Classic Discovery with the Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra

Orchestral rehearsals generally – and understandably –- concentrate on
getting the right sound and the right notes, but hardly any time exploring
what the music is about, where it came from, what it does in formal terms,
and what it means. Hence the idea of leading an insight event, not for an
audience, but with an orchestra for an orchestra, with me acting as both
conductor and analytical guide. The Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra have
Mahler’s Symphony no 1 as the main work in their summer concert, and the
Guildhall is letting me loose on the orchestra to lead the first couple of
sessions on this piece. In session one, I’ll be looking at how the
programmatic symphony developed in the nineteenth century by rehearsing,
analysing and discussing passages from some of the most important examples,
including Beethoven’s Choral Symphony and the Symphonie fantastique by
Berlioz. And in session two, the focus turns to Mahler’s First Symphony
itself; the storylines that Mahler adopted and discarded, the gypsy and
Jewish soundworlds, and the funeral march – including the eerie minor-key
Frère Jacques that gets it under way. I’m looking forward to sharing ideas
with the Guildhall players, getting a debate going, and learning from them
in the process too!

This follows a successful trial with the Junior Academy Symphony Orchestra
of the Royal Academy of Music last year, and is part of my evolving Classic
Discovery project. As the website takes shape, click here for details.

Classic Discovery with the Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra is from
2:30-4:30 pm on Saturday 26th February and Saturday 5th March 2011.

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