The Mendelssohn Concerto in E Minor Essay

The Mendelssohn Concerto in E Minor Essay.

“I would like to compose a violin concerto for next winter. One in E minor keeps running through my head, and the opening gives me no peace,” German composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote to his friend, violinist Ferdinand David, in 1838. Mendelssohn would seek to collaborate on his last orchestral work with David, revising it painstakingly until its premiere in Leipzig in 1845. The first movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 4, is considered a staple of the violin repertoire and an example piece of the romantic period.

While Mendelssohn is widely recognized as a romantic who remained loyal mainly to traditional, classical forms, the technical demands of the soloist, the novel placement and qualities of the cadenza, and the features of the overall form illustrate both the novelty of the concerto and why it served as an example for later composers. The concerto is credited with being challenging but manageable in its technical demands of the soloist.

While it contains many intricate techniques, it “plays well under the fingers,” undoubtedly because of Ferdinand David’s input.

Because of this, it is widely used by violin instructors to introduce concerti to students. Its place as an introductory learning tool is held by Mendelssohn’s frequent use of octaves (rehearsal B and K) to lead the player to arrival points such as the high “B” after rehearsal B, seen in Example 1.

Example 1: Varied use of octaves surrounding rehearsal B. The Classical style to which Mendelssohn remained loyal is characterized in technique by his use of ricochet bowing, first developed by Niccolo Paganini, in the chord section immediately following the cadenza after rehearsal letter O. While many of his strategies were common in the concerto’s time (including accent and tenuto articulations and virtuosic melodic lines), Mendelssohn departs from tradition in his treatment of the ricochet bowing technique.

It is used to accompany an orchestra that reintroduces the theme after the cadenza; this is a reversal of the traditional role of having the soloist recapitulate the main idea. The Mendelssohn concerto is also novel in its treatment of the cadenza. The series of arpeggios in the ricochet bowing style before rehearsal P (or number 13) can be considered an extension of the traditional Classical cadenza played only by the soloist because these are continued after the orchestra re-enters (see Example 2).

Example 2: The orchestra re-enters at rehearsal 13 as the soloist accompanies. Example 2: The orchestra re-enters at rehearsal 13 as the soloist accompanies. In the classical form, such as that used by Mozart in the first movement of his Violin Concerto in A major, KV 219, the cadenza is considered an entirely separate section from the orchestra. Also novel for the concerto’s time is Mendelssohn’s placement of the cadenza between the development and recapitulation sections, as opposed to its usual place at the end of the movement.

Placement at the end can be found in Mozart’s concerto, as well as in the first movement of the Paganini Violin Concerto No. 1 (closed by only a short orchestra section). Another difference from the compositions of Mendelssohn’s predecessors and contemporaries is the fact that, in his careful editing, Mendelssohn wrote out the entire cadenza for the soloist; many classical composers intended for improvisation to be involved, either in keeping with their ideas or as completely new ideas.

This tradition can be seen in the first movement of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 1; a cadenza later written by Fritz Kreisler is one of the most commonly performed for Beethoven’s first movement. Other formal features promote the concerto’s position as novel for its time. As a contrast to the traditional “double exposition” classical model, the violin enters at the start with a soaring melody after just two measures of orchestral introduction. The classical model normally contains a full exposition, with the orchestra introducing the main themes before the soloist enters.

In effect, the orchestra and the soloist perform two separate expositions. Although the three movements of the concerto are written in the standard fast-slow-fast structure, distinctive from tradition was Mendelssohn’s decision to create a through-composed form, in which the three movements are connected, or played attacca. At the end of the first movement and into the second, the bassoon’s held note serves as a link between the two, a simple transition to a lyrical second movement.

The technical and formal features of the violin concerto, as compared to Mendelssohn’s education in the classical form, illustrate that the work was innovative for its time. Mendelssohn’s collaboration with Ferdinand David demonstrates the work’s attention to technical detail. Mendelssohn’s careful editing is illustrated by the complete composition of the cadenza, as opposed to one intended for improvisation. The first movement’s novelty in technique and form also serves as an example as to why Mendelssohn was as inspiration to later composers such as Joseph Joachim and William Sterndale Bennett.

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The Mendelssohn Concerto in E Minor Essay

Celta Assignment 2:Skills -Related Task Essay

Celta Assignment 2:Skills -Related Task Essay.

Receptive skills:

According to J. Harmer in his book The Practice of English Language Teaching, “receptive skills are the ways in which people extract the meaning from the discourse they see or hear”. In the following text “Playing with your food” the main skill that is being practiced is reading and along with it other sub-skills are being developed such as practicing new vocabulary, reading for gist in order for the students to understand the main idea. Enhancement of receptive skills will increase the rate at which students comprehend English language and allow students to practice new vocabulary in its context from the text.

1. Generating students’ interest in the topic of the text.

The teacher gives the students a picture of a vegetable and then a musical instrument and then writes the title of the text on the board, “ Playing with your food”. The teacher then asks students to take some time and make predictions what they think the text will be about.

After that some of their ideas will be listed on the board.

Rationale: This activity will help students predict the topic and prepare for the vocabulary that might be used in the studied text.

2. Reading for gist.

The teacher will then ask the students to read the text quickly for a couple of minutes after which they will be asked if any of their predictions, from the listed of the board, were mentioned in the text. After discussing the text briefly students will be asked to read and answer the questions in Ex.1 (see attached exercise worksheet) in order to check if they have understood the general idea of the text. After checking their answers the teacher will ask the students “What is the main idea of the text?”, “ Is this something that you would try yourself?”.

Rationale: This task will help students to enhance their ability to read for gist and understand the main idea of the text. And will also help them answer general questions related to the text. (see ex.1 on attached worksheet).

3. Reading for specific information:

Teacher will ask students to read questions related to the text and then read the text itself to support their answers. (see ex.2 on attached worksheet). The students will be working in pairs and will check with the text if they find it necessary.

Rationale: This exercise allows students to practice reading for specific information for which they need to concentrate while reading in order to find the correct piece of information they are looking for.

Practicing productive skills:

As J. Harmer says in his book The Practice of English Language Teaching productive skills are a way of helping students with their receptive skills and in many situations production can only continue in a combination with the practice of a receptive skill. Productive skills are important for students, when they learn them in the classroom, as they help them develop a better and more efficient way to communicate and also in this way they learn the correct context of different uses and meanings of words and phrases. They follow the typical intonation and sounding of a language and naturally prepare for formal or informal conversations.

1. Writing:

The teacher will play a video of a short musical performance of the Vegetable Orchestra. After watching the video the teacher asks the students to write a short review about the orchestra and if they feel it necessary they can check with the text. The teacher will write on the board some lead- in questions for the students to begin with. – What was the idea of the musicians from Austria that made the so different from other orchestras? – What happens with the vegetable instruments after the concert is over? -What is your opinion of this music?

– Do you think their art will gain more popularity in the world?

After completing their writings, students will exchange their papers with their partners in order to share opinions and see if they have followed the idea of the text and to correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes they might have made.

Rationale: this activity will help students practice spelling, vocabulary, grammar and text formation which differ quite a lot from speaking.

2. Speaking activity:

The teacher asks the students to divide in groups and of 2 or 3 and elicits that each group is a musical orchestra that uses different materials for their instruments, such as vegetables, old office materials, fruit or things they can find in nature. Each group will have to decide on its name, style of music, instruments and activities. What kind of songs they have and some history that they can imagine.

After this they will have about 5-6 minutes to prepare and then they will have to introduce themselves to the rest of the class. Afterwards the class will vote which musical band might get in the leading positions of the radio charts. This activity will be useful to students as it encourages them to practice new vocabulary from the text, etc. biodegradable, environmentally-conscious, and to interpret the new information in their own way and engage in a spoken dialogue.

Ex.1 Read text and answer the following questions:

1. What makes this orchestra different from others? (they make their own instruments from vegetables) 2. How is the orchestra called? (The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra) 3. What happens to the vegetables after a performance finishes? (they make soup with them for the audience)

Ex.2 Read the text again, and mark with True or False the following statements.

1. The text is about children who don’t eat their food. F
2. The vegetable Orchestra was founded in 2008. F
3. The musical instruments are made from tropical fruit. F
4. The orchestra plays many different kinds of music. T
5. The musicians perform more than 3 times a year. T
6. The Vegetable Orchestra produces its own instruments. T 7. Carrots are turned into flutes. F
8. The sound of each instrument depends on the quality of the vegetables and the temperature on stage. T

Ex. 3 Answer the following questions:

1. Where is the orchestra from? Austria
2. What combinations of vegetables are used together to create instruments? Cucumbers, peppers and carrots and etc.
3. What is used for drums? Pumpkins
4. What makes better instruments, plastic-packed vegetables or fresh vegetables? Fresh vegetables
5. When was the orchestra founded? 1998
6. What is the orchestra musical repertoire formed of ? From classical to electronic

Refrences : J. Harmer The Practice of English Language Teaching, Longman, pages 246, 250-252

Celta Assignment 2:Skills -Related Task Essay