Hello everyone! It has been a while since I have posted an analysis here, so over the past few days I made an analysis of The Heavens are Telling by Haydn. This piece is relevant to the school music program because the Rustin High School Concert Choir is performing this piece this year (as well as districts). So, I decided it would be a good post to fund-raise with for the band boosters. This piece is magnificent from a theory standpoint and a performance standpoint. So, let's get into my analysis:
The structure of this piece is not as cut and dry as other works that we may have analyzed. I will try to illustrate for you the form. The first section consists of the whole choir and contains a half cadence section followed by an authentic cadence (both the half and authentic are repeated). Then, Haydn transitions to the trio which he has utilized throughout the whole work. The trio starts off in C major, but then transitions to C minor. At the end of the trio section, the full choir comes in abruptly bringing us back to C major. In this short section, we are introduced to what will later become the subject of the fugue (in the bass part of measures 43 - 44 and 45 - 46). The cadence is reached and then repeated to end this section. This is followed by another section which incorporates the trio, this time in C major. The choir comes in with the same material as the previous entry. the only difference being that the final cadence tonicizes the dominant. After this, there is an instrumental interlude for several measures followed by the start of the fugue (measure 110). The fugue utilizes different thematic materials in order to modulate through several different keys and eventually ends around measure 144 by tonicizing the dominant again. This is followed by a quite similar orchestral interlude to that which occurred right before the fugue. Now that I think about it, this could mean that the fugue simply made a complete circle back to 5 in order to use more time. Haydn might have been making the point that he went the extra mile with the fugue by tonicizing the dominant in a similar way to that which he had previous done and using similar interludes. Finally, we have a section which works towards a final cadence but only reaches a half cadence (almost an antecedent unit) followed by an altered version of the same section which reaches a final cadence (almost a consequent unit). As you can see, the structure is quite complicated.
Things I like
One of the things I really like in this piece is the innovative use of harmony on Haydn's part. I remember telling someone that I was analyzing this and them jokingly saying "Why? It consists of I and V." After doing this, I realized that that is completely untrue. Haydn's harmony is ingenious. One of my favorite examples is in measure 172 to 173 when Haydn does not resolve the 7th (of the V4/2/IV) like you would expect. He instead turns it into a vii dim 4/2/ii and then utilizes amazing chromatic motion in the bass, making this passage much more prominent and exciting. I will say that I think he made a mistake in measure 176 by writing the Bb as an A# (I changed it in my music). I am almost positive that that A sharp is a mistake. If it were an A sharp, it would be functioning as a German augmented sixth of E. In that case, it would resolve up to B natural. In this situation, it resolved down to an A natural, proving (to me) that it is functioning as the seventh of a V4/3/IV. This all made me think that it should be a B-flat. I checked the first edition and it was written as an A sharp, so I am thinking that someone (whether Haydn or his copier) made a mistake. But either A sharp or B flat, this depicts the complexity of the harmony that is occurring in this work.
I am also quite fond of the fugue in this piece. Haydn really demonstrated an advance knowledge of counterpoint as well as fugal writing (something I need to improve in much more).
Lastly, I greatly enjoy the style of this piece. When I first heard it, I said it had the energy and complexity of a piece by Beethoven and the elegance and discipline of a piece by Mozart (as well as complexity and energy). It really does sound a lot like Beethoven at times and a lot like Mozart at others.
_ (p :) _ = pivot point
Ped= Pedal point
Dark Blue - Subject (for fugue)
Light Blue - Answer (for fugue)
Orange - Inverted Subject (for fugue)
Sorry, I didn't end the color analysis exactly when the fugue ended. That is why the colors go past by a phrase. My mistake.
Anyway, here is the analysis:
The audio is a public domain domain recording by the St. Matthews Choir. Since the score was composed in 1797, it falls under public domain licensing. I manually transcribed it into noteflight.com and used that site to create the video.
- The Rustin High School Alma Mater by Samuel Barber (7/17/18)
- The Star Spangled Banner (Our Nation's National Anthem)(7/18/18)
- The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa (7/19/18)
- Eternal Father, Strong to Save (The Navy Hymn) (7/20/18)
- The Heavens are Telling by Franz Joseph Haydn (9/3/18)
Thanks for reading this! As always, feedback is appreciated. Please let us know what you think of the analysis. Have a nice day!
Here is another analysis of a grand classical work that utilized advanced counterpoint and harmony:
The @rgkmb-unofficial account is an experimental account that is operated by Steve Palmer (@remlaps). The account's purpose is to demonstrate the viability of a fund-raising model that is based on use of the Steem block chain in the community. The account's goal for 2018 is to raise enough money to send one student on the Rustin Golden Knight Marching Band's trip from Pennsylvania to Florida in December for performances in the Citrus Parade and in Disney. For more information, see our introductory post: Introducing Steem to the Rustin Golden Knights Marching Band