Inspired by Goethe's poem. Title translation = Elf King, but actually in German mythology, = evil spirit
called the greatest lied ever written, but rejected with first publisher at age 17
union between music and text with depth of feeling
-words depict the action, music portrays mood
-galloping horses with triplet octaves on the piano
-major key when the Erlkonig speaks seductively
-rising notes with the worried son
-rumbling figure by the bass creates ominous feeling, notes rush upwards and then descend with a g minor triad
-various modulations, changes to key signature ex. C major
-Through-composed, unity suggested by continuity of the rhythmic accompaniment and repetition of material
-word painting on the child's increasingly frantic cries of "Oh, Father!", which rise in pitch
-dramatic ending with the end of the triplets (the horse slows) and a pause before "the child...was dead."
One singer --> 4 different characters with different voice ranges, moods and intentions
-deep reassuring father
-high pitched anxious child with his dissonant lines
-soothing seductive Erlkonig in the relative major key
symbolic of Poland's military, patriotic spirit, not meant to be danced to
virtuoso demands: rapid octave section; wide dynamic range, runs in section A with both hands in unison, reading the music in chromatic passages; accurate use of ornamentation; appropriate temp rubato
long intro: one page, emotional, intense and important. builds up until first theme, triumphant and confident
Section A: extensive, repeating theme. Each repetition has a different texture. Development of both first and second themes and bridges. rapid scalic passages that appear five times. Second theme uses the traditional polonaise rhythm in the left hand with a shorter more dramatic melody. First beat of each bar is punctuated by octaves in the left hand.
Section B: opening fortissimo, arpeggiated E major chords lead to descending left hand motive, an ostinato bass line in sixteenth notes meant to sound like horses. Contrasting highly chromatic, wandering section leads back to Section A.
Section A1: strong return with main theme in octaves. Coda concludes with music alternating between racing upwards and thematic material.
originally unsuccessful - no ballet, frothy heroine or happy ending as expected by audience
however, some composers including Brahms and Tchaikovsky hailed it a great success. Audiences accepted it with time and made it popular.
19th century paris : musically "exotic" = popular and Spain was a favourite setting. Bizet borrowed from authentic Spanish musical sources and added his own style. However, not meant as a literal portray, he never went to Spain, but the "exoticism" maintained its popularity.
the seguidilla, a lively spanish dance, and the habanera, a cuban dance, is used. Famenco dancing (including one by Carmen), featuring hand clapping, finger snapping and tongue clicking is used too.
stereotypical gypsy is sexually provocative, fortune telling and nomadic, owning horses. Toreador (Bull fighter) also included, since bullfighting is the national sport of Spain.