Debut Chamber Orchestra Concert
19 of November, 2017 was a happy time for the lovers and connoisseurs of classical music, as they could listen to their favorite musical pieces performed by the Debut Chamber Orchestra that has already announced their 2017/2018 season (Young Musicians Foundation, 2017). The main message of that concert was to fly with the help of music. The venue of that concert was Bing Theater, Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles that perfectly mirrored the feelings created by the performance, as the sophisticated luxury and elevated interiors provoked a festive and special atmosphere (Young Musicians Foundation, 2017). The type of the performance by the Debut Chamber Orchestra was orchestra music that comprised such series concerts as Flow, Fly, Burn, and Build. Consequently, the peculiar goal of that concert performed by the Debut Chamber Orchestra was not only to imitate classical music professionally but send a certain message to the audience.
The concert comprised such works as Sinfonietta by Francis Poulenc that is composed of Allegro can fuoco, Molto vivace, Andante cantabile, and Finale, The Lark Ascending by Ralph Williams, and Fantasia by Einojuhani Rautavaara (Young Musicians Foundation, 2017). All these musical pieces are classical and really elevate, provoking the feeling of flying. Cellist Andrew Shulman, pianist Fabio Bidini, violin superstar Anne Akiko Meyers, and conductor Yuga Cohler were those musicians that staged that performance and made the classical pieces sound in a new way and impress the listeners with the elevated and sophisticated atmosphere reinforced by the endless talent and beauty of the musical pieces. The program was not very complicated and diverse, but it was enough for that kind of concert not to make the listeners get bored but desire to listen more.
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The Debut Chamber Orchestra is a member of the Young Musicians Foundation that serves to the society through intellectual, cultural, and social engagement and provides access to musical education. Thus, the Debut Chamber Orchestra is one of the most professional and oldest orchestras in the country. The Debut Chamber Orchestra is celebrating its 63rd season and comprises approximately 70 musicians aged 15-25 from Los Angeles. The advantage and peculiarity of the Debut Chamber Orchestra are that it creates the Great Music Series that are united with a certain message that they want to send to their audience. Despite the Debut Chamber Orchestra is a pre-professional orchestra being composed of young people, it has all chances of further growth, while demonstrating the exceptional talent when performing every major symphony. Finally, the Debut Chamber Orchestra is characterized by the abilities to offer poetic interpretations, be original and unique, and differ from other musicians.
During interviewing, Yuga Cohler, a conductor of the Debut Chamber Orchestra, told that the most complicated musical piece was Sinfonietta by Francis Poulenc, as it comprised four parts; therefore, the musicians were concerned about how to make it sound united and integrated to persuade a listener that it was a holistic piece. Furthermore, as a conductor, he bore the responsibility for the whole team. Anne Akiko Meyers, being a violin superstar, told that those classical pieces were not complicated if the musicians managed to show passionate performance, commitment not only to works but also composers who created them, deep poetic interpretation to influence listeners, and purity of sound. Moreover, Anne Akiko Meyers told that Fantasia by Rautavaara was the most significant piece for her, as a violinist, as it was very inspiring and exceptional for her.
Without a doubt, my impressions of the performance are subjective, but I need to share them. At the performance, I felt as if I were in another world, as the unbelievable feelings and emotions fulfilled my heart and soul when musicians started playing. All musical pieces magnetized and hypnotized me immediately, and I was like a music addict who regarded it both like drug and medicine. Maeder and Reybrouck wrote (2015, p. 17), The figure of the performer who acts as a mediator between music and audience is a crucial element in understanding… All musicians were totally committed to music, making rhythms and melodies harmonic and balanced with feelings and emotions. The changes from a piece to piece were so fluent and smooth that it was difficult to notice that transition.
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The Lark Ascending by Ralph Williams was a contrasting piece that involved the rich and dark sounds reinforced by the violin and light and airy sounds that expressed joy and excitement. This musical piece evoked sad and nostalgic feelings and evoked meditative mood with the alteration of peaceful and aggressive, gentle and rude, and slow and quick notes. The harmony of the piece was obvious in the consistent movement of melodies, flute and soprano voice, and unity of pitch, tempo, dynamics, and rhythm. In addition, that piece was reflective and pastoral so that it did not express any particular idea but created the necessary mood; therefore, it could be also named atmospheric.
Sinfonietta by Francis Poulenc was another musical work for orchestra that continued the theme of mood, feelings, and atmosphere started by The Lark Ascending by Ralph Williams. However, it was more energetic and lively, as it was full of dance rhythms performed in four movements. That musical piece was also very light, as it expressed an easy-going mood and careless behavior. When I listened to that musical work, I felt that it encouraged me to live my life easier, enjoying the small details and moments. Furthermore, the light-hearted mood of that symphony made my heart beat quicker, motivated me, and elevated my mood to the unbelievable height.
However, Fantasia by Einojuhani Rautavaara was the most interesting and significant musical piece for me, as it not only touched my feelings and emotions but also involved my imagination and creativity. I could not even breathe and tried to consume every note not to miss something very significant. The personal reflective mood of Fantasia proved that the very sound was soulful and had a particular meaning, creating the feeling of elegy. That musical piece made me understand that it was not important what feelings music expressed. The main thing was to reflect the genuine feelings and emotions. Furthermore, I was impressed with the name of the piece, as it encouraged every listener to switch on the fantasy and understand the composers message.
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In conclusion, it is necessary to say that my emotions and feelings associated with the Debut Chamber Orchestra were endless like the ocean, as they touched my heart and soul and persuaded me that music could express more than any other art form. Moreover, that concert showed me that classical music was eternal, and that it could be interpreted by the different musicians and sound in a totally new way. All musical pieces of that concert were related to feelings, emotions, mood, and atmosphere; therefore, they influenced peoples psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual, and moral wellness, making them more elevated, motivated, and inspired. Classical music is powerful, as it can touch every person, even the most indifferent one. I could not be indifferent when I felt some trembling in my body, burst of feelings, inability to control myself, and desire to applaud to musical pieces, their authors, and performers.
Panayis Lyras, Piano Concert
5 of December, 2015 was a special moment for those who wanted to penetrate into the world of the classical music through visiting Panayis Lyras, Piano Concert sponsored by Michigan State University, particularly College of Music (Michigan State University, 2017). The location of that performance was Fairchild Theatre, Auditorium Building that added that concert proper atmosphere with the help of the design of the interior and art spirits. The type of performance involved the chamber music and solo recitals. Not without a reason, Panayis Lyras won the Silver Medal in the 1981 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, as he participated in many prestigious piano competitions that developed his technical capabilities and brought him recognition (Michigan State University, 2017). Mr. Lyras is both an artist and professor in residence at the Michigan State University College of Music due to his achievements in piano music; therefore, it means that he can not only spread music among people but also teach them how to become professionals in this area.
The program of Panayis Lyras, Piano Concert was grounded on the following pieces: Sonata No.2 in G minor, Op.22 by Schumannand Sonata in D major, K.311 by Mozart. The intermission as a part of the program involved Piece en forme de habanera by Maurice Ravel, Lisle joyeuse, L.106 by Claude Debussy, Quejas, o la maja y el ruisenor by Enrique Granados, and Rhapsodie espagnole, S. 254 by Franz Liszt (Los Angeles Times, 2017). All those musical pieces, as the best samples of classical piano music, were presented at the concert by Panayis Lyras as the main and only soloist. His solo recitals were the most prominent in Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, New York City, and Washington D.C. Moreover, Panayis Lyras orchestral engagements such as the performances with the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras, Pacific Symphony Orchestras, and the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestras make him a recognized and reputable musician (Los Angeles Times, 2017). Such active participation proves that Mr. Lyras is a renowned musician who can share his musical talent and skill through solo recitals and orchestral engagements.
The historical background of that program is related to the Romantic Period in music that took place in 18-19th centuries to make music more emotional and expressive and reveal philosophical, artistic, and literary themes. The stylistic peculiarities of music presented in that program were the diversity of instruments, dynamic range, and expansion in the size of the orchestra. In fact, those musical pieces underlined the parallel between music and nature through the choice of emotional and expressive means that reinforced the composers admiration with the help of religious, supernatural, and mystic forces. Furthermore, the listener could have an ambiguous perception of the classical romantic music, as it was subjective and presupposed spiritual experiences and fantastic seeing. Thus, the program was created in such a way to show the musical spirits of both centuries and reveal them through one of the brightest representatives of classical music. Finally, the musical pieces of that program were united with the focus on instrumentalism, romanticism, and elevation as the particular traits of music of that period.
During interviewing, Panayis Lyras told that it was necessary to have talent and technical capabilities to succeed in music. Moreover, the interview showed that a musician was a cultivator of the grand effects and big sounds that were obvious in his programs. Not without a reason, his piano program was diverse and rich in the musical pieces, as Panayis Lyras wanted to show his maximum to the audience. Furthermore, the musician explained that drollery intact and playfulness should become the aspects of a musical piece to make it easy for the perception and understanding. Consequently, any of his performed pieces sounded similar to an animated monologue characterized by a certain degree of elegance and elevation. For example, Lisle joyeuse, L.106 by Claude Debussy reflected Lyras desire to heighten its coloristic brilliance and sensual lyricism. Finally, Panayis Lyras believed that music was the solution to any challenges and negative emotions, as it provided excitement, joy, and some kind of melancholy.
My impressions could be regarded as subjective, as I did not see all details and peculiarities obvious for a professional listener. I want to say that the concert has made the revolution in my perception of classical music, as earlier I thought that it was dull, monotonous, and deprived of any feelings and emotions. However, Panayis Lyras changed my vision by making his performance brilliant and lively and creating a magic atmosphere of the classical music that could charm, magnetize, hypnotize, and make one fall in love with it. Moreover, all feelings and emotions were the outcomes of the technical craft and enormous talent of Panayis Lyras who touched every corner of human soul. Frankly speaking, I even began to imagine Schumann and Mozart being on the scene. Consequently, that music enlivened my imagination and absorbed me totally in the world of music.
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Sonata in D major, K.311 by Mozart was the first piece in the program that was very intriguing and dramatic, as it comprised three movements reinforced by the changes in mood and atmosphere. The mood of Sonata in D major, K.311 was energetic and jovial and totally destructed the myth that classical music could be dull and monotone. Thus, the first movement was flourishing and expressed such features as liveliness, brilliancy, and lyricism. Despite the second movement was a climax of the musical piece, it was rather lyrical and tender. The last movement became again very energetic and concluded all themes depicted in that piece. As to Panayis Lyras, he contributed also to the way that musical piece sounded, making it more charismatic and contemporary.
Furthermore, I was charmed with the last musical piece that was Rhapsodie espagnole by Franz Liszt that had a different sounding compared to the previous pieces. First, it was grounded on Spanish hot temperament and tendency to passion and dramatic character; therefore, it seemed to awaken the audience from the lyrical dreams. Second, Rhapsodie espagnole by Franz Liszt was suggestive and a proper conclusion to the piano concert. Despite the fact that the musical piece was a representation of traditional Spanish folk music, it reflected all traits of Romantic period, especially the focus on emotions and feelings. As to Panayis Lyras, he added to that piece much improvisation, showing his total commitment to the audience and ability to be quick and responsive. Moreover, the advantage of Panayis Lyras was that he could add his individual approach to any piece of classical music, making it sound in a new way. Finally, Rhapsodie espagnole by Franz Liszt managed to create the magic atmosphere of the festival through agile and orchestral melodies.
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that Panayis Lyras, Piano Concert has made a revolution in my vision and perception of classical music. First, the pieces of Mozart and Schumann were the most appreciated by me as the greatest music masterpieces. Second, I noticed that an individual approach of a performer to a classical piece could make it even more interesting, especially when it was contemporary and energetic. My expectations of classical music were exceeded, as I absorbed totally in the world of music and could not control my feelings and emotions.