The Disappointing Concert That I Loved

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I had been planning to attend a live concert throughout this whole class since I do play at several concerts every year and get to watch the Chamber Orchestra for free, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to write about one of the concerts. I was disappointed to discover that this paper was due December 7th and the concert I wanted to attend wasn’t until December 14th.

So, I did what others will most likely do and researched a concert that I found on YouTube. I found many online orchestra concerts but the one that stood out to me the most is titled, “Beethoven 9- Chicago Symphony Orchestra- Riccardo Muti.” There was no specific reason as to why this stood out to me other than the fact that it was over an hour long which is the requirement for the paper. So, I listened to this video and it was very pleasing.

I enjoyed how it sounded the first time, so I decided to do my analysis on this concert. After doing a bit of research, I found out that Beethoven wrote this piece without ever being able to hear it in the end since he lost his hearing the course of the symphony’s composition, which made it much more interesting to me. Since Beethoven did compose this piece, it is from the Classical Period and the music techniques are from that specific era.

This piece has four movements which are all included in this video. They are all mostly the orchestra playing, but at the end there are a few vocalists who sing the poem “Ode to Joy” by Friedrich Schiller. Beethoven did write this piece as part symphony and part oratorio which confused many of the listeners.

The piece begins with a dissonant introduction played by the violins, which is very brief. Then, the cellos and double basses come in too and together they began to play crescendo to what seems like fortissimo but this may have been because it was very loud on my computer. All of the strings played together until the trumpets, flute, clarinets, and other woodwinds came in while playing a sort of conversation between the trumpets and other woodwinds.

The strings then continued to play in fortissimo and allegro which then slowed down to a part that sounds like the beginning, such as a flashback, with a piano dynamic with crescendos to a more forte dynamic. The entire orchestra joins in again as the music becomes louder and gives it a lively and fast feeling. This continues for a while as well until the woodwinds begin another conversation type melody between themselves and the strings.

The concert goes on like this for a while with the woodwinds coming in and playing solo parts altogether without the other instruments and then the strings join in. I had read other articles on this specific movement and most of them talked about how the song “Ode to Joy” would be played. I also watched another video, which wasn’t a concert, on this piece and it did start playing. So, I waited for a while for this specific rhythm to play and I’m not sure if I missed it or it didn’t come up. But, the music played by this orchestra was still very pleasing since it was very lively and had a good rhythm to it and I continued to listen.

After watching the first part, I realized the video itself shows when the different movements start and end. I analyzed part of the first movement, in the previous two paragraphs, which is in sonata form but it does not have an exposition repeat. The meter is in 2/4 time and the beginning starts with pianissimo, as mentioned before. It includes open fifths played by tremolo strings, which is a motion used to create a trembling effect. This effect helped move the piece to its first main theme in D minor but then later it switched back to D major during the recapitulation part. The first movement starts as “Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso.”

The second movement begins much like the first movement. It is known as “Molto Vivace.” It is in ¾ time and it is also in D minor. When I listened to the video, I realized that the music begins very forte and it continues in a piano dynamic and it crescendos, much like the first movement. This movement has a fast tempo. Much like the first movement, it mostly consists of the strings playing with the woodwinds joining every now and then.

The beat towards the beginning of this movement with the clarinets made me dance in my seat a bit since it was so lively and had a very nice flowing beat to it. When I researched it online, Wikipedia told me that this movement is in scherzo and trio. I do not know exactly what that means but it also tells me that the scherzo section is in sonata form. Then, the trio section is said to be in duple time. I can tell this part starts because it is the first time the trombones play. The scherzo and trio then keep repeating one after the other and finally there is an abrupt coda which concludes the second movement.

The third movement is “adagio molto e cantabile-andante moderato.” This movement starts off very slow. It is not like the other movements in the fact that it doesn’t start slow and then crescendos to a more loud and fast tempo, or a forte dynamic and presto tempo, rather it stays at a nice adagio dynamic, hence the “adagio molto e cantible” at the beginning. It is in 4/4 time and its key is B flat. It is in a double variation form, as it says once again in Wikipedia, with different pairs of variations separating the rhythm and melodies.

All of the variations have different meters which is what distinguishes them from one another. This part is mostly played by the strings. In this movement, I can clearly see the different violin parts since sometimes one side of the strings plays louder and faster than the other side which is interesting to watch. This movement was personally my favorite since it was so slow and peaceful which was nice to listen to.

The fourth and last movement is the finale. Its meter is ¾ time and it is in D major. This part is the part that finally introduces the “Ode to Joy,” what I had been searching for throughout this entire piece. The movement begins with a fortissimo dynamic and presto tempo. This is played for a few measures and then the cellos come in playing a much softer part. They switch back and forth for a few measures and continue playing very loud. The “Ode to Joy” theme is introduced by the cellos and double basses.

As it says on Wikipedia, after three instrumental variations, the baritone soloist begins singing the symphony and words written by Beethoven. I had never seen a singer sing with an orchestra until now and I find it pretty fascinating. I thought orchestra concerts were only made up of instruments but now I see that there can be whole choirs that sing along with the orchestra. I enjoyed watching this singer because his voice was very pleasant to listen to and it’s amazing how someone can sing so nicely and hold notes for so long.

Overall, this concert was very interesting to watch. I had never thought of watching a full orchestra concert online because I thought they weren’t even available. I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to write this report on the concert I will be attending and playing in on December 14th in Mammoth but I was able to branch out by watching this video. The orchestra did amazing in this video and I would recommend for anyone to watch it if they enjoy classical music and are looking for a concert to watch (or write a report on). Even though I play an instrument, I still tend to struggle with the different tempos and dynamics but I was able to use online resources and our class page to form an analysis.

This concert was especially captivating and kept me watching because of how good the conductor was. Anyone watching is able to see how he becomes part of the music and is able to successfully conduct his orchestra. I very much enjoyed this concert and it even made me want to go out of town somewhere and watch a bigger orchestra play than the one I watch in Mammoth; however, I do wish I would have been able to watch this specific orchestra in person the day they played this concert. This piece and orchestra were amazing.


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The Disappointing Concert That I Loved. (2021, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-disappointing-concert-that-i-loved/

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