Musicians of Orchestra Collective (OC) will be presenting a programme of music from very different periods across time, with very distinct styles from each of its composers in their chamber concert on Sunday, April 1st.
Planned in such a way that the pieces converse through references to another composer’s style, the concert is like a dialogue that develops very slowly in its independent parts; and that audiences can make sense of if they pay close attention.
“The nature of chamber concerts, and chamber music, is essentially intimate. We want to be able to show how our musicians have dialogues with each other through their playing, and also for the audience to come closer to us to witness that intimacy between our musicians,” said Jeremy Lee, OC’s general manager, who will also be conducting one of the pieces for the concert.
Featured in the program are the two works of Giovanni Gabrieli, namely ‘Canzon duodecimi toni’ for ten-part brass choir and ‘Sibata pian’e forte’ for eight-part brass choir. Jonathan Dove‘s ‘Figures in the Garden’, serenade for wind octet will also make an appearance, alongside ‘Serenade No. 10, K361’ or commonly known as Gran Partita by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The main highlight of the concert perhaps would be Singaporean Composer Chen Zhangyi‘s work, titled ‘Homages for double quintet’, which was premiered locally by the Singapore Youth Chamber Winds on movements 3, 4 and 5 in 2016.
“Zhangyi’s work for brass quintet and woodwind quintet side-by-side is a sonic experience that makes references to some of his favourite composers. When Zhangyi very kindly let us read the work earlier this year, we discovered that it had not been performed in its entirety yet. We thought that this piece fit very well with the other pieces, and that it would be lovely to have the composer interpret his own work together with our musicians.”
Considering that membership in school bands is on a downward trend, now might be a good time to look at exploring chamber music.
Though not new, the genre has however, always focused more on string and keyboard instruments and voice. The usual chamber setting for wind instruments is either woodwind quintet or brass quintet, but OC has intended for this concert to move away from hearing either one of these two quintets in isolation, and to offer instrument combinations that would be slightly more unusual.
“A well-written or properly arranged chamber piece can bring satisfaction and new challenges to every player, even the one playing the bass line. Playing music in a smaller setting also forces you to listen more closely and to play everything really properly because there is no one else to hide behind. Many serious educators, music development programme coordinators, and professional musicians cannot emphasise enough the importance of chamber music in developing essential musicianship,” Jeremy explained.
“Chamber music takes the focus away from quantity and puts a huge spotlight on quality. The simple answer to your question of whether smaller ensembles is the way to go for the future is a ‘yes’, but it is also my belief that it should have always been the case. For any band to have a future, chamber playing must be a skill that its musicians possess.”
Orchestra Collective: Dialogues
1 April, Sunday
Esplanade Recital Studio, 7.30pm
Tickets: $15 (Standard), $10 (Concession)
A contributing editor at TBP.