Sunday, February 13, 2005

"Anthem" from Chess

As of right now I've just taken a nice healthy dose of NyQuil to battle an extremely persistant flu virus. Let's have some fun shall we?

Music by: Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (the guys from ABBA, surprisingly)
Lyrics by: Tim Rice (of Disney fame)

This song is found at the end of Act I of the musical, when the Russian is at the Embassy (or Airport, depending on version) looking to emigrate from his native soil. He is explaining why he wants to leave the land he has lived in all his life. The music begins slowly, with strings on the harmonic bass with an oboe as the melody line. The voice comes in after a short 8-bar introduction that ends with an IAC that becomes a PAC on the first downbeat of the singer's measure. The singing is calm, not rushed, very measured, as he has been battling this decision for a long time. This song is in two parts, with a repeated A section (first melodic idea) made up of two 8-bar phrases. We then move onto the B-section (second melodic idea) This second section is a little more driven, with a lower tone and more emotion behind it, as he explains that just because he is leaving his country it doesn't mean he's leaving his home. After the first phrase we have an instrumental bridge that comes chrashing in, with an electric guitar, cymbals and drums. We get a repeat of the second phrase (although with new worda) with a small change (hitting a high G with the voice on "where would I start?" then an extension with deceptive motion, before a final resolution with a PAC. This repetition of the phrase is held aloft because of increased accompaniment activity, a horn section comes in, resonationg the point home, as the guitar continues to wail and the drums steadily beat. This truly feels like an anthem due to it's patriotic message ("my land's only borders lie around my heart") and melodic feel. The could definately be a national anthem for one of the former Soviet Republics, although it would have to be a swishy Republic, since he remembers the country fondly for the most part.

1 comment:

Scott Spiegelberg said...

At the introduction, either the cadence is a IAC or a PAC. From your description (I'm not familiar with this particular part of the musical), it sounds like IAC is the appropriate call, as the voice would enter on the beginning of the next phrase.