As a classical musician, I wanted to do a friendly little competition here at CP to spread along two of my favorite hobbies, cigars and classical music. If you choose to participate in the challenge, I thank you for your participation in advance, as the intention of this thread is to expose some people who might not normally listen to classical music to a fantastic work, and to share a bit of the generosity that I've been given and shown by my Brothers of the Leaf here.
I frequently talk to others about Classical music and am always puzzled by how intimidated people are. Some people just assume that it is old and moldy, and even though they haven't listened to much of it, it surely must be boring. Others believe that you must have a degree in music to understand any of it, and therefore they simply don't give it a listen. Still others think that classical music has a place in society: in elevators and shopping malls to slow down street kids.
I perform in various groups including the Phoenix Symphony and sometimes my friends come to hear me play. When I ask them if they enjoyed the concert, I usually get an answer similar to, "Well, I liked it, but I don't know about music so I'm not sure if it was good or not." Whenever someone gives me one of these answers or looks, I usually tell them the same thing, which strangely sounds like our advice when it comes to picking cigars to smoke: "Listen to what you like, and don't listen to what you don't like." If it sounded good to you, then you liked it. If it sounded like noise, then you didn't like it. It's really as simple as that.
Classical music is about conveying a message. The intention of any composer is to express themselves through their written music (besides making a living by selling it). The intention of a musician is to express themselves through the music in a way they can’t be accomplished through any other medium. When done effectively, this process often tells a story or gives the listener images in their mind of what the composer might be trying to communicate. The whole process of listening, interpreting, and visualizing is what makes music-making so special.
Today music is used in a variety of ways, ranging from film scores, to advertisements. Music that was composed hundreds of years ago has been used to tell stories that take place in virtually every time period. Some examples are:
- Gyorgy Ligeti – The Shining
- Richard Strauss – Also Sprach Zarathustra
- Igor Stravinsky – The Rite of Spring
Listen to Johannes Brahms’ Symphony no. 1, all four movements by April 14th. Decide if you want to write a story on a movement, two movements, or all movements. Write a short summary of a story that you believe the movement(s) communicate EDIT: 400-1000 words. Send your summary to me via message to me by the deadline. I will read all of the summaries, and select what I believe are the FIVE most creative and post all five on APRIL 16th without the names of the authors. At this point, I will open up a poll and allow readers to vote for their top picks. There will be a first, second and third prize.
You can listen to any recording or video that you might own. The story can be as vivid or as general as you wish. You can continue the same story from movement to movement, or you can begin a completely different story for each movement. It can be a serious story, a funny story, or a matter of fact story. It can be in a narrative-only form or have a little dialogue. The story can be about humans, animals, or anything else. The story may take place in modern day, or any time in the past.
One recording of Brahms’ Symphony no. 1 is here:
- Can you describe a certain instrument as being a character or characteristic of a protagonist or antagonist?
- Are there parts that are repeated? What does the repetition say about the music?
- What moods/emotions are brought out from the music?
An Example – Beethoven’s Symphony no. 5 mvt. I
(479 words according to MS Word)
Time markers indicated correspond with this video
A man is fleeing in fear, and takes four steps, pausing to listen if his pursuer is near. He takes another four steps, listening again. Running through a dark cold castle, the hallways are narrow and he runs not knowing where he is going other than to get away from the enemy who is after his life. It is a feverish nightmare, one where the lines between reality and illusion is blurred, only clarified by the pain of his shins bumping into a side table here, a doorway there. For a split moment, he slows, (:40), asking himself, “What if the man has gone? Perhaps he gave up and left?” While he ponders this, he hears his pursuer coming up the stairs around the corner and quickly begins to run again this time the adrenaline coursing through his veins. “I must be losing him!” he cackles (1:02). The speed of the pursuit increases until he loses awareness of where he is and where the pursuer is as well. Four steps, followed by four more. The cat and mouse game continues.
“I will catch you!” yells out the pursuer (2:44), and a shudder of terror rips through the man again, this time putting the fear of death in his soul. As the man leaves the castle for the outside maze (like the big one in the Shining), he is closely followed by his pursuer. The man takes a few steps, and the pursuer takes a few more (3:02). This balancing act takes place until they finally see each other and the chase is on! As the pursuer finds his way out of the maze, he believes he has lost his enemy until finally the pursuer emerges (3:54). Both draw swords!
“You can take my life, but you will not take my soul!” exclaims the man as he turns to see the red eyes of his pursuer, a Gargoyle-looking demon (oboe solo 4:07). The battle begins and the fight is bloody and fierce, until the moonlight shines upon the man, offering a moment of encouragement and resolution, but the clouds quickly cover over the moonlight (5:05). As the fight continues, the man gains the upper hand, slaying the demon by cutting one arm off, and then brutally stabbing it in the side. Momentarily thinking the demon has died (5:42), the man drops his guard. Suddenly, the demon rises fighting more fiercely than ever, as they fight their battle up a cliff. Finally, the man stabs the demon through the heart, ending the battle with a victorious riposte (6:35). As he walks away, the demon finally attempts one last sneak attack, only to have the man end the battle once and for all with a slash to the chest, the arm, and finally the a decapitating blow (6:55).
Good luck to everyone who is participating, and I hope you enjoy the music!
Edited by coopsdeloops, 31 March 2012 - 12:32 PM.