From the Top’s broadcast this week was taped at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, California on January 27, 2010. We asked our performers to tell us about the music they played on the show:
Jonathan Miron, 17, violin
“The Foundation of Arethusa” from Myths, Three Poems for Violin & Piano by Karol Szymanowski
“When I think about this piece, what stands out to me is the utmost variety in color and character. The music allows the performer to demonstrate his virtuosity in creating different sounds and moods that envelop the audience and leave them in a unique state of mind.”
Kara Sainz, 17, soprano
“Voie Che Sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
“Voi che sapete was the first aria I learned, so it’s a unique and special piece of music to me. The aria is sung by Cherubino, a page boy, who is experiencing overwhelming feelings of ‘love’ for every woman he sees.
When I sing this aria I feel that the most important thing to get across is the emotion within each melodic phrase. Since Cherubino experiences so many rapid mood changes, each line must be expressed differently. One challenging aspect of the piece is maintaining the mindset of an adolescent male character. This is difficult for me because I essentially have to suppress my feminine mannerisms. Ultimately, what makes this piece special to me personally is that I have learned so much about characterization and acting by singing it.”
Kevin McAtee, 17, flute
I. Allegro maestoso from Concerto No. 1 in G major, K. 313 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
“I like this piece because it’s so open-ended. Every flutist plays it differently. My interpretation is a collage of different ideas from my teachers and my peers, as well as my own ideas. I love this piece because it is like a window into each flutist’s soul.
The piece is unique because of how deceptively simple it is. It is very difficult to turn something like the allegro maestoso into an interesting piece of art while keeping it light and simple in the true Mozart style.”
Verano Porteño (Summer) from The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla, arr. José Bragato
Umi Garrett, 9, piano
“Gnomenreigen” (Dance of the Gnomes) by Franz Liszt
“The story I made up about this piece begins with gnomes dancing peacefully at a party. Soon, an evil witch finds out about the party and she is very angry that there are gnomes in the forest. This bad witch thinks she is the only person who is allowed to live in the forest, so she plans to kill the gnomes. When the witch arrives at their village, the gnomes are very scared. Suddenly, the good witch magically appears in the forest and protects the gnomes. The good witch sends the bad one out of the forest forever. The gnomes start celebrating the day by going on a rocket and flying to space. They look at many, many bright shining stars in the universe.
I had a funny experience with this piece when I was in Vianden, Luxembourg. I was playing so energetically on stage that suddenly I pushed my chair backward. When it slid back I couldn’t stay on the chair any more, so I continued performing standing up. The next time I performed there, they taped the chair down to the floor so it wouldn’t slide!”
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