Tag Archives: classical music

Preview – Mozart, Glazunov and Cesar Franck at Nicholas Roerich Museum(3/17)


*Alexander Glazunov, Mediatation for violin and piano, Op.32
*Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata in B flat. 454 for violin and piano
*Cesar Franck, Sonata for violin and piano

Venue: Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York, NY 10025

Performers: Marti Sweet, violin Christopher Oldfather, piano

Mozart was always supported by his father Leopold. On April 29 1784, Mozart plays the Violin Sonata k454 with Regina Strinacchi, for whom it was written at the Karntnertor Theater in the presence of Joseph II(Clive 993, 4).Mozart admired Regina who was an Italian violinist and Leopold was impressed by the she plays each note with feeling In that time just the violin was written out( 149). Mozart dedicated the first edition of the sonatas K284/205b, 333/315c and 454, published together by Christopher Toricella who was a Swiss publisher and art dealer in Vienna in 1784( 129 ).In the city of Vienna is where Mozart received better income from concerts and composed twelve of his greatest piano concerts(Davies 1989, 53).Also it is where he contracted the illness, which later caused his death. During his illness he completed the Piano Concerto in B flat(54 ). Mozart’s sonata was a lively melody, putting his most profound feelings in the rhythm. In my opinion even though sonatas are happy in this one he was going through tough moments and in his music probably he highlighted throughout the motive.

Cesar Frank, german but French at heart was leader of the French musical renaissance (Vallas 1951,194 ). Minor revolution in musical taste, Frank finished in 1886 the Sonata for violin and piano.(199) During the autumn of 1886 appeared in a wedding. The violin Sonata was played two months later in the Frank festival of Brussels (196) The program consisted entirely of Cesar Frank’s composition, interpreter Mme Bordes-Pene(196). Festival was a success, as per the Director of the Brussels Conservatoire said “You have transferred chamber music; thanks to you a new vision of the future has revealed to our eyes”(196).Cesar’s Frank music seems to be like Mozart in the enlightment,changing rythms and other tradicional features.
Written more than sixty years ago the Violin and Sonata has become Frank’s most popular work ( 9 ).” The Violin Sonata has four movements: 1st allegrato in normal form, 2nd allegro two main themes developed with personal feeling, 3rd irregular and entirely free in its musical progress recitative, quai fantasia, finale for the most part concerned with a plain and flexible canon and is directed to be played allegretto poco mosso(199). Franck produces rhythmic and melodic decoy that leads us on against our wills, he found this until he wrote on paper (199).

I would have wanted to know before going to the concert the reason of each of the compositions and their specific talent so I could have had a better understanding of what I would hear and why they had such success. History and biography are very important because the music and the instruments used are those of the time and also the compositions are done guided by the personal circumstances of each composer.


Clive,Peter.”Mozart and his Circle”United Kingdom:The Orion Publishing Group,1993
Davies J.,Peter. “Mozart in Person” New York: Greenwood Press,Inc.,1989
Vallas,Leon.”Cesar Franck”, London: first published in 1951 ed. George g. Harrap & Co.Ltd, 1951

Preview – Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi at the Metropolitan Opera (4/20)

Pieces: Giuseppe Verdi, Rigoletto

Venue: The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, New York, NY

Performers: Conductor: Marco Armiliato, Gilda: Lisette Oropesa, Maddalena: Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Duke of Mantua: Vittorio Grogolo, Rigoletto: George Gagnidze


Verdi’s opera, Rigoletto, was based on the play, “Le roi s’amuse” by Victor Hugo. The original play was about Frances I, a king of France who was basically a player and womanizer. Because of this, the play was banned after its first show. When Verdi chose this play he knew it was a risk that the opera might not be approved but went ahead with it and told his librettist, Francesco Piave, to find an influential person to get permission to use “Le roi s’amuse”At the time, Austria controlled most of northern Italy and when they heard about Verdi’s opera, they considered it scandalous and refused to let it go on because it showed royalty in a bad light. After much arguing and negotiations, the opera was allowed to go on only after some changes were made. The king was now a duke from an extinct dukedom so no one could take offense and the names of the characters had to be changed.

The opera is about a jester, Rigoletto, who makes fun of the courtiers to make the duke laugh as that is his job. The duke is a womanizer who goes after any woman. In the opera, the duke seduces Rigoletto’s daughter and he vows to get revenge. However, his revenge backfires and his daughter ends up dead instead. Verdi’s Rigoletto is similar to Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  The first act is in the style of comic opera so for that act at least, I am expecting mostly dialogue or recitatives and simple music. Because of all the drama and violence, I am expecting most of the music to be in minor key for the rest of the opera and many contrasting instruments playing loudly in some cases to show drama.


Budden, Julian. The Operas of Verdi. Vol. 1. New York: Praeger, 1973. Print.

Baldini, Gabriele, Fedele D’Amico, and Roger Parker. The Story of Giuseppe Verdi: Oberto to Un Ballo in Maschera. Cambrige: Cambridge University Publishing, 1980. Print.





W.A. Mozart:  String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590

Dmitri Shostakovich:  String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108

Venue: Baruch Performing Arts Center – Newman Vertical Campus
Baruch College: 25th St. (bet. 3rd and Lexington Aves.), NYC

Performers: The Alexander String Quartet

String quartet No. 23 was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s last string quartet.  It was one of three that “was dedicated to the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhem II”(Kenyon,228).  The three string quartets dedicated to the king where No. 21 in D K575, No. 22 in B flat K589,and No. 23 in F K590.  These were otherwise known as the “Three Prussian Quartets” (Kenyon 228). The king was a cellist, therefore Mozart intended to give the king a starring role in the pieces where he can play the cello, capturing the audiences attention.  Mozart purposely introduced the cello later in the piece where it is “high in its register, so it could hardly fail to be noticed”(Kenyon, 228). Mozart added roles for the king in the tenor to show off his skills(Kenyon, 228).

Before creating these three quartets, “Mozart gave a concert on May 26, 1789” ( Kenyon, 228).  This concert was not a complete success.  Therefore, after meeting the some cellist and the King, he came up with the string quartets including the king.  These three quartets succeeded and brought more fame to Mozart.

I found it quite unusual and rather interesting that we would hear the cello clearer instead of it being in the background. The melody seems to be embraced by the sound projected by the cello and of course this is to show the kings talent. But, it is interesting and it does create a rich sound because the cello is woody, the pitches are moderately low, and sounds very strong and royal.  I would definitely find more enjoyment listening to the music because it gives me a chance to imagine a story that goes along with the piece; Although, Watching the performance would give me the pleasure to watch the performers and how they interject emotion into the piece.


Dmitri Shostakovich is a soviet russian composer and pianist, who was born in 1906 and died in 1975.  One of his popular string quartet was No. 7 opus. 108.  Dmitri Shostakovich wrote this specific one for his first wife Nina.  This piece intends on capturing his memories of his wife, although “it is short, it was one of his most poetic works” (Moshevik, 161).  Although, this was a beautiful piece, it “had a spooky characteristic” (Moshevik, 161).

This piece is very interesting, it gives a mysterious and spooky feeling.  There is a lot of suspense, which makes the string quartet No. 7 so exciting. When the piece begins playing the second theme, it is pleasant and soft.  I found it very unusual and special that there was pizzicato in this piece. For this specific string quartet, I would like to watch the performance live rather than listening to it.  This is an intense and exciting performance, and watching the performers playing and their emotions would make the experience and the music more entertaining and memorable.


Kenyon, Nicholas. The Pegasus Pocket Guide to Mozart. New York: Pegasus Books LLC, 2006. Page 228.

Moshevik, Sofia. Dmitri Shostakovich, Pianist. Canada: Mc-Grill Queens University Press, 2004. Page 161.


Beethoven-“Moonlight” first movement


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.