In this lecture, we shall explore a colourful collection of chords that have all acquired their own special, non-technical names. We will consider the Neapolitan Chord, that mainstay of Spanish (!) music, the Tristan Chord, The Petrushka Chord, The Mystic Chord and several others, with names that are sometimes helpful, and sometimes misleading or downright silly, looking at how such a thing as a chord could acquire a kind of fame, and how each entered popular culture.
This lecture will feature the pianist Peter Donohoe.
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A lecture by Marina Frolova-Walker and Peter Donohue recorded on 30 March 2023 at LSO St Luke's Church, London.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lecture are available from the Gresham College website: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/watch-now/famous-chords
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Speaker 1 (00:00:05):
Welcome to the fifth lecture, uh, in our series, the Life of Chords. Uh, today we're going to talk about famous chords, celebrity chords that's achieved their status, uh, by virtue of acquiring a name, um, and being parodied and quoted, uh, imitated from composer to composer. And today, again at the piano, I have Peter Donahoe with me, the most wonderful collaborator in this, because he's going to play lots of very snippets and also a lovely piece at the end. So we begin with the cord that is called the Neopolitan six. So let us first, uh, establish what it is. So, uh, if you imagine yourself in a minor key Yeah. On this fourth note of the scale, there's usually a cord. In this 18th century at least, there was usually the, the court that was the first inversion of the tribe. So here we go back to our first lecture on the tribes. And, uh, so it's a sixth chord. I wonder if Peter can play me something like f a flat D.
Speaker 2 (00:01:14):
Speaker 1 (00:01:15):
F a flat D in dk. Yeah. So that's, yeah. Uh, in C minor, for example. Yeah. And then what if we flatten that top note?
Speaker 1 (00:01:32):
Yeah. So this is now a major chord, a major six chord within a minor key. But yes. So that's, it's a, it's a, it's a, it's a chord that doesn't actually belong to the knots of the minor scale. It is chromatic chord. Yeah. So it's a kind of shift. Creates a shift, and, uh, because of that, yeah. It has a very special color, despite being major chord, it actually makes the minor more leggos Yeah. Kind of deep and more profound, and makes the emotion, uh, um, more deep. Yeah. So, um, a good example that I would like to start with is, uh, very famous slow movement of the Moses Concerto number 23. And this is the very famous second movement. And, uh, I showed, you know, it appears at the end of that phrase, the phrase was supposed to be finished already, but us usually the classical phrases are like eight ball long, but we have this extra bit, and it moves us into this major chord, which actually founds, uh, extremely kind of pathetic, isn't it? Doesn't it? Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 (00:02:43):
Speaker 1 (00:03:24):
So you all know this music Yeah. In this wonderful moment when there is, this shift occurs. Now, I wanted first to show how it usually functions within a cadence. Yeah. Because it's usually kind of a pre credential chord. So, uh, if again, if you remember our lecture on cadences, uh, we start from the end. Yeah. So we have the ultimate note, which is the tonic. Then the bar before will be the roughly the dominant harmony. So this Neapolitan six always appears before the dominant harmony, before the cadence. And usually when you hear that shift, even if you don't know that it's a Neopolitan six, you feel that the ending of the phrase is close. Yeah. Because it's, it's happened so much in the music that you kind of feel that's what happens. If you could just maybe play it again, maybe just a second half together with that. Sure.
Speaker 3 (00:04:16):
Um, let me see now.
Speaker 1 (00:04:35):
Thank you. Uh, another example, if we move two generations forward, uh, is a very famous example from CHOP's first ballad. So that is actually starts with this kind of bardic, uh, introduction as if, you know, you str harp or liar or something like that. And, uh, you might think that you misread your program Yeah. Because it says ballad in G Minor, but in fact, this starts in a major key. Yeah. Well, it is, it is a deception. Yeah. Because that is, uh, again, an Neopolitan six, which then turns you towards the cadence and the cadence in G minor sounds. Yeah. Very, very sad.
Speaker 3 (00:05:23):
That's the main theme. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but for four bells before, within, uh, a flat major essentially. And then we moved to G Minor very slowly. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 (00:05:32):
Speaker 1 (00:06:10):
Thank you. Uh, so, um, let's, um,
Speaker 1 (00:06:15):
First of all, ask a question, you know, uh, why this court is called the Neopolitan sex. What is Neapolitan about it? Is it one of those usual misleading musical terms? Yeah. That actually has nothing to do with Naples. Well, actually yes and no. I think more, yes. You know, it, it's, uh, I mean more <laugh>. It, it does actually have something with Naples. Um, the, but the, uh, the, um, term, uh, was invented or attached to this court by an English man. It's an English composer, William Crotch that we already mentioned in the previous lecture. Yahoo liked talking about chords. So he did it in 1812. So he called it, um, a Politan court. Uh, and, uh, if we, if we look in, uh, into the history of that, why did he think so? It's because Italian opera was very popular at the time. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (00:07:07):
In England. And, uh, the operas that were popular then and are not popular now, we're by Alessandro Scarat. Uh, it's the father of Dominica Scalia, who was the, the famous, uh, harsy gorgeous young creator of this harsy sonatas. So, um, apparently Andand Kati was very keen on the Neapolitan six. Well, he didn't call it Neapolitan obviously, but, but on that particular chord. And, um, I found a lovely recording of his oratoria Yeah. Which is called Kane, or the first homicide. Yes. So written in 17 or seven. Yes. So very beginning of the 18th century. And, uh, uh, the, uh, you can imagine, yeah. That the subject matter of this oratoria is, uh, extremely tense. Um, we will hear the area of Eve. Yeah. She's talking to Adam about the fall. Yeah. So about the sin and the punishment, and when she says the word punishment penk Yeah. That's where we hear the Politan sixth, so,
Speaker 2 (00:08:38):
Speaker 1 (00:08:58):
Uh, and once more, just that little bit. Yeah. That little shift. That's what makes, uh, this, uh, uh, incredible area. I think it's very beautiful music, isn't it? Um, so moving, uh, another area also by Eve, just to show you that there's this really, um, widespread Yeah. So there the words were [inaudible] half pity. So again, yes. Something, uh, very moving. Uh, just hear it
Speaker 1 (00:10:42):
So that the, uh, sticks in your mind. So, uh, actually even before, uh, William Crotch, there was an Englishman also talking about this court. Yeah. Precisely because the court was foreign. Yeah. It was imported by the Italians, and it was none other than Henry Perel, um, who speaks about it in, um, in his manual of, for composition that he's editing. Yeah. 1694. And he calls it the flat six before a close, again, before Cadence is a favorite note with the Italians for the generally make use of it. Yes, sir. Um, uh, his contemporary Roger North, uh, called this Equis sort of cadence. And that's an interesting, uh, description of it. And I think that might be partly to do with the type of tuning that they were using. Yeah. That these notes, the note, which is Yeah. The, the Summerton shift from the tonic, and then the third of the dominant, they kind of argue with each other.
Speaker 1 (00:11:43):
They, um, you will have to retune your hub court for it to actually be, uh, nice and not, uh, out of tune. So I think that was, that was part of it. Uh, Riman, the German scholar in the 1880s calls it a chord of resignation and renunciation. Yeah. Which is very precise. And he also says a large number of striking phrases of great beauty, uh, are to be found in bar Beethoven and DAAs based on this introduction of the Neopolitan sex chord. And I thought that we would, uh, go on to, uh, one of these striking moments of beauty in Js bark, um, where that chord appears, I think four or five times. It is actually an organ piece. It's called, uh, what's it called?
Speaker 3 (00:12:32):
And it called, uh, Takota, AIO and Fugue in
Speaker 1 (00:12:35):
And Fugue in sim. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (00:12:37):
One of the most glorious pieces I've ever
Speaker 1 (00:12:39):
Heard, one of the most glorious pieces that has not played enough. So we are going to play the Daio as the, the whole thing, but maybe you can show first Yeah. The, the actual sort of Neen when it comes.
Speaker 3 (00:12:51):
Sure. Um, if
Speaker 1 (00:12:52):
You can find them, we
Speaker 3 (00:12:54):
Should be very clear as well. This transcription for piano is by Buoni, who was an enormous admirer of bark and did a lot of, uh, transcriptions of his organ works fantastically well. And this is one of the, the greatest ones. So
Speaker 1 (00:13:08):
You can first just play that bit. Uhhuh <affirmative>.
Speaker 3 (00:13:11):
This is bar two.
Speaker 2 (00:13:13):
Speaker 1 (00:13:26):
Yeah. So that's again, that corals cadence. But in the organ, it actually sounds a little bit Yeah. Out of hundred, because I think they'll <laugh>,
Speaker 3 (00:13:35):
I think the pianos tune, but yes, there's, there's an even more, um, poignant one here. I think
Speaker 1 (00:18:02):
It is resignation and renunciation, isn't it, in that part? Yeah. Before, before that loud section starts, which kind of, uh, actually prepares you for the fugue. And the fugue is very joyful, but we don't have time for it <laugh>. Um, and, uh, it's one of the most exciting, I think, harmonic progressions ever. Um, yes. It's extraordinary. Yeah, absolutely extraordinary. So, um, talking about Beethoven. Yeah. So another person that Reman, um, mentions, I think in Beethoven very often this chord serves as an kind of obstacle chord, something that you run into. Yeah. And that creates this drama in the music. Uh, Beethoven uses various chords for that, for that purpose, but I think the, uh, the Neapolitan six is, is very, uh, effective in the Sonata that is called the Tempest. Uh, it, it happens several times. Yeah. It's a serial occurrence here. So actually creates a sense of struggle Yeah. Rather than resignation. Although the Sonata itself is, you know, has, has that sense about it. But if we go to, I think this is the climb of, of resignation and renunciation, it's the rman of peace two, Tableau 33, nu number seven, um, which is all based on this, uh, harmonic progression. Yeah. Based on the Neapolitan six going into the tonic all around that.
Speaker 1 (00:20:52):
And, uh, you told me that it reminds you of the shop.
Speaker 3 (00:20:56):
Well, yes. It, it's not only in the same key as the first ballad of shop, but at the very end, there's a direct quote from me from the, uh, the shop bead, uh, which is not, is notoriously difficult, so I'm not going to demonstrate it <laugh>, but it, it is exactly the same big gesture of a G minus scale. And it's fairly obviously and directly related to the, to Chapman shop influenced Rachmaninov in his early style, um, much more than any other composer, I think.
Speaker 1 (00:21:25):
So basically, Raman was talking directly at CHOP's first es through the Neopolitan court. Yeah. So, uh, I think probably may, I'm going to show you the grandest possible use of, uh, the Neopolitan, and that's in Wagner's opera Secret, uh, beginning of the last act. Now, what happens there if you know this, the ring. Yeah. And this whole sequence of four operas, this is the third of them. And that's one thing, uh, starting to go really badly. And the supreme God warton, uh, feels, yeah. That's, uh, that the world is going to fall apart his world, his universe is going to fall apart and to talk about it. Yeah. Wagner uses this shift right after the tonic, you shift in the Neapolitan chord, and then there are another couple of colorful chords. It's alsos, extremely beautiful. And, um, again, something very profound. Yeah. This always adds profound to the music and always forward with a cadence. Yeah. So that principle still, uh, still holds even in Wagner.
Speaker 3 (00:23:41):
That's amazing that it's also in G minor.
Speaker 1 (00:23:44):
Speaker 3 (00:23:45):
That's all the, the,
Speaker 1 (00:23:46):
Um, yeah, I noticed that the keys keep coming back. It, it's also very interesting. Yes. So
Speaker 3 (00:23:51):
AFL major is very significant. Yeah. Because that is the, the Apollo sixth
Speaker 1 (00:23:55):
Of G. Exactly. Yeah. So now you can guess Yeah. For something more joly. Right. Because, uh, actually, uh, this chord has to do something with Spain as well. We're going to see what, we're going to start with one example from Glinka song, which is called ero, uh, written in 1840 before he went to Spain. But it has that chord very starkly just after the tonic and going back to the tonic
Speaker 1 (00:24:43):
And so on. Yeah. So we are just talking basically about the first two bars Yeah. When this, this chord is supposed to create Spanish color. Now, how did Glinka come up with the idea that this was Spanish color even before going to Spain? Uh, I don't quite know. So it might have been already, it was part of the idea that this chord, uh, has a connection with Spain. And we, we have to ask a question of maybe there was a historical connection. Yeah. Because Naples, yeah. The kingdom of Naples was under Spanish rule. Yeah. Actually, you know, Pakistan was under, uh, under, sorry. Part of Italy was under Spanish rule for centuries. Yeah. And, um, Spain in its turn Yeah. Was influenced by, by the ish. Yeah. In region by, by being under the, um, the, um, Muslim, uh, yeah. Government. So that's flat too.
Speaker 1 (00:25:38):
I'm going to switch from calling the Neapolitan six, because it's a bit strange you to call Neapolitan six and talk about Spanish music. I'm going to switch by calling it a flat two, because Yeah. It's a kind of second degree of that seminal shift that we were discussing. It's actually, yeah, the, uh, the flat flattened second note of the scale. Uh, it's sometimes it's also called Fri very confusingly. Yeah. So, I mean, it's, uh, it comes from so historical misappropriation of that, uh, name from, uh, ancient Greek theory. But basically, yeah, the Fri mode always has this, this, uh, ston as at the very beginning of the scale. Uh, so you will be familiar. I, my husband told me to put this in, so I'm sorry if that is, uh, not something that he said. Everyone will know that, um,
Speaker 2 (00:26:37):
Speaker 1 (00:26:40):
Yeah. Everyone knows that. Yes. Apparently one <laugh> one of the most popular pieces of, uh, representing Spain. Yeah. In the, I dunno, when in the fifties and the sixties, one British tourist started going to Spain, <laugh>, yeah. The Paso Doble, which was written in the twenties actually. Yeah. So that, that has that shift in it. And, uh, this one is, was in the minor, but doesn't actually have to be in the minor. Yeah. For the Spanish style, it can be in the major as well. Now, if we talk about the development of Spanish style, yeah. We, uh, we are going from Glca who is on the left there on the top row through, um, uh, Spanish native composer called Philip Padre, um, who admired Lanker usually. Yeah. When native composers don't, like when somebody represents their culture. Yeah. They say you're doing it wrong. But Padre actually admired what Glinka did because Glinka went to Spain and also wrote to Spanish overtures, which are very beautiful.
Speaker 1 (00:27:38):
And then Padre was, uh, the teacher of Albanese. Yeah. Alban Es, uh, whom we're going to talk about a little bit later now. All those people down there, and one that I missed out who was Fran. So, Lisky, cor Rav and DK also were using Spanish style. Yeah. And the Spanish composer didn't mind it, but actually also learned, yet I think Albanese learned a lot both from Revelle and from Dubi. Yeah. So it's an interesting kind of con conglomeration, uh, of people, uh, who are working on the, working out the Spanish style. Uh, this piece we are going to hear at the hall at the very end, but I would like, uh, Peter to just play a little bit of it to show how this, uh, yeah. Flat two is just present all the time together with the tonic.
Speaker 1 (00:28:46):
Yeah. So, uh, vees himself said, uh, that he wanted to create as much, uh, espan limo as possible. Yeah. As much Spanish style, as concentrated as possible, and also to make it as difficult for the pianist as possible. He is one of the most difficult pieces on the piano repoire yet obviously, to show that he can do even better than w could. So, uh, now what if we add more dissonance to this, these chords that we've discussed, and, uh, here in this section, uh, we decided to have, uh, some favorite chords of ours. I, I, I've chosen this one, which, uh, takes, uh, place in Beethoven third symphony. It's the climactic chord of the aro. Uh, it's appears in the middle of the first movement, and it's like a cry of pain. It's, it's orchestrated in such a way, it's extremely dissonant. Yeah. And so many people quoted it and referred to it because it's a very, uh, memorable occasion.
Speaker 1 (00:30:24):
Yeah. So it's extremely dissonant. Yeah. And you think, oh, how did Beam come up with it? Again, going from where it resolves to, we can figure out what the cord is. Yeah. Because otherwise it's, doesn't make sense to us. So, uh, where it came to, yeah. It came to Cadence Yeah. In E Minor, and we realized that this was a pre, pre credential Neapolitan six with an extra note. Yeah. That e that is stuck in, and that creates this, this sense of, of pain. So, um, and for Peter's chosen this one, uh, it's, uh, it's a co it's a court, um, just before the ending of Revel Valero. And I'm going to play you this moment. So, I mean, you have chosen it. Yeah. Because it's, it's sort of, it has almost all the notes in there.
Speaker 3 (00:31:28):
What if we had time, of course we could do with the other 17 minutes of the piece to appreciate just how extraordinary that one is. Huh? That cool? Yeah.
Speaker 1 (00:31:36):
Right. Okay. <laugh>. Yes. Uh, so what happens there? Yeah. It's, again, it's an politan and six only, there are another, I think two or three notes added in it, in there so that it creates this, uh, really kind of cluster clump of notes in the middle of it. And it's really pierce and it's again, like a cry, but Yeah. Not of pain, rather a cry of joy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> at the end of Val letter. Yeah. And then it goes, kind of cascades down to the tonic. Uh, now let us, uh, now talk about another, uh, very famous celebrity chord. And now it's something that is not associated with a whole lot of composers associated with one composer and a single work. Yeah. So takes, uh, the name of Tristan from the Opera, Wagners Opera, Tristan and Izelda. So, uh, why is it so, uh, why did it so, so extraordinary?
Speaker 1 (00:32:36):
Why so many people refer to it, quoted it, imitated it, parodied it. I've actually written all the points here, so I will consult them. Yeah. So there are five points why this chord, uh, uh, has become so famous. So it's the first chord in the opera. Yeah. So it's a dissonance, which is unusual. Yeah. Because most operas, large scale pieces start with a, with a triad, with a tonic, with a consonants two, uh, unlike some dissonant chord, it, it's actually doesn't suggest any particular key. I wonder whether you should play it. Yes. So we know what we're talking about.
Speaker 1 (00:33:19):
So it, it just hangs there. It, it doesn't suggest any particular key. Uh, now the, we talked about diminished cords last time. Diminished cord also diminished. Seventh doesn't suggest any particular key. Well, this is can be called a half diminished because it only has one right on it. So it is also kind of, you know, floats in the air without any drive to resolve. But the way it resolves though, it doesn't resolve in any way that we expect at all. It's a very unusual way. So if you could play just the chord and then the how it goes.
Speaker 1 (00:34:02):
So it's actually resolves Yeah. On the dominant seventh, which, uh, is, is not a stable cord. And again, that is, uh, left without any further resolution, then that's just repeated a little bit higher. So we were still dunno what key were in. Uh, the fourth point is it's usually presented in the very characteristic orchestration. There is a kind of sour note from the OBO coming in. Yeah. So you notice it when it comes in. It's not just the sound of the chord, but the orchestration as well. And the fifth is that this chord is associated with a particular feeling of unsatisfied desire. Yeah. And, uh, it's a light manif. Yeah. It comes back again and again to suggest precisely that. So, um, it has this dramatic association and it is the idea of unsatisfied desire that underpins the entire opera making the Tristan chord, the core light maif.
Speaker 1 (00:35:04):
Yeah. But of course, um, all of these things don't yet make it famous. What makes it famous? It's, it's position, position of this opera in music history because it is seen as something that basically, uh, starts dismantling tonality because we, we talked about it, um, I think in one of the lectures that that is where you don't have a resolution until the very last, uh, page. And we're going to show it in the moment of how, how happens. But first I would like to play your, the Bernstein recording. And he obviously, um, thinks this is a very important moment. So he plays it very slowly. So we already had that phrase three times. We still don't know what the key is. It's just sort of moves us along without resolving things at all. And the only place Yeah. Where that resolution of that particular motif happens is the very end. I'm going to play quite a beautiful, um, recording
Speaker 1 (00:39:21):
One of the most beautiful moments Yeah. Sublime moments when you think it's already over. Yeah. And then you hear that chord again, and then it, it dissolves, resolves, and dissolves. So, uh, this is why know people have been quoting that moment, uh, both seriously, um, and periodically Yeah. To, to elicit a love. So we will show you both. So this is just a little moment, you know, [inaudible] Tristan is all this similar story. Yeah. So obviously when they kiss, and it's just a brief moment, uh, before, um, basically they're on, on the road to destruction, uh, and Pius is wounded and then killed, uh, you have a half diminished chord if you could play that.
Speaker 1 (00:40:24):
So, uh, dei was, was insisting that he wasn't influenced by Wagner <laugh>. <laugh>. Yeah. So you will see how that, that works. Alberg uh, uh, this is a very interesting example because this is already Yeah. A serial piece. He, he's using a 12 turn method, uh, of Schonberg, and he manages from a series to construct a quotation from Tristan. You will hear actually a complete quotation. And it sounds, uh, strange because it's something familiar within something unfamiliar, but there is more to it. You know, he was very clever with secret messages. So because he was in love, he had the solicit love affair, uh, with a person whose, um, initials were eight. Hf. Yeah. I think she was com uh, Hannah Fs. Yeah. Um, and his initials were A and B. Yeah. So, uh, H and H is a b, uh, <laugh> H in musical German notation. H means note B. Yes. So that's just to explain that our B means be flat. Yes. So that's why he's able to actually entangle these, um, yeah. The two monograms at the moment, when Tristan cord sounds,
Speaker 1 (00:42:06):
Then the style is very different. Yeah. But for that moment, we are suddenly Yeah. Within Tristan. Uh, now the complete opposite of that is, uh, how Benjamin Britain uses it in, in his op opera, Albert Herring so much later, and he wants to elicit a laugh. Obviously you need to know the Tristan court to laugh here, but, uh, maybe you will laugh, uh, because you know, <laugh>. So, um, so the story goes, it's a comedy. Yeah. So the story is that this shy young man, Albert, uh, is, is chosen as May King and all attention is piled upon him and he is given a drink. Yeah. A a potion to drink. Well, not a, a potion, a lemonade, but that lemonade is laced with rum, which he doesn't realize. So it it has this effect on him. So they sing three tears. Yeah. Three tears to the ladies. And, uh, on the third tier is suddenly on the Tristan cord. Yes. So, and that sort of gives you a sense of fuzziness. Yes. If you the effect of the ram, that's better. Yes. That's still on that Tristan cord. Yes, sir. It, it is a funny moment. Uh, now, uh, probably the most famous parody of the Tristan court again comes from Dubi. Yeah. So he was not only serious about it, he could also be tics from his, uh, suite, which is called Children's Corner. And, uh, here, uh, you have a modern dance, a very fashionable dance, which is a cakewalk. And in the middle of it, there is a quotation from Tristan, which we, uh, recognize. If you could just play that middle bit.
Speaker 2 (00:44:28):
Speaker 1 (00:45:00):
Thank you. Yeah. So, uh, the, you will, you will read in lots of books that that's where he uses Tristan court. The, the problem is that it does, it isn't actually Tristan chord, <laugh> <laugh>. And it's the, the melody is from Tristan. You have from beginning of Tristan. The chords are actually different. The chords are kind of popular music chords of the time. Yeah, yeah. It's a different chord. But, you know, people don't listen very carefully. Uh, they, the musical jokes is actually much more subtle than that. Yeah. Because it's in the first section of that piece, which is the cakewalk itself, where the Tristan chord becomes the cakewalk theme. That's exactly the same pitches are this Tristan chord, but they are, you will never realize that they are. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (00:46:04):
So actually the Tristan cord is imported into the cakewalk and the cakewalk is imported in the Tristan quotation. Yes. So it's something much more subtle, uh, which I admire a lot. Yeah. And shows, you know, how de love hate for, for Wagner. Um, let's move on. Yeah. From Tristan cord, it's very easy to, uh, step over to the mystic chord, which is associated with scr and with his piece Prometheus. And I think SCR definitely had the Tristan chord in mind when he thought, well, I'm going to start my piece from a dissonant chord, which will be one better Yeah. Or maybe several better <laugh>. So, um, this is the chord going to hear it first.
Speaker 1 (00:47:29):
It has lights in it. Yeah. So that's why you see colored lights as well light the lights are in the score too. Yeah. So it sounds, the way it's orchestrated, it's like a kind of low rumble of the universe. Yeah. So that's probably the sound the the universe would make Yeah. If you, if you listen to it. Yes. <laugh>. Um, because it's, it's, it's cosmic music. Yeah. So he, he comes up with this six night chord Yeah. Which, which you just played to us. And, but it also sounds jazzy, doesn't it? I I'll show you again. Whats the,
Speaker 3 (00:47:59):
Well, it's one of the things I've always been fascinated by with Squi Ibin is that there's quite obviously a huge amount of influence from squi ibin on jazz. And yet I don't know that there's any real actual connection between them, but so many, so many chords and even rhythms that, that Sabine wrote seem to be adopted by the American just scene. Uh, which I, I can't really demonstrate it at the moment, but it is a very fascinating aspect of the, the, the sort of harmony you used.
Speaker 1 (00:48:26):
Yes. And you can find like domestic record in Duke Ellington, for example, if you, if you look, look, uh, look closely, uh, so, um, that's not the place in a domestic ward. Again, it was an English critics Christen that after SCRs death, uh, VA in Russia, it's called Prometheus court, but it's not only in Prometheus. Yeah. There's another place where, where we can find it. And it's Sonata number five, for example. Uh, or with one difference, one note is lower, but also a six note cord at the start of Sonata number seven.
Speaker 1 (00:49:37):
Uh, so if, uh, you imagine that the first cord is a kind of dissonance Yeah. Then the second cord feels like it's a resolution to it, even though there is nothing like a normal cadence. Yeah. Because the base is going by a trier. And also the second cord is also very dis dismiss, but it feels somehow less. Yeah. I'm a bit more stable than the first one. So, um, my, uh, the point I was going to make, and I think I'm making in the transcript, is that once you have such a dissonance six note cord, you then have to use all the cores. All your cores have to be complex. You cannot just suddenly switch to using, um, simple triads. Yeah. Because that will feel like, you know, um, a let down. But, um, I think Peter has an exception to that. <laugh>,
Speaker 3 (00:50:29):
I'm very fascinated by this because this is where you have an extremely dissonant piece, although it's a very beautiful one by Messian. It's actually called La Dejak, which describes the progress of a day in terms of bird song, but also in terms of the natural surroundings of where the birds are singing. Um, and that includes the forest, the lake, and the mountain, uh, in particular the lake. This is the main point of this story, which is that it's very, very concordant, whereas the rest of the peas isn't. And suddenly this extraordinary, beautiful, extraordinarily beautiful concord comes very tonal chord. Um, and it's almost like it's gone wrong because it's in such a strange context. There are one or two other ex um, moments like that. A famous one for me is a piece called the Berserk King, which is a piano concerted by the Scottish composed of James Macmillan. And most of the piece, which is very long, is very dissonant. And suddenly after a very long pause, there's a gigantic called the Sea Sharp Minor, which seems so out of place that is extraordinarily arresting. But this is the Messian moment. Um, let me just be sure that I'm in the right place. Um,
Speaker 3 (00:52:21):
I'll just move on a little bit because it's very slow and very long. But this moment here in the middle of a 37 minute piece, mostly very, very dissonant. This is an extraordinary moment. Very, very inspired for me.
Speaker 1 (00:53:05):
And what happened there? Does the sum come, come up or something? Yeah,
Speaker 3 (00:53:08):
<laugh> actually, no, it's the opposite. No, this is when the sun is setting at the end of the, the day mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, and, uh, the, the color mass was, had synesthesia. And so he, he thought very much as indeed it's gubin, by the way, but, but he very much thought, um, in terms of, of color and the, the way that the sunlight changes, the color of the lake as the day progresses was the whole point of this. And whenever the lake comes, there's something like that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But the most beautiful one is the sunset or just before sunset.
Speaker 1 (00:53:38):
So the next one, um, I would like to, to address, uh, is called the Patricia Court. Yes. It comes from Stravinsky's Valley, Patricia. And it's also a six notes chord. Actually, only one of the notes is different from domestic court, but the way it's derived is completely different. Yeah. Because what, what SCR was doing, how he got at his six notes, he was taking the dominant seventh in adding notes to it or altering notes medicine. And, uh, uh, Stravinsky does something, uh, very different and something much, uh, in a sense more simple and straightforward. Yeah. It just takes two major tri tribes and Yeah.
Speaker 1 (00:54:20):
And overlays them. Yeah. Overlays them. And it's very much under your hands, isn't it? It tells us that he was composing this art, the piano. Yeah. Um, and, uh, um, I was, I was, I was writing in my transcript, you know, for, for so long how, how exciting this is. This is because Petrushka, uh, the character from his childhood, like punch Yeah. He is speaking through this whizzle. So it has this, uh, this very Yeah. Sort of strange tamba. And this dissonance creates the voice of Petrushka Petrushka cry and how that is modernist and so on. And then I found out, uh, just by accident, that that chord was invented by Ravel. <laugh>, yeah. Um,
Speaker 3 (00:55:04):
So twice a lot about Stravinsky. Really?
Speaker 1 (00:55:06):
Yes. Yes. So he stole this quote from Revel, who, who wrote it in his, uh, 10 years before pet. Yes. So,
Speaker 2 (00:55:58):
Speaker 1 (00:55:58):
That's the Tric cord inside <laugh>. Yes. Uh, the same, now the have the same idea of overlaying two chords. Yeah. The teenager and the F sharp major. So they're separated by a trier. Uh, so, um, I thought maybe you could play to us, uh, the, uh, the second Yeah. The part of the second scene of the truska were don't
Speaker 3 (00:56:23):
Speaker 1 (00:57:42):
Speaker 3 (00:57:44):
You. Just, just strikes me that really a fascinating thing about this, it's only just occurred to me the combination of two Concords that don't quite go together, which is
Speaker 2 (00:57:57):
Speaker 3 (00:58:01):
Is exactly the same as in the rite of spring, where you have this, what, what's Stravinsky called the seminal chord, which seems to No,
Speaker 1 (00:58:07):
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. <laugh> <laugh>.
Speaker 3 (00:58:11):
Okay. You didn't tell me about that.
Speaker 1 (00:58:13):
Oh, did I? <laugh>? Yeah. I've forgotten <laugh>. So, yeah. Well, I call you, he calls it the seminal chord. Yeah. I call it the agers court because that's where it appears on the ritual dance of the organs of spring in the very first ball number. Yeah. And can I just first, well, actually you can, you can,
Speaker 3 (00:58:31):
Well, yes. F flat major, which is sounds like e major of course. And the dominant seventh of a flat major. But if you put them together, it goes one of the most striking moments in music, I think.
Speaker 1 (00:59:00):
So it goes on Yeah. Show you how it's danced just for a moment.
Speaker 1 (00:59:32):
So it's offensive politically as well as musically. Yeah. So it's like, you know, gigantic provocation. Um, and of course the idea of Yeah. Uh, just, uh, keeping on this cord. Yeah. He, I think he uses it 412 times or something like that. <laugh>. Yes. Uh, um, it basically wipes out clean Yeah. The whole story of tonality and all these subtle things that we were talking about. Yeah. All these progressions, Wagner, Tristan, it's all wiped out. Yeah. Because now there's just this brutal primitives Yeah. One chord that doesn't go anywhere. Yeah. And it's, it's very much, you know, stravinsky's provocation, isn't it? Now that also became a meme. You really can call it a meme. And so many people have used it. I'm going to show you. Well, actually, you know, I think you suggested that to me, or maybe you didn't, but No,
Speaker 3 (01:00:26):
I didn't. No.
Speaker 1 (01:00:26):
<laugh>. Um, it's a stockhouse piece. Yeah. Where, um, what, what do you do?
Speaker 3 (01:00:33):
I think you play the first chord, which is the same as the Patricia chord. You plays 147 times with the domin endo, which probably would take the rest of the afternoon, really? But
Speaker 1 (01:00:46):
Yeah. So it's actually, I think it's, it's 140 time and then another 87 times. Oh. Because he's trying to do a fiche, a FII series. Yeah. But I think even 140 is connected to the longest, uh, section in the right of spring. That's 140 repetitions of that chord. Yeah. So I think he's thinking of that. Definitely. Yeah. Okay. We're not gonna play that then, right? No,
Speaker 3 (01:01:10):
I have played it, but he didn't need any practice or whatsoever.
Speaker 2 (01:01:14):
Speaker 3 (01:01:16):
I did that a long time ago. <laugh>, I won't be doing it again. <laugh>. Okay. It's a rather interesting coincidence that the first ballad chap was dedicated to somebody called Madam Stock Housen. And I don't know whether it's the same family. I'd be very interested to find out.
Speaker 1 (01:01:31):
Well, I dunno about that. I just want to show something equally courageous. So, uh, this is a film by the composer, Maus, Mauricio Kael, uh, which was done for Bevan's 200th birthday. And so it's, it's avan garde kind of, um, film, which, uh, is, is very, very abstract, but it's basically about our famous, our favorite snippets of Beethoven and also music history. Yeah. How we kind of remember various things and how they influenced other things. Uh, it is, uh, it is very whimsical. Uh, so here you have a pianist who seems to be one of the undead playing the beginning of the von. And of course, the eSATA starts with repetition of a chord. Okay. So let's, so let's, let's hear what happened
Speaker 1 (01:02:48):
So she distorts this, this music. Yeah. Uh, but then something worse happens, happens later on. I want you to show you that now.
Speaker 1 (01:03:50):
So you know, now you can appreciate the other joke of that because it's basically has this, this accent. It becomes Stravinsky, uh, and obviously she's been playing it for 200 years. Yeah. Because her hair's sort of starting to envelope the piano. Yeah. So, uh, so I'm sorry about this. You know, it's probably not, was not welcome <laugh> this this destruction of the Ulstein <laugh>. Um, um, anyway, we are now at the end of our lecture. I just wanted to make a little conclusion before I let Peter play the last piece. Uh, so, um, it was fun looking through various celebrity chords, but I think there is a serious purpose to it. And, you know, part of that purpose is also the idea behind that film of Mauricio Cargill is that, uh, music is one of the most abstract arts that we know, and yet we understand it.
Speaker 1 (01:04:43):
Yeah. We understand various words of it as if it was a language. And I think these, uh, celebrity chords in the way how various composers were in dialogue with each other, we're picking it up. Yeah. We're parroting them, we're distorting them, we're reacting to them. Uh, were trying to do one better. Um, is how this meaning is created and this is why music is meaningful to us. So with that, um, I, I will conclude and we are going to hear, uh, a wonderful piece from Isa Alban's [inaudible] book two, which is called Al Maria, which is a nice place in Spain,
Speaker 4 (01:13:41):
Professor Faller Walker. And Peter, thank you very much. It's been an absolute pleasure as always. Um, professor Faller Walker's next lecture on a eternal music, uh, will look at a life without chords and all take place on the 18th of May. And we hope you can all join us then once again. Thank you very much Peter, and thank
Speaker 1 (01:13:58):
You, Rina. I just feel so bad that I didn't let you tell the story <laugh>, and now everyone will be wondering what it was. So you have to do it now. Okay. Well, uh, just the background is it, is
Speaker 3 (01:14:10):
That this La Dejak is the final piece? Can you, can you all hear me? I don't. Is the final piece, um, of the, um, catalog duo by Ion, which is a, a set of, of very long works, mostly describing, usually because of the day, almost through the, um, the eyes of a bird or different birds. Um, he, for Messian who was very religious, the birds represented the angels. And so it's obviously a very spiritual experience. And this final one, the supplement actually Lao Deja, it means the Garden Warbler. Um, and it sounds like it could be quite a, a friend, a little, maybe even slightly English piece, uh, depicting the countryside and Bird song. Well, it does depict bird song, but as you heard earlier on, it's very dissonant. It's actually literally what the, the Garden warblers sings. Um, and, uh, the, the whole progress of the day, um, is told through the, the activities of this bird, plus the landscape around the birds and other birds as well.
Speaker 3 (01:15:16):
By the way, um, the mountain, as I mentioned before, the, um, uh, the forest and particularly the lake and running water as well. It's all in there. It's, it's actually, uh, part of the south of France that he's, um, he's describing and the garden warbler warbles endlessly. And the, the number of times this bird comes with every single bar, different going, I'm not going to play it because I can't just at the moment, but it's something like, something like that almost constantly. And in one particular place, which is I think the late afternoon, um, the, the garden normally goes on for six pages. Um, and it does become a little bit interminable, probably quite deliberately. And then, as we all know, birds go quiet in the, in the early evening. And so that's at the point at which the sun comes out, doesn't come out.
Speaker 3 (01:16:16):
It, it, um, displays the color of blue, I think it is, across the lake de depicting the evening that almost the twilight. And as we probably don't know quite so well, the garden warbler comes out again, uh, before going to sleep. And I did a tour of this piece. Um, it's a very long time in the, the 1980s, early eighties even, um, around the whole of the uk probably 20 performances or something. And one of them was live on Radio three, which was Huddersfield Town Hall, where they, they have very strong opinions in Huddersfield. That's perhaps you, you probably know about music. Um, and live on the radio. We got to this point where the g the Garden warbler came out again after that very beautiful moment. I played earlier on and it went, did it. But again, and the voice from the audience very audibly on the radio went, oh, bloody L not again.
Speaker 1 (01:17:13):
Speaker 3 (01:17:18):
It's one of those things that you never forget.
Speaker 1 (01:17:20):
Speaker 3 (01:17:21):
Because trying to hold it in as, as I was playing the rest of the piece.
Speaker 1 (01:17:25):
Well, you, but you can see why I, why I had to stop you, <laugh>.
Speaker 3 (01:17:30):
Well, I did tell the, tell that story on Radio Three ones actually, because I played it. I just, after telling the story, <laugh> and um, BBC received, uh, at least three letters of complaint <laugh>
Speaker 1 (01:17:42):
There. Good. So
Speaker 3 (01:17:44):
I hope we're not going to have the same to today.
Speaker 1 (01:17:47):
Thank you, <laugh>. Thank you very much. Thank you.