Show 197: Listening Guide

This week’s show is a rebroadcast from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but we hadn’t posted a listening guide when it first aired.  Keep reading to learn what each of the musicians think and feel about the pieces they perform.

Rhys Lloyd Talbot

Rhys Lloyd Talbot, 18, bass voice
“Honor and Arms” from Samson by Handel

When I sing this song, I try to get the song’s message of boasting and scorn for a weaker opponent across to the audience. The song’s about a giant who’s mocking Samson and saying there’s no glory in defeating someone smaller. Hands down, this is the most difficult piece in my repertoire. Consequently, I think it’s the most fun to listen to, and the most impressive song I have. It’s also a great song to sing in the shower.

Solly Burton, 17, mandolin
Czardas by Vittorio Monti

When I play this song, I feel like I am in another country in another era of time. Some songs are fun to play and listen to no matter how old.

Katherine Siochi

Katherine Siochi, 15, harp
Impromptu-Caprice by Gabriel Pierné

Impromptu Caprice by Gabriel Pierné is one of the most well-known show pieces in the harp repertoire. This piece opens with a candenza-like section, bringing to mind what the title would suggest, an improvisation in an extemporized style. My favorite part of this piece is the dramatic ending. The crescendo of arpeggios and glissandi lead to an exciting climax followed by the final four chords.

Susie Koh, 14, Aurelia Quartet, violin
III. Allegro non troppo from Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73 by Dmitri Shostakovich

I really like this piece, and I think that it is a great piece for my group. It is fierce, fiery, and strong. My group is pretty wild, so we like to headbang to this piece. And that is sort of the character of the piece, too.

Laura Park, 15, Aurelia Quartet, violin

The funny thing about this piece is that it requires so much preparation: reminding Susie to put in her earplug, rearranging stands to accommodate fast page turns, and tucking our hair behind our ears. Of course we still have to keep in mind intonation, ensemble, and articulation among many other things, but it feels as if each one of us has that crazy, dark side in us that comes out when we play the Shostakovich together.

Arianna Smith, 15, viola

This piece requires a unique level of energy. Whenever we play we have so much fun. We were able to perform this piece in a concert with Rachel Barton Pine, and in the beginning of the first violin solo, Susie’s E-string came off of the bridge, and she had to play most of it on the A-string!

Allan Steele, 15, cello

This movement is intensely loud, dynamic, and violent. Written directly after World War II, it is fully described by the Borodin’s Quartet’s subtitle for the movement: “Forces of war unleashed.” It’s enormous fun to play, but it is so intense that nearly every time we play the movement, although only four minutes long, we’re out of breath and exhausted.

Aurelia Quartet