This was the first orchestral concert I have ever been to, and I must say I quite enjoyed it. All the performers were very skilled on their various instruments which combined for the timeless orchestral sound. The concert seemed very upbeat and cheerful not the dull dower image that some might imagen when thinking of classical music. Even though this does not have anything to do with the music itself, I really liked how Maestro Dan Allcott incorporated the audience by inviting a little girl on stage to help direct the music. The Oak Ridge Symphony seemed to focus mainly on the string section of the orchestra. For most of the musical pieces there were very little of the traditional brass and percussion sections. The only musical piece played in this concert that I have heard before was the Star-Spangled Banner, and I would have to say this was my favorite piece of the concert.
The words for the Star-Spangled Banner where written by Francis Scott Key as he watched the British bombardment of fort McHenry in 1814, the Romantic period in music. He latter placed his words to an old English drinking song called, “To Anacreon in Heaven”, giving us what we know now as our National Anthem. The Star-Spangled Banner is by itself a very beautiful piece of music, but it is the patriotic feel of the song that help make it my favorite selection of the concert. This song started out with a vigorous tempo, that was beat out on the snare drums that was maintained throughout the song’s entirety. Then the entire Oak Ridge Symphony and Chorus joined to create a very inspiring effect. Even though it was may have been the smallest of the orchestra sections the brass could clearly be heard over the top of all the other instruments. Their harsh sound contrasting with the softer human voices to give the full impact of the song to the audience. From the first beat of the drums to the last words the song maintained a constantly high volume. Using this dynamic effect, evokes passion in the audience. The melody of this songs seems rather simple but flows smoothly. The rather fast tempo is slowed down at the very end to create a very dramatic climax which you could feel building through the whole song. Another musical piece I enjoyed came at the very end when the orchestra performed, “Under the Sea” from the movie “The Little Mermaid.” This piece was composed by Alan Menken in the 20th Century era. This selection had no brass or singing accompanying it leaving the melody entirely to the string section. It very upbeat, you could not help but smile when listening and watching the seemly carefree way with which the musicians played their instruments. While definitely more complex than the Star-Spangled Banner, the melody for Under the Sea did not seem overly intricate. Part of what made this song stand out to me was the repeated chorus. Compared this to the Cello concerto in d minor, while very impressive did not resonate with me because I could really discern a tune. That is probably due to having not listed to very much classical music before.
As for Dynamics, the whole piece was played at a pretty high volume and with great energy. I would like to mention a few random elements that stuck out to me from this concert. For one, during the Baroque era piece, “Battalia!”, By Heinrich Biber the orchestra would pause their instruments in unison and stomp their feet to the beat that was being played. This was an ingenious way of grabbing the audience’s attention right from the start of the concert. As I mentioned before I did tend to lose the tune through some of the longer pieces like the “Piano Concerto no. 1 in g minor” and Cello Concerto in d minor. However, on the whole I really enjoyed my first full concert.
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