N.B. Papers should be typed double-spaced, using a font no larger than 12 pt size. The example below is single-spaced for web purposes only. The length of the paper below is 2.5 pages, double-spaced, approximately 710 words. See the guidelines for music papers for specific details on how to complete the assignment successfully.

 

(Title of Paper) Music Paper #1

 

On October 19th, I attended a concert by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra featuring Eugene Fodor, a virtuoso violinist. The first piece presented was Symphonie Espagnole, composed by Edouard Lalo. Mr. Fodor was the soloist in this piece with the orchestra. After a 20-minute intermission, Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4 was performed by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra alone. All of the music on this concert was from the Romantic era.

Edouard Lalo, a French composer, wrote Symphonie Espagnole for the Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate. Composed in 1874, this work shows many traits of the 19th-century Romantic era, such as highly emotional and expressive harmony and most obviously, the emphasis on virtuoso display in the concerto. Although the work has the word "symphonie" in the title, it is actually a concerto for violin and orchestra, consisting of five movements. The music was very melodic, and I found that I could, indeed, sing along with the melodies in my head. "The nineteenth century above all was the period when musicians tried to make their instruments ‘sing.’ (Machlis, 272)

The second piece on the program was Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Also composed in the 19th century, this piece displays characteristics of music of the Romantic era as well. It calls for a large orchestra of more than 80 musicians, which is capable of creating a very full volume of sound. By the time of the Romantic era, "orchestras increased in size, giving composers a more varied and colorful means of expression" (Machlis, 270) than had been used in earlier times, such as the Classical period.

Bruckner’s 4th symphony consists of four movements: Allegro; Andante; Scherzo; and Finale. The music covered a very wide dynamic range, typical of a Romantic era symphony. The sound was very rich and full, and then at other times, soft and sweet. The composer seemed to use all of the instruments of the orchestra: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. The first movement was long and complex, somewhat agitated. The musicians seemed to be playing their hearts out, and the conductor looked exhausted when they finished. It was very dramatic.

Investigating the life of Anton Bruckner, I learned that he was born in 1824 into a poor family, and that his ancestors had been peasants in Austria. His father was an organist and schoolmaster, and his mother sang in the church choir. Bruckner received his education at St. Florian’s monastery. He learned to become an organist, and was going to become a school teacher like his father. Later he decided to studied composition. He worked as an organist for years, but then became a music professor at a conservatory in Vienna, and did a lot of composing at that time. He wrote several large symphonies and masses.

Eduoard Lalo was born in Lille, France, in 1823. He learned to play the violin and cello, and was passionately interested in becoming a musician, but his father angrily disapproved. This caused Eduard to run away from home at age 16. He was accepted as a student at the Paris Conservatoire, where he began his career as a violinist. With support from the Société Nationale de Musique and some distinguished musicians of the time such as Pablo de Sarasate, Lalo was eventually recognized as an important composer. Most of the music he composed is for strings, either symphonies or chamber music.

The attendance at Robinson Center Music Hall on October 19th was good. There appeared to be a large audience of several hundred people. Both the Lalo and Bruckner pieces received enthusiastic applause. For me, the most memorable part of the concert was after Mr. Fodor played the Lalo. He came out again to do an encore, a short, lively piece which he played on only one string of his violin. This really captivated the audience, and they showed their appreciation with long and loud applause.

The concert was overall a different experience for me. I really enjoyed both pieces because of the fast-paced tempo throughout most of the movements. This was my first classical concert to attend, and it exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect anything too exciting, but the music was really upbeat (although a few old people didn’t think so, as I noticed some were nodding off during softer pieces.)