Music performance

Learning Goal: I’m working on a music writing question and need guidance to help me learn.

Music 15, Summer 2021 Session B
Concert Assignment Prompt
Due: Sunday, September 5 at 8:00pm PDT on GauchoSpace
Instructions:
1. Choose ONE concert from the “Concert Assignment Options” document on GauchoSpace
2. Watch the performance in its entirety
3. Respond to your experience in a short, written assignment (see “Prompt” below)
Format:
• Typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, standard 1” margins
• Length: at least 2 full pages, but no more than 3 pages total
• Please list the performance you watched at the top of your assignment
• Optional, but welcome: come up with a creative title!
• Submit on GauchoSpace as a Word document (no other file formats will be accepted)
Prompt:
This concert assignment is to practice discussing music and performances and should serve as a
space for reflections on your experiences watching your chosen performance. Consider the
following questions:
1. Which piece/part of the performance did you enjoy the most (if any)? Why? What
musical elements made this part of the performance the most entertaining, exciting,
pleasant, etc.?
2. Which piece/part of the performance did you enjoy the least (if any)? Why? What
musical elements made this part of the performance unenjoyable or unpleasant to you?
3. Were there parts that stuck out to you as especially interesting, weird, bizarre,
unexpected, surprising, delightful, etc.?
4. How would you describe the different pieces in your chosen performance? Was it
loud/quiet, fast/slow, a combination of things? What instruments were used? Did one
type of instrument seem more important than the others at points? Was there an emotion
or feeling that you could attach to different pieces?
5. If you have been to a classical music concert before, was this performance similar or
different than the one you attended? What were some of those similarities and/or
differences?
6. What other, non-musical, aspects of the performance stood out to you? For example,
what were your reactions to the venue? If visible on the videos, what was the audience
like in the videos? Who seemed to be the main demographic in the audience? Did you
notice anything about the performers that stuck out to you (e.g., costuming, audience
interaction, use of soloists, etc.)?
Please note that you do NOT need to address all of these questions, nor should you feel
limited to only these approaches. You are welcome to discuss any parts of the performance in
your reflection, but this should not simply be a play-by-play of what happens. Instead, think
about how you reacted to each part of the performance and what parts of the performance made
you feel that way. And be sure to talk about the music! You do not need to use musical jargon,
but you should try to discuss the music with whatever type of language you feel comfortable.

MUS 15 – Summer 2021 Session B
Concert Assignment Options
Choose ONE concert from the six options listed below. There are a variety of choices, so pick
the one that sounds the most interesting to you. (Need help with this? Read the brief description
listed under each concert.) Once you select a concert, click the link and watch the performance in
its entirety. Then, complete and submit the short, written assignment on GauchoSpace (see
“Concert Assignment Prompt” for more details). If you have any issues with the links, please let
Marc or your TA know ASAP.
Orchestra Concerts Option 1: Philadelphia Orchestra
• What to expect: On March 12, 2020, towards the beginning of the pandemic, the
Philadelphia Orchestra (under the baton of music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin)
performed a special concert to an empty concert hall. This concert was streamed live
online throughout the world. The program features a unique juxtaposition of
contemporary music alongside two of Beethoven’s most popular symphonies.
• Program:
o Iman Habibi, Jeder Baum Spricht (Every Tree Speaks)
§ Iranian-Canadian composer Iman Habibi was commissioned by the
Philadelphia Orchestra to compose this work, and it had its world premiere
at this veryconcert.
o Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, op. 67
§ This symphony opens with perhaps the most famous four notes in Western
music history. If you haven’t heard the symphony in its entirety before,
you have more than likely heard these first four notes!
o Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 6 in F Major, op. 68
§ On December 22, 1808, Beethoven organized a lengthy concert of his own
music, and both his fifth and sixth symphonies were premiered on the
same night, alongside six other works by the composer (what a program!).
The sixth symphony––known as the Pastoral Symphony––is a work in five
movements, and each movement bears a title that suggests a scene from
life in the countryside (Awakening of cheerful feelings on arrival in the
countryside, Scene by the brook, etc). What aspects of nature are conjured
in your imagination when you listen to this piece?
• Link:


JMzBIwSbXS8dSG&index=4&t=336s
Option 2: Vienna Philharmonic
• What to expect: Rewind 58 years. This concert took place on June 5, 1963 at the
Musikverein––one of the most famous concert halls in the world. Under the direction of
George Szell––one of the twentieth century’s greatest and notoriously autocratic
conductors––the Vienna Philharmonic plays a concert of canonical favorites.
• Program:
o Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, op. 73 (The
“Emperor” Concerto)
§ Premiered in 1811, this concerto exhibits Beethoven’s dramatic qualities.
The soloist’s interaction with the orchestra makes for a lively
performance.
o Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 3 in D Minor
§ Premiered in 1877, this work was dedicated to Richard Wagner––
Bruckner was an ardent admirer of the famous (and polemical) composer.
This symphony is in the standard four-movement structure and was
certainly shaped by the influence of past composers, however, the
harmonic and tonal complexities also exhibit Bruckner’s fascination with
the revolutionary techniques of Wagner.
• Link:

MzBIwSbXS8dSG&index=3
Opera
Option 3: UCSB’s production of Don Giovanni
• What to expect: Set in seventeenth-century Spain, Don Giovanni is a high-ranking,
influential man who takes advantage of his position of power––especially with women.
His servant, Leporello, helps the sleazy womanizer in seducing women all over Europe.
The names of these women are written in a catalogue; in all, the list numbers 2,000.
During Don Giovanni’s attempt at having his way with Donna Anna, she manages to get
away and scream for help. Don Giovanni ends up killing her father, the Commendatore.
Another women he seduced and whose life he ruined, Donna Elvira, comes to town to
seek revenge and to stop him from destroying the lives of other women. What happens
next? Find out in UCSB’s abbreviated, socially distant, and recorded production of
Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which originally premiered in 1787.
o Music Director: Dr. Isabel Bayrakdarian
o Pianists: Erik Lawrence and Dr. John Ballerino
o Don Giovanni: Valdis Jansons, baritone
o Leporello: Valdis Jansons, baritone
o Donna Anna: April Amante, soprano
o Donna Elvira: Naomi Merer, soprano
o Don Ottavio: Gianni Becker, tenor
o Zerlina: Marta Hovhannisyan, soprano
o Masetto: Steven Browning Thomson, baritone
• Content Warning: This opera contains violence against women.
• This virtual performance premiered on Friday, February 26th, and can be viewed on
YouTube (link below).
• Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DKOno7vR9w 3
Option 4: The Turn of the Screw
• What to expect: A young governess is hired to care for two children at an English
countryside manor. Oh, and it turns out that the house is haunted. NBD. This chilling
1954 opera by the English composer Benjamin Britten features only six characters, but
still contains moments of high drama and great beauty. So, what ends up happening?
You’ll have to watch to find out!
• Content Warning: Contains sexual and pedophilic undertones
• Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEA5ByEhX6g
• While the opera is sung in English, you can use the following link to access the libretto
(the opera’s lyrics) with the following link: https://www.opera-arias.com/britten/turn-ofthe-screw/libretto/
Chamber Music and Recitals
Option 5: Violin Recital by Dr. Alexandra Birch
• What to expect: Performed and recorded for a virtual audience in March 2021, Dr.
Alexandra Birch presents a concert of wonderful salon music and violin favorites.
• Program:
o Shostakovich – Romance from the “Gadfly”
o Tchaikovsky – “Melodie” from Souvenir of Another Time
o Prokofiev – Sonata for Solo Violin (Moderato – Tema con Variazione – Con brio)
o Pärt – Spiegel im Spiegel (“Mirror in Mirror”)
o Shraibman – Picture Pieces Op. 5 (No. 1 Childish Play, No. 2 Sorrow, No. 4
Dewdrops – No. 3 Classical Rondo)
o Wagner – Albumblatt o Manuel de Falla – Jota
• Link to Dr. Alexandra Birch’s Facebook page where the video can be found (Look for the
video posted on March 26, 2021): https://www.facebook.com/AlexandraBirchViolin/
Option 6: University of Michigan Symphony Band, September 24, 2018
• What to expect: The University of Michigan Symphony band presents a concert with new
and old music, both which feature wind instruments rather than strings.
• Program:
o Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Serenade in B Flat Major
§ This piece is written in seven movements, so you’ll get quite a bit of
variety in terms of characters and emotions. We haven’t discussed Mozart
much this class, so this is your chance to hear some music by him. If
you’re a fan of the movie Amadeus, this is the piece that Salieri, near the
beginning of the film, describes as “filled with such longing, such
unfulfillable longing. It was as if I was hearing the voice of God.”
o Jennifer Higdon, Percussion Concerto
§ Hey, how would you like to actually listen to that random piece I put on
the proposed program for the midterm without any context? It’s a very
cool-sounding piece, written in 2009, and you can read Jennifer Higdon’s
note describing the piece here.
• Link (playlist):

This concert assignment is to practice discussing music and performances and should serve as a

space for reflections on your experiences watching your chosen performance. Consider the

following questions:

1. Which piece/part of the performance did you enjoy the most (if any)? Why? What

musical elements made this part of the performance the most entertaining, exciting,

pleasant, etc.?

2. Which piece/part of the performance did you enjoy the least (if any)? Why? What

musical elements made this part of the performance unenjoyable or unpleasant to you?

3. Were there parts that stuck out to you as especially interesting, weird, bizarre,

unexpected, surprising, delightful, etc.?

4. How would you describe the different pieces in your chosen performance? Was it

loud/quiet, fast/slow, a combination of things? What instruments were used? Did one

type of instrument seem more important than the others at points? Was there an emotion

or feeling that you could attach to different pieces?

5. If you have been to a classical music concert before, was this performance similar or

different than the one you attended? What were some of those similarities and/or

differences?

6. What other, non-musical, aspects of the performance stood out to you? For example,

what were your reactions to the venue? If visible on the videos, what was the audience

like in the videos? Who seemed to be the main demographic in the audience? Did you

notice anything about the performers that stuck out to you (e.g., costuming, audience

interaction, use of soloists, etc.)?

Requirements: 400-500 words

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