Music: An Art and a Language

By Walter Raymond Spalding | Go to book overview

Verses) an orchestral Suite in four movements by Edward B. Hill; Debussy's Suite Bergamesque in which is found the oft-played Clair de Lune; Ravel's1. Mother Goose, a delightful work -- and by the same composer the Daphnis and Chloe Suite, the material drawn from an opera of the same name. In modern literature easily the most celebrated and brilliant example of this type is the Scheherazade Suite (based on the Arabian Nights) for full orchestra by RimskyKorsakoff. This work in the genuine poetic quality of its themes, in its marvellous descriptive power and in the boldness of its orchestral effect remains unsurpassed.


CHAPTER VII
THE OLDER RONDO FORM

ONE of the earliest instrumental forms to be worked out2 was the Rondo, which is merely an extension of the three-part principle of "restatement after contrast" and which, by reason of its logical appeal, has retained its place to this day. Originally the Rondo was a combination of dance and song; that is, the performers sang and danced in a circle -- holding one another's hands. The music would begin with a chorus in which all joined, one of the dancers would then sing a solo, after which all would dance about and repeat the chorus; other solos would follow, the chorus being repeated after each. The characteristic feature, then, of this structure is the continual recurrence to a principal motive after intervening contrasts -hence the name Rondo (French, Rondeau); exemplifying a principle found not only in primitive folk-songs and dances but in literature, e. g., many of the songs of Burns and the Rondeaux of Austin Dobson. For it is obvious that the form answers to the simplest requirements of unity and contrast. Frequent examples of the Rondo are found in all early instrumental composers: Bach, e.g., the charming one in C minor in his third Partita; Couperin, Rameau, Haydn and Mozart. It is found also in vocal works, e. g., Purcell's well-known song "I Attempt from Love's Sickness to Fly." From the standpoint of modern taste, however, Beethoven was -- with few exceptions -the first to treat the form with real genius; and so our illustrations

____________________
1
See also Le Tombeau de Couperin in which is a very novel Rigaudon
2
For a complete account of the historical development see the article on Form in Grove's Dictionary Vol. II and Hadow's Sonata Form, Chapter IX.

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