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Sound of Music

The Toyota Classics I desperately wanted (and managed) to go to last month was an AMAZING experience for me and the B$50 spent was well worth it!

Getting to the venue was a bit rushed (of all days my Boss decided to have my annual appraisal at 5pm that day!) but a colleague, a friend and I finally reached there about 7.45pm (I think). There were refreshments from 7pm-8pm so we only managed to have a cuppa and some pie before being called into the Hall.

This was my very first Classical Concert so with the exception that it was a “dress-up” kind of event, I didn’t know quite what to expect. We were seated with an 11 o’clock view of the stage where all the seats for the Orchestra was already set up and soon enough, the 40 classical musicians (8 1st violins, 7 2nd violins, 4 Violas, 2 Cellos, 2 Contrabasses, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns, 2 Trumpets, 1 Trombone, 1 Timpani, 1 Percussion) took their respective places. Then was the arrival of Her Royal Highness Paduka Seri Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Anak Sarah. And then, the National Anthem.

Used to hearing the National Anthem played only from a pre-recording, it was kinda like the “default”, so imagine the excitement I got when after a few seconds I realised that the ORCHESTRA was PLAYING the NATIONAL ANTHEM – LIVE!!! I had goosebumps, testimony to how awesome they played! From that point on, I had no doubts that I would enjoy the evening!

There were at least 200 people present to experience the magnificent performance of the Orchestra Citta di Firenze, the first Italian orchestra to participate in Toyota Classics, led by conductor, Lorenzo Castriota Skanderbeg and accompanied by tenor Leonardo Melani.

A complete list of their performance:

1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro Overture “The Marriage of Figaro”

2. Gioacchino Rossini: La gazza ladra Sinfonia “The Thieving Magpie”

3. Francesco Paolo Tosti: “L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra” “The dawn separates the shadows from the light” (with tenor)

4. Gioacchino Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia Sinfonia “Barber of Seville”

5. Antonio Vivaldi: 1st movement of “Spring” from the Four Seasons (violin solo)

6. Traditional Bruneian song: “Ya Hayu Ya Qayyum”

7. Taditional Bruneian song: “Alus Jua Dindang”

8. Giuseppe Verdi: Preludio (Act 1) from La Traviata “The Fallen Woman”

9. Ernesto de Curtis: “Torna a Surriento” (with tenor)

10. Giuseppe Verdi: Giovanna d’Arco Sinfonia

11. Augustin Lara: “Granada” “A Spanish Fantasia” (with tenor)

12. Giacomo Puccini: “La tregenda” from Le villi “The Fairies”

13. Luigi Denza: “Funiculi-Funicula” (with tenor)

Wow…I just realised they performed 13 songs + 2 more for encore + National Anthem twice = 17 songs altogether! YET, it felt short and we still wanted more!!! Amazing…

My favourites were 2, 5 and 13 plus the 2 they performed for encore (really need to find out what they were!). The crowd was leaving wanting more after they ended with “Funiculi-Funicula” and made sure to not stop clapping (as per the “Classical Music 101” rule in the guest guide) until they performed 2 more pieces for their encore…

It was a really enjoyable experience – appealing not only to the ears of course, but also to the eyes!

Just imagine the sight of an Orchestra LIVE – all of these talented individuals performing together as a big team of musicians, the perfect synchronization of talents and instruments to create the beautiful sound of music…absolutely amazing!

I was especially excited with the guy in charge of Percussions, Michele Vannucci, when I noticed that whilst everyone else was in-charge of 1 instrument, he was interchanging between cymbals, several types of drums, xylophone/glockenspiel, something-that-sounded-like-castanets, triangles and even tambourine!!! I didn’t even know tambourines were used in Classical Music!!! I was totally captivated by how he expertly played all these different instruments to create specific sounds (soft, loud, brief, long, etc) and not to mention he has got to be the busiest guy on the stage – moving from one instrument to another! To put it simply, I was just WOW!

In fact, I was so EXCITED by the number of instruments used in an Orchestra so I looked them up 🙂

Orchestra Instruments

Every orchestra is different, but here are some instruments you’re likely to see:

String family

Viola [vee-OH-lah]
Cello (violoncello) [CHEL-low]
Bass (double bass, contra bass) [rhymes
with “face’]

Woodwind family

Flute, Piccolo
Oboe, English horn
Clarinet, Bass clarinet
Bassoon, Contrabassoon

Brass family

Horn (French horn)

Keyboards and Harp

Celesta [cheh-LESS-tah]

Percussion family

Timpani (kettledrums) [TIM-pa-nee]
Snare drum
Bass drum
Vibraphone (vibes)
plus other things to hit, scrape, and shake

Voice Types

Soprano high female voice
Mezzo-soprano medium female voice
Alto (contralto) low female voice
Countertenor very high male voice
Tenor high male voice
Baritone medium male voice
Bass low male voice

Lastly, just a lil history on the Orchestra and the Toyota Classics:

1. The orchestra was established by Italian chamber musicians with the purpose of performing an Italian orchestra repertoire in the canzone style.
2. The Toyota Classics is an annual classical music series organised by the NBT (Brunei) Sdn Bhd and is also a charity event that raises funds for non-profit organisations. Past performers have included the Prague Chamber Orchestra, New York Symphonic Ensemble and the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra.
3. Sales from the concert were fully donated to two charitable organisations -Learning Ladder Society (a friend of mine works there) and Pusat Ehsan Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam – both presented by Her Royal Highness. Each of the organizations received $40,000.

Enjoying yourself AND knowing it’s for a good cause?! How can you one say No to the Toyota Classics? AWESOMENESS!!! 😀

2 thoughts on “Sound of Music

  1. I have yet to attend a concert, let alone a classical! *sigh* There’s the Sunset Symphony at the Tip Of Borneo sometime in July this year, Man-D and the gang went, but I missed it as I was scheduled for Bali at that time too. I’m not sure if it’s a classical though. But Man-D blogged about it I think hehe …
    For a B$50 for a superb music, I wouldn’t mind it a bit too if I ever get the chance 🙂 Music, we can never live without it 🙂 For a good cause too? Well, you said it yourself … it’s AWESOME – definitely *thumbs up*

    1. Yeah ha! Good thing the organisers decided to go through with it (they were considering to cancel it this year due to the economic situation) else I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience it! Won’t mind going again but if I don’t at least I’ve been once – you should give it a try the next chance you have! 🙂
      And I haven’t been to a lot of concerts either. My very first concert was a Christian concert/praise&worship by GMB (Giving My Best) and this time, Classical Concert. 🙂

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