Genres Uncovered | Orchestral


The WSO and the students of Nunavut Sivuniksavut present “Artic Symphony” at the Centennial Concert Hall on Dec. 8, 2016—source:

I hope you’ve had the pleasure of a night out at the symphony. The sheer brilliance of a live orchestra heightens the listening experience. To hear many musicians—a grand ensemble of strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion—play such detailed music in unison is quite impressive and very beautiful.

You may say, “Agh, but classical music is not for me.” I respect that, but please do not broadly group orchestral music with classical music… OK, I may or may not have put those words in your mouth, but I did want to casually segue into my next point.

Orchestral music refers only to the instruments the musicians use to play the written piece. Like I said earlier, an orchestra typically consists of strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. So you could write an orchestral rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece, where the genre is orchestral, but the music is the farthest thing from classical.

Check out this great orchestral cover of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”. I love the enthusiasm at 2:33 where the flutist and conductor are completely feeling the solo. Hilarious.

Classical music refers to the style or type of music that is normally played by orchestral instruments (e.g. piano sonatas, string quartets, etc.). Did you know that classical music should technically only refer to the music written in the Classical period, which was between 1750-1830? Those were the years when legends like Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn carved themselves into history with their godly musical brains, golden skills, and ever-flowing quills.

In Winnipeg, we have the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. It performs orchestral shows of any sort, and its events are always a fun time. Sometimes they include an element of pop culture too. Just last month, the WSO performed E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial‘s score while the audience watched the film.

If you’re free this weekend in Winnipeg, head on over to the Centennial Concert Hall and take in the world premiere of “Soundtracks Live” (8:00 p.m. tonight and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday).

The WSO will entertain you with selections from the most recent critically acclaimed original movie scores, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In the meantime, enjoy this Star Wars piece from the Winnipeg Youth Orchestras.



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