Custom «Reflection: "The Magic Flute: Overture"» Essay Paper Sample


I have had a pleasure to listen to the concert by Santa Monica College Symphony Orchestra directed by James Martin. The two main performers were Megan Chang and Melinda Zhu. The concert included some of extremely famous works by Mozart, Tchaikovskiy and other composers and presented a high-quality performance by young violin and flute talents.

The first work performed by the orchestra was The Magic Flute: Overture composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The performance was quite accomplished; the introduction with the violins was performed forte, making the audience shiver and tense as if preparing them for some tragic climax. As the first seconds of overture introduced the orchestra and had pauses, the orchestra went forte to the point that those pauses made the performance sound like it was cut into different parts and created an unsettling feelings among the listeners. However, as the melody progressed, the gentle piano entered, and the orchestra changed its tone. The violins presented a relaxing melody with the tuba and the trombone making way for a parallel melody. Therefore, the orchestra created the atmosphere of the original Mozart’s work with the peaceful idyllic melody and strong sounds which kept the audience alert just as composer wished (Berger & Foil, 2007). As the overture progressed, the tone of the work was becoming calmer and calmer influencing the public and developing into a beautiful storyline.

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I would especially like to praise the violins; thanks to the change of tone and tempo, they were able to convey the story to the audience perfectly, and in the middle of the work, the public was able to feel the fast rhythm of life the fiddles delivered. The string instruments set the tone of the work with the flutes complementing them and creating a strong and harmonic dialogue between the two groups of instruments. As the violins started to be accompanied by the piano, they quickly intensified with the help of the flutes reaching forte by the end of the work. Overall, the orchestra instruments communicated with one another greatly because the audience could sense that the different performers were able to listen to their colleagues. Thus, despite the tense beginning, the work has made a strong and positive impression.

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Concertino for the Flute was another piece that deserved attention. I liked the changes in the flute’s tone and vitality of the instrument as it was able to unite with the orchestra at the moments, and then, to play solo and move the melody further. The flute’s performance was extremely important in the piece. I would like to praise the fact that the orchestra was able to be in line with the rhythm and change between different moods of the work, quickly following a new tonality. Also, it was clear that the instruments created an effective dialogue; thus, unlike in the first piece, there were no confusions and challenges when adapting to listening to the music.

The other performance which was equally impressive was the Symphony #6 in b minor (“Pathetique”) Opus 74. From the very beginning, there was a feeling that the orchestra had particular warm emotions toward Tchaikovskiy as they were able to create a powerful atmosphere with the music. The beginning was extremely mysterious and helped to set the audience into the mood. The orchestra started with the pianissimo making way to a greater sound, and as the melody was progressing, the orchestra’s sound became stronger and more powerful. I would also like to lay stress on the leading violins and their entrance in-between the pauses in the beginning. It was done in a very gentle manner as not to create any conflict, but to strengthen the mystery of the work. The violins were the ones leading in the beginning of the composition; and although they were playing piano, the changing rhythm as well as the tone of the work made the audience listen and enjoy every sound. The orchestra was able to switch perfectly between different rhythms and use the volume of the sound to emphasize on particular parts of the work. Overall, it was a pleasant experience because it made the listeners relax and enjoy the sounds as well as the story conveyed with them.

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It is also important to mention the performance of young violinist Megan Lee Chang and her solo in Opus 20 of Gypsy Airs. The violinist proved herself to be extremely skillful as her sound was very confident and balanced with the rest of the orchestra. Chang was able to reach the high notes with ease making the audience feel the emotions of the work and its overall atmosphere of sadness and inner struggles. Performer presented the public with the crying violin whose sound represented doubts, while orchestra was supporting the emotions. When the melody accelerated, the young violinist was able to perfectly turn the melody from a sad one into a whirl of emotions. The melody itself was an extremely difficult piece as it was altering the mood and making the musicians follow different tonalities. The change of the volume also complicated the piece; however, the orchestra sensed the right amount of strength when there was forte, and was quiet and delicate during piano moments. Melinda Zhu also made a positive impression with her performance on the flute as she felt the rhythm of the work she was performing as well as led the tone making the orchestra follow it.

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In general, the concert was surprisingly good despite the fact that I had some doubts about it before the start. Particularly, when the youth started playing, I sensed some tension, and I also felt that there was too much sound which confused the audience at first. It was mentioned earlier that the orchestra went too forte, and in the very beginning, it created an uneasy atmosphere. However, it was probably the only mistake I noticed during the performance because all other works brought me great pleasure.

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