A Critique Of Two Concerts Essay Research

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A Critique Of Two Concerts Essay, Research Paper Music is one of the most unique performing arts due to the way it has evolved. Styles and melodies considered unfit in one era are displayed prominently in another. The two concerts previewed in this report have two different and distinct techniques. The first performance that I attended was a symphonic concert playing a mix of contemporary and early 20th century works at Carnegie Hall. The second performance was an organ recital highlighted by the by the live performance of Bach’s most well known pieces. Hopefully this term paper will objectively and subjectively critique and compare the two performances. An orchestra is a collection of a variety of instruments usually consisting of brass, woodwinds, strings and percussion

sections. In the concert at Carnegie Hall, the music was abundant in tone color and a variety of pitches and moods. While the Bach music played by the organist could only demonstrate one type of sound, the multitude of instruments at the conductor’s disposal can flood the listener with a variety of sound. The key pieces of music performed were “Music for Violin and Orchestra” by Maazal and “Symphony No. 1 in D major” by Mahler. Maazal?s piece pits the virtuoso, Maazal, against the entire orchestra. It seems to be a sophisticated concerto with the violinist and the orchestra dueling with each other. Unlike Baroque music, the mood changes constantly, at one moments the violin conveys a tranquil image only to be shattered by the dissonance created by the orchestra. While

Toccata and Fugue in D minor is a piece of absolute music, Maazal’s music is program music. The main theme is sort of a violinist’s journey and struggle with the much more powerful monster-like orchestra. Objectively, the odd notes from the percussion coupled with the frequent use of low tone color instruments (e.g. bassoon, bass) created tension. The trills provided by the virtuoso and the strings section displayed a tension reserved only for the shower scene in Hitchcock’s “Psycho”. The dynamics of the piece are deliberately arranged to convey images of peace and fright. When the virtuoso plays his violin for a requiem of the world it knew, it plays in a soft, whimpering manner. On the opposite is the tension created by the orchestra as it goes through a crescendo.

Not only does this increase the tension, but conveys the image of a monster running after the “hero” as it drowns out the violin due to its increase in volume. In both cases, the music would not be Baroque. The dynamics of the music (e.g. crescendo) would not be allowed in Baroque while the changes in mood from soothing to homicidal would be a violation of the Baroque spirit. Maazal?s music is clearly 20th century music. Mahler?s music, on the other hand, is much more difficult to understand than any other piece heard in class, concert or home. The long melodies and abrupt shifts in meter and melody are jarring. Moreover, while the symphony elicits feelings of a funeral, the only requiem it plays is the one for the listener?s interest in his music. In short, the symphony is

overly long and tedious. It is not as entertaining as the struggle of Maazal?s violin versus the orchestra. While the symphony tends to be boring it shares many of the same characteristics of Maazal?s music, 20th century music. The key characteristics of 20th century music differ from those of the Baroque period. First, there is a variety of tone color provided in the music. In Maazal?s ?Music for the Violin and Orchestra? violins, flutes, basses and even bongos are used to create images such as a ferocious monster. Moreover, the music played in this piece had dissonance and consonance, another important feature of 20th century music. While Baroque and Renaissance music does not use dissonance extensively, Maazal and Mahler use dissonance as a major tool in developing the music.