Sunday, February 02, 2014

Britten and the Colorado Symphony

Chee-Yun on Violin
The Colorado Symphony had an excellent program last night under conductor Peter Oundjian, opening with one of my favorite pieces, The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten. Britten wrote this music for a short educational film for children that has long since been forgotten. Many composers would have written throwaway music for such an assignment, but Britten writes some brilliant music here. 

It was very entertaining seeing it performed live; I had always wanted to, but it hardly ever gets played. I think there is a perception that it is "children's music," but it is far from it. With the film's voiceover removed, it is a great example for students of all ages, I recommend the piece in my classes for people who want to learn to recognize all the instruments of the orchestra. 

This was immediately followed by the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, performed by Chee-Yun, whom I had never heard before. Her performance was so stellar that the audience did something I have never seen at the Colorado Symphony; a standing ovation after the first movement. This is a piece we have heard live numerous times, but she played it like it was new. 

The concert closed with the Dvorak Symphony #7, a crowd favorite, especially for the third movement.  It was a really nice concert with a great program. Unfortunately we will not be back for a while due to other commitments. 
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