Like in a traditional sonata-allegro form, all the themes are developed and recapitulated. Juxtaposition and the orchestration help build tension making the Themes A and B more climactic. Tchaikovsky juxtaposes different choirs in the orchestra by using imitation and an echo effect. Also, he uses different orchestrations of the main themes to add to the climax of the piece when the themes are recapitulated. Imitation is used to build up to the first occurrence of Theme A.
The imitative nature of the material before Theme A contrasts the homophobic nature of Theme A. Unlike the build ups to the other occurrences of Theme
A, no mitotic material from Theme A is used imitatively. In measures 78-85, the woodwinds echo the strings. The cellos play the melody well in the treble clef. This, coupled with the tremolo in the timpani, creates a lot of tension with the cellos in this register. The woodwinds repeat this same harmony except in a higher register.
Their response releases tension from the strings since they are playing in a more comfortable register than the cellos were. In measures 90-96, The woodwinds play a four quarter note motive in octaves that is imitated by the horns and violas, although horns are much more dominant.
This leads to a cadence that does not resolve all the tension of the previous passages. In measures 104-111, The strings imitate the preceding woodwind harmony in a lower register. This separation of register and the different timbres clearly separate the two choirs. This builds up to the first occurrence of Theme A. Building up to the repeat of Theme A, mitotic material from Theme A is used imitatively. In measures 122-125, the first violins are imitated by the piccolo, flutes, and clarinets. The woodwinds play an octave and two octaves above the violins, taking material from the second part of Theme A and evildoing it.
In measures 126-134, the cellos and basses play a variation of Theme A in a round with the piccolo, flutes in octaves, and oboes in octaves. This leads to the imitation of truncated material similar to measures 122-125. In measures 135-143, the piccolo, flutes and clarinets imitate the second violins, then the first violins. The imitation is not exact as the harmonies change every half measure, but the general mitotic motion and rhythm are preserved. By measure 142, the two separate choirs play in unison while building up to the sword fight material. Very similar material is used to ruinations to Theme B.
In this passage, the material is used to release tension and set a calmer atmosphere to set up the love theme. In measures 164-169, the clarinets imitate the flutes. The similar timbres of the flutes and clarinets do not create tension like the juxtaposition of timbres preceding the repeat of Theme A. In measures 170-180, The cellos and basses imitate the bassoons. Like the flute and clarinet imitations, the bassoons and low strings have blending timbres even though they are in different choirs of the orchestra. The imitative effect is used with Theme A material to make the transition sack to Theme A fluid.
In measures 273-277, Theme A is truncated and played in octaves in the strings. The woodwinds echo the strings in a much higher register and also start to use the rhythmic material from Theme A In measures 285-292 and then again in 307-314, the flutes, oboes, and clarinets imitate a trumpet and the trombones. This is the first time that brass, other than the horns, are used imitatively. In terms of rhythm, they are the same, but the harmonies they outline are different. The imitative effect is used to outline a chord progression pushing the passage forward.
In measures 20-325, The first part of Theme A is broken down into and given to different choirs of the orchestra. The cellos and basses start by playing material used from the build up to the repeat of Theme A and the preceding material of Theme B. Then the violins and violas play the first half of the first measure of Theme A in a very low register. The woodwinds and horns play the second half of the first measure of Theme A in a higher register. In measure 326-330, rhythmic motives from Theme A are used in a round with the second violins, violas, cellos, and basses followed by the flutes, oboes, clarinets, and seasons.
Again, the strings are playing in their lower registers while the woodwinds are playing in their higher registers. Thematic material from Theme B is used imitatively as a build up to the combined section of Theme A and B. In measures 420-428, the cellos and first bassoon is imitated by the flutes and first oboe. The cellos are playing high in the treble clef and the bassoons are ledger lines above the bass clef. The cellos in this register sound very strained and create a lot of tension. The bassoons in this register have a very thin sound with tension that matches the cellos.
The flutes and oboe have a much more tension-free sound. This effectively juxtaposes the tension preceding. In measures 439-433, the flutes, oboes, and clarinets imitate all four horns. This is very similar to the preceding section of imitation, although the registers of all the instruments gives this passage a more powerful feeling. The flutes, oboes, and clarinets are in a register that is piercing and can cut through the high string texture. The horns are in a register where they can play clearly and powerfully. Theme A is repeated once in the first occurrence and is not repeated in the second or third.
During the third, only the first part is played but then developed to build tension. The first repeat and the second occurrence have denser orchestrations with more percussion. This makes these occurrences more climactic then the first and last. In the first part of the first occurrence (m. 114) there is no percussion (other than timpani), trumpets, trombones, or tuba and everything is played forte. The second part consists only of strings and the third has the first violins playing the melody with woodwinds, horns, and the rest of the strings playing the harmonic background.
Generally, the getters of the strings are lower and the woodwinds play comfortably in their higher registers. In the first part of the repeat of the first occurrence and the second occurrence (m. 151 and 353), everything is fortissimo, trumpets, trombones, tuba, bass drum, and cymbals are added, and the timpani has a more active part. The higher woodwinds are playing a little higher in their registers while the violins are playing up an octave. The addition of the brass fills in the middle register and allows the violins and woodwinds to play higher. The addition of percussion makes a big difference by adding more energy to the passage.
This creates a fuller sound. In the second part, the string and woodwinds play the main motives in octaves while the brass accent the Occasional eighth note. The third part has both violins and violas playing the melody with the rest of the orchestra playing the harmonic background. In the first part of the third occurrence (m. 446), everything is played fortissimo, there are no cymbals to accent beat three, and the flutes and piccolo play a little higher, while the brass play a little lower. The orchestration of Theme A becomes much denser as the piece gets closer to reaching its climax.
The tension created from the harmony in the theme and the rhythmic nature help the piece reach it. Theme B has a much more interesting development of its orchestration since each occurrence and repeat has a different orchestration. It is repeated twice in the first occurrence in Db major and once in a second occurrence in D major. In the first occurrence (m. 184), solo English horn and muted violins play the melody. Basses and cellos playing pizza. Are doubled by sustained notes in the first bassoon while three horns play a quiet syncopated harmony. The theme is developed and repeated (m. 1 3), flutes and oboes lay the melody in octaves with pizza. Bass and cellos. The lower woodwinds play sustained harmony in the background. New material is added when the first horn plays a countermanded in its upper register and the violins and violas play eighth note harmonic figures. In the second repeat (m. 235), the clarinets are added to the flutes and oboes on the melody while the English horn and bassoons play sustained harmony. The basses and cellos play an the bass line arcos doubled with a tenor trombone. The strings play a similar eighth note figure adding to the texture while another horn is added to the meteorology.
The first occurrence of Theme A has the melody becoming denser in the high woodwinds with harmonic texture also becoming denser. The horn countermanded then arrives and begins to become more and more of a presence. In the second occurrence (m. 389), the violins, violas, cellos, and piccolo play the melody with the bassoons, lower two horns, tuba, and basses playing sustained harmony and a bass line. The top two horns continue to play the countermanded while the flutes, oboes, clarinets, and English horn play a new texture, triplet eighth notes. In the repeat of the second occurrence (m. 1), the violins, violas, cellos, first flute, clarinets, and bassoons play the melody while the rest of the woodwinds play the newly introduced triplet harmony. The first trumpet, trombones, tuba, and basses play sustained harmony while all four horns play the countermanded in octaves. A rolled bass drum is added to create more tension. The second occurrence has the strings finally playing the melody with the introduction of new texture. The strings, especially the cellos, are playing in a very high register which creates a lot of tension. Also, the horns countermanded in their register creates tension with its harmony and register.
Cite this Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Overture
Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet Overture. (2018, Mar 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/tchaikovsky-romeo-and-juliet-overture/