Monday, November 17, 2014


"No artist is pleased...there is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
  There is only a strange, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that
  keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."
AUTHOR: Martha Graham

"An artist is never satisfied with his/her art.
      The pleasure the artists gets is in the act of
      striving for the perfection that will never
      be realized."


Leopold Stokowski, Conductor
Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana
Arturo Toscanini, Conductor

NBC Symphony Orchestra, 1938
Olga Simonova: Original Oil and Foil Paintings
Romeo and Juliet is an example of program music, music that tells a story
or describes a particular scene. In this instance, characters and incidents
from the play are presented as different musical themes, structured in sonata form.

In sonata form, themes are introduced in the Exposition section; extended,
fragmented or combined in the Development section; and then revisited,
with modifications, in the Recapitulation section. There are an introduction
and a coda as well.

Concert Overture
Romeo and Juliet
Tchaikovsky began work on the Fantasy
-Overture Romeo and Julietin September
1869. By the end of November he had
completed the scoring, and arrangements
were made for the work to be premiered
in Moscow on March 16, 1870, with
Nicholas Rubinstein conducting.
Nikolai Rubinstein (1835-81)
During the summer of 1870 Tchaikovsky
revised the work, making considerable
changes. The score is dedicated to
Mily Balakirev (1837-1910),
 one of the leading figures of "The Mighty Five"
Balakirev, Cui, Borodin, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky Korsakov
(a group of 19th century Russian composers including, in addition to Balakirev,
Alexander Borodin, César Cui, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,
all of whom were united in their aim to create a distinctive nationalist school of
music.) It was Balakirev who suggested the idea to Tchaikovsky for the Fantasy-
Overture as well as its general outline. It is of interest that at a later date
Tchaikovsky contemplated writing an opera on the Romeo and Juliet
theme; a duet was sketched but left unfinished.
1918 illustration of Romeo and Juliet found in Tales from Shakespeare in an Ephemera Grab Bag on Characters in Shakespeare.
The Fantasy Overture consists of an
introduction followed by a single movement
in sonata-allegro form.The introduction begins
with the stately and structured "Friar Lawrence" theme.
romeo and juliet friar laurence painting - Google Search
Friar Lawrence is the peacekeeper and voice of
reason in this play. His theme begins calm and
uplifting, but soon becomes more agitated through
the use of altering instrumentation and pitch.
Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 2.49.37 pm
The Friar Lawrence Theme is first heard in the clarinet
and bassoon.These instruments have a very warm and
comforting timbre, reflecting Friar Lawrence's character.
The section is in F# minor, and starts with a homophonic
texture and a hymn like choral quality, further intensifying
the similarity to Friar Lawrence’s character. Later in the
development and recapitulation sections it combines with
the "Feud" theme to show how Friar Lawrence attempted
to resolve the conflict, but ultimately failed (Lynch, 2011).
The Feud theme is presented next, and is the theme of the
conflict at the heart of Shakespeare's play. Ultimately,
this conflict puts an end to Romeo and Juliet's lives.
  Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 2.54.44 pm 
This startling four bar theme first appears at the start
of what is called the exposition in sonata form (bars
112-115). It is in B minor, homophonic in texture,
and generally remains unchanged throughout the
piece, showing a similarity to the immovable nature
of the two families (Lynch, 2011). It is played first by
the flutes and violins, which when played in this style
have a sharp timbre and can be likened to the clanging
of metal on metal, like swords. These two instruments
are then joined by the remaining wind, horns, timpani,
and strings. The frantic theme is characterised by
sharp articulation such as staccato, and using
syncopated rhythms to create tension in the
listener and not allowing them to become
comfortable in the piece (Lynch, 2011). It
is repetitious and quite harsh, making
it very difficult to listen to.
Finally, the feud theme quiets and
fades into the Love theme.

This is probably one of the most well known
themes in Tchaikovsky's works, and
is the main theme for Romeo and
Juliet's fleeting, passionate relationship.
It is a long, expansive theme, filled with
emotion, and altered constantly throughout
the theme to show how quickly Romeo and
Juliet’s relationship grows against all odds.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 2.58.55 pm
It is first presented in D flat major, played by the viola
and the English horn. These instruments are joined by
the strings to quieten their sound and make them less
harsh to further intensify the stark contrast with both the
Feud and Friar Lawrence themes (Lynch, 2011). The low
strings provide a pizzicato accompaniment, creating a full
and rounded texture and warm timbre that finally grows to
a rising harp arpeggio at the end of the theme. This creates a
complete sound in the listener’s mind and sets them at ease,
ready to be barraged by the coda and ending.
Friar Lawrence with Romeo And Juliet
The reflective love music is suddenly interrupted by a return
of the principal theme, which is highly developed and
ingeniously combined with the Friar Lawrence motive of
the introduction. In the recapitulation section which follows,
the second theme (love motive) appears in D major. All the
themes of the piece are mixed together in a frantic finale,
and to conclude the work, the principal B minor theme is
combined in the full orchestra with the Friar Lawrence theme
and, as the music subsides, there are motives from the second
theme section. The work concludes in the key of B major.
Favourite Classical Composers, (2010). Romeo and Juliet Overture –
Tchaikovsky’s Dramatic Interpretation. [online] Favorite-classical- Available at: http://www.favorite-classical-

Lynch, E. (2011). Tchaikovsky’s romeo and juliet fantasy overture.
[online] Available at:

Magnum, J. (2012). Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture. [online] LA Phil.
fantasy-overture-peter-ilyich-tchaikovsky [Accessed 23 Apr. 2014]. 

Stevenson, J. (2014). Romeo and Juliet, fantasy-overture for orchestra in B 
minor (3 versions) – Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky | Details, Parts / Movements 
and Recordings | AllMusic. [online] AllMusic. Available at: http://www.
Romeo and Juliet
Jazz Arrangement
Our Love
Ted Heath and his Orchestra
Romeo and Juliet
Pop Arrangement, 1966
Rhapsody In The Rain
Lou Christie

Baby, the raindrops play for me 
A lonely rhapsody 'cause on our first date
We were makin' out in the rain

And in this car, our love went much too far.
It was exciting as thunder,
Tonight I wonder where you are.

The windshield wipers seemed to say,
"Together - together - together - together".
And now they are saying
"Oh, ne...ver, ne...ver".
Ooh-wee, ooh-wee, baby.
Rhapsody in the rain.
Rhapsody in the rain.
Angels keep cryin' for me...(don't stop).
Angels keep cryin' for me...(don't stop).

Baby, I'm parked outside your door.
Remember makin' love, makin' love,
We were makin' love in the storm.
(sha-la-la-la la-la).

And then a flash from above.
Lightning - lightning - lightning - lightning.
Just li-ike our love.
It was exciting, exciting.
Ooh-wee, ooh-wee, baby
Rhapsody in the rain.
Rhapsody in the rain.
Angels keep cryin' for me...(don't stop).
Angels keep cryin' for me...(don't stop).

(Music Interlude)

Yesterday, bring back yesterday
Rhapsody in the rain.
Rhapsody in the rain.
Angels keep cryin' for me...(don't stop).
Angels keep cryin' for me...(don't stop).

Rhapsody in the rain
Rhapsody in the rain

(fading out)
Rhapsody in the rain
Rhapsody in the rain...
In any case, Juliet's age is a key to her character. She's innocent and full of
hope. Both Romeo and Paris fall in love with Juliet on sight alone. Before
they're even introduced, Paris asks to marry her, and Romeo is "bewitched
by the charm of looks." In this couple, Romeo is the romantic one, and
Juliet is the practical one. We can see this contrast in the balcony scene.
Romeo is content to speak poetic words of love, while Juliet sets up the
marriage and the time and means of communication. She prefers short
statements to flowery promises, and her practical nature leads her to worry
about the suddenness of their passion. By the end of the play, she has come
full circle from innocence to experience.
Everyone likes Romeo. Mercutio and Benvolio both want his attention, the
Nurse thinks he's honest, courteous, kind, and handsome. His mother loves
him so much that she dies of grief when he's banished; and even Lord Capulet
calls him "a virtuous and well-governed youth" and refuses to let Tybalt
bother him. Friar Lawrence loves Romeo so much that he'll do almost
anything to secure his happiness. He is passionate. Romeo has the blessing and
the curse of feeling things deeply. At the beginning of the play, he is despairing
over his unrequited love for Rosaline. He is able to give himself completely to
his love for Juliet, and his only trouble comes when he gives in to "fire-eyed
fury" after Mercutio is killed. He's virtuous, honest, charming, and well mannered.
Friar Lawrence
He’s Catholic. Throughout the play, many people come to him for advice, and
he does his best to help them. He often reminds Romeo of the Church's teachings,
and he tries to use his position to end the feud. He is a good and wise man who is
foiled by fate. The Friar's first speech about the paradoxes of life seems to prove
that he has a deep understanding of life. He gives Romeo wise counsel every step
of the way; he tells him to take the relationship slowly and to try to moderate his
passion. As long as Romeo has Friar Lawrence to guide him, he can overcome any
circumstances; it's only when Romeo has no one to quiet his passions that he kills
The Nurse
The Nurse is a comic character who becomes tragic because she isn't able to grow.
Because she sees things in physical terms, she can't understand the depth of the
lovers' emotional and spiritual bond. She says exactly what she thinks, whether
or not it's appropriate.
Witty, sarcastic, always the center of attention at parties, always ready with a put
-down. He is clever, intelligent, and well educated. He is a master of words; he
can make many puns. He is fiery and excitable. He whips himself into a frenzy
with the Queen Mab speech, and he's already worked himself into a fighting
mood by the time he meets up with Tybalt in Act III.
Tybalt, a Capulet, is trouble from the beginning. He's so hot-tempered and full of
hate that even his family thinks he's a "saucy boy." He can be seen as the
embodiment of the feud. During the play, he fights Benvolio, Lord Capulet,
Mercutio, and Romeo. In the first scene, when Benvolio talks of peace, Tybalt
leaps in with "I hate the word as I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee." In nature
and personality, he is contrasted to Mercutio. Mercutio is witty, cultured, and
educated, and he isn't about to take an insult from someone like Tybalt, whose
only means of expression is a sword. Mercutio's extreme dislike of Tybalt is
another reason he must take up Tybalt's challenge of Romeo.
Benvolio, a Montague, is the kind of person we'd all like to have for a friend.
When Romeo wants to be left alone, he leaves him alone; when he wants to talk,
Benvolio is there to listen with a sympathetic ear. And when Romeo is in trouble
for killing Tybalt, it's Benvolio who gets him off the street and into hiding.
Benvolio is known as a clear-thinking, reliable, and peace-loving young man.
He tries to stop fighting whenever it starts.
Unwanted Character. Shakespeare makes sure that he compares favorably with
Romeo. He is young, handsome, wealthy, and, socially, his family is a step above
Romeo's- Paris is related to Prince Escalus. Paris, too, is tired of the feud and
sincerely in love with Juliet. He never tries to steal Juliet from Romeo; he
proposes before Juliet meets Romeo, and he dies without knowing he has a rival.
Romeo and Juliet Character Web
1. Love vs. Hate- The play contrasts Romeo and Juliet's love against their families'
hate as illustrated by the feud. In the Prologue, we're told that their love is stronger
than the hatred of the feud, but it's a bitter struggle. Hatred is strong enough to
separate the lovers, kill Mercutio, Tybalt, and Paris, banish Romeo, and finally
force Romeo and Juliet to commit suicide. But love is even stronger: nothing can
kill the love between Romeo and Juliet, and this finally triumphs.

2. Fate- In the Prologue, we're told that the lovers are "star-crossed," which implies
that fate has it in for them. The number of fateful coincidences and accidents in the
play are too numerous to miss: Romeo finds out about the Capulets' party from an
illiterate servant; he winds up in the Capulets' orchard; Mercutio is killed under his
arm- the list goes on and on. Every plan that the lovers make is thwarted. They're
destined to die, and nothing can stop it.

3. True love can conquer all, as shown through Romeo and Juliet who defy
unbelievable problems to be married, to consummate their marriage, and to
live united for eternity.

4. Foolish quarrels should be ended, for they are never productive and often
lead to tragedy, as in the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to
develop and inform the text's major themes. Like stars, birds are examples
of motifs in Romeo and Juliet.
Light/Dark Imagery
One of the more important instances of this motif is Romeo's lengthy meditation
on the sun and the moon during the balcony scene, in which Juliet,
metaphorically described as the sun, is seen as banishing the "envious moon"
and transforming the night into day (II.i.46). A similar blurring of night and
day occurs in the early morning hours after the lovers' only night together.
Romeo, forced to leave for exile in the morning, and Juliet, not wanting him to
leave her room, both try to pretend that it is still night, and that the light is
actually darkness: "More light and light, more dark and dark our woes" (III.v.36).