II. Prelude 6: Allegro appassionato (1947)

Violet Archer

Violet Archer (1913-2000) is an important prairie artist, whose music was received international recognition for its quality and beauty. Land’s End pianist Elizabeth Bergmann recorded only two of the six preludes, which demonstrate the scope of musical textures Archer was able to create.

Activities

Level: High School

Composers work very hard to create a sense of mood within the music they write. British composer Adam Gorb created a set of musical antonyms, words which gather more meaning when placed in opposition to each other. These words reflect some of the moods and textures he tries to create when he composes new music.

3 principal variables: PITCH RHYTHM INSTRUMENTATION

fast slow
loud soft
simple complex
tension release
thick thin
classic popular
dramatic lyrical
happy sad
violent gentle
clean dirty
heavy light
serious funny
city country
near far
hot cold
dry wet
clear foggy
good bad

from a lecture by Adam Gorb, Lucerne, Switzerland, July 2001

Violet Archer manages to create a remarkable variety of textures and moods in these 2 short preludes. Listen to each one at lest twice. On the third listening, use words from the list above to describe the mood or character of the music you are listening to. Does the character change during the piece? Does more than one word help to explain the texture? How do you think Archer creates this mood?