Student Publications

Week One Music Research Reports and Listening Reports Excerpts, 3/23/2020:

The Curse of the Ninth Symphony by Michael Wang, Grade 8.

How the Human Brain Reacts to Music by Jacqueline Oerding, Grade 8.

Music Appreciation Reports on Various Pieces (excerpts) by Ryan Wang, Grade 7.

Week Two Music Research Reports and Listening Reports Excerpts, 3/30/2020:

Dvořák’s Visit to America by Michael Wang, Grade 8.

The “First Viennese School” and the “Second Viennese School” by Jacqueline Oerding, Grade 8.

Music Appreciation Reports on Various Pieces by Ryan Wang, Grade 7.

Week Three Music Research Reports and Listening Reports Excerpts, 4/8/2020:

Paganini, “The Devil’s Violinist” by Michael Wang, Grade 8.

What is So Special About a Stradivarius Violin? by Jacqueline Oerding, Grade 8.

Music Appreciation Reports on Various Pieces by Ryan Wang, Grade 7.

Week Four Music Research Reports and Listening Reports Excerpts, 4/15/2020:

The BACH and DSCH Motifs by Michael Wang, Grade 8.

Who was Bela Bartok and What is Ethnomusicology by Jacqueline Oerding, Grade 8.

Music Appreciation Reports on Various Pieces by Ryan Wang, Grade 7.

The Curse of the Ninth Symphony by Michael Wang, Grade 8.

            There is a superstition in classical music, that composers will die after writing their ninth symphony. This was backed up by many many famous composers who this curse applies to, including Beethoven, Mahler, ​Dvořák, Bruckner, Vaughan Williams, and Schubert. In an essay about Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg wrote: “​It seems that the Ninth is a limit. He who wants to go beyond it must pass away. It seems as if something might be imparted to us in the Tenth which we ought not yet to know, for which we are not ready. Those who have written a Ninth stood too close to the hereafter.” Mahler was perhaps the first one to believe in this superstition, and trying to get out of the curse, after writing his eight symphony, Mahler wrote Das Lied von der Erde, which was practically a symphony, but wasn’t one by name. Mahler then wrote and finished his ninth symphony, but died from pneumonia while writing his tenth, technically only completing nine symphonies.

           Even though many great composers have been afflicted by this “curse,” it is still just a superstition. Mozart composed 41 symphonies, Shostakovich wrote 15, and Haydn wrote 104 symphonies. It is still interesting that so many composers only ever finished nine symphonies, but it’s probably just a coincidence. All these composers still have created amazing music in their symphonies, whether it be just nine or more. Sometimes the ninth symphony is the one of the composer’s best. Beethoven’s ninth is a stunning triumphant masterpiece, made even more amazing knowing that Beethoven was deaf while composing it and conducting it. Dvořák’s ninth, “From the New World,” is another great symphony, composed based on Dvořák’s experiences in America. It is his most popular symphony and one of his bests.

           It may be tempting to believe that when one writes a ninth symphony it will be their last, but is definitely worth it for composers to compose as many symphonies as they want, and take this superstition with a grain of salt, because the quality of one’s music is still more impressive than the number of compositions.

How the Human Brain Reacts to Music by Jacqueline Oerding, Grade 8.

           For this paper, I decided to write about how the brain reacts to music for multiple reasons. First, the inner workings of the human brain interest me. Second, I thought I would learn a lot by researching it, and last, I thought that it would be the easiest to explain in an essay.. While all concepts were captivating, I could not imagine writing about the earliest forms of musical notations without showing the exact forms, and the Curse of the Ninth Symphony is easily explained, even if debunked many times over. And so, How the Human Brain Reacts to Music was my choice.

           Music is, in a sense, a language in itself, as many cultures around the world know. Reactions to music in the brain do vary in individuals but music overall is something that does cause reactions. Tapping the beat, bobbing your head, singing the lyrics or dancing are just some of the possible physical reactions that people have when listening to music.

           When a person listens to music, there are releases of dopamine. Dopamine has many applications, also depending on the areas that this neurotransmitter is in. For example, in the frontal lobes, dopamine increases attention, while in the limbic system, dopamine increases pleasure. Dopamine affects your movement, memory, focus, your rewards system, and causes habits to form. Low levels of dopamine can cause addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts, and loads of other things, which is why music therapy has been proven to aid in the curing of depression. A study has concluded that music therapy and treatment as usual had greater short-term benefits than treatment as usual alone. Music therapy also is more effective at decreasing anxiety and cortisol, a stress hormone, than drugs designed for that purpose.

           Parts of the brain that are used when listening to music include the nucleus accumbens, superior temporal gyrus, and areas used in movement, attention, planning and memory. The nucleus accumbens predicts parts of the music, forms expectations and determines if you like the music or not. The superior temporal gyrus aids in finding what kind of musical genres you like. If you listen to a new song from a genre you have listened to a lot, you are more likely to appreciate it than a new song from another genre.

           There are also many differences between how a musician’s brain reacts to music compared to a non-musician, a musician being someone who makes music regularly. For example, a musician uses the occipital lobe, used for vision, when listening to music while a non-musician uses only their temporal lobe, used for hearing. Smaller changes in pitch are detected better by musicians, and longer musical experience changes how the brainstem reacts to sounds.

           Other tidbits I found during my research are interesting. I found that musicians have a greater encoding of music and speech, and are able to find words better in noise. Also, a study in 2008 described a group of musicians that were asked to play memorized and improvised songs inside a MRI. While playing improvised music, another musician came in and played along. The brain reaction of the two musicians as if they were just having a conversation, except that the area of the brain that is associated with language meaning was not being used. Finally, the practice of anything, including an instrument, thickens the myelin sheaths on your axons, and this decreases energy loss from electrical signals, making neural pathways in the brain more efficient. Overall, I learned a lot about how the human brain reacts to music.

Music Appreciation Reports on Various Pieces (excerpts) by Ryan Wang, Grade 7.

Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens

           Charles-Camille Saint-Saens was born on October 9th, 1835 in Paris, France. When he was three, he showed signs of perfect pitch. He then got piano lessons. He was a prodigy and made his debut when he was ten. He then studied in the Paris Conservatoire. He sought modern music like Schumann’s and Liszt’s. He worked as an organist for some time then started teaching. After that, he started in opera music because it was really popular. He loved to go on trips. He traveled and composed and did operas. In 1886, he composed his The Carnival of the Animals. The rising popularity of more modernized music put him out of favor. He died on December 16th, 1921. My favorite part of this piece is the beginning piano. It represents water very well and it also sounds very mystical.

Sabre Dance by Khachaturian

           Aram Khachaturian was born on June 6th, 1903 in Tbilisi, Georgia. He moved to Moscow in 1921. He then enrolled in Gnessin Musical Institute with no musical knowledge and then went to the Moscow Conservatory. His 1936 Piano Concerto popularized him. His 1940 Violin Concerto caused him to win the Stalin Prize and gain international recognition. In 1942, he composed the Sabre Dance as the last movement of Gayane. In 1948, he and many other famous composers were denounced by the communists, saying their music was anti-people. He was exiled to Armenia but then was restored in December. In 1950, he started teaching at his former schools and conducted. Khachaturian died on May 1st, 1978 after a long illness. My favorite part was the ending in which it started quiet but crescendoed to a loud ending. I also liked that in the second quarter, when a new tune was playing, the drums were still quietly pounding away in the background.

Minute Waltz by Chopin

           Frédéric Chopin was born on March 1st, 1810 in Żelazowa Wola, Duchy of Warsaw. He took piano lessons at six, from Wojciech Żywny. At age seven, he gave public concerts and composed two polonaises. Starting at age 13, he attended Warsaw Lyceum and then the Warsaw Conservatory. He continued to give concerts. He then started to travel. In 1829, he saw Paganini perform and he wrote several variations on his music. After he completed his studies, he gave concerts in Vienna. He then returned to compose more. In 1830, he left Warsaw and went to Paris. In 1831, Schumann said in his article “Hats off, gentlemen! A genius.” on Chopin’s Op. 2 Variations. He had his first concert later and got into the Paris musical elite. He met Liszt in around 1831. They performed together occasionally. From 1842, Chopin was really ill. His composing skills fell. In 1847, he wrote this Minute Waltz. He toured London and Scotland before returning and dying on October 17th, 1849. In the first third of the composition, the theme of “da-da da-dum dum-dum” is played. It goes on until the middle. It is a really beautiful part. I also like the scale down that leads to the end.

Dvořák’s Visit to America by Michael Wang, Grade 8.

           Antonín Dvořák was a romantic era composer who was the most famous Czech composer. He was born in Nelahozeves, Czechia, on September 8, 1841. Dvořák’s early works were influenced by Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner and Liszt. He was also close friends with Johannes Brahms and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. In 1891, Jeanette Thurber, a wealthy patron trying to integrate music into America, offered Dvořák a leading position at the National Conservatory of Music of America for $15,000, 25 times more than what he earned in Prague. Dvořak accepted, and on September 27, 1892, he and his family arrived in America. They stayed in New York, and compared to the rural farmlands of Prague, New York was a huge modern city with lots of life. He wrote home calling the city “great and magnificent.”
           At the National Conservatory, Dvořák met an African American singer named Harry Burleigh, who sang traditional African American spirituals for Dvořák. He was introduced to the wonderful world of American traditional folk songs. About these spirituals, Dvořák said “In the Negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music.” He thought that for America to establish its own music, composers there should embrace these melodies and use them to establish America’s style of music.
           Dvořák himself composed many of his pieces in America based on African American melodies. His ninth symphony, “From the New World,” is one of them. The symphony includes melodies that may have been borrowed from traditional spirituals, like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”
Besides spending time in New York City, he and his family took four month long summer vacations to spend time in Iowa. Dvořák and his family were feeling homesick for Bohemia, and they learned of Spillville, home to a community of Czech immigrants. Spillville was a lot different from the bustling city life of New York City. Dvořák was inspired by the nature of the countryside that reminded him of Prague. There, he composed his Symphony No. 9, String Quintet No. 3, and his American Quartet. The American Quartet includes the use of the pentatonic scale, and it has many influences from African American music.
           Dvořák’s vision that African American music would form a new school of American music was correct. A few decades after Dvořák’s time in America, a new musical genre called “jazz” started becoming popular. Jazz was mostly built on the blues, which originated from African American musical traditions. Dvořák absorbed some elements of African American spirituals and his compositions reflect this integration of Bohemian and American music.
           Dvořák returned to Europe in 1895, and continued composing, conducting, and also acting as a professor at the Prague Conservatory. Dvořák died on May 1, 1904. He will be remembered as a great European composer, but he will also be remembered as the person who jump-started America’s musical culture.

The “First Viennese School” and the “Second Viennese School” by Jacqueline Oerding, Grade 8.

           I chose to write about the “First Viennese School” and the “Second Viennese School” because I had never heard about them before and I thought it would be interesting to learn about. Both are groups of composers who lived in Vienna, Austrian not actual schools where the composers attended.
           The First Viennese School is a term first used in 1834 by Raphael Georg Kiesewetter, an Austrian music historian. It refers to Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Hadyn, and sometimes Franz Schubert is included. The First Viennese School included these composers who wrote in the classical style and lived in the late 18th century to the early 19th century. There have been attempts to add other composers to this list, including Anton Bruckner, Johannes Brahms, and Gustav Mahler, but they have been unsuccessful.
           The Second Viennese School encompasses Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils during the early 20th century. Schoenberg was the founder, but two other men are onsidered to have higher authority in the group. They are Alban Berg and Anton Webern. The members of the School’s music are characterized by expanded tonality, later a technique called atonality, and later another called twelve tone technique. Atonality is music that does not have a key. It also describes music that is neither tonal or serial. Tonality is when in a series of tones, the tonic becomes the basis for the rest of the music. Serialism is a method of composition including the twelve-tone technique, which is a means of making sure that all twelve notes of the chromatic scale are sounded equally, preventing the emphasis of any one note.

Music Appreciation Reports on Various Pieces by Ryan Wang, Grade 7.

Annen Polka by Johann Strauss

Annen Polka is a very great dance. It is very light and the music is very happy. Very good song to dance to. Johann Strauss is an Austrian composer. Annen Polka was composed in 1852.

Rakoczy March by Berlioz

Many parts of the march are full of power. Very good use of pizzicato. There is a lot of immediate dynamic changes(sub. p or sub. ) Hector Berlioz is a French Romantic composer. He used Rakoczy March in his La damnation de Faust. It was added in 1845.

Spanish Dance from Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky

Spanish Dance to me is a very classic tune of a dance. It is very happy. Very quick steps by the sound of it. Tchaikovsky is a Russian composer. It’s in Swan Lake, which was composed in 1875-6.

Star and Stripes Forever by Sousa

I have heard this march many times in parades and stuff like that. Like many marches, it radiates a lot of power. John Philip Sousa is a late-Romantic American composer. The music was composed in December 1896 and the lyrics in May 1897.

Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt Suite no.1 by Grieg

This dance starts out very mysteriously. The tune and rhythm slightly resemble his In the Hall of the Mountain King. Somewhat slow, it is also very light. Edvard Grieg is a Norwegian composer. He composed it in 1875.

 Hungarian Dance no.5 by Brahms

This dance is very different from those I usually hear. There are many sudden tempo changes. This dance doesn’t sound as happy as the other ones. Johannes Brahms is a German composer. He composed his famous Hungarian Dance no.5in 1869 as part of his 21 Hungarian Dances.

In my opinion, marches are full of power and dances are light.

Paganini, “The Devil’s Violinist” by Michael Wang, Grade 8.

           Niccolò Paganini was born on October 27, 1782, in Genoa, Italy. He went on to become the greatest violin virtuoso in history. From an early age, Paganini started learning mandolin and violin with his father and later on great teachers of the violin. At 15, he started touring with his father across Lombardy. Unfortunately, Paganini was an alcoholic, womanizer, and was a gambler. He even had to pawn his own Amati violin once to cover his gambling debts, but was given a Guarneri violin after the owner heard him perform. He played on this violin, Il Cannonne Guarnerius, for the rest of his life.

           Paganini’s performances were amazing feats of showmanship. He performed his own music, with techinques that could only be played by him at the time. It is said that his performances were so moving that the audience would be moved to tears at his playing. He also performed tricks to show off his technique, like breaking 1, 2, or even 3 of his strings and playing the piece on the remaining string(s). Paganini’s skills were so unbelievable that there were rumors that Paganini’s soul had been sold to the devil in exchange for his unmatched technique. Paganini did nothing to stop these rumors, and even encouraged them.

           Now, we think that Paganini’s technique was helped by having two possible genetic disorders. Marfan syndrome, which gave him long thin fingers, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which gave him extremely flexible fingers. People say Paganini was very tall and thin, his skin was pale and gaunt, and that he often dressed in black, probably encouraging the idea that he was “The Devil’s Violinist.”

           Paganini mainly toured in Italy, but he did venture out into the rest of Europe where he also gained immense popularity. Paganini died on May 27, 1840 in Nice, France, and a priest was not summoned for his death. This led people to believe even more that Paganini’s soul was sold to the devil, or that Paganini was the devil himself.

           The compositions of Paganini live on and his music can be played by only the most virtuosic of violinists. He also influenced tons of virtuosic musicians. Franz Liszt could be called the Paganini of piano. He wrote multiple pieces that were inspired by the compositions of Paganini. Some violinists inspired by Paganini were Pablo de Sarasate, a great showman, and Henryk Wieniawski, was also an amazing violinist and composer.

           Paganini’s compositions, including the 24 Caprices, the Violin Concerto in D major, and much more, are still popular today. His Caprice No. 24 in A minor, a piece in the form of a theme and variations, is the inspiration of pieces including Variations on a Theme of Paganini, by Johannes Brahms, Étude No. 6 in A minor by Franz Liszt, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Variations on a Theme of Paganini by Witold Lutosławski, and many more. There is no denying the impact that Paganini has had for not just the violin, but music in general.

What is So Special About a Stradivarius Violin? by Jacqueline Oerding, Grade 8.

           I chose this topic because I didn’t know practically anything about a Stradivarius violin before I researched it, I didn’t even know that they had existed. So I thought it would be good to learn about it.

           A Stradivarius violin is an instrument made by Antonio Stradivari, an Italian luthier (someone who makes string instruments). They are worth millions of dollars, and one Stradivarius sold for 16 million. They are supposed to have superior sound to other violins, a brilliance, depth and clarity to the tone that they create. Scientists have been trying to figure out why they sound so good and these are possible causes.

           One early theory was that Stradivari used a special varnish on his violins that improved the acoustics. But this was debunked when tests of the varnish were conducted in the 2000s and they showed that the varnish wasn’t any different than other varnishes. Then thoughts turned to the wood. There was a clear line of evidence that the wood could be the cause. From 1645 to 1715, there was a mini ice age, and this change in temperature could have caused the alpine spruce trees, which were used to make instruments at the time, to grow slower and thus creating denser wood. This density could have caused better acoustical properties in a violin. Other tests showed that some of the wood that Stradivari used were treated with aluminum, calcium, and copper, which also could have contributed to a greater sound.

           Other tests have given way to another claim: that only the Stradivarius’ reputation makes us think that it sounds great. That the superior sound is an illusion. We expect great sound so we hear great sound. Humans have a tendency to expect that greater priced things have greater quality. A study in 2011 compared the sound of Stradivarius violins and Guarneri violins to a new high quality violin. Professional violinists played the different instruments blindfolded, and to the scientists’ surprise, the musicians favored the new instruments sound, and their least favorite was the Stradivarius’ sound. They also had trouble distinguishing between the old instruments and the new instruments. I learned a lot about the Stradivarius and I hope you did too!

Music Appreciation Reports on Various Pieces by Ryan Wang, Grade 7.

Le Cygne (the swan) from Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens (Major key)

This piece feels like a reflection on life before and the longing to have it back. It is slightly sad. The lengthening of notes and the vibrato make it sound sad. Even though it is in Major key, it does not sound happy at all. It is somewhat sad. In this piece, the Major is happy and Minor is sad does not apply. This piece makes me think of a person staring out onto a lake and think of the life he had. He would very much like to have it again.

Serenade by Schubert (Minor key)

This piece is somewhat happy and sad at the same time or neither. Then I found a video with singing in it. It then becomes sadder. The singer is waiting for his love to come. In this piece, the Minor key does seem to make the music seem sadder. Going along with the waiting for his love, it seems like she never came by the way it ends quietly and sadly.

Spring Song by Mendelssohn (Major key)

This piece is very lively and happy. The Major key indeed makes this piece seem very happy. I imagine a young person laying in a meadow. They see flowers blooming and feel this is really happy. The “plip-plops” in the piece resemble water droplets falling down from the morning dew.

Hora Martisorului by Dinicu (Minor key)

This piece sounds very lively. It is a quick tempo. The Minor key doesn’t seem to make it sound sad. This piece is really hard to imagine for me. It is to quick for it to fit much. For some parts of it, I imagine a farmer at work, tilling the land. He has to chase off many annoying animals looking for a snack.

Czardas by Monti (Minor key)

This piece starts out sad. The Minor key indeed makes it sadder. The stretch of the high notes on the G makes it sound sad. The start makes me imagine of a great kingdom falling. The ending makes it happy by sounding like the kingdom has risen again and the new king and queen are happy, having parties in their castle. 

Traumerei (Dream) by Schumann (Major key)

This is a slow piece but it is happy. The Major key really helps it radiate happiness. It creates an image of a person on a wagon looking out at the beautiful countryside, going at walking speed. He enjoys the life he has. This piece makes me relax and start daydreaming, being lazy.

The BACH and DSCH Motifs by Michael Wang, Grade 8.

           Musical cryptograms are words that are hidden in the music by spelling out a word using the names of the notes, but how does one hide words in music? The letters of the alphabet used in the musical notation we are familiar with are A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, which can be used to create lots of meaningful words. But what if one wants to write words that require letters that are not one of these 7 letters, they can find ways to do so, such as using quirks of german notation to get more letters. Musical cryptograms may not actually be used to encode top secret messages in music, but they do serve as an interesting thing to look out for when reading a score. Composers can use them as their own signatures, a way to mention someone in the piece, or just what they were thinking about while writing the piece. The two most famous of these musical cryptograms are the BACH motif, creatd by Johann Sebastian Bach, and the DSCH motif, created by Dmitri Shostakovich.

           The BACH motif is probably the most well-known of any musical cryptograms. Bach was a German composer, so he used the german notation for note names, which is a bit different from the english notation. An odd thing about german is that instead of calling the note we know as B natural “B”, they called it “H.” They still used the note B though, but instead of B being for the note B natural, they used it for the note B-flat. This means that the notes of the BACH motif would be, in order, B-flat, A, C, then B natural. Some places where Bach reportedly used this motif are in the Art of Fugue, his Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, and in his Canonic Variations for Organ. However, it is unclear if some of these were just a coincidence or actually intended, but it is almost certain that Bach knew about this cryptogram. Bach’s children also used this motif in many of their works, and it was used by composers including Schumann, Liszt, Reger, Busoni, to reference Bach in their works that may have been influenced by Bach.

           Shostakovich’s motif, DSCH, includes his first initial and the first 3 letters of his last name in the german spelling. Shostakovich was familiar with german notation, so the “H” in his name would be B natural. However, there is no “S” in german notation, so what note did he use for the S? In German, another thing that is different from English notation is that when a note is flat, they add either “-es” or an “-s” to the end of the note. For example, D-flat would be “Des” and E-flat would be “Es.” When “Es” (E-flat) is spoken, it sounds exactly like the letter “S,” so Shostakovich used E-flat to represent the letter “S.” This means that the DSCH motif is made up of the notes D, E-flat (Es), C, then B natural (H). Uses of the DSCH motif are recorded in his Symphony No. 10, the String Quartet No. 8, Violin Concerto No. 1, the Cello Concerto No. 1, and many others. In many of these pieces, the motif recurs many times throughout the piece and plays a very prominent role. The DSCH motif is Shostakovich’s signature motif that he put in many of his pieces to have his name be remembered in the music.

           Musical cryptograms are definitely things to look out for in music. They can be used to reference somebody or something without being too blunt about it, like how later composers referenced Bach. And sometimes they can even show the motives of a composer who wants to convey something literal through their music. It is interesting that musical notes can communicate messages to others who discover what the composer may have been thinking of when writing the piece. There are probably many unsolved messages still out there in the compositions of great composers, waiting to be discovered.

Who was Bela Bartok and What is Ethnomusicology by Jacqueline Oerding, Grade 8.

           I chose this topic because ethnomusicology sounded complicated, something like quantum physics or gravity. Complex things seem to be more fun to learn about than less complex things.

           Bela Bartok was a Hungarian composer, pianist, and ethnomusicologist. He was born in March of 1881. He was especially interested in folk music, and he collected samples with a phonograph. He collected music from Algeria, Wallachia, Moldavia and the Pannanian basin and songs from Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian, and Bulgarian origins. He used many folk styles in his own compositions. He died in September of 1945. Bartok is also considered one of the founders of ethnomusicology.        

           Ethnomusicology is the study of different culture’s music. Ethno means “nation” in Greek, music is sounds combined in such a way to create beauty of form, emotion, and harmony, and -ology means “the study of”, originally from Greek. In Bartok’s time, ethnomusicology did not exist yet, it was then called comparative musicology. Ethnomusicology evolved from comparative musicology. Comparative musicology is the study of the differences between separate kinds of music. In the 1950s, ethnomusicology referred to the study of non-Westen music, where musicology was the study of Western music, however, ethnomusicology nowadays could refer to any ethnicity’s music. Ethnomusicology in the last decade included trends of historical approaches to study of music.

Music Appreciation Reports on Various Pieces by Ryan Wang, Grade 7.

1. Jupiter from The Planets by Holst

Gustav Holst was born on September 21, 1874. He was born in Cheltenham, England. He grew up in a musical family. He played the piano, violin, and trombone, but due to health conditions, he couldn’t be successful in any and started to become a composer. He went to the Royal College of Music. He also taught. He wrote the Planets in 1914-16. In 1932, he started working at Havard. Due to more health issues, he returned to England. On May 25, 1934, he died of heart failure. I hear all the string instruments, the bass drums, the trombones, and the trumpets. The music is a mix of a lot of things. Some parts of it are elegant and calm while on other occasions it is slightly robust. Many parts of it are slightly playful.

2. Salut d’Amour by Elgar

Sir Edward Elgar was born on June 2, 1857. Elgar is an English composer born outside of Worcester, England. He played the violin, bassoon, and piano. He did not have the best musical schooling, apart from local teachers. He did become the professor of the violin for some time at the Worcester College for Blind Sons of Gentlemen. In 1888, he composed Salut d’Amor. He composed many works, many to achieve international fame. Elgar died on February 23, 1934, from cancer. The strings are in this piece, along with the piano. This piece is calm and elegant.

3. Clarinet concerto in A by Mozart, 2nd movement 

One of the most famous composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is a composer of the Classical Period. He was born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria. He was very talented at a young age. He composed and traveled. He fell ill on September 6, 1791. He wrote the Clarinet Concerto in October. He then died on December 5th, 1791. The cause of death is still unknown. Obviously, the clarinet is in this piece. I also hear the string instruments. This piece is smooth and elegant.

4. Hungarian Rhapsody no.2 by Liszt

Franz Liszt was born on October 22, 1811, in Doborjan, Austrian Empire. He learned from Czerny. He met many famous people including Beethoven. After meeting Paganini, he became determined to become a virtuoso. He indeed did become an accomplished virtuoso. He composed Hungarian Rhapsody no.2 in 1847. Liszt taught in the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest for some time. He suffered from many diseases. On June 31, 1886, he died of pneumonia. There is only a piano in the piece. This piece sounds very playful. It fits the Tom and Jerry cartoon style.

5. Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev was born on April 27, 1891, in Sontsivka, Russian Empire. He composed his first when he was five. He went to St. Peters Conservatory. He went to America in 1918. He then went to Paris to continue his composition career after failure in America. He composed Peter and the Wolf in 1936. He died on March 5, 1953. In the piece, each instrument represents a character. The strings are Peter, flute the bird, oboe the duck, clarinet the cat, bassoon the grandpa, the french horns the wolf, and the timpani the rifle shots. This piece is very playful. 

6. Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture by Glinka 

Mikhail Glinka was born on June 1, 1804, in Novospasskoye, Russian Empire. He did not have the best musical upbringing but his family was rich. He was a talented singer. In 1837, he became the instructor of the Imperial Chapel Choir. His opera Ruslan and Ludmila was not good other than the music. He died on February 15, 1857. The strings are in here, with trumpets and trombones. This piece is definitely robust.