Monday, May 25, 2015

Capriccio Espagnol by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

I am so in love with this piece! We played it for orchestra back in February, and I just about died from how awesome it was. XD
Yeah, I know, hyperbole, but it's really quite an experience to hear music this loud and joyful all around you. That was one of the things that first really 'got' me about orchestra! This cacophony of different sounds all encasing you, it's like you're in the music!*

I. Alborada
Our conductor told us that an Alborada is a joyful song welcoming the rising sun, which is such an appropriate name for this piece of music! Very short, but packed full of such feeling! I love the very beginning. It's very loud, and ringing, and it's cool how everything suddenly calms down (a little bit) for the Clarinet solo.
II. Variazioni
Much calmer and more delicate than the previous movement. This song hearkens (to me) a peaceful beach at sunset, with the waves crashing in the background... sigh. This is also the movement where our conductor told us to 'soar like a seal'. :D I like how this movement starts so quiet and tranquil, but then grows very large encompassing. Sort of like low tide giving way to high tide, and the waves getting bigger and crashing against the rocks... [sigh] Who says that slow movements are boring?
III. Alborada (Reprise)
This is basically the same as the first movement. It follows the same structure, but the key is different (we move from A Major to Bb Major), and the instrumentation is different. The violin gets the solo that originally went to the clarinet, and woodwinds (especially the piccolo!) get the melody at the beginning and middle. I just love how unconditionally joyful the Alborada melody is!
IV. Scena e Canto Gitano (Scene and Gypsy Song)
This movement. Is awesome. Sure, if you're not a soloist then you do nothing but sit there for the first half of the song (but trust me, it's still really cool to sit there and watch the harpist go nuts). This movement starts with about five cadenzas. One is more like a fanfare, and it's played by the trumpets. Absolutely amazing sounding, I love the BIG sound you can get from brass!
 Next is the violin, with an absolutely devilish sounding bit that should be played very forcefully and with great attention to the pauses and moments of silence. Next is the flute (yay!) cadenza, which shows off the player's range very well, and sounds very bright and bubbly. Then the clarinet gets a turn, and it's very up-and-down, also quite bubbly like the flute one. I really like how low notes sound on a clarinet! Finally, we wrap up with the harp cadenza, which is very cool, especially if you're not used to playing with a harpist! So after all the cadenza funtimes, the orchestra begins playing a very Spanish sounding melody, which is repeated many times and only gets more and more intense until it suddenly explodes into...
V. Fandango Asturiano
THE FINALE!! We begin with a bursting fanfare that comes right off of the run from last movement, and then the flutes play a very mischievous little melody (which I wasn't supposed to be playing because I was on Piccolo duty, but I did anyway because the conductor thought Piccolo sounded good there XD). We call this movement the 'Pirate Movement', because the sounds and tunes sound very seafaring and pirate-y to me. This movement ends with an even more loud and joyous reprise of the original Alborada theme, and brings the whole piece full circle with a spectacular ending.

*I'm not high, I just talk like I am

Next Up: In The Steppes of Central Asia by Alexander Borodin

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