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Carpathian Sketches

Unit 1: Composer
Robert Jager was born August 25th, 1939 in Binghamton, New York. He is a graduate from the
University of Michigan. Jager taught for thirty years at Tennessee Tech University as a Music
Professor. He served in the United State Navy for four years as the Staff Arranger/Composer at
the Armed Forces School of Music. Jager's credits comprise over 150 published works for band,
orchestra, chorus, and various chamber combinations. He has conducted and lectured
throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and the Republic of China. Jager has also
received many awards for his compositions, including being the only three-time winner of the
American Bandmasters Association "Ostwald Award”.

Unit 2: Composition
This piece was composed in 1970 and is in the standard A-B-A form. After the piece was
composed, it was published by Hal Leonard in 1970. This is listed as a grade two piece from
many band repertoire resources. On average, this piece is at least three minutes long.

Unit 3: Historical Perspective


The Carpathian Mountains are located in East-Central Europe. They run primarily through the
country of The Czech Republic. The music in that region has always been different with its style.
They have a unique sound when it comes to their rhythm, harmony, and melody. Bela Bartok
studied the music of Czechoslovakia, as well as other European countries, composing and
publishing folk songs that he personally recorded and gathered. This would later help inspire
Jager about composing a piece dedicated to the Czech region.

Unit 4: Technical Considerations


Carpathian Sketches (1978) is a Grade 2 piece. Regardless of the difficulty level, the piece has
many elements that will challenge an ensemble and their director. Because of the modal
texture, there are many accidentals that are used frequently. Along with the accidentals, the
modality will also challenge the ensemble because some of the melodic contours will not go
where the students want them to go. The piece is quite simple rhythmically. There is an
extended offbeat ostinato between the trombones and tuba that require a good sense of pulse.
Measure 21 contains a completely exposed top-line F in the trumpet 1 followed by the same
theme on an F sharp in mm. 22. Percussion requires: Timpani, Bells, Snare, Bass Drum, and
Cymbals.

Unit 5: Stylistic Considerations


Carpathian Sketches contains many styles throughout the piece. From the intro, you will notice
the fanfare-like theme that sets the tone of the piece. Good articulate separation is required to
execute that style properly. At letter A there is a sudden shift in dynamics, thickness, and
articulation. The style starts with a fanfare sounding intro, then at rehearsal letter A, the sound
drops and the woodwinds are the only ones playing. The sound then trades off to the brass,
who responds to the woodwinds with a strong and round attack. These two contrasting styles
alternate all the way up to letter B. This occurs throughout the entire piece and should be
recognized by the conductor by being able to switch off between styles effectively and
efficiently.

Unit 6: Musical Elements


Melody:
This piece uses a fanfare theme at the beginning followed by a primary theme and a secondary
theme. The fanfare theme occurs in the intro ( mm. 1-6). The melody plays around the D minor
scale, primarily the tonic chord. It is scored in unisons throughout the entire ensemble.

At letter A (mm. 7) the composer introduces the new primary theme. It is first played by the
clarinets at a piano dynamic (mm. 7-8). Then the low brass continues the melody in mm. 9 at a
subito fortissimo. Then the secondary theme is introduced by the flutes in mm. 27. To end the
piece, the composer applies the fanfare theme used in the intro, to the end of the piece.

Harmony:
This piece is centered around D minor and D Phrygian. The alternation between minor and
Phrygian will be difficult for the ensemble because it will require the students to be really
confident in their musical decisions, especially with their slide positions and partials within the
low brass. The ensemble should know where their sound will resolve to, this will make those
changes easier.

Rhythm:
The rhythmic elements in the piece are not challenging except for a few places. Mm. 27-30
present a typical rhythmic gesture characteristic of many pieces for band. An off beat ostinato in
the low brass support the melody heard in the upper woodwinds.

Make sure to keep the conducting small so that the low brass does not put a lot of weight on
the note and drag the tempo.

Timbre:
This piece contains many examples of textural shifts. The melodic material is first presented
softly by the clarinet. It is continued and expanded in a passage in the horn and low brass. This
is a textural shift because of the instrumentation that changes from the exchange of melody.
One of the more difficult passages in intended to give the piece an immediate contrast in
timbre. This can be found in mm. 17-20. The trumpet section plays their own chorale like
section by themselves for four measures. This is the transition into the new faster section at
letter C.
Woodwinds and low brass can then be heard playing against each other in the development.
Not only does Jager contrast the two timbres, but he also combines a legato pattern with the
rhythmic low brass pattern.
Unit 7: Form and Structure

Section Measure Scoring


A 1-6 Fanfare theme throughout ensemble.
B 7-14 New primary theme throughout clarinet, horn, and trombone.
C 15-22 Transition, Trumpet chorale.
D 23-26 Fanfare motive.
E 26-41 New secondary theme is presented in the flute section, with the
development building throughout the rest of the ensemble.
F 42-57 Development of fanfare motive.
G 58-63 Transition back to the primary theme.
Coda 64-70 Return of fanfare them in augmentation.
Unit 8: Suggested Listening

Bartok, Bela (1881-1945)


- Dance Suite (1925)
- Mikrokosmos (1922)

Dvorak, Antonin (1841-1904)


- Slavonic Dances (1878)

Jager, Robert (1939)


- Second Suite (1964)
- Third Suite (1965)

Smetana, Bedrich (1824-1884)


- The Moldau (1874)

Unit 9: Resources

1. Chambers, L. (2013, July 17). Carpathian Sketches. Retrieved March 16, 2018, from
https://prezi.com/4wihhpkwzwbq/carpathian-sketches/

2. Biographical Information. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from


http://www.rjager.com/bio.php

3. Bela Bartok. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2018, from http://www.bach-


cantatas.com/Lib/Bartok-Bela.htm