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  1. this one mad act
  2. Pleasing and Teasing the Audience
  3. Sitemap
  4. Table of contents

The brothers are grouped to the right and left, and gaze upon Joseph with joy. The bodyguard stands in the back. Die Geschichte Josephs In , just as Weber was directing the premiere of Joseph in Dresden, a group of German painters was creating its own version of the Joseph story.

Its members were deeply affected by the religious revival of Romanticism and lived together like monks in a deconsecrated monastery. Both share a neoclassic nobility of sentiment, in which early-nineteenth-century Germans could perhaps see and hear an idealized version of their own history. Joseph embraces the boyish Benjamin with his left hand while Simeon, kneeling, bathes his right hand in tears.

As Terry Eagleton points out in The Ideology of the Aesthetic, the new bourgeois state of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century created new methods of social cohesion and social coercion, based on inner subjectivity. It is for this reason that the early bourgeoisie is so preoccupied with virtue—with the lived habit of moral propriety, rather than a laborious adherence to some external norm. Here Weber found a model for the intense interior drama that would be such a prominent feature of his later works.

The German listener enjoys savoring the dramatic situation, and his sympathies are still engaged by the emotions of the stage characters who have won his affection. But performance materials from later in the century indicate that this changed drastically during the The Native and the Foreign 73 Table 2.

Recitative and Aria Joseph 2. Romance Joseph 1. Romance Joseph 3. Ensemble the brothers 2. Ensemble with an expanded first section, but without the final section of the original score 4. Finale Joseph, Utobal, and the brothers, later chorus of the people 3. Ensemble the original finale to act 1, present as a loose sheet, not bound with the other materials Act 2 — 5. Romance Benjamin — 8.

this one mad act

Trio Benjamin, Joseph, Jacob — 9. Finale Jacob, Joseph, Benjamin, later a chorus of the people 5. The original finale to act 2 appears here as the finale to act 1 Act 3 Act 2 Duet Jacob, Benjamin — Ensemble Jacob, Benjamin, Simeon, the brothers, later Joseph — Final chorus 8. Table 2. The fate of Joseph, we might say, was exactly the opposite of the fate of Das unterbrochene Opferfest. These cuts to Joseph had the opposite effect. The opera was never very dramatic, and shorn of most of its dialogue it must have seemed more like a series of set pieces than an opera.

Critics and composers of this period were increasingly interested in discovering, or creating, a national German operatic style, an enterprise in which translated operas usually played only a negative role. Every being that feels itself to be a unity wants to retain its indivisible and unalterable essence—this is an eternal and necessary gift of nature.

But in these works the emphasis often falls on diversity rather than on unity. In his Musikalisches Lexicon of , for instance, H. It should therefore not be surprising that the term should play such a large part in the criticism surrounding the search for a German opera, for it embodied the concept of creating unity out of diversity that was so central to the enterprise.

Pleasing and Teasing the Audience

In tragic opera this character should be great and deeply moving, in heroic opera brilliant and worthy, in romantic Singspiel tender and touching, and in comic Singspiel charming and cheerful. In general the man should express himself more powerfully and the woman more tenderly.

The expression of an interior essence, through which characteristic beauty differentiates itself from empty or formal beauty must as Wilhelm von Humboldt formulated. Euryanthe was certainly not the only attempt at a through-composed opera, and the demands for a more organic or natural relationship between text and music can be seen in many operas that retain the dialogue-opera form of the Singspiel. Sitemap

What they did share was a particular ideology, built up out of certain plot tropes that occurred with great regularity. It is in the character of this dichotomy, not in any particular musico-dramatic form or gesture, that the German Romantic opera found its distinctive voice. But the plot structures of German Romantic opera, with their interplay between cosmic forces of good and evil, seemed to require an even stronger delineation of musico-dramatic character on the level of the individual musical numbers and of the handelnde Personen.

Every musical number has its own proper architecture, which makes it an independent and organic unity; yet this should be absorbed in any study of the work as a whole. There are no villains in Joseph, only the individual brothers struggling with varying degrees of guilt and longing. I hear in these tones not merely the expression of a particular feeling, but the expression of the feelings of a certain person—I can even hear the particular time in which the opera takes place and the particular place in which the plot unfolds.

Table of contents

And yet this opposition is clearly not the only one at work in the opera. Naturally, Max occupies the middle part of the graph where the two axes intersect, divided not only between the powers of good and evil, but between his identity as a hunter and his correspondence with the spiritualized worlds represented by Agathe and Samiel. The diverse characters and musical styles of Das unterbrochene Opferfest represent, so to speak, different genres that are competing for space within the same opera. As we have seen, the comic characters are largely independent of the principal plot, and their omission from heroisch-tragische versions of the opera, as Weber himself noted, served to tighten the drama of the work.

Like Caspar, all of these villains are secret manipulators who attempt to ensnare the more virtuous characters in sinister plans, plans that they reveal to the audience in large-scale arias. Each begins with a slowtempo recitative-like introduction in which the voice line is characterized by large leaps and a wide range, sometimes extending up to two octaves. The bass must be given full opportunity to display his sinister lower range. In the middle part of the aria the villain gives vent to his feelings of anger and his hopes for revenge.

Nowhere is this art of characterization more aptly demonstrated than in the two main subjects of the aria. The muted string accompaniment, with its undulating eighth notes, creates a mood of serenity and peace. In the quarter note rocking bass line we can almost hear the beating of her heart that Agathe verbalizes in the previous line of text, and the syncopated chords in the upper strings add to the sense of anticipation.

This tempo di mezzo itself falls into two parts: an arioso section stretching from measures 61 to 73, and a more loosely organized recitative section in measures 74— As this happy thought appears measures —41 her vocal line regains some of the energy of the second subject, energy which dissipates with the more serious doubts Agathe voices in measures — All of her hopes may be nothing but delusion, she sings, as the tonality moves via an A minor chord to the Neapolitan tonality of F major in measure , the most harmonically distant point from the E-major tonality of the vivace.

Agathe, in contrast, is completely passive— she can only respond to action and never initiate it. Despite her love for Max, her father will award her to whoever wins the shooting contest. Character, we might say, is created through the tension between the aria and the structural conventions that inform it. Here the woodwind texture serves as a reference to the sphere of Agathe—indeed, the entire cantabile section is for Max an idyllic fantasy, in which he has already overcome the central problem of the plot. The second subsection of the tempo di mezzo andante con moto, measures 80— , in which Max thinks again of Agathe, represents a partial return to the idyll of the cantabile.

This allegro falls into three subsections: measures —31, measures —59, and measures — But in this allegro, no ray of light penetrates the darkness.

Nevertheless, the third subsection of the allegro does represent a return to the C-minor tonality and the thematic complex with which it is associated. As we might expect given the gender dualities of earlynineteenth-century society , Weber and Kind populate the interior scenes predominantly with female characters; it is the men who dominate the exterior scenes. The narrative moves between these two groups in order to produce two symmetrical structures: an outside—inside—outside pattern for acts 1 and 2 that is repeated in act 3.

It is not even included in the G. Schirmer piano-vocal score of the work. In the operatic depths, texture threatens to overwhelm melody, and nondiegetic sounds from outside of the genre may impinge upon the normal sounds of opera. Weber meets this challenge in a variety of ways. Through the descending line in the basses and bassoons measures 2—12 , followed closely by the ascending majorsixth gesture in the upper woodwinds, Weber opens a tonal space between high and low sounds—a potent metaphor for the yawning gulf into which Max will later descend.

They even recognized the wondrous talent with which the strange, weird, supernatural effects had been treated without overstepping the bounds of the line of beauty, the marked character, and the contrasting tenderness.

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For music, this form is the beautiful melody, just as for all of the plastic arts it is the beautiful shape. Thus Mozart is the greatest composer and Maria Weber—is not the greatest. But Song, after all, is the organ whereby a man may musically express himself; and so long as it is not fully developed, he is wanting in true speech.

In this respect the Italians have an immeasurable advantage over us; vocal beauty with them is a second nature, and their creations are just as sensuously warm as poor, for the rest, in individual import. The dark powers return in full force with the C-minor section beginning in measure presto.

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Thunderstorms clash against one another. Flames leap from the earth. Strange lights appear on the mountains, etc. One can thus speak of entire key-spheres within which the character of the principal key predominates, keyspheres that underlie the corresponding turns in the course of the plot. In the exposition numbers 1—3 , for example, the principal key of D already appears together with its two dominants G and A. The second act contains no D-major piece, and yet the sphere of this key is still at work in its dominant A major no.

These principles may also be seen to inform the formal structure of the scene. In his book Carl Maria von Weber und die deutsche Nationaloper, Wolfgang Wagner analyzes this scene and sees little connection to the formal models of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The stage directions for this section, which are nearly as extensive as those for all the other parts of the opera together, describe a series of demonic manifestations, each more terrifying than the last see table 3.

This imagery, she points out, had its dark side as well.