Concert Critique # 1
On February 9th, 2013, I attended a concert that was performed by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. This concert was organized by the Moncks Corner, South Carolina, Mayor’s Office and Recreation Department, and was performed in the Berkley High School Auditorium. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra would actually have 2 instrumental sets with a brief intermission between them. The 1st musical set was played by their String Quartet and they would be playing Mozart’s String Quartet #19. The 2nd musical set would be performed by the Woodwind Quintet, and they would be playing the Beethoven - Quintet, Op.71. Below you will find a critique primarily on the 1st set that was ...view middle of the document...
Even here, we hear the four-note theme that will be the basis for most of the material in this movement. After having set this dark, brooding tone in the introduction, Mozart then lightens things up in the Allegro with the entrance of a pure and innocent little melody in the violin. Incorporated into the melody, we hear again that same rising 4-note theme, except this time in a happier, major context.
This being a traditional first movement of a Classical string quartet, we are of course following the sonata form here. The exposition serves its purpose well enough, by first establishing our key of C major, then modulating over to G major... while all the while keeping those four rising notes somewhere close to our minds. With the development, things get rather stormy as we build tension on our way back to the home key of C major again. Even here, our four note theme keeps a major role. Finally, after we wrap things up in the recapitulation, the Allegro ends just as softly and innocently as it began.
II: Andante cantabile
This beautiful slow movement is once again in sonata form. The word "cantabile" in the title means "singing" - and that is exactly the character of this movement. Its beautiful lyricism is almost like an opera solo in nature. As a general rule, always take in and focus on the melody when listening to this movement, or any other movement labelled "cantabile".
This is not to say that the harmony should be ignored. In fact, the harmony here matches and perfectly complements the simple yet rich characteristic of the melody. Mozart uses the cello at several places in this movement to link together many parts of the violin's solos. A back-and-forth duet between the violin and cello is also used as transition material to move from the tonic to the dominant, but herein lies Mozart's genius: he also uses this same back-and-forth theme as the retransition material, moving from dominant back to tonic. (If you aren't familiar with some of these terms, you can get a quick crash-course on harmony in Lesson 6 of our Music Theory section.)
The recapitulation goes over the established material, but...