ROSSINI ARIA


[1.] Simon stated that he would challenge the criticism that Schenker ignores rhythm. In terms of how rhythm affects the harmonic/counterpunctual ‘picture' of the piece, I would support this challenge absolutely. In fact I would even extend it beyond rhythm and into text (words and phrases). [ I have prepared an analysis which I will put onto the web once I understand how to use the scanner, I apologize for any confusion in the meantime.]

[2.] The Rossini aria "Preghiera" is an excellent example of how the text can be taken into account by Schenker analysis. For me, the whole story of the solo voice with the orchestra (m. 5-27) is I-IV-I (or I-iv-I). In m.5-6 Rossini starts off with I--iv--I progression, which is an interesting choice rather than I-V-I. It seems to destabilize, or at least undermine the tonic rather than establish it (with an inverted perfect cadence, almost a v-I-v idea). This is consistent with the dramatic intentions of the music, as Anna obviously feels her world is crumbling around her (see translation).

[3.] Rossini then appears at first glance to go into a series of I-V-I progressions, first in the tonic (f minor), then in the relative major (A major). Yet these do not seem like perfect cadences, they don't really establish a key - the whole question of key seems infinitely in question.

[4.] If we examine the phrasing of the text in conjunction with the harmonic structure, we can create an interesting middleground for this section of the piece. The first phrase "Giusto ciel" is obviously on a I-iv-I cadence. The next "tal periglio" appears to be V-i -V. The next phrase "piu consiglio" is the same (v-i-v). Similar things happen in the A major section (m.10-12), after a breif modulation, the next two phrases - "non m'avenza" and "che piangendo" have the same structure V-I-V in the key of three.

[5.] I would propose then, that the structure of these phrases is not [V-I-V] ( [] indicates major or minor), but rather should be seen as [I-IV-I] in their respective keys (the dominants of f minor and A major respectively). The way to determine this is by examining the relationship of the text to the music.

[6.] Results of this? You acheive a sort of ‘Free play' between the fundemantal structure of the music and the middle ground of the interelationship between voice and text. I think that this is an extremely satisfying rendtion of the piece when you consider it in its dramatic context

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