Show 217: Listening Guide

This week’s From the Top show was taped in Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops in Boston, MA on Tuesday June 8, 2010. We asked our performers to tell us about the music they performed on the show:

Umi Garrett, 9, piano
III. Allegro Assai from Piano Concerto No. 23, in A Major, K. 488
By: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

This piece has a lot of animals in it. The melody is the rabbits jumping around. In the next scene a swan comes by and says hello. Then the squirrels run and play in the treetops. And the next scene is birds singing…Then a big parade starts in the woods with a lot of animals dressed up….They have a big party with singing, playing, and dancing. They all walk to the playground and ride the very fun roller coasters. And they all live together happily ever after….I think this piece is more my type of music I want to play. Mozart is my favorite composer.

Michael Bridge, 17, bayan
By: Vittorio Monti

I try to play Csárdás as if I were dancing it! Although the piece is well respected in classical circles, it is actually dance music, based on a courting Hungarian dance. I envision swirling couples who are snapping their feet to the music in the faster sections, and flirtatious young men attempted to move elegantly and impress the ladies in the slower parts. This piece was the craziest speed-learn that I ever did. I first learned the piece start to finish in one eight hour setting…It is quite difficult to play correctly on bayan because the runs do not lend themselves as well to the instrument. It makes for more of a challenge!

Gabriel Cabezas, 17, cello
IV. Allegro Con Moto from Cello Concerto No. 1, Op. 107
By: Dmitri Shostakovich

I think [this piece] often sounds sarcastic. Sort of detached and cold in atmosphere. It is all the hardest thing to nail. It is not all emotional, but rather about shock and awe for the audience. It is virtuosic and I try to get that across more than anything.

Michelle Lee, 17, violin
Tambourin Chinois
By: Fritz Kreisler; Arr. William David Brohn

My first impressions of the piece included its playful and charming qualities. The influence of Asian culture is evident, but not overwhelming. Kreisler was able to take Asian stylistic elements and incorporate them into a fun showpiece. The continuous energy of the piece propels me through the music, and is very dance-like (perfect for tapping to). In addition, the contrasting slow section is amusing because the violinist must try to fool the audience into believing the piece is over but then jump right back to the theme…Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois is unique compared to other pieces that I have played because it is music I can both play and tap to.

Jeremiah Klarman, 17, Composer
IV. Finale from Symphony No. 1 in C Minor
Performed by the Boston Pops

This symphony started out as an idea to write an orchestral piece that mixed the traditional symphonic form (in this case, rondo-form) with different types of instruments and styles. The piece contains multiple ideas, from a playful opening theme which has bits of Latin percussion to a soaring middle theme reminiscent of perhaps the early Romantic composers. The many musical elements of the piece, however, are all blended together and that, to me, is how the piece connects.