Haydn Tone Map
Haydn Sunrise Quartet
0:00-0:18 Introduction and show of overall feel of song
0:18-1:25 Theme 1: starts gracefully, “tiptoeing” and then burst. Violin has Melody
1:25-1:59 A variation of theme 1, but the feel and show change from graceful to mysterious. Cello and 1st share variation theme
2:00-2:30 Variation 2: Concludes theme one’s melody.
2:30-5:05 Repeat of the exposition.
5:05-6:04 Recapitulation; the melody becomes minor and chords have more tension. The bridge
6:50-7:35 Theme 1; another variation: A variation of the original theme with tense chords.
7:35-7:50 Escalation to variation 3. Transition
7:50-8:35 Variation 3: a variation of theme 1, going back to a lighter tone.
8:38-End The conclusion of the piece: Uses the original melody, ending on major chords for a brighter, resolved feeling.
Vaughn Williams Tone Map (by Ryan Mahon)
Vaughn William’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is one of his most celebrated works and his first masterpiece for good reason. It is very tightly structured for a fantasia and reinvents its ideas throughout the piece. Von Williams may have used Tallis’ theme but it certainly is his own fine work. Perhaps what makes it such a memorable piece is the meticulous structure of the work.
First it starts off very quietly, and models the neo-classical style he was known to write in. In this early minute, Vaughn Williams briefly hints at many of his themes and foreshadows the end of his piece with the pizzicato in the violas, cellos, and basses. The cellos are the first to state Tallis’ melody which lasts all the way to 2:30. It truly is an inspiring melody, very cold and strained. To me it is very beautiful. Then the first violins break away with the melody from then to 4:00. This is a huge arc in the piece as the second violins and violas drive swells and the cellos remain present with a counter melody. What makes this point very powerful is that the first violins are in octaves; very risky yet open and clear. The provocative sound of octaves really shoots the melody forward past the rest of the orchestra.
Now at this point, 4:00, the orchestra thins out and distributes many parts that often don’t play together during this section. Most sections are in divisi, the small orchestra is first involved and most importantly the quartet is show for the first time. They start this relay between the large and small orchestra by playing the second theme. This theme is fairly chromatic and often swells greatly, then decays rapidly lasting until 6:05. Most of the swells are by the large orchestra who then drop off leaving the small orchestra alone. This instrument stopping based dynamic change is a common baroque and classical technique (due to instrument incapability) so Vaughn Williams is demonstrating his neo-classical side once again.
Now Vaughn Williams fragments even more in this next section at 6:05. He has a viola solo play an entirely new theme characterized by triplets, potential foreshadowing to the orchestra wide triplets in the climax of the piece latter on, all by itself. This gives a very hallow and desperate sound due to the odd rhythms of the solo preventing an established beat. It is simply floating around until the lower strings or small orchestra come in and bring it back to the ground. It then changes into a disorganized beautiful round within the quartet; started by the first violin. This episode lasts until 8:50 when the Tallis theme comes in once again.
This statement is the largest most chorale point as all of the sections, the quartet, large and small orchestra, come together to create very rich chords. The concertmaster has a very high solo that sails over the top of the sound just before it gives way to the climax of the piece. The both orchestras reach this point and then start a chorale, almost chant-like version of Tallis’ theme. It is very different in harmony because it is so dense but it is very heart gripping. Vaughn Williams use of triplets and ties over the bar lines prevent a ridged beat structure so the melody simply coasts along, oddly in tempo until it falls rigidly into place with a orchestra-wide descending eighth note line, ending this episode at 12:12.
Then he reverts back to the second episode here with the swelling second melody. It strains up to a loud chord holding a lot of tension then sighing away with a resolving eighth note. This Barber like resolution is very bittersweet and pulls the breath from you for a time, until finally it lets go. Only to start it again. At 13:20, the violas, cellos, and basses have the pizzicato line from the first minute of the piece which starts his recap of the piece. From this point until 14:50 Vaughn Williams restates the multiple themes, some of which are only present in the viola/violin duet and others only resurface to fall back, quickly dispirited.
Vaughn Williams then closes his work with a slow, swelling, chorale. 15:50 is the final mention of the Tallis theme. It ends on a chord that has been sitting in the piece at various points so it is very familiar and welcomed. It is a very powerful work and worth our recognition.