Monday, February 07, 2005

"Ridente la calma" - Mozart

I’m doing “Ridente la calma” by W.A. Mozart, one of his only songs for soprano not written for the opera stage or concert. It is widely thought that the song was intended for educational purposes, to be used by Mozart with his voice students. An interesting, factoid: Mozart based “Ridente la calma” on an opera aria written by a close friend. In fact, the A section is almost identical to the original aria. Some historians think that Mozart didn’t even write “Ridente la calma,” especially since the song was never intended for an opera or recital. The song is composed in ternary form, or a da capo aria, with an A section, B section, and recapitulation of the original A section.

In the song, the singer calls to her lover to be calm, to relax in her embrace and be content. In the B section, the singer asks her lover to come to her and to tangle her in the chains of his love. The A section returns with no change in the lyrics.

The song is a good exercise for young singers to practice correct support and breathing, and placement in the passagio area, around high E on the staff to G. This is the area of transition from the chest to head voice. It is often difficult for young singers to master correct placement in the passagio. Most of the melody hovers around the E, F, and G range. The song also promotes good connection of phrases: Most of the phrases end and start on the same note. For example, one phrase ends on B flat, the next begins on B flat. Therefore, singers are encouraged to not change their placement when they take in a breath between phrases.

The piano accompaniment is pretty simple, and rarely has any of the melody written in. In my opinion, this supports the idea that the song was written as an educational piece. Otherwise, the accompaniment may have been more complex and “showy.”


Suzanne said...

this is great! where did you find all this information on the song? i hope i can use some facts for my recital program notes

Anonymous said...

Very helpful and interesting blurb. I'm learning this piece and found the paragraph about the technical aspects, very useful. Thanks.