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Symphony Orchestra

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    Lauren Love 15 April 2013 Professor Dewey Music 1306 Concert Critique #1 I have never been personally a fan of the romantic orchestra music but going to listen to a concert live is breathtaking. I attended the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, Masterpieces concert with music director Fouad Fakhouri performing Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D major. There was a full stage of musicians and a complete choir to back it up. The first half of the performance was a complete orchestra of woodwinds, strings, drums, brass, excreta and a four part choir.

    Overall the performance took no longer than thirty minutes to play the three-part Symphony of Psalms. This Symphony was much shorter than I was expecting. The symphony had the most soft and sweet chords following up with big, bold parts. The tempo would slow down just the slightest bit, the calm before the storm there was a bang of sound ringing from all around you and your almost startled but it is so lovely even at the volume and mixture of instruments you cant help but feel relaxed in the flow of notes.

    Stravinsky was born into a Russian Orthodox Church but soon left as a young man and though he was this origin he set a Latin text to his music, making it a more inclusive religious statement. Igor used the term “ Symphony” in the broadest sense, reflecting its etymology as the coming together of sounds, said to be why his orchestration is unusual. His melodies are stark and archaic, where he employs the octatonic scale that figures in his earlier works and those of his Russian contemporaries. The harmonies are equally austere, even cold, and the emotional climaxes especially in the third movement are intense yet subdued.

    (Kahn) After a brief fifteen-minute intermission the orchestra made its way back on stage to set up again. The auditorium fell silent as the music director Fouad Fakhouri came back, front and center, he introduced the next piece as Symphony No. 1 in D Major, Composed by Gustav Mahler. With a spiel on the complexity and desire of learning this piece and the man-hours put in to master it. Mr. Fakhouri had also explained how this is one of his favorite pieces and just had to have his orchestra perfect, as they did successfully. After a minor wobble of the director stand, a few adjustments and giggles, Symphony No. 1 in D major began. The first movement started off with an eerie introduction, with the first two notes morphing into a birdcall as well as main theme but a very magical sound. It made for a very soothing, romantic time. Throughout the piece I felt as if it told a story as most music does, what I came to believe it was a love story. The Allegro begins in the cello with the second Wayfarer song, “Ging heut morgen Ubers Feld,” (I Walked this Morning over the Field). With a light and happy tone in the beginning as if two lovers had just met, this was the main theme of this movement.

    Suddenly there was a deep, heavy part maybe one of despair in paradise but that only lasted for a short period as it came to a victorious ending of happily ever after. (Kahn) The second movement Scherzo, gave more of an elegant, royal ball sound. Where the women dress in gowns and the men in tuxedos, while drinking wine and dancing the night away. This movement has the rhythm of the Landler, an Australian folk dance. It conforms to the classic minuet and trio form though Mahler takes the first section beyond the standard repeat structure. The first three notes of the Scherzo and the Trio recall the birdcall theme from the first movement.

    If I understood the breaks correctly the third movement was a little tribal with the percussion, drums and symbols it was a very bold part that out weighted much of the other instruments playing at the time. This particular movement is a funeral march based on the nursery rhyme “Frere Jacques” in the minor mode the theme transfers to the fourth Wayfarer song, “Die zwei blauen Augen von meinem Schatz,” (My Sweetheart’s Two Blue Eyes) hypnotic and calming. Last but not least it goes into a dance with more than a hint of Jewish Klezmer music.

    (Kahn) The stormy Finale, which opens with one of the most threatening passages in classical music and is subsequently taken up in the main body of the Allegro. This is truly a body jolter as I read in the program the ending was a big one that felt like a bit of an understatement, I about jumped out of my set when it began. It was powerful and brilliant, most defiantly wasn’t expecting such a grand finale. In this Finale, Mahler ties together themes for a gentle, even comforting theme. The resolution occurs in a coda of heroic proportions, including a triumphant, full-voiced reprise of the distant fanfare from the opening of the Symphony.

    Once it was over I was really glad I went other than being mandatory. I was really a great experience and I am looking forward to the second one in a few weeks. The choir did a phenomenal job and the orchestra was a great group of young and elder musicians that worked together to make a memorable night and to bring forgotten music to the rest of the population a new light. Reference: 2012-2013 Season Program. Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra. Methodist University – Reeves Auditorium. 13 April 2013. Program Notes by: Khan, Joseph and Elizabeth. www. wordpromusic. com

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