Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My own high school (W-L) gives winter orchestra concert


Washington-Lee High School in Arlington VA held its winter concert for its orchestra class tonight, December 11.

The music department limits “orchestra” to strings (and percussion), and puts all wind instruments in “band”. 
  
The high school has a string orchestra, and a smaller chamber orchestra that requires audition. To my ear, the pitch in the chamber ensemble sounded more completely in tune.  The String orchestra had three double basses.  What makes someone want to play it (an lug the instrument around)?  I know of only one concerto for double bass, by Estonian composer Eduard Tubin.
  
David Lunt conducted both orchestras.

The String Orchestra started with the first movement of the Brandenberg Concerto #3 in G, First Movement, by J.S. Bach.  How do the concerti  movements of Bach, generally monothematic, relate tp the sonata form of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven? 

There followed a hymn “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Gustav Holst, and then a suite “A Pirate’s Legend” by Soon He Newbold.

The Chamber Orchestra started with the “Capriccio Espanol” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff.  It is in four quick sections, with a violin solo played precisely by concertmaster Nathan Ullberg.  I had an Angel recording of this piece around 1961 with Galliera and the Borodin Symphony #1 on the back.  The Capriccio worked quite well in a string adaptions (by Sandra Dackow). 

There followed a settling fo Ralph Vaughn Williams’s familiar “Greensleeves” (with brief violin solo), a Toccata by Girolamo Frescobaldi, and a pop song “Molly on the Shore” by Percy Grainger. 

I graduated from W-L myself in 1961.  

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