Den Rosenkavalier

May 2nd, 2011 § 0

I enjoyed listening to this piece. It’s one of Strauss’ most popular opera which has many beautiful and charming parts. Strauss is inspired by Mozart when he wrote this opera, reflected in the characters and atmosphere in few ways. The waltz seems to be my favourite among all the scenes. Den Rosenkavalier has became a very successful work and has been performed widely throughout the world.

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition

May 2nd, 2011 § 0

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition has become one of the most well-known work from the Russian Nationalist school. It’s originally written for piano, but later orchestrated by Ravel. It’s no wonder why this piece is known as Mussorgsky’s best work, for not only does it evoke the pictures by Hartmann, but also creates images of the attitude and state of mind. I really like the main theme in the Promenade that occurs several times in the piece which is built of pentatonic sets.

Wagner’s Parsifal Act III

April 19th, 2011 § 0

Wagner’s Parsifal Act III is quite sublime and carries a heavy religious message. The german characteristic is quite obvious in this piece, seen in the story plot and the rich texture of the orchestration. A lot of repetition could also be found in this piece, which seems quite long to listen to. The Prelude, however, is nicely done, which very well express the striving and pain through life as Wagner did in this music. Overall, this piece is

Verdi’s Don Carlos

April 10th, 2011 § 0

Verdi’s Don Carlos gives me the impression of darkness. It’s Verdi’s longest opera which contains 4 hours of music. This opera is much like a conversation, clearly reflected mostly throughout the piece that features a dialogue between the vocal line and the orchestra. Therefore creating a new depth and variety. The Spanish influence in this piece is also quite obvious, as I could feel it in its colorful atmosphere, dances/marches, vocal interplay and choruses. Generally, I like this opera very much.

Fanny Mendelssohn’s Trio in d minor and Clara Schumann’s Three Romances

March 20th, 2011 § 0

It’s quite surprising that looking through its quality, this trio by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel is not widely known. The piece is written by Fanny Mendelssohn, Mendelssohn’s oldest sister who was also a very talented composer and pianist in her period. However, this piece is not published until her death. The opening of the first movement begins with a flowing piano part as the base over which the lyrical melody is played on the strings. The music is very passionate overall, introducing the idea of romanticism. The second movement is very beautiful as well as the third movement which has a singing like quality. Finally, the last movement produces a thick and sonorous sound quality that features a piano solo at the beginning before all the instruments come in. This piece is indeed a very romantic and passionate music.

Just like the trio by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann’s Three Romances has a very lyrical melodic line but with a lighter piano part. It sounds brighter and less aggressive than the trio by Fanny Mendelssohn. The beginning is quite dreamy, followed by a new part with active rhythmical patterns.

They are both very talented female composers who had a hard time publishing their works to the public during their life. However, I found their music interesting and enjoyable to listen to.

Rossini’s La Cenerentola

March 6th, 2011 § 0

Rossini’s La Cenerentola is based on a famous fairy tale, Cinderella. However, it has slightly different details from the version that we know and it’s derived from the his earlier opera, ‘La Gazzeta’. Rossini has always been well-known for his sense of humor of his operas and other works, which is also reflected in his overture, La Cenerentola. The opening of the overture is very playful and charming. I feel like there are some interesting dialogs that occur in the long slow introduction. It finishes with a long huge crescendo that brings the piece to its climax. I also found that the original orchestration provides winds, trumpet, horns and a trombone. There is no part for percussion. Basically, it’s an overture full of spirit, light and definitely amusing to listen to.

Schubert’s Trout Quartet

February 28th, 2011 § 1

Schubert’s Trout quartet is such an open, happy piece with very lyrical melodies. I could recognize the idea of the fish (“The Trout”) in the lively piano accompaniment. Unlike most quintets based on the traditional string quartet, the Trout is composed for a violin, viola, cello, bass and piano. This provides a much more different color and richer texture. I personally like this quartet because it sound simple but definitely enjoyable to hear.

Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis

February 21st, 2011 § 1

Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis is one of the most important mass setting in the common practice period, composed in 1819-1823, while he was dealing with his deafness. His Missa Solemnis is a great work that uses rich orchestration, however, it shows a slightly small difference compared to his other works.

The Kyrie is less grand than the other movements, maintaining the traditional Kyrie, and contains more contrapuntal voices. It is an ABA form with a modulation in the second section, making it sound darker and more solemn. It also introduces the soloists in 4 different voices which has a dialog with the choir. The flourishing opening of Credo made a huge contrast to Kyrie. It is more dramatic in its mood, character, expression and texture. It follows by Credo, the largest movement of the mass. Compared to any of the others, it lasts much longer and uses great amount of text. Performed with a great orchestration, it makes the color more vivid.


February 16th, 2011 § 5