Clara YJ Lee's Blog

An Oberlin course blog

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Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition

May 3rd, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

I am glad Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is one of the blog assignments. It was on the list of listening test in piano literature class last week. This piece is Mussorgsky’s most famous work. He wrote this piece after attending an exhibition of Hartmann’s works. It’s quite amazing how composers combine art and music together. I listened to both piano composition and orchestration arrangement by Ravel. I like both of them. maybe piano composition more since i am a pianist, but orchestra version seems more energetic and exciting because of the grand sound. I would love to study this piece in the future !

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Strauss Rosenkavalier

May 3rd, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

I kind of enjoyed and was a little confused at the same time. I like how he used waltz in this opera. But some dissonant harmonies bothered me a little since I am not really familiar with listening those kind of harmonies. The orchestra is very rich like Wagner’s. All the small layers form a grand complex sound. But I guess that is the beauty in this music.

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Wagner’s Parsifal

May 3rd, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

Parsifal was the last opera he wrote before his death. While listening to this opera, I could hear the richness of orchestra parts. The orchestra plays for a long time while there’s no solo parts for singers. The orchestra itself really helps understanding the story. This is a typical Wagner’s style in his operas. I found an article about this opera and it said that Parsifal influenced a lot on Mahler. Wagner’s works influenced on not only Mahler but many other composers. His works are very touching. He brings out sides of human being in his music. His music is beyond description.

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Verdi : Don Carlos

April 18th, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

Don Carlos is five-acts opera. It’s about 4 hours long, Verdi’s longest opera. It is based on the play “Don Carlos, Infante of Spain” by Friedrich Schillerbasically. The plot is about a triangle love among Carlos, Prince of Asturias , Elisabeth of Valois and Philip II of Spain. The mood is very dark and tragic throughout the opera.
I started enjoying watching opera because it’s like watching a play but with music as well. I think it’s better to actually watch it rather than just listening to it. Because you get to see the actors singing and acting out at the same time. And I think music helps me a lot to understand the play.

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Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel & Clara Schumann

March 21st, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Trio for Piano and Strings in D minor, Op.11 ;

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel was an older sister of Felix Mendelssohn. She was a very talented woman. She grew up with high quality musical education with his brother. But since she was a woman, her parents didn’t let her stretch her talents. But she didn’t give up writing music and playing the piano. Her music started reaching out to the public after she got married to a painter Wilhelm Hensel who encouraged her to compose. This trio is very romantic. To me, it sounds a little bit intricate and sad. I enjoyed listening to the melody lines. The three different instruments show the beauty of balance and harmony.

Clara Shumann, Three Romances for Violin and Piano, op.22, no.2;

Clara Shumann was married to Robert Schumann. I am so jealous of the fact that she married to a great musician and that she herself was also a great musician. I personally enjoyed this piece more than Fanny Mendelssohn’s Trio. This piece is so beautiful. I kept listening to this many times in a row. I like the melancholic mood. It gets a little playful in the middle section. I love the trilling and arpeggios. Listening to this piece makes this beautiful and warm weather more enjoyable and lovely ! :D It just makes me feel relaxed and get away from all the stressful midterms coming up soon..

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Rossini : La cenerentola

March 15th, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

I’m not really familiar with operas since I don’t usually watch operas often. This Rossini’s La cenerentola overture reminds me of my childhood. I used to love fairy tales and Cinderella is one of my favorite. I am pretty sure every girl loves Cinderella. Rossini is well known for writing many of opera buffa. This La cenerentola is very energetic and playful rather than tragic. It’s short, but it gets attention from the audiences and makes them giggle want to watch the rest of the opera. The dynamic changes frequently which makes it sound more exciting. I like the part where the wind instruments lead the melody, it sounds like it’s trying to tease someone. It sounds very silly and playful. I can feel Rossini’s sense of humor in this music. I really enjoyed listening to it I am looking forward to watch other operas by Rossini :D

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Schubert, Die Forelle

March 1st, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

This piece is one of my mom’s favorite music. I’ve always loved listening to it as well. Whenever I listen to this piece, it always reminds me of my old house because my mom used to played it in the morning. I think it’s great music to start a day with. I also often hear this piece at the weddings, shopping malls and everywhere. I am pretty sure everyone knows this piece or has heard of it at least once. I really love the piano part. It sounds so pure and clear. Maybe that’s because I am a piano major :p. As I listen to the melody and rhythm, it feels more like playful. I definately can imagine fishes jumping around in the water and fishermen trying to catch them just like the title of this piece. The dialogue between fishes and fishermen is expressed very well. Listening to this piece brings me a big pleasure :D

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Beethoven, Missa Solemnis

February 24th, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

With all honesty, as a piano performer, I dont usually enjoy listening to choral music.I had heard that this piece is one of the great pieces Beethoven wrote. and that even Beethoven said this piece was the greatest pieceout of all the pieces he wrote. I have never actually sat down and listened to this Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis from the beginning to the end. I didn’t know it was this long before ! more than an hour.. for a once piece.. It was pretty impressive. Even though I don’t really know how to be impressed by choral musics since I don’t sing and not used to listening to these kind of music, I was still moved by something that I can’t really expreess in words. I was actually so lost while i was listening to this piece so I started looking up this piece on google and other websites. I found out that when Beethoven wrote this music he was getting very ill and he could barely hear because his ears got worse and his mental health was also getting bad. It took him 4 YEARS to complete this piece !! I guess Beethoven was very patient perso :) I really enjoyed listening to the second movement. Very powerful sound and dynamic changes in like every two bars (typical Beethoven’s style :] ). It keeps The stringed instruments busy, exquisite sound. I really liked the grand sound of the whole choir and orchestra but I also enjoyed the solo parts. Some of the sections sounded like the give and take conversations between different parts. I have never written down my thoughts on the music pieces i listen to, so this is kind of a new experience for me. But I am glad that I got to listen to this piece and that now I am becoming more interested not only in Beethoven’s works but also in his personality, genius and humanity.

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February 16th, 2011 by Yunjoo Lee · Uncategorized

This is clara’s music history blog ! :D

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