has rapid scalic passages
  • Sometimes there are broken chords
  • Phrases are often conjunct
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Rhythm and Metre

  • Dotted Rhythms are important in sinfonia tune
  • Frequently adds rests which weren't present in original
  • Syncopation apparent in leap b1 sinfonia
  • Occasional time signature changes b11 adds extra beat to change to triple time. 
  • Variation 1 Gavotta compound time 
  • Variation 2 has rhythmic groupings not found in 18thC pieces
  • Vivo use demisemiquavers while trombone glissandi
  • Dramatic pause before end of Vivo
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