My Analysis of Julliard Pre-College Orchestra

Topics: Tempo, Arnold Schoenberg, Symphony Pages: 2 (702 words) Published: April 10, 2013
The performance I attended was a Pre-College Orchestra, conducted by Adam Glaser, at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at the Julliard School. The performance contained two pieces of classical music composed after 1900, and one piece composed before 1900. The first piece that the ensemble performed was Anton Webern’s classical Passacaglia, Op. 1. Webern wrote his Passacaglia in 1908 under the guidance of Arnold Schoenberg. This was his first Opus, which signified his independence from Schoenberg (LA Phil). Along with Schoenberg, Webern is considered one of the leading figures to expressionist music. The Passacaglia is a piece that seems lush in texture and tone. The piece starts off slow and calming, but peaks twice, with a large increase in tempo and dynamics for a short and long duration, respectively. Webern utilizes the strength of the horn instruments during these peaks. The peaks bring about frightening, chasing, dissonant, and “falling apart” feelings. In between the two peaks, Webern utilizes the string and flute instruments to expose calming feelings, unusual remoteness, and nature-like effect to his audience. All of these factors lead me to feel that this was a late-Romantic, early-Impressionist type of piece with the use of older, classical forms. The second piece that the orchestra performed was Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63. This piece was written in 1935, when Prokofiev was returning to the Soviet Union. Naturally, Prokofiev became even more influenced by the arts and culture of his home country (Stophlet). Prokofiev was forced to balance his originality and creativity with the political standards of his country. This piece contained three movements: Allegro moderato, Andante assai, and Allegro ben marcato. Out of three compositions played during this performance, it was Prokofiev’s that sounded the most contemporary. The first movement of this piece was very atonal and unpredictable, with rapid tempo changes. This is attributed...
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