Assignment 2 – The Birthday Present
Dr. Camille Still
November 26, 2013
The Birthday Present
In search of the perfect gift for my uncle’s birthday, I have researched three composers of which I feel are some of the greatest of all time; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pyotr IIyich Tchaikovsky, and Richard Wagner. Within this search, I found Mozart to be the most capable person for the job. It is my understanding that he is willing to create pieces for hire to supplement his income as an entrepreneur. In this regard, I have found his background and work ethic most intriguing. “Mozart was a genius — with common tools; A molten will to practice, a tireless work ethic to crank out a huge number of melodies, an ordinary quill pen” (Amy, 2013). He has the creative genius and skill to accomplish this task with precision and timeliness.
Explain why the other two composers were ultimately not selected.
Tchaikovsky is a great composer in his own rite; however, most of his works are for ballet and may feel too feminine for my uncle. According to Sayre, his real fame came from ballet music as it was very popular in Europe and France (2013). While his music is elegant and flowing, I fear that it would provide sleeping music, rather than a celebratory event. To his defense an outstanding 1812 overture has lots of vibrato and fervor; however, we are not celebrating the independence of a nation. Finally, in Russian life magazine I read that he had family issues and that his father and uncle did not want him to be a musician and composer (2000). I think that may negatively affect the outcome of a musical piece written for my uncle, where he may feel resentment or some other emotion that may be conveyed in the composition.
Richard Wagner has composed great horn pieces with harmonies of low brass; trombones, baritone horns, and tubas with orchestral accents. “Most people agree that Wagner is not like other composers. His music seems to reach parts that other music doesn’t reach, something “outside the province of reason” (Smith, 2013). In listening to different selections, I found some of his music almost scary, with a sense that something is lurking in the darkness; reaching out to grab a person at the exact right moment. Secondly, some of his other pieces were nice but seemed to have more of a deep dark sound as if it were all men singing, with no high voice, even the flutes are playing in a low register. Finally, I have strong beliefs that anyone who holds prejudice against other people will not receive a penny of my hard earned money; therefore, when I read that Wagner was a bigot against the Jews, he became ruled him out. “… Anti-Semitic Richard Wagner, who in 1850 had composed a polemic entitled “Jewry in Music”, the chief target of which was composer Felix Mendelssohn” (Sayre, 2013 p.1009). Even if his music had been flowery and multifaceted like Mozart he would still not have been a choice.
Specifically identify the musical elements in the composer’s style that you would like to be included in the new music written for your uncle.
There are many people who do not understand Mozart or the kind of music that he writes. Some critics feel that there are too many notes in his music which boggles the mind. “Mozart could pack more distinct melodies into a single movement than most composers could write for an entire symphony, and each line would arise and grow naturally from the beginning to the end of the piece” (Sayre, 2013 p.821). That is exactly the reason that his music is appealing; it is not like any other, it takes an intelligent person to be able to understand where he is coming from and what the music is trying to convey. There are many good things about his style one of which is that he is very classical in form and follows its traditions. According to Mozart, Fisher, & Da Ponte; Mozart’s goal is specifically, to comply, with