Trivia Questions and Answers
Mozart was a well-known piano soloist. At what instrument did his father, Leopold, excel? (Hint: It's one of our solo instruments from this weekend.)
Answer from the Music Director: The violin. Even if you didn't know this, you could work it out through a process of elimination: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was part of the Classical era. His father, Leopold Mozart, lived 1719-1787, so he was active in the early Classical era. The tuba wasn't invented until the 1830s. (1835 was the first application for a patent.)
How many composers can you name who composed exactly four symphonies? Is there a famous composer who we could argue composed only four symphonies, even though he composed as many as 17?
Answer from the Music Director:
In addition to Franz Berwald, whose First Symphony the Chamber Orchestra recently performed, the obvious answers are Brahms and Schumann, who each left four symphonies. Schumann almost finished a fifth, but left the three movements to stand on their own as Overture, Scherzo and Finale, op. 52. Other major composers we might add to this list are Hector Berlioz (though he didn't number his symphonies), Albert Roussel, Charles Ives, Michael Tippett and Witold Lutoslawski.
Mendelssohn is the wild card in this discussion. Technically, we count five symphonies in his output, but Mendelssohn dismissed his Fifth Symphony, the "Reformation," as "a piece of juvenilia" and did not want it numbered in his symphonies. He also composed 12 "practice symphonies" for strings, the eighth of which he rescored for full orchestra, but abandoned all of them. It's only because his parents kept them that we have them today. They are usually referred to as his twelve 'sinfonias' for strings.
How many similarities can you name between Saint-Saëns' Organ Symphony and Widor's Third Symphony for organ and orchestra?
List of possible answers from the Music Director:
The most obvious difference between the two symphonies? Saint-Saëns added two pianos to the orchestra; Widor did not.