“Erlkonig” is a composition, the musical structure of which is subordinated to the development of the plot. The rhythm of the accompaniment, its continuous heavy beat – octave and chord rehearsals with triplets, creates the ballad, holds and unites all parts of the whole. The music begins with a piano introduction, which continues to develop in the accompaniment part. In addition to the piano intro, there is also a vocal setting, which sings Goethe’s poem of the same name.
From the beginning, it is possible to feel the magical effect of music – an alarming, restless picture emerged. An ominously howling wind becomes audible, the noise of trees, the stomp of a rapidly galloping horseman. The performance by the vocalist Jessye Norman adds more details about the characters. It is easy to identify who is who: Erlkonig, father, son and narrator. Every line and medical phrase introduces new touches into the ballad’s music, which determines the individual traits, the state of each character.
The folk song “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” is an example of American music of the 19th century. The instrumentation is simple, combining the guitar and the piano with singing. The ballad involves the piano part, along with the lyrical reference to the melody. The mode is minor and major; as this is a parlor song, the theme is expressive with a strophic form. Lyrics made references to the nature and emotions of Stephen Foster when his wife left him.
“Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair” is pleasant to listen to because of the ease of musical phrases. They are short and simple so that the person can feel the mood. The vocalist line is also not sophisticated; it reflects the natural speech of the performer. The harmony is recognizable, giving an impression of the emotions of Stephen Foster. The melody’s flow is beautiful; simultaneously, it is simple, providing images of landscapes and a feeling of calmness.
Etude Op 10 No 12 is Chopin’s first revolutionary work, expressing his attitude to the Polish uprising. It became a model for subsequent concepts of the composer. Etude in C-moll is a miniature but extremely vivid reflection of the tragic fate of the Polish rebellion. The repetition of the melody leads to a triumphant major episode. Chopin’s heroic theme combines the features of song writing and remains actively functional in a harmonic sense.
I imagine the hopes and defeats of the people’s struggle for national independence. The feeling of anxiety, pain and anguish does not leave while listening to the etude. Sometimes, it seems that dreams and hopes are resurrected; however, the movement of the notes accelerates and carries away into the world of sorrow. Gradually, the sound drops to a quiet one; the heroic impulse is replaced by longing, triumph and quiet humility.
“September” is one of the pieces from a cycle called Das Yahr. The melody is melancholy compared to other works. It is characterized by non-stop note-spinning of the right hand. The tempo is relatively slow; however, it reflects the piece’s solemn tone with the development of the melody. The overall mode of music is minor, accompanied by descending melody lines. “September” is considered difficult to play, allowing the pianist to show his/her skills.
“September” reminds me of a bright sunny day on the bank of a stream, a graceful play of a fast trout in clear water. The melody is beautiful and, at the same time, sad. The movement of the musical passages depicts the sound of a flowing river. The piano is used to express a single impression – the melancholy; it might also be nostalgia. The mood is balanced; therefore, it is difficult to be tired of listening to this piece.