HS Spring Concert Reflection

On April 13th, the Spring Concert was held in the auditorium. We played four pieces and our theme was Modern Landscape. For our concert this year, we were lucky enough to have DJ Monsta, a DJ/ music producer play along with us and mix in electronic sounds to our pieces using the launchpad and the turntable.

The first piece of the program, and concert was Spring in which I was lucky enough to play solo for and conduct. This piece by far was the most technically challenging piece; it was a very note-heavy piece with a fast tempo, requiring very good intonation and focus. Most of the time, the tempo for the different sections of the orchestra was the same and thus it was crucial that we were in complete sync during those times and deliver the notes accurately. Since the piece was technically challenging, requiring focus on delivering the right notes with good intonation relatively quickly, it was quite challenging for some players to keep the tempo. During practice, we had experienced major decreases in tempo during transitions of tempo which was pretty fatal because the lower strings that were keeping the baseline and in charge of keeping the tempo through the baseline slowed down, slowing down the other groups and it was hard to regain the tempo because not everyone was looking at me. Therefore, I decided to show the tempo clearly by nodding my head like a metronome because there were no hands to conduct the orchestra and at first, I was a little dubious of whether it was clear enough and helped the orchestra, but I was reassured when some members of the orchestra commented that it helped a lot. However looking back at the performance through the video, I am very surprised everyone was able to keep up because the tempo is extremely fast. We as a group did much better in keeping the tempo than the practices but i think that the experience we had of the decreases in tempo throughout the piece during the practices made me think that I should take a slightly faster tempo, and this was catalyzed by the adrenaline rush we all experience during concerts. Ms. Banehene told me during the last practice about this and she was right. However even at this tempo, the cellos were lagging and thus I think that it was good that I took a  slightly faster tempo so even if the cellos were slowing down, the violins could keep up with me and set the tempo throughout the piece although this is slightly risky. In the original of the song, there are more fluctuations of the tempo within the piece, with gaps of space to create flow, but I think that we as a group were not competent enough to deliver these fluctuations with confidence and with effect because there were other aspects of the performance that we had to focus on.

Oblivion was one of my favourite pieces, because this piece incorporates elements of jazz and classical music in a style called nuevo tango, and had a very different feeling of tempo. A lot of the times, when there is a piece with a solo part, I am the one playing the solo in which I can express myself in any way, with freedom, fluctuating the tempo, and dynamics as I like as the rest of the orchestra would be accompanying me, following my lead and supporting my solo. However, this time I was part of the accompaniment supporting the flute solo. The orchestra tends to deliver very decisive beats, quite literally following the music. As someone who has experienced playing solos many times, I knew that this would make the soloist slightly uncomfortable because it would restrict her ability to fluctuate the tempo in the way she chooses to, which is a big part of this piece with a nuevo tango style. Therefore, I focused on listening to her and looking at Ms. Banahene, making sure that the orchestra was flexible and able to adjust to the changes of tempo and dynamics not written on the music and allow the soloist to express herself in any way through our support.


One thought on “HS Spring Concert Reflection

  1. Great discussion on how you were trying to meet the actual demands of the music – especially as a soloist and with a soloist in two very distinct styles. I completely agree with you that our group tends to get too into the sheet music and not enough off the page – this was part of the reason we worked so much with memorization of parts also. I hope you enjoyed your work on this concert and the art that we were able to accomplish (even with some of the issues still present with our presentation).

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