Guided Listening #1: Fanfares!

For this Guided Listening, you will need the following:

A copy of these teaching steps
Audio asset: Excerpt of Célébration by André Prévost
Audio asset: Excerpt of News by Barbara Pentland
Text asset: André Prévost, Célébration
Text asset: Barbara Pentland, News
All assets are provided below.

I. First Impressions

  • Listen to the audio assets: Célébration by Prévost and News I by Pentland.
  • What do you notice about these two excerpts? (Students will probably hear that both feature exciting brass and drum rhythms.)
  • The two excerpts you just heard are types of fanfares. Share the following information:

When you hear a flourish of brass instruments, as an introduction to an important event (such as the Olympics) you are hearing a fanfare. In the days before electronic communication the great resonance of brass instruments made them useful for ceremonial occasions, and also as signals in battle (along with drums) and hunting. The practice survives to the present day; do a YouTube search for the Last Post and Olympic Fanfare for examples. Composers sometimes insert a fanfare into a larger composition as a way to suggest a ceremonial moment, warfare, or mourning.

II. Compare and Contrast

  • Write the names of the compositions and composers on the board. Explain that one piece is joyful and the other very serious.
  • Now listen to the two excerpts again, making notes of the similarities and differences on a Venn Diagram.
  • Share impressions. Can students identify which fanfare is which?
  • Read the text assets about the composers and these two compositions.
  • Ask: Why do you think both composers used fanfares?

III. Composer Strategy

  • Ask: How can we describe the strategy the composer used to make us think about the real world? (Introduce the term: musical schema - associations we all have with certain types of music. In this case the schema is the connection most of us automatically make between this type of music and ceremonies and/or the war and the military. Enter this on your Composer Strategies Chart.)

Excerpt of Célébration by André Prévost (0:00:27)

Excerpt of Célébration by André Prévost - Play now

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This joyful piece was first performed in 1966 at the opening of the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, PEI. Notice the use of traditional fanfare components: brass, drums, exciting rhythms and a fast tempo.

Excerpt I of News by Barbara Pentland (0:00:56)

Excerpt I of News by Barbara Pentland - Play now

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This anti-war protest was first performed in 1971. In this excerpt Pentland conjures up a battle scene with a fanfare-like trumpet solo against a menacing sustained musical background.

André Prévost, Célébration
André Prévost (1934-2001) was born in Hawkesbury Ontario and died in Montréal, Québec. This joyful piece was written to celebrate the opening of the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, a tribute to the founding fathers of Canada who signed the agreement making Canada a nation in Charlottetown a century earlier. Notice the use of brass and percussion fanfares and a long lyrical oboe solo. It was first performed in the Centre by the Halifax Symphony in 1966 with conductor John Fenwick.

Barbara Pentland, News
Pentland (1912-2000) was born in Winnipeg and died in Vancouver. News is an expression of her horror of war, written at the height of the Cold War, a time of enormous turmoil in the world. The lyrics are derived from actual newscasts and newspaper articles during the 1968-1970 time period, and refer to the arms race, the war in Vietnam, an oil spill, the suppression of the Prague Spring, the rise of black power, the emergence of the ‘drop-out' generation and more. The final reference is to the first moon landing July 20, 1969.

Notice the use of stuttering to suggest the mechanical world of teletype and machine guns, words sung backwards (‘news' becomes ‘swen'), the use of foreign words, fanfares and the innovative technique of having the singer sing with a tape of herself. The work was first performed in 1971 by the NAC Orchestra with conductor Mario Bernardi and soprano Phyllis Mailing.

Credits and Copyright

  • Audio Asset: Excerpt from Célébration by André Prévost
    1966, André Prévost
  • Audio Asset: Excerpt I from News by Barbara Pentland
    1971, Barbara Pentland
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