An Analysis of Mendelssohn’s Overture to Shakespeare’s Mid Summer Night’s Dream.
Mendelssohn’s Mid Summer Night’s Dream is written in sonata form. It has the attributes of sonata form having an Exposition, Development, Recapitulation, and Coda. Mendelssohn’s piece has 2 subjects and within each subject he has 2 themes. Each of the themes represents a certain area of the play. For example Subject 1 theme 1 represents the fairies Subject1 theme 2 represents the Duke the lovers theme is in the 2nd subject and the 2nd subject theme 2 is Bergomask’s tune. This piece is set in the key of E major which will allow it to modulate to B major the dominant, E minor which is the tonic minor and C# the relative minor however the piece never makes a significant move to this key.
The introduction is very small and sets the theme of the whole piece. Mendelssohn use magic chords ……..which sound very magical and set the scene and mood for the first subject theme 1, the fairy theme. These chords sound magical because some of the chords and diminished and others are inverted to create that magical effect.
The Exposition is in E minor and is known as the fairy theme. This theme has very fast quavers played by the 1st and 2nd violins. The fairy theme is a combination of plucked and bowed strings, with a very close harmonic interval. The speed is very fast and all of the string section is playing quite high. At bar 62 the piece move into the 1st subject 2nd theme in E major is the Dukes theme as and the whole orchestra is playing. This theme of a consists scale based pattern in octaves in the violins and a massive homophonic texture due the orchestral tutti. At bar 90 the fairy theme returns and as the story continues the mortals and fairies are mixing. At this section the lower brass strings sustain a tonic pedal note while the Strings produce a pedal note but in a crochet quaver rhythm. However at bar 130 the music modulates to the key of B major the music is very romantic. This is the second subject theme 1 and it is a very lyrical and increases in texture to represent love as depth and power. This theme has features small fan fare interjections which could represent Duke. The 2nd subject theme 2 starts at bar 194 and it very robust as a represents Bergomask and is also known as Bergomask’s theme. This theme is in B major and is far from subtle with double pedal notes on the dominant and tonic while the violins are making large leaps of 9ths and 10ths to make the “eh-oh” noise of the donkey in the play. There is a short codetta at the end of this subject between bars 222 and 249 with a herald reprise of Subject Theme 2 which is now in the key of B major.
?What Features of fairy tales or legends are evident in the movie ‘Shrek’? The animated film ‘Shrek’ is a modern portrayal of a traditional story. It displays most, if not all qualities of both legend and fairy-tale. As the opening scene begins with non-diegetic music (audible to audience only) and a magical light shining on a large book with the traditional starting of a fairy tale ‘Once Upon a ...
The development starts at bar 250 in the B major still with the initial quaver theme from the 1st divided between the violins with sparse interjection from the woodwind. The development is mainly on the fairy theme as it keeps showing up throughout the development. However at bar 270 the 1st subject reappears in the key of F# minor only for the horns to break this quiet atmosphere at bar 294. The loud horns represent Bergomask as his theme was very loud robust and sudden. Although this theme was loud in this development the fairy theme still manages to return reaching the key of D major. This section of music could represent the fairies up to there scams and cunning plans and are stopped by the king but when he goes they return to there scams and cunning plans. Now the lovers theme is developed this lyrical 2nd subject theme returns shortly on car 362 leading to a C# minor chord at bar 394 to mark the relative minor. In the development he divides the parts more equally; he has lowered the piece by a semi tone. There is no continuous playing in any parts. The violas only have more significant part and therefore defining the fairy theme.
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The recapitulation starts the same the whole piece starts off. However this time the major 3rd opening is supported by the C# minor chord played by the strings giving it a new dimension. This in relation to the play could mean that the fairy king and queen have sorted out there disagreements and are on speaking terms. However it could also be a summary of the whole play so hat people don’t forget it.