On Sunday afternoon November 21, 1999, at 2:00 p.m.at 419th Concert Worldwide, 330th in New York, 218th in Carnegie Hall I attended a MidAmerica production that presented the New England Symphonic Ensemble. This concert contained several different compositions by large groups of musicians, including an orchestra band, and chorus. This concert was divided into three different parts. First there was the Vivaldi which was divided into 12 sections. Virginia-Gene Rittenhouse was the music director, Raymond Sprague was the conductor, Judith Von Housers Voice was the soprano, Mary Nessinger voice was the Mezzo soprano, and Elizabeth Hastings was the portative. There was a reprise in the first section Gloria which opened up the symphony.
Following the first intermission the musicians performed Magnificant by Mohaycn, Ave Maria op 12 by Brahms, Magnificant by Vaughan Williams, and Canticle of Mary by Larson. Nancy Menk was the conductor, Judith Von Houser’s voice was the soprano and Mary Nessinger the Mezzo-soprano. The first three sections were settings of the magnificant text all for women’s of tremble voices and orchestra. This recital was more dramatic due to the addition of the precussion that added a yelling sound in the end of the last section Canticle of Mary which portrayed Mary’s free spirit. Also they played a solovin oboe Manificant by Williams.
Following the second intermission the musicians performed the Puccini which was divided into six sections. Solveig Holmquist was the conductor, Thomas C. Laine was the tenor and James Demler voice was the baritone. The chorus carries the major burden of their music. Thomas C. Laine presented the tenor in Credo, and James Demler presented the baritone in Agnas Dei. This piece also contained fugue and a chorale. Also all the instruments were blended together to produce harmony.
In the first part of this recital the vivaldi, contained a string Quartet. After the first intermission, I looked down at the podium and noticed that the precussions were added which included the timpani, bass drum, tylophone, and cymbals. In this recital Nancy Menk was the conductor, Judith Von Houser was the soprano which played a high note, and Mary Nessinger was the Mezzo-soprano which played a slight softer note. This part of the concert was divided into four pieces. First there was the Magnificant by M. Haydn (the orchestra accompaniment was edited from the composer’s manuscript by Mark Nabholz). This piece consisted of strings without violas, two french horns, and an organ. The flute in this piece represented the Holy Spirit, while the full orchestra commented on Mary.
The second section Ave Maria, op 12 by Brahms contained a string Quartet. This was a choral work which contained the voices of Houser, and Nessinger, and an organ. Directly following op 12, the Magnificant was played again. This time it was by Vaughan Williams and more brass, woodwinds, and strings were added which included the french horns, trombone, oboe, and cello. This piece started with a soft sound of a solo oboe. Following the oboe the strings and chorus were added to produce a thicker texture. At this point the oboe just blended in with the whole orchestra to produce harmony. By the middle of the piece the oboe was played solo again with no other accompaniment. I realized it was the sound of an oboe because I was familiarized with this instrument after listening to “Peter and the Wolf” by Serge Prokefiev. Towards the end of this piece the oboe was played solely for a few seconds then there was a fugue which included the cello, then Mary then the chorus which brought the Magnificant to its conclusion.
The Canticle of Mary by Larsen was the last section of this performance. This oratorio consisted of Houser, Nessinger, and the full Orchestra. This music reflected the resounding, noisy joy’s and the melodic lines represented Mary. With accompaniment by precussion (bass drum, tylophone, and cymbals) it gave this piece tempo, and texture, which sparked energy and celebration that sounded like yelling when the precussions were added. The solo oboe in this piece represented the free spirit. Nessinger brought this piece to a conclusion.
I always hear about Carnegie Hall. I got the impression that the best of the best musicians get a chance to perform in such a place, so I expected a great performance. It was a good performance, I can’t say excellent. But deep inside I felt I cannot really judge this piece because my musical literacy is limited. I feel I learned a lot this semester in music class which helped me to understand and appreciate music. Overall it was a wonderful experience in Carnegie Hall which I had the chance of sharing with my beautiful boyfriend.
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