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I attended the Rhode Island Philharmonic on March 16, to see the concert Beethoven’s Seventh. The concert was nearly full attendance, so probably around 1700 people were there, out of the 2000 possible seats at The Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Most, if not all, of whom seemed to be enjoying it. Samuel Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra, Op. 17, as well as Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, Op. 92 in A major, were both conducted by Victor Yampolsky.
Yampolsky was born in the Soviet Union, to a world-renowned pianist of a father, Vladimir Yampolsky. Before leaving The Soviet Union, Victor studied violin at The Moscow Conservatory, was a member of the Moscow Philharmonic, and earned Bachelor’s Degrees in both conducting and violin performance. Since his emigration in 1973, Victor has held positions at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Boston University School of Music, The National Symphony Orchestra on Johannesburg, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra.
The Second Essay for Orchestra was finished on March 15, 1942 by Samuel Barber. It premiered around a month later, April 16, at Carnegie Hall. Barber was born in Westchester Pennsylvania in 1910. Studying piano from the age of six, Barber had written his first composition by the age of seven. He composed a myriad of pieces over his many years composing, dying at the age of 71 in 1981. Though short, The Second Essay was quite enjoyable to hear performed. The rhythm of the piece was consistently dramatic, or grand. On the other hand, The Seventh Symphony, Op. 92 in A major was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1811 and 1812 and consists of four movements. Born in 1770, Beethoven studied music from an early age, moving to Vienna at age twenty-one to study composition. Forty-one years of age at the start of its composition, Beethoven was suffering from headaches and high fevers. Prior to its composition, Beethoven had recently given up conducting in public due to his declining health.
The piece itself premiered in December 8, 1813, with Beethoven himself conducting it in Vienna. It was very well received, with the audience demanding an encore for the Allegretto part and Beethoven himself calling it possibly one of his best works. The drama and grandness of the Seventh Symphony often leave an impact on listeners.
Allegretto is the favorite of the piece’s four movements, according to popular opinion or a count of demanded encores. That being said, my favorite movements of the performance was the first, Poco Sostenuto – Vivace. While it begins slower in the ‘poco sostenuto’ part, it quickly transitions into what is called the ‘vivace’ part. This part of the movement is specifically what I enjoyed, its dancing, progressive rhythms and changes of key were pleasing to listen to.
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