Prep For Mon Week 9

REMINDER: The Sonata Form labels assignment is due at the start of class.

1. Prep Notes For Mon:
Quick Summary: (for details, see notes below)
- Know the difference between these operatic genres: opera buffa, dramma giocoso, Singspiel
- Know which of Mozart's late operas belong to each of the above categories
- Know the names of the main characters in Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni
- Know what a Requiem Mass is

3. Study the "Music in the Classic Era" chart (textbook, p.95)

4. Read textbook chapter "Music In The Classic Period," as well as study Music Guides 26, 27, 28, 29 on pp. 115-119

5. In the textbook, look over the sonata-form diagram on p. 117 (Act II-Finale from The Marriage of Figaro)

6. Read the notes below

- - - - -


Opera is of central importance to his style development, and his most important operas were COMIC on some level

His most important operas are: (be sure you know the difference between the comic opera types below)
- OPERA BUFFA: Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro; 1786) comic opera with sung recitatives (no spoken dialogue)
- DRAMMA GIOCOSO: Don Giovanni (Don Juan; 1787, Prague) blends comic and tragic traits (spoken dialogue)
- SINGSPIEL: Der Zauberflote (The Magic Flute; 1791) sung in German with spoken dialogue; in this amazing work, Mozart raised the usually low-level Singspiel tradition to rival the normally high standards of opera seria.


LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (The Marriage of Figaro)--opera buffa in 4 acts!!!
- Based on a play by the revolutionary French poet Beaumarchais (it is the sequel to Beaumarchais' famous play The Barber of Seville). Beaumarchais used the proceeds from Figaro to fund the American colonists vs. the British in 1775 before we established our own Continental Congress.

- Because of its political commentary, the play Le nozze di Figaro was banned by the Emperor of Austria (a person could not even possess a copy of it); still, Mozart had Lorenzo daPonte arrange the story into an opera libretto, and then he spent a year secretly setting it to music.

Main characters:
- Count Almaviva
- Countess (Rosina)
- Susanna (Countess's chamber maid)
- Figaro (a former barber, now the Count's head servant)
- Cherubino (an adolescent/ pubescent aristocratic boy
(there are also several other secondary characters that are given special musical interest)

See diagram of main characters:

Brief Synopsis:
On Figaro & Susanna's wedding day, Susanna fearfully tells Figaro that the Count has been trying to seduce
her for quite a while. Since they cannot confront the Count directly about this, Figaro and Susanna tell the
Countess, and the three devise a scheme to entrap the Count so he will stop his advances. To initiate their plan,
Susanna sends a note to the Count begging him to meet her at dusk in the garden for a lover's rendezvous
during her wedding reception. What the Count doesn't know is that Susanna plans to switch clothes with the
12-year-old page boy, Cherubino; thus, the idea is to catch the Count trying to seduce a 12-year old boy in a dress!
Unfortunately, Cherubino gets in trouble earlier in the day, and is dismissed from the court, so the Countess agrees
to dress up in Susanna's wedding dress/veil, and meet the Count in the dark. In all the confusion at the end of the
opera, the Count is so embarrassed about how wrong he has been, that in front of the entire court he gets on his
knees and begs the Countess' forgiveness, and tells her how much he loves her.
(Note: Commoners outwitting aristocrats was a very subversive idea at this point in history).

Mozart uses "sonata form" designs to control and enhance the dramatic structure of several critical arias and even entire scenes in this opera. For more on this, see p. 32 of the MUS1700 Resource Guide.

We watched the hilarious Trio from Act I, scene 7, which is in sonata form:
score is online at

-"Theme 1" [home key]: After hearing Don Basilio's gossip, the Count furiously and jealously comes out from hiding behind the chair in Susanna's room
-"Theme 2" [in "V"]: Don Basilio says what he was saying was "just a suspicion"

Development: Susanna faint/Count takes advantage; The Count recounts how he discovered Cherubino under the table yesterday in Barbarina's house [she is the gardener's 13-year-old daughter], and in the midst of this re-enactment, he finds Cherubino under a blanket on the chair in Susanna's room.

-"Theme 1" [home key]: The Count accuses Susanna
-"Theme 2" [in "V"]: Don Basilio sarcastically says what he was saying was "just a suspicion" [in other words, he was actually RIGHT!]

The most amazing example, is the 20-minute continuous scene that serves as the crazy Finale to Act II of this opera. Its sonata form structure is diagrammed on p. 32 of the MUS1700 Resource Guide.


DON GIOVANNI (Don Juan)--dramma giocoso (blends serious & comic elements) in 2 acts
- Based on the legendary literary figure of "Don Juan"--an abusive/out-of-control aristocrat
- While Mozart was writing this opera in Prague, his father, Leopold, died in Salzburg
(Wolfgang had not spoken to Leopold for the past several years, and it is clear that changes
Mozart made in the manuscript after learning of Leopold's death are designed to condemn
himself through this work.)

Main characters:
- Don Giovanni
- Leporello (his servant--dislike working for Giovanni but has no choice),
- Donna Elvira (Giovanni's ex-lover/she still loves him)
- The Commendatore (a beloved/retired military commander)
- Donna Anna (The Commendatore's 18-year-old daughter--Giovanni attacks her at start of opera),

See diagram of main characters

Brief Synopsis:
Don Giovanni is an extremely abusive/power-hungry nobleman who tries to control everyone he
encounters (He is not a ladies' man--he is a womanizer, a rapist, etc.). After attacking Donna Anna,
he murders her aged father--the Commendatore (who is unarmed and in his nightclothes). The
Commander is buried in the local cemetery, in an honored grave marked by a full-sized marble statue of him.
Don Giovanni and his servant Leporello use that same cemetery as a hiding place when Giovanni has to
run away from the authorities for attacking a peasant woman during her wedding reception. Don Giovanni
intentionally mocks the Commander's grave and speaks ill of his daughter Donna Anna. When Leporello
apologizes under his breath to the Commander's grave, Giovanni tells him he has nothing to fear from a
dead man, and to prove it he orders Leporello to invite the statue to dinner. This disturbs the dead man's
spirit so intensely that it possesses the statue and at the end of the opera the "Stone Guest" actually shows
up for dinner, condemning the unrepentant Don Giovanni, and dragging him into the flames of Hell
(in this way, Giovanni's demise implies that the only way to end the aristocracy's abuses is to destroy them.)

Examples from Don Giovanni shown in class:
- Act I, scene 4: "Madamina" (Leporello's catalog aria, in which he tries to warn Donna Elvira of Giovanni's unfaithfulness)
- Don Giovanni's Dinner Scene from Act II (clip from the movie Amadeus)



REQUIEM MASS: (Mass "for the dead")
- Mozart's final work (unfinished)
- Commissioned by a masked messenger sent by an unidentified nobleman (we now know this commission
came from Count Walsegg,
a local nobleman who wanted to claim the composition as his own work in honor
of his late wife (who would soon die at 20 years old)
- Mozart's Requiem clearly depicts his own personal turmoil and ultimate hope for redemption.
- Mozart completed the first movement ("Requiem Aeternam") in full score
- He also drafted relatively complete sketches for seven other movements
- After Mozart's death on Dec. 5, 1791, the work had to be completed by his student Sussmayer
(over the years, several other people have released their own completed versions of this work)

Movements to be played in class:
1. Requiem aeternam ("Lord Grant them eternal rest" . . . but very little is peaceful in this movement)
Dies irae (the soul fleeing from the final judgment of God)
Confutatis maledictis ("As the damned are consigned forever to the flames of woe")
Lacrimosa (depicts one weeping tears of deep sorrow/repentance )

See translations of selected movements 



We discussed previously how the dramatic key structure of sonata form works:

A traditional example of sonata form: Mozart's Eine kleine Nachtmusik, 1st movement (see Music Guide 25/textbook p. 107)
- Exposition (two opposing keys: In Major = I vs. V ; in Minor = i vs. III)
- Development ("X" - V7): wanders around never quite settling into any key; finally hits V7 at the moment of "retransition" that sets up the RECAPITULATION)
- Recapitulation (return of "I"--the most critical moment is when Theme 2 returns but this time willingly takes on the "home key" tonality

SYMPHONY NO. 40 IN G MINOR, K.550 (1788; see Music Guide 26, textbook, p. 115):
- A more amazing example of sonata form is the intense dramatic commentary in the first movement of Mozart's Symphony No. 40, in which Theme 1 (in G minor) viciously destroys Theme 2 (which first appears joyfully in B-flat, but hopelessly returns in G minor at the end of the recapitulation). In Movement 3 of this work, Mozart offers an unusually heavy-handed and oppressive "Minuet" in G minor, which clearly identifies the villain of this work as the aristocracy.


PIANO CONCERTO IN A MAJOR, K.488 (see Music Guide 24/textbook, p. 106)

The first movement of this work is a wonderful example of Sonata-Concerto form:
- Blends sonata-form key plan [I-V-"X"-V7-I] with Ritornello "Big vs. small alternation.
- This blending requires a "Double exposition" in which the orchestra takes the first exposition and the soloist dominates the second round of the exposition