What I Like About...
Thursday, February 05, 2004
  Nachdem David war redlich und aufrichtig
Hans Sachs (1494-1576)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 1 Track 24

Our survey brings us to the 16th century. Here we encounter Wagner's hero, the shoemaker-Meistersinger. It is surprising, so many centuries since the Epitaph of Seikilos, that this music is not very different from what we have heard before. We may hear more variation in more recent music only because we have access to a wider selection. Or perhaps, the more we listen to disparate music the more we will find things that are alike.

Like the sequence on track 17, this piece uses the melodic pattern of a minor third followed by a major second. As mentioned, I find this pattern to be effective in creating a strong character. This piece goes farther and presents the most disjunct motion we have yet encountered. Though the leaps are never more than a fifth, they are frequent. Sung without instrumental support, the singer thrusts these notes out of almost nowhere with virtuosity. The melody has a powerful gravity toward 'G' which prevents the singer or listener from ever getting lost.

What I like about this piece is how it climaxes on the text "...therefore in the morning...." At first this seemed a strange line to reach the highest pitch. However, it is the moment the narration changes from describing David's plight to suggesting a possible solution. Even though the opening material returns at the end, there is a moment after the climax and before the conclusion where the singer is more cautious, conspiratorial. 

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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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