Callum’s first “review”

I’m really excited, and nervous at the same time, that I get to write about going to see the Canton Symphony Orchestra.  It’s one of my favorite things to do, but I’m not really sure how to start writing about it, so I’m just going to write down what I think, and I hope that somebody might enjoy reading it.

One of the reasons I like to go see the Canton Symphony is because Gerhardt Zimmermann is the conductor. I like him for many reasons. The main reason is because he is a great conductor. I know he is a great conductor because he makes sure the orchestra sounds amazing like they do every time.  Another reason is he is fun to watch, and he also has a great sense of humor. I know he has a great sense of humor because he sometimes will talk to the audience about the piece that they are going to play, and a lot of times what he says is really funny.

Sometimes my dad and I go to rehearsals. When I go to the first rehearsal or one of the really early rehearsals, they don’t sound the best they can sound. But as the rehearsals go on, Mr. Zimmermann makes them sound the best any orchestra can possibly sound. It’s funny that in rehearsals, when he gets angry, he does not yell or anything, he just holds his hand up and pauses without saying a word. I love how he remembers where and what the orchestra needs to work on. When they first start a piece, he makes them play through the whole piece so he can find where they made mistakes or what they need to change. And when they’re done with the piece, he tells them to go back and they fix whatever needs fixed. It’s amazing how he remembers where those places are.

I went to the last rehearsal before the first concert of this season with my dad, and I was very fortunate to meet the composer of the piece called “Remembrances.” The composer’s name is Margaret Brouwer, she was very nice, and she signed my program.  Her piece is sad, exciting and pretty. There’s a lot of switching from major to minor. A part of it reminds me of the beginning of Close Encounters. It was cool. In some parts of the piece it can be pretty dissonant and it sometimes changes beats. It can be very scary, but there are other parts that are beautiful. It sometimes changes from sad and slow to exciting, fast and loud. When I first heard her piece in the rehearsal, I really loved it a lot, but after meeting her, I loved it even more.

Then that night I went to see the concert with my dad. One thing I really like about going to orchestra concerts is hearing them warm up and tune up.  Especially when they tune up, because it sounds really cool, and you know the concert is going to start any second.

What happened next didn’t surprise me as much as it would if my dad didn’t tell me it would happen, but instead of them playing the first piece on the program (Ms. Brouwer’s), Mr. Zimmermann pointed at the back of the stage, and one of the drummers started to play the snare drum, and then the orchestra (even the violins) stood up and started to play the Star Spangled Banner, and then the whole audience stood up and started to sing it.  It was really cool.  The audience sounded really good, just like a choir. My dad told me that they always start the first concert of the season that way.

But they still didn’t start the first piece. Instead, Mr. Zimmermann turned around and started talking to the audience, and then asked Ms. Brouwer to come up on stage and talk about her music. That was really nice. And then the orchestra finally played her piece, and it sounded even better than in rehearsal.

After that, the next piece was the Liszt piano concerto (#1), and they had to move the piano to the stage and they had to move the chairs.  The piano was a Steinway & Sons and it was long, shiny and had a great sound. It was so shiny I could see the reflection of all the strings inside the lid. The piece was very loud and exciting. The pianist’s hands were moving super fast.  Her name was Martina Filjak. Three things I enjoyed during this piece were when the piano played with the orchestra, when the piano played back and forth with the clarinet, and all the instrument solos. The piano sped up and slowed down while it also got softer and louder. Everything got loud and exciting and then it slowed down and got softer and could make someone fall asleep. It ends really loud and exciting and it switches from major to minor to major.

There was a piano encore and she played Schumann. It was awesome because her hands were moving so fast that they were blurry. I didn’t catch the name of the piece, but she did say it was Schumann. It was pretty short, but it was amazing. It was beautiful and exciting at the same time.

And then there was the intermission. Intermission is basically a break in the middle of a concert (sort of like halftime at a football game), when you can get up and walk around, talk to people, or use the restroom.

After intermission, Mr. Zimmermann talked to the audience again, and made a really funny joke about Liszt.  They started to play Festklänge, and it starts out with drums. In some parts of the piece it can be emotional, exciting and sometimes sort of harsh. I noticed they were adding instruments and taking out instruments. I also noticed how they gradually go up the scale. There are specific parts of the piece that are very powerful and very grand. It changes mood a lot because it goes from serious to soft to sad to pretty.

The Firebird starts soft and scary with the basses. When the flute comes in, it sounds like a bird. Some parts near the beginning are peaceful, soft, sad and emotional. It gets really loud very suddenly and before that my dad grinned and told me not to jump. I didn’t, but everybody else did. It was sort of funny.  I even heard some people gasp. It is loud and then soft and then do not jump again because it gets loud and exciting. It gets a little creepy and scary again, but then it turns major for the big ending. I was sad that the piece and the concert were over, and I always felt like I wanted to press the pause button.

I can’t wait until the next concert, and my dad and I are going to start listening to the music they’re going to play on that one. So I think we’re going to write another blog post sometime about that music.  Thanks for reading!


This was a review of the CSO’s October 9, 2011 concert

Share this post:

3 Responses to “Callum’s first “review””

  • Kristen:

    Great job, Callum! I wish I lived closer so I could see the CSO. Thanks for sharing your live of the orchestra with everyone!

  • Catherine Hechmer:

    I used to go to the symphony with my dad too Callum– thanks for reminding me of those wonderful memories. You sound like you have a LOT more musical knowledge than I did at your age though. Very impressive review!

  • Bill:

    Great job, Callum. I felt like I was right there with you enjoying the whole concert.
    Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply