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Great orchestras are amazing

on Thu, 10/07/2010 - 21:27

Last night, I went to a concert by the New England Conservatory of Music's Philharmonia. This is an orchestra made up of undergrad students at NEC. The pieces on the bill were Petrouchka by Stravinsky and the New World Symphony by Dvorak. (Sorry, these names should have diacriticals; I'm not going to bother just now...)

At the end, I tweeted "Just finished hearing Stravinsky & Dvorak at New England Conservatory. An orchestra is a violent, living, joyous thing to experience. #love".

It was amazing to hear these kids. Granted, NEC gets the cream of the crop of classical players, and Stravinsky isn't easy listening music. But still - the raw talent in these kids made for a powerful concert. Each section of the orchestra stood up and out in its own way:

  • The concertmaster was a powerful (what appeared to be Chinese) young man who played with amazing lust & gusto. Ditto the young woman sitting first-chair from the Second Violin section.
  • The brass was crisp, bright, and perfect. As a guy who played trombone during high school & college, I know how hard it is to create this level of crispness.
  • The Stravinsky required the pianist to play some massively complex and fast sections, and he was flawless. (As a total hack keyboard player, I was in awe.)
  • The woodwinds were extraordinary. Both pieces required significant oboe & bassoon talent, and these kids not only stood they test, they excelled at it.

Overall, you'd have thought you were listening to a world-class symphony orchestra. My hat is off to this Philharmonia; major kudos.

Oh, and this is one of the things that makes living in a big city like Boston so fun.

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