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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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Verdi: A Symposium

Verdi: A Symposium

(p.171) Chapter 33 Verdi: A Symposium
Vaughan Williams on Music

David Manning

Oxford University Press

Giuseppe Verdi wrote operas. He did not add music to plays full of superficial philosophy or bogus psychology. Verdi carried on his drama by means of lyric song. His orchestra, it is true, has a wonderful sonority, but it is the voice on which he counts to elucidate the situation. Verdi realised that song can carry on a plot in a way which words alone can never do. A good example of this comes from the last Act of the Verdi opera, Rigoletto. This chapter also discusses Verdi's Requiem, which is a heap of contradictions. It gives the strongest proofs that there are no canons of art. Any right-minded musician who only knew the Requiem from description would certainly condemn it. Verdi frankly makes frequent use of such well-worn aids to excitement as the diminished seventh and the chromatic scale.

Keywords:   Giuseppe Verdi, operas, drama, lyric song, orchestra, Rigoletto, Requiem

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