Show 220: Listening Guide

John Ringor and Marcelina Suchocka perform Octabones

This week’s show (Show 220) was taped at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa on Tuesday October 12, 2010. We asked our performers to tell us about the music they performed on the show:

Justin Moser, 17, alto saxophone
Rondo  from Lamento et Rondo
By: Pierre Sancan

My favorite part of this piece is the cadenza at the end. In the last run of notes, I give it my all by going as fast as my fingers will allow and putting as much air in horn that I can. Since there are no slow melody in this selection where I can create long and beautiful tones with a lot of vibrate, I find it important to put expression and emotion into the fast lines of notes in the phrases. The hardest part of this piece is a reoccurring measures in which I have to go up an incomplete chromatic scale while always returning to a single note in between each interval.

John Ringer, 16, Marimba
By: Adi Morag

Whenever I play piece I always imagine an intense, fiery duel between two people. I imagine them exchanging blows and running around fighting to the death. Then at one point in the piece, I picture skeletons coming out of the ground (the part where we are hitting the marimba with the shafts of our wallets) and there’s a really creepy atmosphere around.

Octabones is probably one the hardest pieces I’ve ever played. The preparation and practice required for this piece allowed me to really grow and develop as a musician. Perhaps the hardest things about this piece are the fast licks, the large intervals, and the extreme jumps. However, despite the difficulties, when we do nail the piece, its so rewarding and I have such a feeling of accomplishment.

Marcelina Suchocka, 17, marimba
By: Adi Morag

The entire feel of the piece is very flowing, beautiful, and “groovy”. Whenever I play it, I feel one with the marimba and I feel like we are dancing together. I envision my home, Poland, because it is so green and there’s almost no place with no green. I miss my home so much and when I found and heard this piece it brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me so much of the forests and Spring of Poland.

This piece will be one of the few pieces that describes my love for nature and my love of Poland. I don’t consider any performance of it to be nervous or robotic because I don’t feel at all scared to play it. It reminds me of home which makes me feel so comfortable event though learning it was challenging especially trying to make it sound like something that can be sung and not “hard”.

Sherry Tang, 12 piano
Andante & Rondo Capriccioso, Op. 14
By Felix Mendelssohn

The Rondo Capriccioso is a very speed piece – it’s a race horse of a piece, very exciting. You have to keep your wrists relaxed, and keep the drama up to this intense level and of course keep your mind on all these notes racing away under your fingers…It was like being on a Real wild horse with me getting bruised and shaken up and scratched all over— my mother said it sounded so exciting. I felt like I was going to fall off and break my neck. There definitely was a feeling of great adventure.

There are grand emotions in this piece, but also a kind of humor because it’s all so exaggerated and melodramatic. It’s not just about a boy and girl secretly meeting but Mendelssohn adds all these shadows and the moonlight, and a storm brewing, an angry father (with a sword), and a wild horse dashing through the countryside. Mendelssohn is telling us art can be more intense than real like and that’s why it’s so special. So, with this piece the sighs have to be overdone– not painful, not reality, not like Chopin–but exaggerated, kind of like the idea behind the music in Dudley Do-Right.

Michael Ferri, 15, violin
Seconda parte ‘friss’: Allegretto moderato from Rhapsody No. 1
By Béla Bartók

Folk music being a great influence in Bartók’s composing style, this piece is filled with rustic popular melodies from Romania and Hungary. For me, it invokes images of gypsies playing their instruments and dancing around a bonfire, improvising; Bartók even writes in mistakes that he thought they would make. I love this piece because of the atmosphere that Bartók captures with the spiky rhythms and beautiful harmonies. I enjoyed playing this piece because of the technical challenges it provides me, and because of how much I can do with the piece musically. The melodramatic character of the piece easily allows me to be able to express my ideas of what feelings Bartok was trying to convey as well as have a lot of fun while playing.

Zachary Spontak, 18, violin
III. Allegro-Andate molto- Allegro from String Quartet No.2 in F major, Op.92
By Sergei Prokofiev

This is a piece that definitely conjures up a story in my mind with vivid pictures of dying angels and weeping. Especially in the middle performance included my music blowing its off sand. I knew we had internalized it at that point. If we get the right feeling at the opening, the rest follows.(Fingers crossed)

Leah Ferguson, 17, viola
III. Allegro-Andate molto- Allegro from String Quartet No.2 in F major, Op.92
By Sergei Prokofiev

When I play this piece I think about capturing specific characters, and relating them to my group mates. My group created a story line for this piece that we think of whenever we play it. This piece has a lot of different characters, and really makes up a story. To tell the story, my group mates and I really have to live in the moment when we play the piece. The hardest thing about this piece is that ensemble has to be perfectly timed and everyone really has to move as a unit.

Sophia Cho, 18, viola
III. Allegro-Andate molto- Allegro from String Quartet No.2 in F major, Op.92
By Sergei Prokofiev

This piece is composed of so many different elements. It’s mysterious, humorous, creepy, beautiful, and fun. We even made up a story for the movement about a beautiful girl at a party that may get murdered, all taking place during the 1700’s. The EPIC MIDDLE PART IS MY FAVORITE. I’ve never spent so much time tuning sections with the quartet as I had with this piece. There was so much tedious work that was required for this- more than others. To add to the challenge this piece is so spontaneous! The mood and colors change all the time. Working on smooth, natural, musical changes was difficult but rewarding when we finally got it.