Since I didn’t learn about Austria in the 18th century, when I went to school and particularly not about the musical scene it’s crucial to brush up on history to know about the circumstances of the artist and the time they lived in. If you are in Vienna, they have a great museum called Haus der Musik, but otherwise you can check Wikipedia for information about the work.
Since we now continue with the second movement of the Haffner Symphony which you can download here, we notice that he employs what we in film scoring would called his C orchestra. The first movement contained the greatest instrumentation and was therefore his A orchestra, and we will see that the third movement is somewhere in between.
Check out this recording of the piece*:
* This recording has the alternative version of Vln1’s bar 2 as they play 32nd-triplets instead of 16th-triplets
This movement is largely a string movement with all the winds acting as chordal substance. Already from the first page, you’ll notice that the bass line is formed in low strings alone, rhythmic movement in second violins and all the ‘reverbed’ harmony – the blend of it – is in the winds. Try condense some of the passages of the winds, and see how they support the three elements of the string section.
Talking about string positions last time, check out how this chord on bar 5 of the first violins
Fits nicely on the three highest strings in first position.
On page 28 (bar 17) the winds pause and leave the strings to themselves. Listen to the recording for the effect it has. Sort of like turning off the reverb and leaving the strings dry.
A nice little touch is the first violins starting staccato, and then continuing ordinary to give the A drone a sense of glue when the band checks in.
Notice how without any dynamic marking, Mozart makes every downbeat of the second violins and violas part heavy by tying the first notes and prolonging the vowel of the phrase – so to speak.
Try to play these to lines on the piano, and see how they interact, support and harmonize each other.
even though the key signature tells us where to trill to, the parenthetical note helps for sight-reading and in more modern pieces, where key is not obvious. Another bonus is that you can actually trill greater distances this way and in both directions.
Things to look for in this movement:
- When do the winds break up and play solo?
- When are the winds rhythmically active and why?
- When is the bassoon part of the rhythm section?
- Strings: Reducing surface noise when recording live strings (gearslutz.com)
- The Grown Person’s Guide to the Orchestra: Strings (wqxr.org)
- Another hat-tip and standing ovation to the Philadelphia Orchestra (trophos.wordpress.com)
- 101 Strings Orchestra on Grooveshark (grooveshark.com)
- Clint Mansell: from Pop Will Eat Itself to Hollywood royalty (guardian.co.uk)
- From Bow To Baton: Violinist Joshua Bell Conducts Beethoven (wnyc.org)