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In the last couple of months, I attended two concerts for my music report. The first concert was Maximus Musicus Visits the Orchestra which was held on 3 June 2018 at the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra(MPO). The second concert that I had attended was Harder Than This, the musical which was held on 8 July 2018 at KuAsh Theatre, TTDI KL. Both of these concerts were stark in contrast. In entertainment value wise, one was fun and the other one was serious. Maximus Musicus Visits the Orchestra is fun and entertaining, whereas the second musical which is Harder Than This takes on a more serious and dark undertone. Maximus Musicus Visits the Orchestra (MMVTO) serves as an early introduction of the orchestra to the little kids. It is a fun way for the kids to explore the different musical instruments in the orchestra just like Maximus the mouse did. Most adults in the audience seemed to be having a pretty good time too as they acted out some musical movements together with their kids. In contrast, the musical, Harder Than This consist of mostly teenagers and young adults for those performing on stage and the audience.
What makes this musical unique is that the performers themselves actually acted out their life story so it felt really personal and genuine. The musical is actually really disturbing and haunting as it goes in dept about the topic on depression and suicide. I understand that people who undergo depression need an outlet for them to express themselves and art is one of them. Art acts as an outlet for them to release their “demons” in them. This makes me realise how important it is to be able to reach out to people suffering from depression. We can only help them if they have the will to overcome their depression. People should be more aware of how serious this medical problem is. That is why we have organizers like Befrienders KL. Befrienders KL had collaborated with the musical, Harder Than This to display the dark side of what depression really is in the hopes to bring about awareness on the issue.
The classical concert I attended is Maximus Musicus Visits the Orchestra. The conductor was lead by Gene Chang and the storyline was narrated by Datuk Yasmin Yusuff. Datuk Yasmin Yusuf did a great job in narrating the story for Maximus the mouse. She is able to engage and captivate the mostly young audience with her fun expressions. It was really great to see the young kids in the audience enjoyed it as much as I did. It felt as though I had been transported back in time. The story begins with a cold winter’s night and Maximus Musicus, or Maxi for short is looking for a warm place to spend the night in. Maxi, the mouse ends up sleeping inside a large building, not knowing what he was about to stumble upon. His peaceful sleep was soon interrupted by a loud noise. He would soon find out that the loud noise was actually the sound of the musical instruments; Maxi had ended up in a concert hall! Here, Maxi’s adventure begins as he discovers the different instruments being played as the orchestra was busy practicing for their performance.
I had been to the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra with my family many times as a child but after a while, we stopped going. I forgot the reason as to why we stopped going. As a child, I remembered the concert hall being huge. Everything seems huge to me then. Now after many years later, I was surprised when I saw the concert hall. I thought to myself that it was not as huge as I imagine it to be. It seems as though everything had shrunk in size. When I arrived inside the concert hall, there were excited chatters in the air. Everyone was looking forward for the concert to start, especially the childrens. Everyone was in their best outfits on. They were dressed in smart casual clothes, something that is in between; not too casual and yet not too formal. The Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra are very strict with their dressing code. The dressing code stressed on no shorts, collerless T-shirts, singlets, sneakers, sports attires and slippers. However, school uniforms are allowed for the students. The performers on the other hand, looked good in their attire. They had a colour theme of black. They looked simply dashing. Once the concert started, the chatters died down. Everyone was respectful to the musician during their performance. People understand that it was basic etiquette to not talk while the concert is ongoing so as not to distract other people watching the concert as well as the performers on stage.
This is my first time watching a musical. I can say it wasn’t a bad experience at all for my first. The concert hall was definitely smaller in size compared to the grand Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Although it was small, it felt more personal as the seats were so close to the stage. I sat in the second row so it was really close to the performers performing on stage. The hall was dark as there were long, tall curtains surrounding it. There was no dress code for this concert. People were free to dress however they liked. The performers changed their clothing every now and then to look the part for the different scenes. Another comparison between the two concerts are that the audience are much more lesser for the musical as opposed to the orchestra.
In the classical concert, they played a total of eight pieces during the whole of the concert. The programme included, among others pieces, such as Mozart’s energetic Abduction from The Seraglio, Beethoven’s iconic Fifth Symphony, and Rossini’s Finale from the play William Tell, which is probably best known as the theme for The Lone Ranger. The other pieces included Ravel’s Bolero, Stravinsky’s The Firebird: Infernal Dance, Maxi’s Song composed by Olafsdottir, ‘Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op.46: 1. Morning Mood wrote by Grieg, and last but not least, Strauss’s Radetzky March.
The best thing about life is the experiences we encounter. There are extravagant experiences that we may brag about to others, and then there are worthwhile experiences, the little, yet personal, experiences that are deeply meaningful to us that others may not enjoy the same way we do. Worthwhile experiences allow us to connect with people we may or may not know and to me, these experiences need to be shared with others and not taken for granted. I never been able to attend a music concert, let alone a classical concert at that, until I took up music in college. I was lucky, because some people never had that experience and it’s well worth it.
On Thursday, October 10,2019, 7:00 p.m., I had the opportunity to attend my first chamber music concert at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock, Arkansas. The concert was conducted by Kiril Laskarov (violin), Stephanie Smittle (voice), and Carl Anthony (piano) with various types of music composed for famous violinists. The atmosphere was amazing, and the host was very polite and honorable. It was a nice size crowd and I can say it was no more than 40 people in the audience consisting of children and adults who attended the concert. The audience was dressed casual but nice and the performers was dressed casual as well but had on all black. The chamber concert consists of 7 songs played by violin and piano, but one song was only played by violin and voice. I will mainly touch bases on the music pieces I loved and the experience I had that will forever be remembered.
At the beginning of the concert two pieces were featured by both violin and piano at a diverse level. The first music piece that was performed was “Praeludium and Allegro” composed by Fritz Kreisler. I would say at first it was a firm declaration, in quarter notes, whose stern manner softens just a little as the section progresses but reasserts itself at the dramatic close. The second is a quick- paced affair in 16th notes, eventually building up to a flash-and-dazzle quasi-cadenza, over a rumbling dominant pedal-point in the bass register of the piano, and a strong-willed, double-stop-ridden final issue of the theme. The second music piece performed was “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 28” composed by Camille Saint- Saens. This piece begins with a slow section and characterized by a plaintive falling leap and rising arpeggio. Becoming gradually more animated, the introduction culminates in a scintillating mini cadenza that leads into the Rondo proper. When the violin enters, states a theme that has a Spanish flavor, stemming from syncopation and chromatic inflection. The melodies came mostly from the violin, which was emphasized the most. For a person who has limited music knowledge, would have thought the harmonies were unusual and difficult to consume.
As they went on further into the concert, the violin and voice performed “Four Songs for Violin and Voice” composed by Gustav Holst. I can say that I was not too fond of the voice only because I didn’t know what she was saying but overall, she did a great job and it was a first time experience for me, so I knew it would be difficult for me to understand. After the violin and voice performed their piece, the violin and piano performed “Cantabile” composed by Niccolo Paganini, which is a perfect example of three-part song form. To me the violin spans nearly the entire range of the performance. At the end of the performance, it was reprised from the opening. The violin and piano carried out the rest of the concert with three more songs which were, “Tango “Por Una Cabeza” composed by John Williams, “Finale from Concerto, Op. 47” composed by Jean Sibelius, and last but not least “Theme from ‘Ladies in Lavender” composed by Nigel Hess. I would say the last three songs were my least favorite.
My first live performance concert gave me a feeling that I never felt before and to be able to experience something like that was wonderful. The entire concert was about an hour long and the place was incredible, and everyone was focused on the performance and embracing the beautiful music. The distance between the performers and the audience was close but not too close. It allowed everyone to enjoy each song and rhythm of instruments and get a great feeling throughout the concert. The church was big enough to fit over a 100 people and it had a tall ceiling that made an echo that made the instruments and the voice sound so much better. The performance was so good, that is was total silence until the end of each piece, when everyone started clapping. Overall, my first experience was my best experience and I plan to attend another chamber music concert one day.
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