Cultural Arts Review

20 01 2011

Abby Murray-Nikkel

Mr. Haning

Varsity Chorus 1st B

January 20, 2011

Cultural Arts Review-Piano Recital


This winter I had the opportunity to go see a piano recital. Being my first, I was not sure what to expect. There were many younger children who gave short performances and then one movement of a concerto done by a high school student. Overall, I was very impressed with the level of performance and obvious commitment of all the students.

The first half of the concert consisted of children playing simplified classical pieces. I could tell that some of them were nervous, but there were no major mess-ups from what I could tell. They all seemed to have practiced a great amount and have been taught very well. I enjoyed seeing they all were, and I do hope that they continue pursuing their musical interests later on in life.

The second half of the concert was one movement of a concerto performed by a very talented high school student. She performed Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Opus 15, 1st Movement: Allegro con brio by Ludwig van Beethoven, and was accompanied by someone playing the part of the orchestra on keyboard. Before attending this concert, I asked around and did some research so I would know and understand what I was listening to. Concerti typically have three movements: an opening movement in sonata form, a slow, more expressive movement, and then a faster movement. This performance only consisted of the first movement, and it was obvious to me that the piece she played functioned as an opening movement. In my opinion, concerti are extraordinarily beautiful because of the way the soloist and the orchestra alternate from cooperation to opposition to make the piece flow. Even  before she started playing, I was impressed because Beethoven’s five piano concertos are some of the most difficult concertos to play.

The keyboardist did a dramatic introduction, and then the soloist entered and the spotlight was on her. She played quickly and lively and the music most certainly sounded happy-truly doing justice to the title “Allegro con brio” which means lively and with spirit. The quick alternating high pitches made me think of a little creature running, and the following low pitches made me think of something big and scary chasing after it.

It was so beautiful how the soloist and accompaniment alternate so smoothly without hesitation, as if they are finishing each other’s sentences. I loved this Beethoven piece because it sounds so free-spirited, happy, and adventurous. I felt that I should just close my eyes and listen because I have no idea what could be coming next. In my mind, I imagined this piece telling the story of someone’s life. It was as if it went in phases or in steps; there were sometimes setbacks, shown by pauses, a slower pace, or loud, colorful low notes, but it always went back to being happy and lively, like a person’s unstoppable joy for life.

There were very few mess-ups throughout the piece, and I was amazed at how well the student did with such a long piece. Seeing how much I—and everyone else at the concert—enjoyed hearing this Beethoven piece proved to me how classic and timeless his work is. Though he lived two hundred years ago, he truly knew how to please the listener, and no matter how much popular culture changes, works like his will always be treasured as works to enjoy as well as to learn from. The performance I saw made this clear, and the recital showed that people of all ages can enjoy classical pieces.




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