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What is This Thing Called Classical Music? (In Person)

The purpose of this lecture series is to review several styles, genres or formats of classical music

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Erindale United Church 1444 Dundas Crescent Mississauga, ON L5C 1E7 Canada

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About this event

13 October 2022 Symphonies – I Hear a Symphony

The symphony represents the ultimate in classical music because all the familiar instruments of the orchestra are involved. Even watching a symphony can be exciting – almost like a team sports event. Each member of the orchestra has a specific task to do or position to play, and the conductor, or head coach, must make sure it is all done in a coordinated manner. That is called teamwork, in both sports and music. Get ready for the start of this program when the conductor blows the whistle – or rather, raises the baton.

20 October 2022 Piano Concertos – One Plays the Piano with One’s Mind

(Glenn Gould)

A piano concerto is very much like a symphony, but it features a great solo performance by a pianist in coordination with the rest of the orchestra. The piano itself is a wonderful instrument in that it has 10 individual instruments, also known as fingers, to play music in harmony with the rest of the orchestra. It is no surprise, then, that many of the great composers, who were accomplished pianists themselves, chose to highlight their favourite instrument.

27 October 2022 Violinists – Virtuosos or Virtuosi?

Not to be outdone by the piano, the violin is a particularly important instrument in the orchestra. The violin is a difficult instrument to include in solo with the rest of a large orchestra. Many composers created concertos that featured the violin, but not nearly as many as for the piano. As well as concertos, many other pieces feature one violin along with the rest of the orchestra. What is important with the violin is the violinist him/herself. That is often the key to hearing a great violin piece. Virtuoso or virtuosa, pick up your bow and let’s begin.

3 November 2022 Other Concertos – Don’t Forget These Instruments

Although most concertos highlight the violin or piano along with the rest of the orchestra, in many concertos other instruments are featured in solo. In some cases, small combinations of instruments are featured in solo, along with the orchestra. It is a bit unusual to hear these, but they still create wonderful pieces of music. Examples include the trumpet, harp, viola, cello, guitar, saxophone and clarinet. The composers did not want them to feel neglected, so we will pay special attention to them in this lecture.

10 November 2022 Sonatas – Performing Solo

In a sonata, the performer of the instrument plays alone without a full orchestra for accompaniment. In some cases, there is only a piano to accompany the soloist on another instrument, usually a violin or a cello. Although the musicians in the performance number only one or two, the music that was written for these situations is delightful.

17 November 2022 String Ensembles – Yes, Strings Attached

When the string instruments – violin, viola, cello and bass – are grouped together by themselves, they present a sound that in some cases rivals that of a full orchestra. It is no surprise that many composers wrote an abundance of music for these instruments alone. We will hear them as a trio, quartet, quintet, octet and even as a full string orchestra. No matter how many are involved, it is great music to listen to.

24 November 2022 Opera – A Night at the Opera with The Marriage of Figaro

How can you discuss classical music without opera? In this case the featured opera will be The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart. Some people say this opera was an important factor in initiating the French revolution in 1789. There were many reasons for the revolution, and this opera reflects those times and provides insights into some of the factors leading to the overthrow of the French monarchy. But most importantly, it has some great music, both orchestral and vocal, and a crazy comic farce of a story. You will hear the highlights of this opera along with a narrative of the story. Vive la France! Vive Mozart!

1 December 2022 Not Elsewhere Classified – A Musical Potpourri

The previous lectures in this series have covered a wide range of topics and formats in classical music, but still not everything. This lecture will present examples of some well-known and perhaps some not so familiar works that do not quite fit the previous lectures’ categories. Nevertheless, these pieces should be included in any discussion of classical music because there is always something for everyone to enjoy.