Analysis Of Courtly Airs And Dances

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The next work of the program, Courtly Airs and Dances, is a multi-movement work composed by Ron Nelson. The piece is split into six movements: Intrada, Basse Danse, Pavane, Saltarello, Sarabande, and Allemande. Each of these present distinct characteristics that separate it from each other movement, yet all are united by being a style of dance. The first movement, Intrada, presents a fanfare-like opening to the multi-movement work. The trumpets and brass section as a whole lead this, as they create a sense of nobility. The key is major and the tempo is one that could be described as allegretto—it is not a fast tempo, yet more brisk than an andante pace. The texture is homophonic, as there are different parts being performed by different…show more content…
Each movement of the work corresponds accordingly to a different country in Europe at the time known for a particular style of dance. The Intrada would be the opening of the program, followed by the French Basse Dance, the English Pavane, the Italian Saltarello, the Spanish Sarabande, and finally concluding with the German Allemande. Even though the work was performed by a modern ensemble, where many instruments had not even been invented when music of this type was originally composed, the instrumentation of the brass section versus the woodwind section and the artistry of the musicians performing are able to recreate a much older style. Overall, the piece Courtly Airs and Dances, is an emulation of a style dating back to the Renaissance period of music, with each movement reflecting a particular style of dance characteristic to the culture of individual European…show more content…
After looking up information relating to the piece, it was discovered that Pilatus is actually a mountain in Switzerland—which forms the basis for this piece. The instrumentation, dynamics, and key all give way to a very convincing program piece; one that completely immerses the listener into a chilly and barren mountain landscape. The beginning of the work features the brass section merely blowing air through their horns (without actually producing a tone). This emulates the sounds of a haunting wind blowing on a mountain. Also, the key plays well into creating the sinister and mystical atmosphere, as some sections of the music feature a lighter, jovial major key, while many other sections of the piece are performed in a dark minor key. Lastly, the dynamics play well into creating the mental picture of a mountain in the mind’s eye, as a mountain may be frigid and lonely, which can be seen by the many woodwind solos. Or, a mountain may be a grandiose and awe-inspiring natural landmark, which can be heard in the powerful brass phrases at fortissimo. Overall, the piece depicts a magnificent mountain in a variety of contexts, and serves as the concluding work for the Alabama Concert Band performance on November 6,

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