On July 6th I attended the Russian Nights concert conducted by Akiko Fujimoto. The stage setting was neat, demonstrative, and very well organized as I first entered the entrance. There were many types of people coming in this concert and I was surprised by that factor. The first part of the concert was diverse and colorful as it began with the orchestra playing a crescendo. The texture varied between the polyphony of the brass and strings and the homophony heard from the full orchestra.
The melody introduced by the brass section was then repeated in various instruments with large contrasts in dynamics and tempo, even though the overall tempo was allegro. When the strings returned, it was accompanied clarinets playing a background of staccato notes. The high point of the first movement occurred when the woodwinds section produced an extremely high pitch in pianissimo and slowed down to a static pace.
The melodies were at time very emotional with a sudden burst of excitement towards the end.
The second part of the concert was limited in variety but with a thicker texture. In the next piece, the rhythms swing and stride at one moment and change in the next. Following is the harmonies it seemed rich and colorful to strange and ominous. The sound of strings was most carefully specified to give a translucency of texture appropriate to the subject. The sonic range is absolute enormous, and orchestra was used characteristically. Altogether, I feel that they evolved an incredibly rich and varied emotion.
Also present was a slight fanfare in the trumpets, followed by a light descending melody played by the entire orchestra. After this movement, all the instruments began playing a strong fortissimo beat that somewhat gradually increased the tension. The strings dominated the rest of the movement, with a strong legato melody passed from the strings and the basses. The third movement would be classified by the increasing significance of the drums, which moved the orchestra along in a clear duple meter. The presence of the drums became less important after a ritardando, which brought back the light melody to the woodwinds. Throughout this movement, imitative polyphony was the main dominant texture as the melody created in the woodwinds was echoed by various other instruments. This portion was characterized by its somber tone. The absence of the drums left a weak beat and suppressed meter. The finale began with a restatement of parts of the opening movement, which moved to a brass fanfare and cymbal crashes that would later build to multiple crescendos. This often left me feeling that the orchestra was nearing the last notes of the symphony, but only to hear another note start the entire process again. The true ending was accompanied by a crescendo, but also incorporated the original two-note call and descending notes in the horns. Through the experience of hearing these two very different works, I was able to comprehend the talents of Akiko.
This movement ended with the entire orchestra playing fortissimo accompanied with a strong beat. The next movement began in the woodwinds with a melody punctuated by one note played by the horns. Overall, this movement remained somber with several periods of excitement, indicated by the orchestra keeping an active pace. The melody then became a legato solo, which commenced and was passed to the basses. The solo then returned to the strings, starting adagio and once again increasing the pace for the whole orchestra.
The finale occurred when two crescendos alternated with two ritardando decrescendos. It was much longer than the first piece. It showed uniqueness in that it incorporated everyday sounds into the music and provided for a wide variety of tone colors. The symphony started with a thick-textured undertone in the strings and the woodwinds, which played consistently throughout the piece. Overall, in my opinion, this composition gave me a subjective impression of this type of music. In conclusion, I had an enjoyable time, and this was an outstanding and impressive concert. It expanded my knowledge and I feel like I understand further emotion to the inspiration of musical world.