Sunday, July 17, 2011

First concert

We took the boys to a concert last night: the five Brown siblings, all pianists, playing an outdoor concert that included Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals". This is one of the boys' favorite pieces of music. We have a cd and book that walks you through each part, and it has been an oft-requested piece during quiet time.

Tickets on the lawn at the top of the amphitheater were quite reasonable, and it really was a perfect introduction to live music for the kids. They could wiggle as much as they needed to on our picnic blanket, and I was pleased with how well they paid attention. Their favorite was definitely the Carnival, which brought home (to me) just how helpful it is to pre-expose kids to a piece of music before hearing it in concert. They were so pleased to recognize it! Jonathan could identify some of the movements by himself, and asked for help with the others. He wanted to know how certain sounds were made (Sarah, can you tell us how the jackass' signature sound is created on the violin?) and informed Gabe that the sounds of the "fossils" were meant to be "bones rattling, Daddy!"

Jonathan also really enjoyed watching the musicians. He was especially impressed with one of the girls, whom he pronounced "pretty" and "really good at the piano". He says he wants to learn to play like she does. Well then! Piano lessons, here we come. :)

We almost didn't bring Josiah, since he developed a fever a few hours before we left. But he did not want to be left behind, and to be honest, Gabe and I were really disappointed not to be able to go as a family. So at the last minute we decided to all go and hope for the best. Josiah spent the whole time in our arms, but it turns out that he had a great time. When the music ended, Gabe asked him, "what did you think, Josiah?"
"It was awesome!"
"So you liked it?"
"Yes I do!"

Thomas, as usual, didn't have much to say. But since he usually cares quite a lot about what music gets played at bedtime, I'm betting that he enjoyed himself.

I know that the kids will be tired and difficult today, but this was absolutely worth it. Live music, some of which they were familiar with, in a setting they could manage, played by engaging young people: it all added up to a pretty stellar first concert experience.


sarah marie said...

The "Personages With Long Ears" movement is fun... I'm glad the boys like it. The sound is created by doing a glissando (a slide with the finger on the string, in this case from a low note to a high one) up to a high harmonic, which produces the kind of whistle-y high note. I bet you could find a youtube video of the movement being played, and then the boys could watch violinists doing what I'm describing. :)

sarah marie said...

here's one:

sarah marie said...

one more comment :) ... does the CD have the Ogden Nash poetry? I think the rhymes are SO funny... I'm not sure how accessible they are to young ones, but don't forget to tell them that Dad loves Ogden Nash (right?)!

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

Thanks, Sarah! Our cd doesn't have Ogden Nash poetry on it. I'm not familiar with the name...what family joke am I forgetting?

Aicats said...

The 5 Browns came to Fresno last year, and I got to see them in concert. :) Very, very amazing.


sarah marie said...

I believe your Ogden the stuffed bear was named for Ogden Nash... Dad just enjoyed his poetry, much of which is quite funny (and therefore right up Dad's alley), as I recall. Maybe Mom will chime in and let me know if I'm remembering correctly!

The Carnival of the Animals poetry is so funny. Some of it might be a bit advanced for kids but I think they would get a lot of it! It's not often performed with the Nash these days because I think people underestimate kids. (Also, some of it is definitely dated, with references to the Andrews Sisters, etc.)

A few examples of why the poetry is so brilliant:

"The lion is the king of beasts,
And husband of the lioness.
Gazelles and things on which he feasts
Address him as your highoness.
There are those that admire that roar of his,
In the African jungles and velds,
But, I think that wherever the lion is,
I’d rather be somewhere else."

"Elephants are useful friends,
Equipped with handles at both ends,
They have a wrinkled moth proof hide,
Their teeth are upside down, outside,
If you think the elephant preposterous,
You’ve probably never seen a rhinosterous. "

"The kangaroo can jump incredible,
He has to jump because he is edible,
I could not eat a kangaroo,
But many fine Australians do,"

I think your boys would like the poem with "Fossils," too.

I've been looking around at recordings with the Nash poetry and came across some: (Narrated with a British accent) (Nice British accent, again)

and: (some of these narrations are on top of the music, but all the readers are great! You can buy the recording on iTunes ... if you do, I'll give you $10 and consider it a gift to my nephews!

PS I should add that sometimes 'performance practice' is to do the gliss I mentioned to the high harmonic, but sometimes not... your recording may not have it that way!

sarah marie said...

PS Consider my research of various old 'Carnival' recordings proof that I love my nephews, and please tell them so. :)

Mom says you're visiting N. Cal again soon... I'm feeling inspired to research flight prices. Perhaps an Aunt Sarah Dramatic Reading of the Carnival poetry is in order?!

Mom said...

Yes, Ogden the teddy bear was named after Ogden Nash. Dad gave me a card with an Ogden Nash poem on it when he gave me the bear (that you later confiscated!). Thus, his name. We used to have a book of his poetry. I wonder if we still have it...

Sarah, just in case I get a vote, I would vote in favor of that visit and the Aunt Sarah Dramatic Reading you proposed!