Listening Log 2019-2020

November 2019

Silent Night

This month we are sharpening our observational skills to prepare for our upcoming workshop. Please use the updated feedback form. The more specific your comments the more helpful they will be. I hope you will be thoughtful and include encouraging messages as well as kind suggestions for improvements.

October 2019

Sonata X

John Cage (1912-1992) loved to explore new sonorities (sounds) and compositional techniques. He composed several pieces for “prepared piano”. He would write very specific instructions for musicians, telling them to put items into the strings of their grand pianos. Sometimes he would give the performers choices about what order to play the different sections of his compositions. One of his most famous pieces is called 4’ 33”. He directs the pianist to sit at a piano for 4 minutes and 33 seconds in silence so the audience can hear music in all the natural sounds around them.

Sometimes it is difficult to fully appreciate 20th century music (music composed in the 1900s)  with only one hearing. I personally need to listen to “new” music several times before I can decide how I feel about it. Please listen to Tim Ovens play John Cage’s “Sonata X” several times before completing your listening log worksheet.

September 2019

Six Écossaises, WoO 83

The Écossaise is a type of partner dance that was popular in France and Great Britain in the late 1700s and early 1800s, when Beethoven was growing up. The écossaise was usually danced in 2/4 time in two lines, with men facing the women. As the dance continues, couples move to the head of the line.  Écossaise dance music usually has dynamic contrasts and lively rhythms which make it exciting. Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert and Frédéric Chopin all composed écossaises.

Dr. Alan Huckleberry does an excellent job bringing out the individual character of all six of these écossaises composed by Beethoven (1770-1827). Watch the Jane Austen Society of France recreate this dance!