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Madelyn Keslar
Professor Ruth Akers
MUH 2012
18 February 2014
Word Count: 1215
Florida State University Philharmonia Concert Essay
The Florida State University Philharmonia performed in Opperman Music Hall on 14
February 2014. Their program included Brahms Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80, Selections
from Rodeo by Aaron Copland, and Antonn Dvorks Symphony No. 8 in G Major, Op. 88.
The Academic Festival Overture starts out in an ominous yet playful manner, due to the
low melody played by the tuba. Considering this conjunct and staccato melody played by the
tuba, one could imagine a cartoon character walking towards something with a trouble-making
intent. The whole atmosphere of the piece changed, however, when the tempo picks up and as
the start playing. One could almost imagine a horse racing through a forest. Later on in the
piece, while the melody is played by the instruments with lighter-sounding timbres like flutes,
one could picture a sword fight due to the frantic switching of timbres and beats.
The next piece that the Florida State Philharmonia performed were three selections of
incidental music that accompany Rodeo. The first movement is entitled Corral Nocturne. This
piece starts out sounding very American with its use of long, exaggerated phrases and emphasis
on brass and wind instruments. The melody was very disjunct; the trumpets, flutes and strings all
played notes that reached and stretched all spectrums of the melodys scale, almost like young
Americas stretch across the West.

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In the next movement, Saturday Night Waltz, the tempo is a bit faster and there is a
bigger emphasis on string instruments. There is a less prominent melody; it is conjunct and does
not grab attention as much probably in order to simply highlight the waltz going on onstage
rather than steal the attention when there is nothing action-packed going on.
The next movement, Hoedown, is by far the most unique and could be most easily
recognized. It is in an allegro tempo, and can be well described by the phrase controlled chaos.
The strings bounce through a lively melody, accompanied by xylophone and cymbals. Soon
trumpets and what sound like clarinets start a phrase of their own. The Western theme of the
ballet is excellently showcased by this pieces sound. The percussion instruments play an
extremely important part in this piece.
The first movement in Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 by Antonn Dvork has a
tempo of Allegro con brio. Its emphasis on flute makes it light and airy sounding, however it is
not to be taken lightly, and the timbre of the trumpets make sure of that. The fiery and energetic
sound could make one think of a majestic fairy prancing through a forest, while wielding
something stronger and bolder than itself, much like the trumpet to the flutes. The melody has a
fairly narrow range, and moves in fairly conjunct motion. The tempo changes throughout the
piece as the phrases are emphasized in different manners of expression. There are fast (allegro)
and slow (adagio) parts. The trumpet blares triumphantly through the moderate speed phrases,
while the flute leads the slower (adagio) ones. There is a fierce change in dynamics and melody
as there is a key change, change in timbre, and the entire sound of the piece moves toward one
similar to thunder or a storm. It sounds as if there is terrible danger looming ahead! However,
just when all hope sounds like it is lost, the familiar light and airy flute solo returns with its
simple, conjunct melody and brings the piece back to its tonic and familiar place. The piece

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culminates with lots of percussion, timpani and trumpet, leading into the next movement with a
clean and definite ending.
The Adagio movement of Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 is obviously much slower
than the previous movement one would have known this would be the case from the adagio
tempo marking the piece had. It starts with some simple clarinet and flute melodies, both of
which seeming to be equally as important, making the texture of this part polyphonic. There are
some tiny trumpet parts here as well. The tempo starts to pick up as strings play harmony in the
background, making this section homophonic. Suddenly the dynamics change drastically with a
great, sudden crescendo, and the percussion, combined with the strings and trumpets, create a
mountainous sound of grandeur as the piece reaches a climax. It is short lived, though, and the
strings play a more adagio melody as they back off.
The third movement of Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88, one with a tempo marking
of Allegreto grazioso, starts off with a familiar melody, being the same one the flutes also played
in the first movement. These flutes lead us to an unfamiliar melody, though, and an ominous
sound is created by the minor chords, high, staccato notes played by what sound like violins, and
there seems to be a bit of syncopation used here as well. There are lots of woodwind instruments
involved, including more flutes in the background, as well as a possible piccolo. The percussion
instruments seem to have temporarily disappeared, not being as necessary in such an intimate
and gentle part of the piece at this point. The piece starts to get more dramatic and earnest as the
tempo slows and there is a great crescendo. There is sour tone and a more obvious and
triumphant melody than ever before. Later, it becomes more noticeable that the 3/3 time makes
the piece sound like a waltz, and the strings buzz with legato, vibrating notes as they play the
cheerful melody The piece ends with a slow but sure decrescendo and elongated last note.

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The fourth and last movement of Dvorks Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 has a
tempo marking of Allegro ma non troppo, and starts off with a bold trumpet. This piece seems to
reinforce the themes displayed in the last movements, and then shows them off in different
manners. The strings fly through the melody with faster phrases, then slower phrases with less
emphasis on violins. The flute (or piccolo) returns for a short solo. The trumpet and strings lend
to the idea of a chase scene in a movie. Everything slows and the dynamics decrescendo for a bit,
but then build back up as the melody turns ominous. The strings devastatingly hesitate on their
simple yet incredibly important and majestic melody. There is a slower phrase yet again, and
things seem to have calmed down, just as everything starts to spiral into a gradual crescendo
once more. In a grand explosion and bold return, all of the instruments loudly end the piece on a
zigzagging, fast-paced melody.
In conclusion, these pieces were all marvelous, but more importantly displayed great
variations of themes and moods. The first piece, the Academic Festival Overture, showed a lighthearted and cheerful attitude that seemed quite neutral when compared to the other pieces. Then,
the incidental music from Rodeo, movements Corral Nocturne, Saturday Night Waltz, and
Hoedown spiked the entire program into the American experience with Aaron Coplands
simple yet triumphant interpretation of the wild West. Antonn Dvorks Symphony No. 8 in G
major, Op. 88 continued and ended the program in a delicate yet triumphant sounding array of
melodies. The concert was quite enjoyable, and could be considered the highlight of ones week.