Mini-Essay “One Must Appreciate Music”.

I was given an additional piece of homework of sorts. To choose between two composers, and their various viola concertos. Either, Bartok or Stamitz.

I chose the German Composer Carl Stamitz. Bartok is a bit too frenzied, for my tastes…

Specifically, “Rondo” or “Rondeau” from “Viola Concerto D Major, Op. 1”. As for the date of when this piece of was written. It is dated to be around 1774. It was published in both Frankfurt and Paris around this time.

Interesting thing about the word, “Rondeau”. It is a form of writing poetry, hailing from the French Renaissance. Middle French to be specific, and the word itself dates back to 1520–it is etymologically linked to the Old French word “Rondel”, which means “Short Poem”. As for “Rondo”, it is from Italian–and rather than referring to the French term of poetry… it refers to a musical composition with one sole theme, which is principle throughout a piece. Such a theme must be repeated, at least once. However, take note that both of these terms are correct. The French definition predates that of the Italian, which is dated to be 1797. The French term, being created, amid the Renaissance.

Music does gather a lot of its language from both Italian and French conventions. Clef is french for key, and terms for tempos are purely in Italian to name a few.

In-fact, a good many instruments gather their appellations from the Italian language. Piano, is Italian for soft.


Now, my tutor also instructed me further. I must also provide a subjective commentary of the piece, I had cited… that is, what did I like most about it?

Although there is a lot of complexity within the composition, there is an underlying current of repetition. The appellation itself of “Rondo” speaks of a theme being repeated, at least once. The Old French term “little round”, which is the progenitor of the Italian “Rondo” also refers to something which is cyclic in nature–yes, like that of a circle. Therefore, rondo repeats itself… However, that is not to, again, disparage its complexity. The piece is very complex, with the underlying current-or pulse, being one that is easy to identify.

The composition also alludes to Old French poetry, in that the initial couplet of the song is repeated once again. Therefore, if one wished… one could replay this piece over-and-over in a seamless fashion. There is no end, there is no beginning. It is!

What’s more, I have to present what is written as a viva voce of sorts… on this coming Sunday. Easy enough, Mr. Viola man. He did state, that one must have an appreciation toward music in-order to be serious about it. Therefore, isn’t it natural that I take an interest in viola concertos? Of course!

My tutor also wished for me to mention any viola players which I rather like. That is, in regard to the way, in-which they play. A Youtube search yielded some interesting results:

The way that this man plays. This was perhaps one of the first videos I had ever seen, of anyone playing the instrument. It’s as if, with each bow… he is feeling the pitch of each note. However, to the level of aesthetical implication. That is, how each pitch effects one emotionally. I surmise this, through how he flows with his instrument. They are one. He moves, in reaction to each pitch and the little rests in-between. The subtle nuances are like poetry, expressed through instrument. Just as well, he’s tremendously focused. Albiet, quite nervous. He’s afraid of messing up–and he does, at one stage of the video. However, the manner in-which his left hand maneuvers over the strings is very gentle… yet firm. There is a lot of emotional nuance here.

The man has amassed thousands of hours of practice. I can tell.
And I also adore Pierre Lenert’s manner of playing. He looks as if he’s enjoying himself–thoroughly. He has this calm smile upon his face, a majority of the time he’s playing. He closes his eyes and looks up to the ceiling, quite a number of times. Having memorized Paganini’s Caprice 24 for viola–he focuses only on the strings when opening his eyes… all other processes, natural to him. This man is exceedingly skilled at the viola. He has definitely amassed over 10,000 hours.

His posture, is excellent! His legs, one shoulder width a-part. His hand on the bow, is not strained with its grip. There is little resistance there as one can see. I believe, it has to do with allowing one as much mobility as possible. This is… just… fascinating.

His left hand… it’s as if… his fingers walk over the damned strings! This man breathes the instrument. Not only can he bow, he can also pluck one of the most fantastic pizzicato that’d put many guitar players to shame.

Out of the two, I believe Lenert has the best performance. This has much to do with confidence, and Lenert exudes it.

I adore both, however. The first, for how he looks as if he’s making love to the instrument… and the second, for how damned skill he is!

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