Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dance of the Knights

Okay this song is amazing and has been stuck in my head forever.

This needs to become the background music of my life.

From good ol' Wikipedia:

The work is in loose ternary form, with an abridged da capo section. The introduction has no thematic content and is only intended to create a dark atmosphere. It begins very loud, then drops to pianissimo, which is played by the strings. The horns and woodwinds then layer on top of the strings and the dynamics return to fortissimo. It then drops to piano again. Prokofiev creates the dark and foreboding mood through the extreme dynamic range and very dissonant harmonies.

The A section begins with a strong pulsating beat from the brass section. This shows motoric rhythm, one of Prokofiev's signatures. The texture of this opening is almost metronomic, and provides a strong foundation for the dramatic string theme that comes out on top of it. Later on, the brass also takes up a soaring counter theme, and also punctuates the original string theme. In the ballet, this section would show the Capulets dancing in a very slow and dignified way, as this is the music for the Capulet Ball.

The B section provides a stark contrast, as it is in the pianissimo dynamic range and is played by the flutes. It is marked adagio, and is very calm and serene. Prokofiev also utilizes touches of celesta in this section, which was highly unusual in orchestral works. In the middle of this section, there is an oboe solo accompanied by pizzicato strings. This section is meant to represent Juliet's entrance to the ball, as she flits about and meets various people.  She eventually dances with the Count Paris until the close of this section.

When the A section comes back, it is when Juliet has laid eyes on Romeo. It is much abridged, and the first re-presentation of the theme is done as a tenor saxophone solo, which was highly unusual for the time period. Eventually, the strings join in, and the piece ends with a very strong cadence.

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