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A Concert Performance to Remember

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Teacher Comment: As a part of the requirement for this course, each student must attend two live performances and submit a concert report on each. The reports should demonstrate “Active Listening” and not be merely reviews or critiques. I am interested in the student’s experience at this particular performance. There is no obligation to use fancy terminology. Just tell me what happened, how it affected you, how this experience will influence your plans for future concert attendance? I am particularly moved by a report that helps me to relive the concert or one that makes me sorry that I missed it. This essay does just that.

The University Symphony Orchestra conducted by I. M. Conductor and featuring Young Virtuoso on piano performed in Freeborn Hall on December 3, 2004. Included in the program were works by the German twentieth-century composer Paul Hindemith and the German romantic composer Johannes Brahms. Although both pieces were quite long, the audience, comprised mainly of students (the concert was free), seemed dazzled by Holoman’s masterful command and Boriskin’s virtuosic display on the keyboard.

The first piece performed, Hindemith’s Symphony: Mathis der Maler, called for the entire orchestra featuring an enormous string and brass section as well as a percussion section complete with glockenspiel and triangle. After a brief intermission, Michael Boriskin appeared on stage with the orchestra for a splendid performance of Brahms’s Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major for Piano and Orchestra, opus 83. Since both pieces were quite long, this discussion will be devoted to the work by Brahms.

The first movement, Allegro non troppo, opened with a lone French horn stating the theme, which was then emulated ...

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...ement seems the perfect release from the various passions of the first three.”

The piano and strings seemed to be blended more in the fourth movement. Often the two would play the thematic rhythmic pattern in unison, heavily accenting and separating the notes. A rapid run up the keys of the piano and a final swell in the strings brought Allegretto grazioso to an abrupt end.

Prior to attending this concert, I had never seen a performance involving piano and orchestra, and quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if it would work. I thought that the piano might overpower the orchestra, or vice versa, or that the combination would be too busy. I found that with a proper balance in the arrangement between piano and orchestra, and a skillful conductor such as D. Kern Holoman collaborating with a virtuoso such as Michael Boriskin, the genre can be most satisfying.
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