Archive for the ‘Classical’ Category

YouTube Symphony Orchestra, Sydney

Friday 1 April, 2011

YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra (YTSO) is the world’s first online collaborative orchestra. Initially I thought musicians would be playing all over the world at the same time to create a concert. But later I found out that the internet was merely for the auditioning process.

Still the YTSO crunched some impressive numbers during it’s second concert on 20th March 2011 at the Sydney Opera House. The concert was streamed 33 million times to 189 different countries, making it one of the most viewed streamed events to date. The orchestra comprised of 101 musicians from 33 countries around the world. They rehearsed and performed in Sydney for a week, culminating in a 3 1/2 hour Grand Finale concert (see video below).

Download the official videos here

Download the official pictures here

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in D minor (Op. 125)

Monday 21 December, 2009

Ludwig van Beethoven @ Wikipedia

Ludwig van Beethoven‘s “Choral” Symphony No. 9 in D minor (Op. 125) was the last symphony he wrote. It is one of the most famous pieces, if not the most famous, in Western classical music. It was completed in 1824 when he was 53 years of age, three years before his death.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is the first example of a major composer using voices. He uses both an SATB choir and vocal quartet comprising of Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone voices. These appear only in the final 4th movement where we hear the familiar “Ode to Joy” tune. The words were adopted from a poem by Friedrich von Schiller.

Interestingly, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” tune is used as the “Anthem of Europe“, most notably for the European Union. It is officially played as an instrumental only, and at a much slower tempo than the original.

Below are three videos excerpts of the famous final movement, conducted by one of the world’s most famous conductors Leonard Bernstein. It was recorded in the Konzerthaus Berlin in 1989. Underneath the first two videos are the German text with English translation under each section. Enjoy!

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PART 1

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Baritone (solo) (Presto)

O Freunde, nicht diese Töne
Sondern laßt uns angenehmere anstimmen
Und freudenvollere

translation

Oh friends, not these tones
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds

Baritone (solo) with Chorus (Allegro assai)

Freude! Freude!

translation

Joy! Joy!

Baritone (solo)

Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium
Wir betreten feuertrunken
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum

Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt
Alle Menschen werden Brüder
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt

translation

Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium
We enter drunk with fire
Heavenly one, your sanctuary

Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided
All men become brothers
Where your gentle wing rests

Chorus

Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt
Alle Menschen werden Brüder
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt

translation

Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided
All men become brothers
Where your gentle wing rests

(more…)

Classical Music Online

Tuesday 6 October, 2009

Classical Music @ Wikipedia

Here are a few great online classical music locations for your musical pleasure…

There are hundreds more for you to check out at Classical Webcast and Classical DJ which list classical stations from around the world.

Leave a post if you find a station you like!

High School Orchestras

Tuesday 4 August, 2009
High School Orchestras Picture

Orchestra @ Wikipedia

Well, our very own high school orchestra draws ever closer. So to entice your musical taste-buds I have left seven great examples of high school orchestras form the United States for you to enjoy.

Please leave a comment if you find any good Aussie high school orchestra videos and leave a comment telling us which orchestra you liked best!

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New Trier High School Orchestra, Illinois USA
“The Rakoczy March” by Hector Berlioz from “The Damnation of Faust”

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Moanalua High School Symphony, Hawaii USA
“The Barber of Seville” by Gioacchino Rossini

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Lassiter High School Orchestra, Georgia USA
“Zou-San” (Little Elephant) by Keiko Yamada

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Central Davis Junior High School Orchestra, Utah USA
“Symphony No. 12” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Stephen F. Austin High School Symphony Orchestra, Texas USA
“Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” by Franz Liszt

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Minnetonka High School Orchestra, Minnesota USA
“The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber

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Milton High School Orchestra, Georgia USA
“Pirates of the Caribbean” by Hanz Zimmer

Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D minor (K. 626)

Saturday 25 July, 2009
Mozart's Requiem Mass in D minor (K. 626)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart @ Wikipedia

I love Mozart’s Requiem! I’ve posted the Introit, Kyrie and Dies Irae below for you to listen to.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem Mass in D minor” (K. 626) was composed in 1791 and was Mozart’s last composition. It was commissioned by the aristocrat Franz von Walsegg for the funeral of his wife, Anna. Von Walsegg secretly commissioned the work so he could pass it off as his own. Unfortunately, Mozart died before completing the composition. Mozart’s wife, Constanze, secretly asked Franz Xaver Süßmayr to complete it so she could receive the final payment from von Walsegg (no doubt to help recover the debts Constanze inherited from her late husband).

So here’s the composition… that Mozart began to write but died before completing, that von Walsegg tried to pass off as his own, that Süßmayr finished without von Walsegg finding out, and that Constanze earned all the money from!

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“Introit” and “Kyrie” by W. A. Mozart from “Requiem Mass in D minor”

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“Dies Irae” by W. A. Mozart from “Requiem Mass in D minor”

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Here’s the text with translation underneath each section…

Introit

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
Et lux perpetua luceat eis
Te decet hymnus, Deus, in Sion
Et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem
Exaudi orationem meam
Ad te omnis care veniet
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine
Et lux perpetua luceat eis

translation

Grant them eternal rest, Lord
And let perpetual light shine on them
You are praised, God, in Zion
And homage will be paid to You in Jerusalem
Hear my prayer
To You all flesh will come
Grant them eternal rest, Lord
And let perpetual light shine on them

Kyrie

Kyrie, eleison
Christe, eleison
Kyrie, eleison

translation

Lord, have mercy on us
Christ, have mercy on us
Lord, have mercy on us

Dies Irae

Dies irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla
Teste David cum Sibylla
Quantus tremor est futurus
Quando judex est venturus
Cuncta stricte discussurus

translation

Day of wrath, day of anger
Will dissolve the world in ashes
As foretold by David and the Sibyl
Great trembling there will be
When the Judge descends from heaven
To examine all things closely

Click here for the full Latin text with English translation.

Wow! Now that’s a song to hear at a funeral!

TED Talks You Must Watch!

Friday 24 April, 2009

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an invitation-only event in Britain where the world’s leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration. Here are some talks from the website on music, creativity and education. If I find any more later I will add them. But for now, you must watch these videos… (follow “Link to page” so you can toggle to full-screen)

Sir Ken Robinson on “Do Schools Kill Creativity?”
Link to page

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Benjamin Zander on “Classical Music with Shining Eyes”
Link to page

Vodpod videos no longer available.Click here for another excellent speech by Benjamin Zander (it’s similar in places but just as amazing)

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James Burchfield on “Sound Stylings by a Human Beatbox”
Link to page

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Evelyn Glennie on “How to Listen to Music with Your Whole Body”
Link to page

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Happy Classical Easter

Sunday 12 April, 2009

Wishing everyone a very happy Easter! I thought I’d leave you with some beautiful music by Johann Sebastian Bach, the St. Matthew Passion BWV 244. It was written in 1727 and retells the Passion story according to the gospel of Matthew. The story of Jesus has provided composers with countless opportunities to write amazingly beautiful compositions over the centuries.

Above is Bach’s signature cross which spells “BACH” in German musical notation (clockwise: Bb, A, C, B). Notice the four different clefs and the note in the middle? Bach uses this musical idea in 63B. Chorus “Truly this was the Son of God”. (click it to find out more)

In this composition Bach uses a double choir which quite often alternate between each other (cori spezzati). Bach also utilises a four-part chorale which add intimacy and provide us with recurring melodies (motifs). Soloists also perform two kinds of solos, a recitative and an aria. Recitatives are used to convey the story line through a lot of text. Arias repeat the same idea to show a character’s emotion, such as a lament or love song.

Read the German libretto (words) with English translation

Go to this page to search through the whole performance. See if you can spot the cori spezzati, chorales, arias, recitatives and orchestral interludes.

1. Opening Chorus (Come, Daughters, Help Me Mourn)

67. Recitative (Soli) with Chorus (Now the Lord is Laid to Rest)
68. Chorus (We Sit Down In Tears)

Obama’s Inauguration Music

Wednesday 21 January, 2009

I was really moved listening to President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. To watch a video of his entire speech click here. There were also heaps of amazing musical items presented throughout the ten days of celebration, what’s a celebration without music?! Here are two items from the inauguration ceremony…

The legendary Aretha Franklin sings “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee“, the tune of which is based upon the British National Anthem “God Save the Queen“.

An amazing international quartet comprised of the French born Chinese cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Israeli American violinist Itzhak Perlman, the African American clarinettist Anthony McGill and the Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero, performing the song “Air and Simple Gifts” by the American composer John Williams.

Happy New Year… Sydney Style!

Thursday 8 January, 2009

Happy new year! In case you missed the Sydney harbour fireworks, here’s some awesome clips for you. If you double click them to open them in a new window, you can watch them in hi-definition! The synchronisation of the fireworks with music is awesome and I love the mix of pop and classical music. Want the grand finale? Watch Part 2 from 2:06 to the end (2 minutes).

Part 1

Part 2

New Years Resolution… make our music department the best it has ever been!

Robotic Conductor

Sunday 7 December, 2008
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ASIMO is a humanoid robot. ASIMO is an acronym for “Advanced Step in Innovative MObility”. In the picture above and the clip below ASIMO conducts the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to raise funds for a music education fund in Detroit, USA. I thought it was pretty cool, I hope you enjoy it…
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