Though Western Art Music tends to be very carefully notated, there is quite a bit of leeway for differences between performances. Different recording artists have made a variety of interpretations of any major work by Beethoven, and you’ll find that the better you know the piece, the more of an opinion you will have about who plays or sings it best.
For this assignment, you will
choose ONE multi-movement piece composed by Beethoven to explore.
Find two different recordings in Rhapsody of that piece.
Compare the recordings, and write about the differences.
Link the two recordings to your paper using rhapsody urls.
supply a bibliography at the end of your paper listing sources you used in your research
Either a rhapsody playlist or rhapsody track urls will be acceptable. But be sure that your music links work properly, and are located at the top of the paper so that the instructor can quickly find them when grading.
Also at the top of your paper should be the title of the piece, plus the name of the recording artist (for instance, the pianist or orchestra or conductor) for each of the two recordings you are referencing.
Beethoven’s work is among the most recorded in the repertoire. Once you’ve decided on a piece you like, it should be easy to find dozens, or even hundreds, of recordings of it. Be sure that you listen to several of them carefully enough that you don’t accidentally use the same two recordings that may appear on different albums or lists of “top tracks”. Early in your research, you may need to listen to bits of many different recordings to find two that are easy to contrast.
This assignment allows you to choose a work in nearly any genre that Beethoven wrote, but it must be a piece with more than one movement.
Important: The popular piano work “Fur Elise” (Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor ) for solo piano will not work for this assignment.
Multimovement genres that work well for this assignment are: Piano Concertos, Violin Concerto, Symphonies, String Quartets, Piano Sonatas. Remember: your piece must contain more than one movement.
Begin your paper with a paragraph that states why you chose the piece. Briefly describe what it is: what genre of work is it? Find out a little bit about the piece and include a sentence or two: when in Beethoven’s career was it written? Was it written for a particular occasion, or dedicated to someone famous at the time?
As you listen and write, consider what seems most different between the recordings and describe the contrast.
Tempo: compare the tempo of the first movement in both recordings. Which one seems faster? What kind of effect does that have (energetic, relaxing, solemn, cheerful). Which of the two do you prefer?
Balance of the instruments and timbre: what instrumental colors stand out to you most for each movement on each recording? For instance, if you’re listening to a violin concerto, does the violin seem louder relative to the orchestra on one recording more than the other? Do you prefer that, or not? If a symphony, do you find the orchestral instruments clearer and easier to tell apart, or more blended, on one recording than the other?
Dynamics: is the range between very soft and very loud wider and more dramatic on one recording than the other? Do you think that creates a more dramaatic effect, or that it makes the extreme contrasts jarring?
It is not required that you write about every single movement in your piece. If you find you have a lot to say about each movement, then compare just 2 or 3 movements. If you prefer to say less about each movement, then compare more movements. General rule: the less music you cover, the more you must find to say about it.
At the end of your paper, include a short bibliography of the sources you used. Please limit your sources to those found online; make sure the citation url is correct. Your paper must include a bibliography, if you omit it, there is an automatic 35 point penalty.
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