Gioachino Rossini – Overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op.51
Venue: Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, Manhattan, NY
Performers: New England Symphonic Ensemble, Joanna Medawar Nachef (Guest Conductor), Giuseppe Lanzetta (Guest Conductor), Amy Shoremount-Obra (Soparano vocalist), Toufic Maatouk (Bass-baritone vocalist), and 12 participating choruses from California and Lebanon
According to Emile Vuillermozs’ book entitled Gabriel Faure, “Requiem, Op.48” is described as “an absolutely unique work….the only one of its kind”(Vuillermoz 1960,74). When first listening to this piece, I was struck by the minor key which immidiately gave a melancholic theme. The libretto in general, is initially dominated by the soprano vocals within the main theme. The baritone voices are introduced at a moment when a new theme is introduced, and is again brought back to the main theme with the soprano vocals. Halfway into the Requiem there is a big shift in theme and the key is now in a major. It has a more uplifting quality, compared to the somber theme in the first half.
Gabriel Faure is probably most recognized for this piece. Unlike Mozart’s or Monteverdi’s Requiems, Faure has created a piece that has no religious or musical connections to past Requiems. Faure was not a religious man, yet designed this piece in a way that respected the views of religious people.
Sources: Vuillermoz, Emile. Gabriel Faure. Philidephia: n.p., 1960. Print.
Performers: David Robertson, Conductor; Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano
Beethovens second symphony was one of the final early Beethoven works, his deafness was already taking him so his future compositions wouldn’t be the same. Around this time in Beethovens life he had revealed his deafness, and he was also coming to terms with it. The symphony is in D major, but like other Beethoven works it didn’t fit the standard form of other symphony’s. Beethovens second symphony is one of the least performed out of all his other symphony’s.
Beethoven was a composer during the bridge between previously dominate classical era music and to the new genre romantic music. Since he was at this bridge in genres his music didn’t fit into the standards of each period they were all in between or even just uniquely composed to Beethovens personal preferences, and maybe that is why he ignore common structure, and this breaking away made him more unique and popular, even though not all his works are praised.
Performers: David Robertson, Conductor; Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano
In the beginning of his career Olivier Messiaen participated in the Prix de Rome, a competition for classical musicians, but had failed to win (Hill and Simeone 2005, 28-29). However, he did gain positive attention from critics and it was during this time, in 1931 one year after the competition, that he had written Les Offrandes Oubliees (Offerings Forgotten) which upon completion Messiaen wrote a letter to a friend describing the work as “the music for a symphonic poem” (Hill and Simeone 2005, 30).
The piece does not follow the traditional format of classical works as does the works of composers from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic era. Upon hearing the works my initial reaction was that it was very intense and not guided by melodies but rather affect the listener by having sudden transitions, fast crescendos and decrescendos. The piece was written within a year of his completion of his studies and may be a poor reflection of his future works due to the fact that much time would be granted for growth.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had written 15 piano concertos between 1782 and 1786, some critics refer to the concertos of this period as “the great keyboard concertos” (Abert 2007, 870). Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major (K488) was completed in 1786 and was one of two concertos written in A major during this period. The concerto is described as having a “bright and sunny grace” (Abert 2007, 879) to it in contrast to his other concertos of the period which can vary from providing a feeling of serenity or even festivity.
This concerto, like many other works of Mozart, introduces new themes throughout the length of the work in the development period. In Mozart’s own words, in a letter written to his father, he describes his work of the period as “a mid-course between being too hard and too easy, they’re very brilliant, pleasing to the ear and natural, without seeming empty” (Abert 2007, 870). Like much of his work, Mozart introduces many melodies throughout the length of his work. I’m most excited to hear this piece live and experience a solo pianist play with an orchestra, particularly a piece this moving. I had found the first movement to be very relaxing and beautiful and would only describe the third movement as “bright and sunny.”
Finally, the performance will close with Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony. In response to Beethoven’s earlier work Mozart had once said, in a letter to his father, “keep your eye on him; he will make the world talk about him someday” (Biancolli and Peyser 1954 ,154). When the 2nd symphony was composed Beethoven’s hearing had deteriorated dramatically since the writing of his 1st. He had written the symphony in a tourist village called Heiligenstadt which he felt was so boring that he would have “taken his own life but for his determination to consecrate himself with new courage to art” (Biancolli and Peyser 1954 ,159).
Beethoven was known to liberally bend rules of the symphony and this was apparent at the early stages of his career. Regardless, the symphony was well received by critics and described as “extravagant and enigmatic” (Biancolli and Peyser 1954 ,160).When listening to the symphony I had found that the work seems very tame relative to his later symphonies. This may in fact be a sign that during his earlier years as a composer Beethoven was not as daring to make a bold impression amongst European high society. Symphonies such as the 5th, 7th, and 9th I had found were more complex in nature and varied in moods. They had provided moments of lound intensity and calm serenity, this is not felt to the same degree in the 2nd symphony.
Abert, Hermann, and Cliff Eisen. W.A. Mozart. New Haven, NJ: Yale UP, 2007
Biancolli, Louis, and Herbert F. Peyser. Masters of the Orchestra. New York: Greenwood, 1954
Hill, Peter, and Nigel Simeone. Messiaen. New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2005
Joseph Haydn – string quartet in C Major Op.76/3 “Emperor”
Bela Bartok – string quartet No.4 Sz 91
L. v. Beethoven – string quartet in C Major Op.59/3 “Rasumowsky”
Venue:Brooklyn Public Library: Dweck Auditorium, Brooklyn, New York
Performers: Minetti String Quartet
Maria Ehmer, violin
Anna Knopp, violin
Milan Milojicic, viola
Leonhard Roczek, cello
Both Beethoven and Haydn established names for themselves as composers during the Classical Era. However, Beethoven being born almost 40 years after Haydn in the year 1770, transitioned into the era of Romanticism as well, in which he successfully composed works representative of this new age of music and reason. Contrastingly, Bartok had not been born until both of these composers had passed, Beethoven 54 years prior and Haydn 72.
Due to this small, but substantial gap in time, upon listening to Bartok’s piece I will be interested to see how Bartok takes a more modern approach when writing his string quartet. The piece of his that will be performed, String Quartet No. 4 Sz 91, was written fairly recently in the year 1928 and features large amounts of pizzicato. I will probably find myself comparing and contrasting his work to those of the earlier time periods and seeing which elements he kept of these eras, which elements he discarded, and which modern elements he decided to add in composing this piece.
As for Beethoven’s peice, It is said that upon completing the “Razumovsky” quartets that he had gained a new self confidence. Beethoven used to make sketches within his music and in the finale of the third “Razumovsky” quartet he wrote amidst these sketches “In the same way that you rush into the whirlpool of society, so it is possible to write operas despite all social hindrances- let your deafness be no more a secret- even in art.” (Cooper 2000, 167) Beethoven must have been exceptionally pleased with these works of his. As I listen to these pieces after reading this quote I will most likely focus on why I think Beethoven felt a new found sense of confidence and pride in his work after he finished writing this piece.
In Haydn’s piece we see a bit of a lyrical approach in the composition. When Haydn was writing his String Quartet Op. 76/3 “Emperor” in C major he was making a transition to vocal works such as writing a mass for Pincess Maria Hermenegild Esterhazy, an oratorio entitled The Creation, and several other vocal works. “It is easy to imagine that the connections to song, aria, and the learned-style traditions found in Op. 76 may owe something to that circumstance.” (Grave 2006, 302) While writing this piece, Haydn implemented strategies in his composing that had been used for years or were “tried-and-true”, but he was also aware that those listening to his music were becoming increasingly more sophisticated as well as expressing “thirst for novelty”. (Grave 206, 303) When listening, I will focus on how Haydn made his piece novel as well as how he kept it traditional to please listeners.
Cooper, Barry. Beethoven. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.
Laki, Peter. Bartók and His World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1995. Print.
Grave, Floyd K., and Margaret G. Grave. The String Quartets of Joseph Haydn. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.
The first movement of Beethoven’s sonata “Moonlight” has a triple meter. The movement begins softly with an octave in the left hand and smooth triplets in the right hand. As well, there is dissonance in this piece, the melody played by the right hand, is played against the accompanying triplet rhythm.
Also, the first movement of the Moonlight sonata is played in the C# minor scale. It is a mysterious, melancholic melody with a strong piano timbre. It is played in adagio sostenuto which means play in a slow walking manner and each note is given a full value. Also, as I was searching for the definition of sostenuto, I found out that it also refers to the use of the sustain pedal of the piano. The dynamic of this piece is pianissimo or very quietly.
This particular sonata doesn’t follow the usual classical sonata arrangement. Instead of the classical three-part form “fast, slow, fast, fast”, it’s more like “slow, medium, fast”. I’m not sure but this piece seem to have a homophonic texture.Moonlight sonata begins with a low pitch and then at (0:22) he presents the main melody, and repeats this pattern throughout the whole first movement.