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Listening Journal

Listening Journal

Write at least 200 words explaining what you hear for all the artistic musical performances. This journal entry should explain your understanding concerning each piece listened to, so comment on what you hear, how it associates with the video lectures and/or corresponding readings from the assignment text, your impression of what you hear, any of the questions listed to encourage deeper thought you feel appropriate, etc. Musical terminology gained from the vocabulary assignments are appropriate and expected to be used in the appropriate fashion, as well as the use of complete sentences, correct grammar, spell check, and other tools at your disposal, including proper use of valuable information in the accompanying descriptions. *I want to see evidence in your reports that the clips were viewed and the descriptions were read.* Listed here are some basic ideas on what to include in your journals to help get you started:

Example THREE: The last of the Baroque ‘Big 3’, George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was first and foremost a composer of dramatic music in the highest order. A German child prodigy who perfected his trade in the finest opera Italian opera houses he finally settled down in London where his formidable reputation only continued to grow… Watch the following mini-biography: (Links to an external site.)This compilation is from his opera “Julius Caesar in Egypt”, and the complex story is: Caesar pursues his enemy Pompeii to Egypt while Pompeii’s wife Cornelia pleads with Caesar not to kill her husband. Just as Caesar agrees to her request, the Egyptian Ptolemy brings Caesar the severed head of Pompeii in an act of betrayal. Pompeii’s son Sesto swears to avenge his death and Ptolemy’s sister Cleopatra sees this as an opportunity to become the sole ruler of Egypt. She plots with Sesto and Caesar to help her kill Ptolemy. Caesar falls for Cleopatra’s advances and while distracted by love narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by Ptolemy. Cleopatra is taken captive and told Caesar was killed, however Caesar returns and frees her as Ptolemy is killed by Sesto. As a reward for loyalty Caesar crowns Cleopatra Queen of Egypt and returns to Rome. Be aware that the role of Caesar would have been written for a castrato, and there have not been any of them for over a century. Musically this is a problem so to keep the melody in the high range for which it was written, in this performance Dame Janet Baker is playing Caesar. You just have to realize as you are watching this incredible soprano, she is playing a male character. From the beginning to 4:00 is the famous vengeance aria after Caesar is presented with the head of Pompeii. The melody is so active it can be hard to distinguish the differences, however this aria is in 3 sections: the first and last are the same material (although the last time is greatly embellished), and the shorter middle section is from 1:40-2:40.DAME JANET BAKER ~ JULIUS CAESAR by HANDEL – excerpts 1984 (Links to an external site.)DAME JANET BAKER ~ JULIUS CAESAR  by HANDEL - excerpts  1984

While Handel did not ‘invent’ the orartorio, his “Messiah” is synonymous with it. The entire work has over 50 movements and is 2.5 hours in length, although the 1st hour on the Christmas story is the only part that is played with real frequency these days. This first portion contains the ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus, which is the World’s most famous choral work, so no doubt you should recognize at least portions of it. Take note of the high trumpet writing, as valves were not yet invented the performer had to play extremely high to execute melodic scale passages.

”Hallelujah” chorus, from Händel’s Messiah – Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Links to an external site.)

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