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Rhapsody in Blue, Concert Report

In: Film and Music

Submitted By arianaduenas
Words 795
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Ariana Duenas
Wednesday, 17 October 2012
Music Report
“Rhapsody in blue”
On September 29, 2012, the symphony Orchestra at Moorpark College had their first concert of the fall semester with special guest the horn player, Jennifer Bliman and Esther Keel on Piano. The Symphony Orchestra collectively performed three pieces during the concert. The hall was much more crowded than I expected. At the beginning of the concert, the orchestra was seated on the stage; the men wore tuxedos, and the women wore black dresses or pants. The concertmaster came out to tune the orchestra, and then the conductor made his entrance and gave a brief description of the piece that was about to be played.
Alexander Borodin’s piece Symphony No. 2 in B minor was composed in the romantic period. He was a member of the group of composers called The five (or "The Mighty Handful"), who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music. It has a homophonic texture and its genre is classical music. There is a wide variety of instruments used in this piece. Among the wind instruments (woodwinds and brass) heard were bassoon, oboe, French horn, and trumpet. The strings played included the violin, viola, cello, and bass. Finally, the percussion instrument used for this piece was the timpani.
This movement is broken down into four sections by tempo: Allegro, scherzo, andante, and Allegro. The allegro section begins with a fast introduction at a forte dynamic. This section is in a B minor key and set in triple meter. It has a wide range and an ascending melody. There are brief cadences and the section grows in a crescendo. The loudness and energy of this section holds the attention of the listener and creates a proud and joyful mood. The scherzo section its lilting rhythms in compound-duple meter. Borodin's orchestration of the background is compound by a harp, triangle, and horns providing a pointillist accompaniment. The Andante begins with a serene melody played by the clarinets and accompanied by the harp, and what follows is a horn solo with the ornamental grace notes that are quite typical of Borodin's lyrical melodies. This melody is heard from various instruments throughout the piece, while some of the material incorporates the interaction between minor and major thirds present in the Allegro. The finale is in sonata form, but more free than the first movement.
For the intermission the orchestra played “Holiday Concerto for Horn and Orchestra” by Charles Fernandez. He has been a composer, orchestrator, bassoonist and conductor in Los Angeles since 1983. This composition was written expressly for, Jennifer Bliman. It has three movements; “Halloween”, “thanksgiving: Pilgrim’s reflection”, and “Santa’s ride”. In the “Halloween scherzo” we saw the orchestra played all together with a dynamic volume to create drama. Also the harmony was harsh, jarring combinations of sounds. I liked it a lot. The “thanksgiving: pilgrim’s reflection” had an interesting sound, a little bit dissonant, the string section was very prominent but the trumpets and flutes made a very melodic sound. “Santa’s ride” reminded me to Christmas and all the Disney Christmas movies. It very interesting, the expression of this piece had changing tempos and a dynamic volume.
The last composition to be played was “Rhapsody in blue” by George Gershwin. Esther keel was on piano performing this piece. This is a composition for solo piano, which combines elements of classical music with some jazz-influenced effects. This one was my favorite, personally. The opening of Rhapsody in Blue could not have been bettered, The piece opens with a clarinet trill and glissando which leads to a blues theme typical of Gershwin’s writing. The use of triplets give the melody a swinging quality much like the jazz of the early swing era. The use of syncopation and dance rhythms adds to the jazz feeling of the music. Use of the blues scale yields a decisive American sound.
This single movement work falls into three large sections. Each section has brilliant virtuoso piano solos. These passages reflect a spirit of improvisation and typical of Gershwin’s own piano skills. The first section develops the opening blues theme, the second section is lively with rhythmic repetitions and syncopations, and the third section is slower, with a soaring theme. The orchestra closes the work in a powerful ending.
I enjoyed the concert and was really surprised at how the organization and the performance took place. This was my first classical music concert, I was intrigued to see how the concertmaster came out to prepare the orchestra and to see the Composer of “Holiday concerto for horn”, Charles Fernandez make an appearance at the end of the piece and give flowers to Jennifer Bliman . All in all, it was a very positive experience.

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