To Battle!


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To Battle!


This piece is a largely instrumental interlude that occurs in Act 4 of Verdi’s opera Macbeth. It comes at the climactic point in the opera when Macduff, Malcom and the English army have joined forces and attack Macbeth’s forces. Verdi represents this conflict musically with an epic fugato passage, with a subject reminiscent of a trumpet call to war. This is passed around all the instruments, and interspersed with tutti passages, some with busy semiquavers and diminished harmonies representing chaotic action and peril, and others with great unison passages like war cries. As the action intensifies, entries of the fugal theme come closer and closer together, and the tension is ramped up with a series of pedal notes, first in the upper parts and then in the lower. After reaching it’s peak, the music then fades away as the battle continues in the distance and Macbeth and Macduff move towards their fateful duel and the inevitable tragic ending.

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Robert Rainford


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