Analysis of Haydn's "The Heavens are Telling" -- from The Creation

in rgkmb •  3 months ago

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:

Analysis

Structure

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.

Key

_ (p :) _ = pivot point
Ped
= Pedal point

Colors

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.

Here is another version of the analysis if you wish to read the score with different music.

Previous Analyses

Closing

Thanks for reading this! As always, feedback is appreciated. Please let us know what you think of the analysis. Have a nice day!

Appendix

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


Thank you for your time and attention.

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Hi rgkmb-unofficial,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

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Thank you very much for supporting our band in its endeavors!

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Thank you very much
For supporting our band
In its endeavors!

                 - rgkmb-unofficial


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

I really enjoy his music. You must be very intelligent to catch a mistake in this piece really well done!

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Thank you very much for your support! I just checked with my music theory teacher tonight, and I found that it is officially a mistake. I was almost 100 percent sure it had to be. I don't think it was Haydn's mistake. I think the mistake was made by some copyist two hundred years ago.

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Thank you very much for supporting our band in its endeavors!

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Thank you very much
For supporting our band
In its endeavors!

                 - rgkmb-unofficial


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

I feel like I'm listening to the choirs of heaven!
Amazing!
Your analysis made me think that you obviously love notes, choir and music.

I sometimes watch Gregorian chants on Youtube. I'm enchanted by the voices of the monks.

Anyways, I hope that you also could achieve your goal.

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

Good luck @rgkmb-unofficial!

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Thank you very much! Yes, this piece really expresses the power of the heavens. Haydn was a genius, as this analysis proved. I have not listened to much Gregorian chant, though I know that it is where the origins of music lie. Hopefully we will see you in the future!

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Hopefully we will see you in the future!

I hope so @rgkmb-unofficial!
Its raining here now. I hope you have a fine weather in your place.
God blees you and your family!

Congratulations @rgkmb-unofficial!
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Thank you very much for supporting our band in its endeavors!

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Thank you very much
For supporting our band
In its endeavors!

                 - rgkmb-unofficial


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

Hi @rgkmb-unofficial, you really have a good ear for music. You have done an amazing analysis of the piece and to catch a mistake of a classic piece, that is pretty cool. What happens after your analysis, if you don't mind me asking? Do you use it as a music classroom study of the particular song that you analyze?
And I hope you achieve your goal 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. That would be so awesome for the student.

This is genius, you are using this account as a band booster. I wish I would have found steemit and this idea last year as my daughter was the band captain. It could have been awesome. Something else you might check out on steem is the https://fundition.io/ they have a discord site as well https://discord.me/fundition and email info@fundition.io

I like your thoughts on the A# in measure 176, I would tend to agree, but I have run across several pieces lately that I have found almost dissident harmony's, could it be possible this was his intent. I know it was not the typical style at the time this was written but it is possible.

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Thanks for the tip and the feedback! I'll check out fundition.io.

We'll see how it works out for fundraising. The other side of that is that if it succeeds, the Steem block chain will be very attractive to our band families. I hope it can be a win/win for both Steem and the marching band.