Tag Archives: Classical

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- Beethoven, Mozart, Messiaen, and Murail at New York Philharmonic (4/12)


  •  Messiaen – Les Offrandes oubliées
  • Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 23
  • Tristan Murail – Le Désenchantement du monde
  • Beethoven – Symphony No. 2

Venue: Avery Fisher Hall, Manhattan, NY

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.

Cooper, Barry. Beethoven. Boston: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.


Preview: Beethoven, Mozart, Messiaen, and Murail at New York Philharmonic (4/11)


  • Olivier Messiaen, Les Offrandes Oubliees
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 23
  • Tristan Murail, Le Desenchantement du monde
  • Ludwig Van Beethoven, Symphony No. 2

Venue: Avery Fisher Hall, Manhattan, NY

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

Preview- Haydn, Bartok, and Beethoven at Dweck Auditorium (4/14)


  • 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.

Preview– Alexander String Quartet at Baruch Performing Arts Center (4/25)


  • 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.)

Performers: THE ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET- Zakarias Grafilo Violin 1, Frederick Lifsitz Violin 2, Paul Yarbrough Viola, Sandy Wilson Cello

Mozart was a composer that was in debt a lot and constantly asking people to lend him money, so he would compose pieces for people that would pay him. Mozart composed, “six quartets for King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia,” (Hildesheimer 1981, 25) and one of the six quartets was String quartet No. 23 in F Major K. 590. Since String quartet No. 23 is one of the pieces I will be listening to, so now I am expecting the piece to be upbeat and glorifying the King of Prussia. Also Haydn, a composer from the Classical period like Mozart, produced many string quartets and “in Vienna, Haydn and Mozart became close friends and influenced each other’s musical style” (Kamien 1998, 155).

Shostakovich composed, “two of his most highly personal works,” (Wilson 1994, 332) and one of them is String quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor.  This piece was, “dedicated to his late wife, and written to commemorate her fiftieth birthday,” (Wilson 1994, 332) so I would assume he wrote about how he misses her and the good times they had. It is interesting that Alexander String quartet will be playing the string quartet in major instead of minor. So I think it will make it interesting and maybe more livelier than the original.


Hildesheimer, Wolfgang. Mozart. New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, c1981.

Wilson, Elizabeth. Shostakovich: A Life Remembered. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1994.

Kamien, Roger. Music An Appreciation. Boston, Mass. : McGraw-Hill, c1998.

We Found Love- Lindsey Stirling- VenTribe

 Rhythm : This song is in duple meter.

Timbre : This song gives a very calm and soothing feeling. It is very different from the original version by Rihanna. In the original version, Rihanna includes a more techno feeling rather than peaceful.

Instruments : This song contains mainly the violin that Lindsey Stirling is playing but there is also drums from time to time. In this cover from Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, it has a less futuristic melody. There is also a maraca that plays along with the singer. Also, the instruments that are in this video plays along with the singer’s voice.  The drum solo part starts on (2:18) and ends at (3:04) when the violin appears.

Texture: The texture of this cover is homophony (homophonic).

Harmony: The violin plays along with the maraca. The drums also plays along with the violin from (1:03-1:49). The harmony of this song is very smooth.

Offenbach – “Barcarolle”

This song was created by Jacques Offenbach, but is being performed by Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca with accompanying orchestra and choir. I first heard this song in the movie “Life is Beautiful” and it has been a favorite ever since.

I had to do some intensive research to find the rhythm of this song because I could not quite put my finger on whether it was duple or triple meter. It happens to be a bit of both which is a 6/8 meter (compound duple meter). Julien Neel was able to help me figure out it was a compound duple meter in the description of his interpretation of Barcarolle.

After I found out the piece was a compound duple meter (I did not want to pretend that I full understood what it meant), I used wikipedia to find a better definition. According to what I found in wikipedia, a 6/8 meter refers to a meter with two beats divided into three. Here is an attachment video of what that compound duple meter sounds like, Compound Duple Meter.

The Timbre of this song is very smooth and calm. All of the instruments have a very clear sound along with the main singers and the choir. It sounds very crisp even when the singer sings louder at 2:30.

The Dynamics of this song are moderate as to try and paint a calm and relaxing picture.

The main Melody of this song are the two opera singers making this Texture a Homophonic song due to the vast amounts of accompaniments.

The instruments and choir are in excellent harmony with the singers, they all come together perfectly. This song is played in the major scale. This orchestra consists of mainly string instruments (Violins, Violas, Cellos and even a harp at 00:58) Although the flute plays throughout most of the song, it is the only brass instrument in the group. There is also a woodwind Bassoon at 00:15. The only percussion I hear is 2:13 by the sound of a Triangle (which is also where the choir joins the main melody)

I believe the form for this song is a binary form. It starts from the intro into the main melody (singing) at 1:03 until 2:13 where the main melody repeats itself until the end of the song.

Also, if you have not seen the movie “Life is Beautiful”, I believe that it was recently made available on Netflix. You will cry like a baby that just got slapped in the face. Enjoy!

Wikipedia’s Compound duple meter link – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cd/Compound_duple_drum_pattern.mid

Julien Neel’s Youtube video with description — (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3RFfzZXEwA)

Wikipedia’s Compound meter info — Latham, Alison (2002a). “Compound Time [Compound Metre]”. The Oxford Companion to Music, edited by Alison Latham. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866212-2.