Schubert, Piano Quintet in A Major (The Trout), D. 667

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21st, 2011 by Brian Mcevoy – Be the first to comment

From the very beginning I felt a carefree feeling that swept over me like a gust of fresh air. Andante, the second movement starts out slow to depict the part of a trout’s day, which is more relaxed but also carries a sense of uncertainty. However, when the theme returns, the anxious feelings vanish. The third movement, the Scherzo: Presto, is a fast, upbeat movement. It is much shorter than the first two movements but it is full of energy and excitement. The Theme and Variations are what follow; this is where we can hear Schubert connect the Piano Quintet in A Major to Die Forelle for piano and voice. The themes of both these compositions are very similar. The key of A minor is established as the fisherman catches the trout and then returns back to the tonic as the variations end. Allegro Guisto is the last movement in this se. I feel the Allegro Guisto reflects the after math of the hunt; it’s surprisingly joyful.
As I listened to this piece, I was reminded of surreal rolling waters due to the arpeggios in the left hand piano accompaniment. I feel that the mood that Schubert conveys through his music clearly reflects the text of the poem. The music has a light and airy texture to it. The dynamics help depict the sensation of flowing water through a stream. I thought this was a really cool piece, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it.

Beethoven Missa Solemnis

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21st, 2011 by Brian Mcevoy – Be the first to comment

Beethoven was a true innovator and revolutionary. This piece is a beautiful work of art, and it’s even more impressive because Beethoven composed this when he was already deaf! The ringing chords at the beginning of the Kyrie gave off a grand and intense stature. Upon reading the text before listening to this piece, I was wondering how Beethoven could take four words and turn it into a ten minute long movement! While listening to it, I was astonished by the intricate vocal parts. The text states many Catholic beliefs. When the text reaches the point where Jesus is born of the Virgin Mary and becomes man, the music from the orchestra intensifies it very effectively by playing pianissimo. Overall, the orchestration was often heavy in parts but was nicely contrasted with lighter airy sections. There is so much variety in this composition, which constantly kept me interested.

wagner

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20th, 2011 by Brian Mcevoy – Be the first to comment

Parsifal was Wagner’s last opera and I can’t believe it took 25 years to write! (1857-1882). I felt that the Good Friday Music from Act III is very calming and peaceful. I really enjoyed it. The vocal line is beautiful and gently lies above the orchestra, although there are times when the orchestra is the dominant force. I feel that the music is powerful enough to tell the story without the text. Wagner was a master at manipulating our feelings through the orchestra. The Good Friday Music gets more and more intense, thicker and complex as the scene goes on. I thought it was great how loud and grand the brass is in the “Mittage Die Stund’ ist da”. The constant, steady beating of the drum gives a dark and eerie mood to the piece. Once the chorus enters the strings become the main focus, which lightens the mood slightly. I enjoyed the piece a lot, although I usually shy away from religious themed works.

Pictures at an Exhibition

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20th, 2011 by Brian Mcevoy – Be the first to comment

I really enjoyed Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. I thought it was very expressive. I really enjoyed the sustained chords and melodies, just absolutely beautiful! This piece is very interesting because how it was crafted. Mussorgsky used paintings as inspiration for each piece. As a whole I feel that it is very unique. Each movement is unique, yet not radically jarring. I really enjoyed this.

Strauss

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26th, 2011 by Brian Mcevoy – Be the first to comment

I really enjoyed the instrumental music in this opera. Strauss did a fantastic job of having the orchestra compliment the vocal line, and vice versa. I am still not a huge fan of opera, but I have to say that it’s beginning to grow on me. I also saw a link in another post, of Strauss actually conducting. I think it’s really cool that he is one of the few composers that we have learned about in this course that has actual video footage of them conducting. I enjoyed the piece much more than I thought I was, although I thought it was a bit to dramatic for me at times.

Verdi’s Don Carlos

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11th, 2011 by Brian Mcevoy – Be the first to comment

I was surprised that I liked Don Carlos so much. I am not a big opera fan, but this was just amazing. The cello solo in the prelude to Act IV is so gorgeous, I just had to keep re-listening to it. The strings follow with a response to the cello solo, which then re-emerges later. I thoroughly enjoyed Verdi’s thin instrumentation, as it helped set the acts mood.
One of the characters in this act is suffering and grieving, which is mirrored beautifully in the instrumentation.

I can definitely see how and why tis is such a romantic piece of music because it is filled with intense passion and emotion

clara schumann

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21st, 2011 by Brian Mcevoy – Be the first to comment

I feel that this piece reflects a high level of compositional diversity and sophistication. I can hear heavy influence from Robert Schumann. It’s as if there is a huge wall of sound because all of the instruments seem to be playing constantly. This trio is very intense and it is a very powerful and moving work, and now it has found it’s way into one of my play list on my itunes!

Rossini

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16th, 2011 by Brian Mcevoy – Be the first to comment

Prior to taking this course, I had a misconception that Italian was the dominant language in Opera, which I suppose that’s partly true, however when I found out this opera was originally in French I was surprised. After learning more about Rossini however, and learning that he spent a lot of time in Paris, It made more sense to me.

This opera incorporated many great examples of the Romantic Era. i.e. peasant characters, “hymn to nature and liberty” etc. Although I am not a big opera fan, I really enjoyed this, perhaps because it reminded me of disneyland, who knows.