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Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
Sound and Fury
Franz Joseph Haydn
Symphony No. 60 in C major, “Il Distratto”
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 (1807)
Beethoven composed 11 overtures, four of them for his only opera Fidelio. His inspiration for Coriolan came from a play by the Austrian poet and dramatist, Heinrich von Collin, itself based on Shakespeare’s tragedy. Coriolan is banished from his native city, only to ally himself with his enemies and prepare to wage war. In the end, the pleading of his wife and mother melt his stubborn and violent nature, and he returns to Rome eventually to take his own life.
Sound and Fury
Sound and Fury draws upon two great works of art for its inspiration: Haydn’s Symphony No. 60 (“Il Distratto”) and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Anna listened to “lI Distratto” many times and wrote down key elements that caught her ear, then chose between one and four elements from each of the six movements and developed them though her own lens – layering, stretching, fragmenting and looping. Although played as one continuous movement, Sound and Fury is also structured in six sub-sections following the same trajectory of “ll Distratto.”
In the fifth section of Sound and Fury Anna loops a harmonic progression from Haydn’s Adagio in “ll Distratto,” and this provides a bed of sound to support the delivery of “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…,” the last soliloquy delivered by Macbeth upon learning of his wife’s death, and from which this work takes its title.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Shakespeare’s rhythmic use of language stood out to Anna. Time lies at the heart of it – “hereafter … time … tomorrow … to day … yesterday …” and music provides us with this framework, though layering rhythmic fragments that repeat and mark the passage of time.
Anna writes: “my intention with Sound and Fury is to take the listener on a journey that is both invigorating – with ferocious string gestures that are flung around the orchestra with skittish outbursts – and serene and reflective – with haunting melodies that emerge and recede.”
FRANZ JOSEF HAYDN
Symphony No. 60, “Il Distratto”
Haydn composed over 100 symphonies, and what’s remarkable is how much variety, imagination and experimentation he brought to each. No. 60 has six movements, unusual in itself, mainly resulting from the fact that the piece was assembled from music Haydn produced for a French stage comedy called Le Distrait. The title became Italianized and applied to the symphony, now known as Il Distratto. The music is full of energy, mock-seriousness, tongue-in-cheek moments, and parody. For example, the finale is a noisy quasi-triumphant 90 seconds, with one major blooper: the violins are asked to mistune their G strings down to F, and after a few seconds the music simply stops while the violins re-tune. The effect is bizarre and hilarious, but this is Haydn’s way of portraying the moment in the play where the wedding band in the final scene had forgotten to tune!
Elizabeth M. Cullity Chair
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Barbara K. Warner Chair
Jae Sung Lee
Irene M. Siberell Chair
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Dorothy and Herbert A. Schiller, M.D. Chair
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Leo J. McKernan Chair
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Dr. and Mrs. James M. Wilson Chair
Jason E. Kramer
Shirley and Joseph Hennessy Chair
Linda and Bruce
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Thank you to our generous series sponsors; Jack M. Champaigne Masterworks Series and June H. Edwards Mosaic Series.
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