2012年12月5日水曜日

Concert Review of Super Orchestra 2012

The following article was written as an assignment for the Exploring Music class.

Kioi Hall
I went to a classical concert on November 18, 2012 that was held at the Kioi Hall in Yotsuya, Tokyo. It was designed for classical music beginners including teens and young children who were not familiar with classical music. The orchestra played six pieces in total including the two played as encore pieces. Half of them were classical pieces and the other half were the orchestral versions of a movie soundtrack and a TV commercial. In the following paper, I would like to report more in detail about the program and performance, and also discuss what it meant to me, who is still a beginner.

The concert was hosted by the conductor Yukihito Kobayashi, who was the vice-conductor for the Shin-Kokuritsu Theater and also the chorus conductor for the Tokyo Philharmonic and Tokyo Symphony Orchestras. He has held concerts every year since 2009 with amateur musicians as well as a few professionals. The ticket only cost 1,000 yen per adult and he had to ask the audience to donate at the end of the event.

Kioi Hall
The big hall, which can hold 800 people, was almost full. Among the audience, there were not only many young children and teens, but also many adults. There was an infant who cried at times. His mother had to bring him outside of the hall every time he got cranky, which might have been very unusual for an ordinary classic concert. I sat the six or seven rows from the front on the right side so that I could watch the performance clearly. As a result, I could hear the sounds of the orchestra members turning the pages of their scores and their fiddle sticks hitting the bass strings. This may also have been different from listening classical music on a CD. I had no phone reception inside the hall.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 4 in B flat major (Op. 60) by Beethoven was played first. This piece was written in 1806 and premiered in the next year. The symphony was scored for a large orchestra including flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, timpani, and strings. The entire impression of the symphony was very different from Symphony No. 5 which I heard in the class. For me, it sounded gentler, not solemn like Symphony No. 5, and more like a piece made in the classical period. The piece is in four movements. Some parts in the first movement were played in 2/2 in the sonata form, which sounded very interesting. The third movement sounded like a scherzo, but I am not sure. It then became very bright unlike Beethoven's other pieces. The last movement was very fast and strong. The performance lasted about 30 minutes in total.

Benjamin Britten
The next program was The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra – the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Purcell, Op. 34. It was composed by Benjamin Britten in 1945 originally for an educational documentary film. It is scored mainly to introduce each family of a large orchestra to beginners. The symphony is in four movements in A minor and A major. The theme is initially played by the entire orchestra. Then the woodwinds, brass, strings, and percussions follow. At the end, they all play together again in fugue. There was a narrator beside the conductor to tell the audience about what each family was composed of. I heard the same piece in class, but it sounded very different. This is probably because there was the narrator who made the piece more understandable. It began to sound so strong at last since the percussions were inserted. The performance lasted about 25 minutes.

Maurice Ravel
The third piece was Boléro. It is a one-movement orchestral piece in C major originally composed as a ballet by Maurice Ravel in 1928. From the beginning to the end, it repeats the same rhythmic pattern (except the very last two bars). There are only two melodies (A and B). According to the conductor, he chose this piece since it could also show every instrument in the orchestra to the audience. At the end, all the instruments got together and left a strong impression. What was interesting for me is that often the string players play the instruments by picking the strings with their fingers without using bows. I felt that the sound was more varied and heavier than that of The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra although both pieces were played for the same purpose. The performance lasted about 15 minutes.

My Neighbor Totoro
The last piece in the program was the soundtrack from a famous Japanese anime My Neighbor Totoro (1988). This piece was rearranged for an orchestra by the Japanese music composer Joe Hisaishi, who also composed the soundtrack for the film. According to him, he rearranged the original music and songs into the orchestral version for children and adults who first listen to classical music. He also said that he used The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra as reference for the rearrangement. The orchestra first played seven different pieces with each family (woodwinds, brass, strings, percussions, and harp + piano at last). Finally all the instruments played the theme of the film. The narrator stood by the conductor and as before and depicted each scene of the film so that the audience could imagine them while listening. There was only one long movement. The piece was targeted toward the child audience. The performance lasted about 20 minutes.

There were two pieces played as an encore. One was the orchestral version of the soundtrack from a popular TV commercial in Japan. It was called Oriental Wind and also composed by Hisaishi. The other one was another orchestral version of Totoro. This is rearranged by the conductor Kobayashi himself and was much shorter than the one just played before (about 10 minutes each). Both two were in one movement. Although their styles were fairly same as the first Totoro, they sounded more dramatic. I saw that the musicians played the pieces relaxed.

Overall, the concert perfectly matched my requirement and interest as a classical music beginner. It was probably the first time that I had attended this kind of classical concert since I became an adult. The orchestra seemed to perform very well. The program really helped me to recognize and understand what kind of the instruments an orchestra consists of. Above all, the impact was so strong that I had been drawn to the beautiful melodies they created almost all through the performance. It was an exciting live music experience for me.

0 件のコメント:

コメントを投稿

コメントを投稿