Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gauntlet, Zydeco Two-Step, Las Mariposas Exoticas

How about a little online concert?  Let's kick things off with Gauntlet, performed by the McMath 8th Grade Orchestra of Denton, Texas.

This might be one of the best performances of Gauntlet I've ever heard. Here's why:

1. The tempo is perfect.
2. The expression is really great (especially in the "hard part": mm. 56 to 80)
3. Fantastic intonation and rhythmic precision.
4. The articulations are dead-on perfect. Listen to how short those staccato notes are. They're so dry they're practically a fire hazard. You could go out and get a bite to eat between each of those notes.

Up next is the 2012 Middle School Honors Orchestra (there's no indication of what district or city, but I've been able to narrow it to the state of Georgia) performing Zydeco Two-Step (they start playing at 1:00).

Nice job!  It's a little faster than I'm used to hearing it, but it was handled nicely and the increased tempo adds a rollicking feel to the piece.  Also, nice use of dynamics. Everyone looks like they had a good time playing this one.

Finally, here's the Cooper Middle School Orchestra (possibly of McLean, Virginia?) performing Las Mariposas Exoticas.

Delightful!  They did a good job of making it sound delicate and light.  The key to this piece is to make the arco articulations match the sound of the pizzicato and this group did a great job, especially at the ends of phrases.

Well done, all!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Lemon Twist Tutorials

I was on YouTube recently and came across these great play-along tutorial videos for Lemon Twist. There's not a lot of info about who this wonderful teacher is, but she's providing these videos for her students in the Middletown Middle School Orchestra.

Violin I

Violin II



Sorry, Bass players, looks like you're on your own because there's no Bass video in this series.  But anyway, great job to this wonderful orchestra teacher for her dedication to her students.  I hope the orchestra, their parents, and your administrators appreciate all your efforts!