Archive for December, 2012

An Evening with Beethoven

Posted in College!, Entropy, NYC Arts (MCHC 1001), Reviews | No Comments »

“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”



Or walk from 104th Street brandishing Macaulay tickets.


After an adventure looking for a Halal cart, Sarah and I finally sat in the pretty but cramped seats of Carnegie Hall.  Although not as extravagant as the Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall is still pretty classy.  Once again we were near the top; once again the sound was beautiful and full, much to my happiness.


The appearance of the ensemble bothered me a bit.  The chairs for the instrumentalists seemed to be organized in a sloppy manner.  More so, the female choral members were wearing white tops.  In my chorus classes we always wore all black because it is more visually pleasing; the black doesn’t distract from the face as much as white does.  The ensemble’s visual appearance was a minor nuisance, because when they began the “Missa Solemnis”.


It was gorgeous.


The brass instruments blared with such power, the strings spun their tunes in such a brilliant fashion, the chorus and soloist delivered beautiful, timely notes – I could see their “o” and “a” vowels from my seat.  Edmund Morris’ was correct when he said this was a true masterpiece.  It even seems to have inspired stylistic choices for Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers theme song.  (Anybody else think they were listening to it while at the performance?)


Contributing to the masterpiece were the dynamics; Beethoven’s piece had soft, mezzo forte moments.  A few minutes later the music would explode into fortissimo sections.  One reason this proved to be so effective was the sudden change in dynamics; although I’m sure there were some crescendos, it was the quick change in volume that left an impression.  The sudden bursts of sound gave “Missa Solemnis” power, power I do not often here in music.  Then again, based on Morris’ biography, Beethoven was a man who loved to display his power, and so I am not quite surprised.


The part of this performance that amazed me the most: the string players.  When I looked down at the string players in the orchestra, I felt like I was watching a tape on x16 fast forward.  Their speed was incredulous; I did not know one could play that quickly on a bass or viola or cello or violin.  I would like to say kudos to the string section for their divine speed, and the time they must have used to perfect their skills.


Overall the performance impressed me.  Although not as “interactive” as the other shows we’ve seen, I thoroughly enjoyed the music.  Thank you for the night out, Beethoven.


(And the flanerie with the group afterwards was quite fun, too.)