In the concert attended, I was a casual listener because I never paid much attention to what was being played, because most of the music played was unfamiliar to me. Moreover, I had very little knowledge of the artists and songs being played, probably because symphony orchestra is not part of the mainstream music I listen. However, the pieces performed in the concerts were replicas of original pieces played by Arnold Schoenberg in 1909.
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There were five pieces played: Vorgefühle, Vergangenes, Farben, Peripetie, and Das obligate Rezitativ (Schoenberg 12). The styles of the pieces performed varied with the tempo. Vorgefühle was performed in a speedy tempo; Vergangenes and Farben were performed in a moderate tempo; Peripetie was also performed in a very fast tempo, while Das obligate Rezitativ was performed with movements (Neighbour 45).
With regards to the instrumentation, there was an effort by the orchestra to stay as original as possible to Arnold Schoenberg’s 1909 piece, where there was a large orchestra cast (Rosen 47). In the instrumentation, there were percussions, woodwinds, brass and strings (Schoenberg 12).
With regards to the woodwinds, there was a piccolo involved; three flutes; three oboes; an English horn; Clarinet in D; three Clarinets (third doubling on Contrabass Clarinet in A); Bass Clarinet; three Bassoons and a Contrabassoon (Schoenberg 12). With regards to the percussions, there were Timpanis, Bass Drums, Crash cymbals, Suspended cymbals, Triangle, Tam-tam, Xylophone and the Celesta (Rahn 16). The brass constituted six Horns, three Trumpets, four Trombones, and a Tuba. With regards to the strings, there were Violins I, II, Violas, Violoncellos and Double Basses (Schoenberg 12).
Vorgefühle: With regards to Vorgefühle, Unity, and Variety, was exposed by the constant repetition of all the 12 notes in the piece, which were played on a revolving basis, thereby eliminating strong evidence of music variety (Bailey 131). This musical unity and variety affected the structure of the music to create a repetitive form of music.
The purpose of the Music was to create a receptive atmosphere among the audience, before the introduction of the other pieces. As mentioned earlier in this study, the tempo of the piece was fast, but the volume was moderate.
The rhythm was irregular to create an isorhythmic effect, but the melody was motivic to create a three-note ostinato (Schoenberg 12). Its harmony was panthenol and a little non-functional, but contrary to this observation, the form of the music was very soothing. As mentioned earlier in the study, the piece traces its roots to the musical period of the early 1900s.
Vergangenes: With regards to Vergangenes, unity was achieved through motivic development to develop a musical variety which fell within the same scope. The structure of the music was characteristic of a slow and gradual high-pitched musical form. The purpose of the piece was to increase the motivic element of the musical composition. This purpose was achieved through a moderate tempo and similarly, a moderate volume.
The rhythm was a pulse, and the melody motivic, but the harmony was non-functional. The musical piece had a “silk” form, which also has a strong inclination to martial arts (Schoenberg 12). As mentioned earlier in the study, the piece also traces its roots to the musical period of the early 1900s.
Farben: Farben’s musical unity was consistent creative orchestration, particularly in strings, brass, and this created a small window of musical variety because the variations in the musical piece were limited, due to the consistent orchestration (Newman 111).
The structure of the music was characterized by small use of musical instruments to create different forms of musical segments, and from this presentation; the purpose of the musical piece (to create the musical climax) was effectively achieved.
The tempo of the piece was however moderate, but the volume was high. The musical harmony was static harmony, and it gradually shifted on occasions, but the melody was disjunct, and it had motivic fragments which created a static motion rhythm (Payne 34). The musical form was a 12-bar form, but its historical origin was associated with the early 1900s (Stein 13).
Peripetie: Peripetie had a soloistic use of timbre as a characteristic of the piece’s song unity (Stuckenschmidt 52). There was no musical variety. The structure of the music resembled a polyphonic tone, and its purpose was to create a bridge to the last musical piece.
Its tempo was fast and its volume equally high. The musical piece had a non-pulse musical rhythm, and the melody was characterized by variations in octave displacements to create a secundal harmony. The musical form was characterized by intense thick sonorities which also traces its roots to the 1900s as the historical period of origin (Schoenberg 12).
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Das obligate Rezitativ: Das obligate Rezitativ had an overall use of Klangfarben, which created a lot of musical variety, with regards to the contrast created through the ending piece (Thompson 471). The musical structure followed a thematic motivic development, and its purpose was to create an ending mood. The tempo of the music was fast, and movements accompanied it.
The volume was moderately high and its harmony pantonal or non-functional in some sense. Its melody was athematic, and its rhythm had a complex variation, to create an expressionist form of music. As mentioned earlier in the study, the piece traces its roots to the musical period of the early 1900s.
Overall, I enjoyed the concert because it was well organized and it gave me a feel of the authentic orchestral music played in the early 20th century.
Concert Seating Arrangement:
Bailey, Walter. Programmatic Elements in the Works of Schoenberg. Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1984. Print.
Neighbour, Wallace. Schoenberg, Arnold: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. London: Macmillan, 2001. Print.
Newman, Ernest. Schonberg’s Five Orchestral Pieces, 1914. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963. Print.
Payne, Anthony. The Five Orchestral Pieces. Chap. In Schoenberg. London: Oxford University Press, 1968. Print.
Rahn, John. Analysis Two: Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra. New York: Longman, 1980. Print.
Rosen, Charles. Arnold Schoenberg. New York: The Viking Press, 1975. Print.
Schoenberg, Arnold. Style and Idea. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984. Print.
Stein, Deborah. Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.
Stuckenschmidt, Harley. Translated by Edith Temple Roberts and Humphrey Searle. New York: Grove Press, Inc. Print.
Thompson, Kenneth. A Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Composers (1911-1971). London: Faber & Faber, 1973. Print.