A staircase towering over three levels. A sea of faces with varying emotions. Some brimming with excitement, some faintly fascinated, some puzzled. Some totally indifferent. All transfixed on the flurry of action at the bottom of the towering staircase. Perhaps a slight twitch in reaction to a sudden change in sonority, or, a murmur that crosses the audience due to a unique instrument choice.
“Resonates With” was a classical music performance consisting of quartets/quintets featuring students from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music from 7-8th April at the National Gallery of Singapore, Padang Atrium. Instead of seating on cushioned chairs like those in large concert halls, the audience sat on the steps of a towering staircase, admiring the intricate architecture of the former Supreme Court and City Hall building, while bathing in the presence of quality classical music.
The performances which lasted for 30 minute sessions were enjoyable, both for die-hard classical music fans and rookies to classical music. For the classically-trained individual, the sheer expertise in technique was enough to amaze, while for the beginner, the exposure to the wide spectrum of musical instruments made an excellent first foray into classical music.
Not being a brass player, I surprised myself upon reflection that my favourite performance of the afternoon went to Brass quintet “Brassisimo”. Hailing from different parts of the world, the quintet consisting of ID-ANAN NETTHAI, trumpet, PHAM THAN BINH, trumpet, KATHERINE YANG, french horn, DANILO IGNACIO CONTRERAS OSORIO, trombone, PAWIN PUNGBUA, bass trombone, worked as a cohesive whole to pull off pieces ranging from classical repertoire such as Mini Overture by Lutoslawski to Star Wars by John Williams. The players communicated by glancing at one another knowingly, breathing in sync and listening to each other’s playing to ensure that one did not overpower the instrument who had the main melodic line. There was also a range of instrumental techniques used, such as the mutes on the Trumpets and French Horns, Trombone glissandos and even a surprise percussion instrument towards the end! Ending with a standing ovation, the Quintet pulled off a remarkable performance that was pleasing to the ears and soul.
If you are a newbie to classical music, attending these sort of informal events by semi-professional musicians are a good way to dip your toes into the wonders of classical music. First of all, they are free-of-charge. Second, they are usually located at fairly accessible venues. Thirdly, the musicians are actually representative of the standard one can find in full-fledged orchestral concerts. So the next time you hear about a free classical music performance, go for it!
Overall, the entire experience would attain a 4/5 rating.
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