Your Name: Jessica Kim
Date: October 9, 2008
Concert and Location: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Type of Concert (Symphony, Chamber Music, Solo recital): Chamber Music Society w/ Yefim Bronfman, piano
Current concert report deals with the analysis of two musical compositions. The first is Schubert’s Quintet in A minor, D. 667 also called ‘Trout’, and the second is Brahms’ String Quarter No.1 in C minor, Op. 51, No.1. For each of the pieces musical analysis will include the descriptions of structure, tempo, melodies and general character of the music. Based on musical experience, personal reflections on these concert will be described.
Schubert’s Quintet in A minor, which is also called The Trout Quintet was played by Martin Chlifour (violin), Carrie Dennis (viola), Peter Stumpf (cello) Christopher Hanulik (bass) and
Yefim Bronfman (piano). This quintet is notable, because of variations on the Schubert’s Lied “Die Forelle” in the end section. The structure of the piece should be analyzed in accordance with its main movements. Allegro vivace is presented in the sonata form and has quick tempo, which is strictly followed by both pianist and violinists. There was no lack of coordination between pianist and violinists (as it often happens), due to professional technique of Yefim Bronfman. The harmony within compositions is also very innovative, which is characteristic of Schubert. The musicians, performing his pieces, managed to follow Schubert’s musical ideas. For instance, modulations from A minor to F major, which bear dramatic and intellectual content, were rightly understood by all the musicians. Harmonic development is rather slow at first; however, through Allegro Vivace it becomes quicker.
Andante of Schubert’s quintet contains three beautiful melodic themes, which are transposed into different tonalities through the piece. These themes, in my view constitute, the entire character of this movement. In comparison to Allegro Vivace, which is quick and bold, Andante section may be characterized as more contemplative, intellectual and slow.
This difference is characteristic of sonata form. The play with tonalities is also evident in this movement.
In the third movement, which is Scherzo: Presto, the quick tempo is maintained. The character of music may be described as unbridled and lyrical at the same time. Theme and Variations (Andantino) movement is a variation on Schubert’s ‘Die Forelle”. The character of Schubert’s variations is mainly decorative and is focused on changing mood through the process of their development. Hence, the character of this section may be described as playful.
The final of Schubert’s piece is Allegro giusto. This movement is similar in its structure with the second movement, however, its tempo is quicker and excessive modulations and chromaticism is absent.
The second musical work to be analyzed is Brahm’s String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, Op. 51, No. 1, performed by Mitchell Newman, Ingrid Chun (violins), Lyndon Johnston Taylor (viola), Gloria Lum (cello).
The Quartet consists of the following movements: Allegro, Romanze: Poco adagio, Allegretto molto moderato e comodo, Allegro. The first Brahm’s String Quartet may be characterized as extremely harmonically rich, especially, where ‘vertical’ harmony is concerned. The musicians, who performed it, managed to create beautiful and intimate atmosphere, which is so characteristic of Brahm’s chamber music (Mason, 1933).
All movements, except Allegretto are dominated by one idea of lightness. Through the first and the second movement the opposition between two central motives is created, which form strong dramatic effects.
The entire melodic style of the Quartet may be characterized as beautiful simplicity, which results in universality of Brahm’s music. This is especially evident as far as Poco Adagio movement is concerned, and musicians were successful in creating such an atmosphere.
Allegretto molto moderato e comodo may be described as reflective and transcendental, however, with a quite and noble conclusion. The sound of the third section is particularly rich, almost symphonic and string instruments sound like organ. The fourth section is played using hypnotic meter, which is in sharp contrast with harmonic relaxation of Poco Adagio movement. The final movement returns in quick tempo, peculiar the first movement, which is also Allegro. To sum it up, the entire character of this music is reflexive and relaxed; however, several movements are plaid in high tempo.
My overall reaction to this concert is positive. I was thrilled by the performance by the musicians and Schubert’s and Brahms’s music. As far as my music preferences are concerned, I am very keen on Romantic music for its emotional, harmonic and intellectual content. In this concert I especially liked Schubert’s piece due to its combination of feelings and moods, realized in different movements and innovative structure of the piece, which allows using interesting harmonic, chromatic and melodic elements. The Schubert’s quintet is interesting for me, because Schubert’s enables piano in his work, which creates beautiful tonal atmosphere.
As far as the performance of musicians is concerned, it was superb. The coordination among them was perfect: they strictly followed Schubert’s text without significant deviations from it, showed excellent perception of Schubert’s musical ideas and general musical spirit. The technique of Bronfman was excellent, but not mechanical, which is a common illness of the majority of modern pianists. I also would like to attend another musical concert. It would be interesting to attend orchestral concert, performing 7-th and 11-th Shostakovich’s symphonies.
Drinker, H. S. (1932). The Chamber Music of Johannes Brahms. Philadelphia: Elkan-Vogel.
Mason, D. G. (1933). The Chamber Music of Brahms. New York: The Macmillan company.