Edvard Grieg – Lyric Pieces

Edvard Grieg’s Lyric pieces, written for piano, are a collection of 66 pieces in 10 different volumes, that captures the nationalistic spirit of Norway, each in a unique and diverse way.   These pieces are used in Henrik Ibsen’s play, Peer Gynt, as the incidental music.  The most enjoyable pieces for me were “Butterfly” and “March of the Trolls”.

Friday, May 20th, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Pictures at an Exhibition

I remember the first time I heard this piece was in my middle school. It was performed by Reval’s orchestral arrangement. I found the piece is quite interesting, because of the title for each movement, and its impressive harmonic. Mussorgsky wrote the piece after his close friend Viktor Hartmann dead in 1873. He was an great architect and virsual artist.  After one year, an exhibition showed some of Hartman’s works and sketches. Mussorgsky got inspiration from these visual works. It’ s hard to believe that the composer actually didn’t have offical musical training. Most of his compositions were influenced by Russian floklore, and other nationalist features. I guess that is why his composition style was such distinctive and creative.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Der Rosenkavalier

Althought I am not a super fan of  comic operas, I enjoy listening to the Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) Act I. This opera set in mid-18th-century Vienna, this romantic comedy follows the course of love of Sophie and Octavian and the comic downfall of Baron Ochs.  Marschallin – one of the important role of opera – comes to terms in poignant fashion with passing life and changing love. I like the opera, especially the orchestra accompaniment. Strauss was an enormously gifted orchestrator. He expanded orchestra to a huge size. Also, he used tradition of composition from Wagner.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Wagner’s Parsifal Act III

Parsifal is about a knight Parsifal who is on a quest looking for the Holy Grail. The story include many religious and mythical elements. The orchestra accompaniment play a important role in Wagner’s opera, like the beginning  of Parsifal Act III, when the oboe solo first comes. This opera is the last one Wagner composed. Especially, compositions of Wagner’s late period,  are remarkable of their complex texture, rich harmonies, orchestration and leitmotif.  I enjoy the part when strings play the bass line, oboe, clarinet and flute comes one after another. I felt like different color of darkness. The whole movement sounds solemnly.

Monday, April 18th, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Rossini, Guillaume Tell

I heard Guillaume Tell Overture before I found this opera. The expressive cello solo at the beginning of the overture is still one of my favorite melody. It is very different compare with the finale part of the overture. However, i think people are more familiar with the finale part. Is that maybe the typical “Rossini” symbolization? I was surprised that the opare was setting in French. I guess because some political issue? It’s always complicated between politics and music, but that is true music could always affected by politics.  The  Act IItrio of Guillaume is beautiful. Especially the part that rhythem is in 3. This part in the opera is about the story that two man meet again, and pledge their love. The melody sounds very emotional.

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 Uncategorized 3 Comments

Rossini’s La Cenerentola

You definitely can tell it is a comedy after listening this overture,  even you don’t know the composer is Rossini. I mean people already know about his sense of humor in his opera.  The piece reminds me that Disney movie Cinderalla. The main character is a little girl who lived in a poor circumstance. Her stepmother forced her to do work as a maid everyday. This part sounds like the begining of the overture, depression and pitiful. Gradually, music turn to a delight motion,with string’s sixteenth notes and piccolo’s transition. Sounds like the little princess finally find her true love.  No doubt, it’s a great music full of  exciting and amusing.

Sunday, March 6th, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Shubert, Trout Quintet

The only word I can use to describe the piece is “enjoyable”. I still remember the first time I heard is that fourth movement of this piano quintet. I think before this chamber piece, he also wrote another lied called “Trout”. Listener could imagine the picture of trout appearing and disappearing in the water. It’s interesting that people always could find some story of his chamber music, such as “Death and The Maiden” or “Trout”. It makes me thinking about another question, either music and language or music as language. Schubert is good at using poems into his lieder music, so most of people could understand his music. Somehow, people tend to compare him with Beethoven. I would say his music is  more boyish and elaborate than Beethoven’ grandiose and heroic.

Monday, February 28th, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments

Beethoven’s Missa

Honestly,it’s my first time hearing Beethoven’s vocal composition. A lot of people heared more of his instrumental works. Plus, I am a string player. I am not really familiar with vocal pieces. Apparently, Beethoven’s Missa is a excellent music, grandiose and impressive.Also,it must be a hard work that setting a huge choral and orchestra together.I especially like the contrast between soloist and chorus in Kyrie. Composer used soloist part as expression of personal emotion, and chorus part exalted this kind of emotion. The begining of Gloria sounds more like 3/4 time, spiritedly and refreshingl, then change to a slow-motion part. Its ending at the same tempo as begining still. There is longest text in the Credo during whole piece.This movement last about 18 minutes.In particular, the violin solo part with chorus, that was very feelingly. I didn’t realize that long of the piece,because it always changed either between vioce or tempo. When I listeing to the piece, I was wondering why its his favorite piece. Beethoven spend about 4 years to finish this composition in his “late period”.When he were writing this piece, he insistent his own thoughts and unique, although some patrons still support him a lot. For me, Beethoven’s Missa is different with others, such as Bach. He put more melodic line in the vocal part,and affluent orchestra sounds. It’s a very Romantic piece both instrumental part and vocal part.

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 Uncategorized No Comments