Cage Essay, Research Paper
Dave Matthews and
the Raging Animal in the Cage
On August 10, I went to a Dave Matthews Concert which was held in F(*^^(*^(**%, ))(&*^n. I estimate, that the audience outnumbered at least 10,000 people. Unlike in a small concert where the audience gathers up in front before the band, this concert was densely populataed in the front as well as in the back and even behind the band.
The spectators were overwhelmingly 15 to 19 year old teenagers although I could spot several middle aged spread across the huge concert hall ranging between 25 to 50 years of age. During the entire event, the songs were accompanied by spontaneous clapping, shouting and crying of an audience which apparently prefered to wear casual clothing to anything conservative. Sometimes, I could recognize a group of green hair colored fans standing in the dark with their faces illuminated by the flashlights.
After the first song had ended after approximately five minutes, the entire crowd would break out into an exhilerating and almost deafening: |DAVE MATTHEWS!X that captured even the less attentive members of the audience and unified us into one army of devoted fans. Daves+ band consisted of a guitarist, a violinist, an alto saxophone player and a drummer. The music reminded me of Jazz since it was based on a lot of free improvisation, small combos and a fast tempo. Dave would always play the main rythm of a song with his guitar accompanied by individual inputs of his band. Every new song was really a new composition because so much was left up to the players. Another musical aspect of the band was the difference in tone color between the individual instruments. Daves+ voice and guitar had a soft, determined and fluid sound while the violinist played presto and very lively which would often remind me of country music. The lyrics were all based on love, relationships and personal emotions. They reflected the mood of the leadsinger as well as of the audience and thus created a certain degree of understanding between us and Dave.
I liked the concert because it was underlined by a very reflective, peacefull and positive
mood in spite of the roaring feedback response by the audience. I left the concert, feeling light and pensive as if I had just attended a very good Jazz event.
I attended the Artaria Quartet of Boston on October 20, which was held in Gasson 100. I noticed that the 10 to 15 member audience was mainly middle aged and was wearing conservative clothing such as ties, tuxedos and club jackets. The Program, which consisted of classical to 19th century Western Art music, was handed out at the beginning of the concert. The four instruments playing through all three pieces were three violins and a cello.
The form of Haydens+ Op. 64 No. 5 was a rondo since the fourth movement was fairly fast, with a lively tune that would return regularly. The cello often times played and supported the violins with a bassline which repeatingly returned the main theme. Throughout the piece, the pitch alternated between high to very high played in a lively tempo (vivace). Between the Allegro and the Menuetto, the dynamics would change between piano and forte, culminating into fortissimo in the Finale.
Haydens+ piece lasted for about 30 minutes and was followed by Villa-Lobos+ Quartet No. 5. In contrast to the other two pieces, this one could be characterized as abrupt since tempo and dynamics were often changed. I could also hear many disonances in the quality of sound unlike Haydens+ and Mendelssohns+ piece.
The intermission lasted for about 10 minutes in which the rather tense atmosphere was broken and audience members indulged into short discussions with the players. Felix Mendelssohns+ Op. 80 was introduced to us by one player telling the background information of the piece. Accordingly, this was Felix Mendelssohns+ last piece he wrote before his death, which was marked by the preceded death of his beloved sister, Fanny,
who had been an accomplished musician herself and Felix+ advisor throughout his life. The piece showed the intensity of his feelings about his sister and was thus described by the violin player as a |very intense and powerful pieceX. The final movement could be compared to a |raging animal in a cageX. The piece was very expressive and included some very demanding sections during which the spectator could anticipate the professional playing qualities of the Artaria Quartet.
I liked this particular piece most, since it vividly reflected the feelings of the composer. I also liked it because there were many sequences in which one violin and sometimes the cello would play a solo during which the particular finesse and details of the instrument could be anticipated.
The main difference between Dave Matthews and Felix Mendelssohn or Joseph Hayden lies of course in the time period during which their pieces were composed. The feelings aroused during an Alternative Concert in a densely populated concert hall with everybody releasing his emotional state are certainly different from the formal etiquette in Gasson 100.
After all, music finds its main purpose in arousing or calming the emotions. Whether a connoiseur of classical music finds himself overwhelmed by the excellent performance of a string quartet, or whether a 17 year old dances with his friends according to the beat of a drummer is finally identical as long as he or she enjoys the event.
(Ms. Franklin I love your blue shirt you wear over your red bra.)