Listening Lists: Impressed By Earth

Earth and nature have been inspiring composers for hundreds of years. Have a pay attention to 5 examples of classical music works impressed by Planet Earth!

Claude Debussy – La mer: III. Dialogue du vent et de la mer

When Debussy was eight-years-old, he noticed the Mediterranean Sea for the primary time. Later, he additionally grew to become keen on the Atlantic Ocean. His father, a sailor, informed him many tales about his life on the ocean, and hoped his son would comply with the identical profession path (spoiler alert: that did not occur). Nevertheless, Debussy’s sturdy connection to nice our bodies of water impressed “La mer”. The unique cowl picture on the rating makes use of “The Wave” by Japanese engraver Hokusai; this was at Debussy’s request. The third and last motion of the work – “Dialogue du vent et de la mer” (Dialogue of the wind and the ocean) – portrays a stormy battle between the wind and sea.

Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi: Koyaanisqatsi

This piece was initially composed for the 1982 cult movie “Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Steadiness”. The movie has been thought-about to be concerning the complicated relationship between man-made applied sciences and nature, although the creators inspired viewers to determine for themselves what all of it means!

The trimmed-down soundtrack by Philip Glass was launched in 1983, following the preliminary launch of the movie. In 1998, an extended model of the album was recorded as a stand-alone work, quite than as a movie soundtrack. The entire unique soundtrack recording was launched in 2009. The music is in a minimalist type, with many repeated motifs and easy buildings and harmonies.

The opening observe makes use of the identical identify because the work in its entirety. The definition of the phrase “koyaanisqatsi” (from the language of the Hopi folks of northeastern Arizona, United States) is alongside the traces of “life of ethical corruption and turmoil” or “life out of stability”. In Glass’ music, the phrase is chanted by a bass singer (Albert de Ruiter) over a solemn organ accompaniment.

Franz Liszt – Ce qu’on entend sur la montagne

“Ce qu’on entend sur la montagne” (“What We Hear On The Mountain”) is the

first of 13 symphonic poems by Liszt. A symphonic poem is a story piece of

music for orchestra, with none spoken or sung phrases. The work is impressed by a poem by Victor Hugo, through which an unnamed protagonist climbs to the highest of a mountain and hears an intense, troubled, musical voice which swirls round them.

The protagonist quickly realises that there are literally two voices:

– one highly effective and joyful, representing nature.

– one filled with disappointment and worry, representing humanity.

The voices mingle collectively, separate, cross over, and soften into each other, till the protagonist can not hear them anymore.

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Gustav Mahler – Das Lied von der Erde: VI. Der Abschied

“Das Lied von der Erde” (The Track of the Earth) is a composition (described by Mahler as a symphony) for 2 voices (tenor and alto (or baritone)) and orchestra. It consists of six songs, with the 2 voices alternating actions. The texts are based mostly on Hans Bethge’s “Die chinesische Flöte” poems, themselves diversifications of classical Chinese language poetry in German and French translations.

The sixth track is a setting of “Der Abschied” (The Farewell). Bethge’s textual content combines poems by Tang Dynasty poets Meng Haoran and Wang Wei, and Mahler added in a number of of his personal traces for the musical setting. An English translation might be discovered beneath the embedded video.


The solar separates behind the mountains.

The night descends into all of the valleys

With its shadows, that are filled with cooling.

O look! Like a silver boat floats

The moon up on the blue sky-lake.

I really feel a nice wind blowing

Behind the darkish spruces!

The brook sings filled with melodious sound via the darkness.

The flowers pale within the twilight.

The earth breathes filled with relaxation and sleep.

All longing now needs to dream,

The drained folks go house,

To be taught once more of their sleep forgotten happiness

And youth to rediscover!

The birds perch quietly of their branches.

The world falls asleep!

It blows cooly within the shade of my spruces.

I stand right here and anticipate my good friend;

I anticipate his final farewell.

I lengthy, O good friend, by your facet

To take pleasure in the fantastic thing about this night.

The place are you? You allow me lengthy alone!

I stroll up and down with my lute

On paths that swell with delicate grass.

O magnificence! O everlasting love – life – drunk’n world!

He dismounted from his horse and supplied him the drink.

Of farewell.

He requested him the place he was going

And in addition why it have to be.

He spoke, his voice was fluttered. You, my good friend,

Happiness has not been form to me on this world!

The place am I going? I am going, I wander within the mountains.

I search relaxation for my lonely coronary heart.

I stroll to my homeland, my place.

I’ll by no means wander into the gap.

Nonetheless is my coronary heart awaiting its hour!

The expensive earth in all places

Blossoms in spring and grows inexperienced anew!

In every single place and everlasting blue mild the gap!

Without end… without end…

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Sinfonia antartica: I. Prelude

Vaughan Williams composed music for the 1948 movie Scott of the Antarctic. He was so impressed that he reworked a lot of the music into what grew to become his seventh symphony. This symphony is scored for a full orchestra, with a solo soprano and three-part girls’s refrain who sing within the first and final (fifth) actions.

In the beginning of every motion there’s a (written) literary citation; these quotations are generally recited in performances and recordings of the works. The primary motion of the work is launched with the next citation:

“To undergo woes which hope thinks infinite, /To forgive wrongs darker than dying or evening, /To defy energy which appears all-powerful, /… /Neither to alter, nor falter, nor repent: /This … is to be /Good, nice and joyous, lovely and free, /That is alone Life, Pleasure, Empire and Victory.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Prometheus Unbound”

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