Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) has long been catering to the taste of those who love and admire western classical music and musical instruments in Qatar.
During the pandemic, the talented musicians of the orchestra have, however, been rehearsing from home and creating videos for the music lovers to see them on different social media platforms.
The orchestra recently performed English composer Benjamin Britten’s composition ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ for the children who have an interest in orchestral music and its instruments. The composition is an educational piece to teach children about all of the different instruments in the orchestra.
The QPO musicians recorded their version while working from home to share with the community. The composition was performed with the inserted commentary, spoken by conductor Steve Griffiths.
The narration included the melodic journey through the different musical families of the orchestra.
‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’ was written specially to introduce audience to the instruments of the orchestra.
There are four teams of players: the Strings, the Woodwind, the Brass, and the Percussion. Each of these four teams used instruments which have a family likeness. They make roughly the same kind of sound in the same way. The strings are played with a bow or plucked by the fingers. The woodwinds are blown by the breath.
The brass instruments are blown too. The percussions are banged.First, the whole orchestra played a theme by English composer Henry Purcell. Then, each one of the four groups of instruments played the theme. The duration of the video with spoken commentary in English is approximately 19 minutes and it has Arabic subtitles as well.
As far the history of ‘the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’, it is a 1945 musical composition by Benjamin with a subtitle Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell. It was originally commissioned for the British educational documentary film called ‘Instruments of the Orchestra’ released on November 29, 1946, directed by Muir Mathieson and featuring the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Sargent. The work is one of the best-known pieces by the composer.
Talking about the video musical performance by the orchestra, QPO Executive Director Kurt Meister said: “The educational composition is one of the best examples to show the audience and children how the orchestra and different instruments work. It is very interesting as the children can see everything in the video directly, the instruments and the orchestra. They can see musicians in front of them. During the onstage performance, the musicians are far from the audience.”
The orchestra has performed the education composition earlier for children but it was the onstage performance. “The video permeation of different musical instruments will help children know what their favourite instrument is.
“You should listen to different instruments. You need to know if you like the strings for example. Learning or mastering an instrument can take a long time. This video will help children know an instrument and its sounds.”
The orchestra has posted the video performance on its social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, its website and the Qatar Foundation website. “The educational video can be watched at our digital platforms. Hopefully, when the orchestra returns to stage, we will perform the composition on stage and the children will have a better idea of how different instruments work this time after watching the video.”
QPO members have made lots of videos while working from home during lockdown.
“We thought it was a good time for the education piece. The video has been done very professionally. Every musician has to repeat their performance again and again before the final product. They had a lot of practice while staying at home. They are very happy to do something that is shown to the audience,” the orchestra executive
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