Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Night of Elegant Music

 Daniel Wallace

On a cool November afternoon around 50 people gathered in the auditorium at Florissant Valley Community College to experience three musical pieces preformed by a combination of the Florissant Valley Symphony and St. Charles Community College Orchestras. These two orchestras played a piece of music from three separate composers: La Gazza Ladra by Rossini, followed by a wonderful piece named simply Symphonic Dance by Grieg, and finally Symphony in D Minor written by Franck. These three pieces chosen for this concert were meant to explore the vast range of human emotion from the happy and light sounds of Italian opera, to the dark and cold Norwegian folk melodies, and finishing with a French piece that hit on all levels of human emotion.
            Rossini, the composer of La Gazza Ladra was an Italian composer that composed 39 operas in the early 19th century. The title La Gazza Ladra is translated as the Silken Ladder. In the overture (introduction) the audience heard a trademark of Rossini, a technique called long crescendo. A long crescendo is very soft dynamics building up to extremely loud dynamics. A wide range of instruments creates a very consonant feeling to the piece. La Gazza Ladra was very cheery and upbeat unlike another piece played during the concert. That piece was by Norwegian composer Grieg. Symphonic Dances, the Norwegian Folk melody, emphasized the dark and bitter cold of Norwegian music during the mid 19th century. Like Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra, Symphonic Dances utilizes long crescendos, but this time ranging from very loud to very soft dynamics along while using a plethora of pitches from extreme lows to extreme highs. Syncopation is used numerous times throughout each movement of the piece, which creates drama and suspense for the audience. Finally, Symphony in D Minor composed by Franck wowed the audience. Franck was a French composer who flourished with the break down of the major-minor key system breakdown in the latter half of the 19th century. Franck’s Symphony in D Minor was completely different than any other symphony ever heard. The major difference was that this piece is in three movements instead of four like every other symphony created. At first this symphony was unappreciated and questioned by the masses. However, as time went on the piece grew on people and is now referred to as a statement of Romantic art.
            These two orchestras created an outstanding performance of 19th century music for their audience to enjoy. The music performed was fantastically played and enjoyed by the mass of people that sat in the audience as they looked on in amazement.

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