Essay on The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Performance

Essay on The Toronto Symphony Orchestra Performance

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On Thursday November 5, I had the opportunity to see the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform a student concert called Big Bold Brass. The concert was set to teach students the various techniques and skills of the many brass players in the orchestra. They, along with guest tubist Øystein Baadsvik played several pieces showing the virtuosity in the styles brass instruments can play. The first piece they perform was Festive Overture by Dmitri Shostakovich. They then played the fanfare from La Peri. At the end of the piece the tuba player was introduced and he then demonstrated many unique playing techniques on the tuba. He combined those techniques to play a piece of his composition called Fnugg. Afterwards the orchestra played Promenade form Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky. They then played excerpts of an instrumental arrangement of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by the Andrews Sisters, and the horn trio from the third movement of Beethoven’s 3rd symphony. They then played the Finale from Firebird by Igor Stravinsky and Rise of the Valkyries by Richard Wagner. The tuba player then came back to play a tuba and strings arrangement of Csárdás by Vittorio Monti. Afterwards, he along with three other tuba players performs a quartet, and the concert ends with the orchestra playing the March from Superman composed by John Williams.

Festive Overture was an amazing introduction to the concert. The piece opened with a bright fanfare, with the trumpet playing a very crisply articulated melody, giving the fanfare lighter feel. The horns supported this trumpet melody by building the chords. The phrase is repeated and the upper voices come in as an accompaniment, which adds a shimmer-like effect over the melody. The melodic phrase is r...


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...nd the horn playing the melody. After this, the section ends with a series of chords and we transition to the more minor and dark section B. It seems to have gotten slower, but the notes just have longer durations in comparison to the previous section. The dynamics gradually rise, as do the pitches, and t builds up to transition back to the introductory theme. The piece ends with a chord, but then a tuba melody comes from off stage. The melody is smooth, and it has a calm tone, which fades at the end. This is when we are introduced to Øystein Baadsvik.

After finishing off the fanfare, he demonstrates various techniques that can be done on the tuba. He started by showing the audience double tonguing in the lower register, which he compared to the sound of a helicopter. He then showed the audience the effect created when he sang and played the tuba at the same time.

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