Friday, October 2, 2015

Montagues and Capulets by Sergei Prokofiev

This is a selection of music from Sergei Prokofiev's ballet adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, which we're playing in orchestra this semester!
This particular piece of music plays during a ball at the Capulet's mansion. In the ballet, it's called Dance of the Knights, but in the suite of music taken from the ballet it's renamed Montagues and Capulets.
The opening is rather clashy and dissonant, but I think it makes for an interesting prologue to the main thing.
The music starts with a vicious, heavy theme that uses many dotted rhythms and feels very dark and oppressive. This obviously shows the strife and darkness caused by the pointless feud of the two families. Then, as Juliet enters the ball, a softer theme played by solo flutes and accompanied by a viola glissando. Later, a celesta joins in, and the violins play pianissimo broken chords. I always thought this theme was rather slinky sounding.
Later the heavy theme returns, but with different instrumentation, leading to the piece's close.
I really like all of the cool stuff for brass to do here! They sound so menacing and foreboding, very cool!

Next Up: The Moldau by Bedrich Smetana

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