Prior to taking the course and attending the concert I did not have any substantial interactions with classical music. At certain moments in my life, Ive heard music playing on the radio or TV, but obviously hearing and listening are two different things. Once or twice I liked what I heard, but did not really hear the music with the sort of enjoyment that comes only when you are perceptively listening to it. The real appreciation of classical compositions emerged through this class.
In the beginning | paid attention only because I had to understand what Professor Cox was talking about, yet later, I began listening just because I liked what I heard. An opportunity to really appreciate classical music came from a project to attend a concert or a performance.
Since we were free to pick anything that pleased our ears, I had many options and puzzling dilemmas. Should I pick an opera, a quartet, or better yet a ballet performance? The amount of choices was enormous, but I made my choice anyway.
The winner was the concert in Prospect Park, performed by Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, which was sponsored by Celebrate Brooklyn. The performance took place on July 27th, at 7:30 pm. The orchestra itself was located in the Band Shell. I convinced a couple of my friends to attend the concert and enjoy with me the music that was played that night. The ride there was full of excitement and expectations. I took Professors advise and talked them into going there three hours earlier.
Of course by the time we found our way to the Band Shell, getting lost couple of times and walking in the opposite directions for a whole hour, we got there almost on time twenty minutes before the start. To my biggest surprise the entrance was $3.00, even though it clearly stated, the concert is free. It was not the amount of money that might have caused me many problems but the fact that I didnt have any on me, or so I thought!
Searching through my pockets I found an old five-dollar bill and gave it to the person at the entrance. Comes out it was not really a ticket price; it was just a donation so they can keep making free concerts in the future. When we were finally seated, and Ive looked at the stage, I couldnt take my eyes off it. I really didnt expect to see so much preparation and set up. Everything was done on the highest level of professionalism. The combination of sound and lighting was astonishing. From my biology class I have learned that vision and hearing are the two most dominant senses, thus I can say that the performance took me over completely. The ensemble was so well rehearsed, that throughout the whole performance compositions sounded as indivisible entities, almost like not consisting of separate notes. The performance begun after the speech made by the CEO of Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Kaithy Keihel. Concert was entirely made up of the 20th century compositions.
The first feeling I got was confusion. The situation occurred when Robert Spano, musical conductor, came on stage and a poster, saying the conductor is Grand Luellen, hanged on the right side of the stage. The substitution of conductors worked out in my favor; the new one turned out to have a very entertaining train of thoughts as he laid them out into a microphone. Right from the start he made an enormous amount of jokes, probably to wake up and quiet down the audience. He began his work as soon as he was done singing the National Anthem. His Welsh accent was very charming, and his skill of conducting was amazing. He was one of the major reasons why I enjoyed the performance so much.
The first composition we heard was William Walters Coronation March, which was symbolic to Kaithy Keihels speech about Brooklyn being the king of all five boroughs. It was a well-written piece of music, but not all that well liked by me. My penchant goes for faster and livelier music as opposed to the Coronation March. By contrast Ive enjoyed the second composition much more. It was, by all means, my favorite work, especially the first movement. It was not widely known work by William Matthias, The four dances. The first movement was made up of my all-time favorite combination happy tunes, suspense tunes, elements of tunes of ancient music, and last but not least the tunes of the music of ancient Rome and Greece. My imagination flawed as I listened to the piece. I visualized a Greek god watching performers dance for him while he awaits for a servant girl to fill up his cup with wine again. Also Ive imagined drops of dew falling off the leaves and hitting the already formed puddle on the ground. The next three parts of the work passed by very quickly, as I was trying to relax my overworked imagination. I recall I somewhat liked them even though my remembrance of them is very vague. Eric Coats wrote the composition, which was played next; it was a sweet consisting of three movements. Coven Garden, which was the first movement, was a mix of light and pleasant melodies. In my opinion, the second movement, Westminster, served the purpose of a bridge more than a movement.
The third one happened to be a contrast to the first two. It was a well-known English march called The Knights Bridge. It was an interesting piece of music, but mostly dull war melodies, which are not really in my favor. This has concluded the first part of the concert and we were given a little brake to grab something to eat. The second half consisted only of George Gershwins compositions, names of which I couldnt hear over the talking of a young group of music appreciators who sat in the back of us. Gershwin was a fascinating composer, even an experimenter, as he intertwined elements of jazz into classical music. Ive really enjoyed one of his works, so after the concert I came up to one of the orchestra players and asked the name of it. It happened to be called Rhapsody in Blue, G. Gershwin wrote this piece having New York City in mind. It is a very fast moving piece that becomes even fasters at some points to demonstrate the insanity of such a big and busy city as Manhattan. I dont remember the rest of his works, as they were not of a big interest to me.
All in all, the concert was very well planed and rehearsed. Most of the compositions played by the orchestra were very entertaining. Yet the best part of the whole concert was the betweens of the classical music, when the conductor had a chance to say yet another joke. As I said before, he was the main reason of my enjoyment. I would definitely go to another concert, but first I want to try a ballet or an opera. Who knows? Maybe Ill like them too!