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Subject: Re: Offstage instruments
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:34:01 -0400
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Isn't there a difference between instruments that MUST be heard from
offstage and those that depict supposedly offstage music which is actually
played from the pit?  My favorite example of the latter would be the passage
between scenes one and two of the two act version of MADAMA BUTTERFLY.
After the "humming chorus", we hear the distant voices
of workmen and sailors in the Nagasaki harbor,and the growing volume
of early morning activity as dawn breaks;  it's happening out if sight,
but the whole orchestra and chorus are more or less involved, to thrilling
effect.

dtmk

On Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 10:01 AM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> Oh my goodness, I wrote about offstage music in Verdi (all these examples
> have in common to suggest a party going on in the back rooms while the
> central action is taking place onstage) and forgot the infamous offstage
> horn in ERNANI. Silly plot - on his wedding day, the main character has to
> commit suicide (against his wishes, of course) at the sound of the horn,
> imagine! Victor Hugo's courtesy, btw.
>
> Vesna
>
> On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 11:36 PM, daaaac <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > In act 2 of Tosca, Scarpia opens the window and hears music being played.
> > There’s the offstage piano in Bernstein’s “Age of Anxiety” (how fitting).
> >
> > Can one say Papageno's pan flute in Zauberflöte?
> >
> > Donald
> >
> > > On Sep 12, 2017, at 11:09 PM, Vesna Danilovic <[log in to unmask]>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > I think it’s much more common to hear offstage voices or chorus in
> opera,
> > > either a cappella or accompanied by an instrument, rather than having
> > > offstage instrumental music only. But there are instances of that as
> > well.
> > >
> > > A few examples of strictly instrumental music played offstage from
> Verdi.
> > > There is the offstage dance music in the final act of UN BALLO IN
> > MASCHERA,
> > > I believe more than once. In Act 1 of TRAVIATA, we hear the band
> playing
> > > waltz music in one of the back rooms at Violetta’s party. Verdi also
> used
> > > offstage band to play dance music in the opening scene in RIGOLETTO
> while
> > > the Duke is partying with the courtiers, telling them about a young
> woman
> > > he saw in the church, and so on. I’m sure there are more instances in
> > Verdi
> > > but these are the first ones that I recalled off the top of my head.
> > >
> > > There is the offstage band playing interchangeably with the orchestra
> in
> > > the opening scene of LA SONNAMBULA while the villagers chorus can also
> be
> > > heard in the background.
> > >
> > > In FIDELIO, Beethoven used the offstage trumpets to announce the
> > governor’s
> > > arrival in the final scene. Having the four characters suspend their
> talk
> > > to listen to the sound of trumpets achieves an effective dramatic
> effect
> > > that the rescue and freedom are finally in sight.
> > >
> > > IN CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA there are instrumental accompaniments on harp
> and
> > > organ, both played backstage. After the orchestral prelude, the opera
> > opens
> > > with the voice of Turridu singing his ‘Siciliana’ accompanied by
> offstage
> > > harp. Later on, ‘Regina coeli’ starts with the chorus singing it a
> > cappella
> > > offstage and the orchestra joins in once the choral procession enters
> the
> > > stage. At some point during this Easter scene, we then hear organ in
> the
> > > background. Quite beautiful.
> > >
> > > These are just some for a start. Good luck with the project.
> > >
> > > Vesna
> > >
> > > On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 4:49 PM, Hansen, Niels Christian <
> > [log in to unmask]
> > >> wrote:
> > >
> > >> Dear collective wisdom (with apologies for cross-posting),
> > >>
> > >> For a research project at Ohio State University, School of Music, we
> are
> > >> currently assembling a database of musical pieces in which composers
> > call
> > >> for one or more instruments to be played "offstage".
> > >>
> > >> Classic examples from the Western symphonic repertoire include: (1)
> the
> > >> offstage trumpet in Ludwig van Beethoven's Leonore Overtures Nos. 2 &
> 3,
> > >> (2) the offstage oboe in the third movement ("Scène aux champs") from
> > >> Hector Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique, and (3) the offstage female
> > choir in
> > >> "Neptune" from Gustav Holst's The Planets.
> > >>
> > >> We would be very grateful for your kind help in drawing our attention
> to
> > >> as many other examples as possible that you may be aware of!
> > >>
> > >> Thanks in advance,
> > >> Niels Chr. Hansen & David Huron
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Niels Chr. Hansen (PhD, MSc, MMus) | Postdoctoral Fellow in Music
> > >> Cognition | Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Laboratory<
> > >> http://musiccog.ohio-state.edu> | School of Music<
> > https://music.osu.edu/>
> > >> | Ohio State University<https://www.osu.edu/> | [log in to unmask]
> > <mailto:
> > >> [log in to unmask]>
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