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Omar Alnatour

Concert Review of the Moores School Ballet Orchestra
On Friday, April 11, 2014 I had the pleasure of having the opportunity
to attend the Moores School Ballet Orchestra with the Houston Ballet II from
the Houston Ballet Academy. As soon as I walked inside the Moores Opera
House, I immediately feel in love with it. This was my first time ever seeing
an opera house in person and it was just like what I had seen in movie and
more. The venue was so elegant and beautiful and the seats were
surprisingly amazingly comfy. Smiles and excitement filled the room as
people anxiously waited for the performances to begin. The lights slowly
dimmed, the room grew quiet, and the music began to play.
The first piece I heard was Serenade for Strings by Peter Ilych
Tchaikovsky and I was able to recognize the sound of many violins and violas,
clarinets, oboes, a timpani, flutes, a harp, some percussion instruments, and
a few trombones. Regarding the dynamics of this piece, I would say it was
mezzo forte overall with the presence of
piannissimo during transitions. The timbre of the piece was very light,
mellow, and warm. It was clear and really went well with the smooth melody.
The tempo for the piece was perfect as it followed the movements of the
ballet dancers very well and would slow down or speed up based upon their
movements. The rhythm of the piece was organized into duple meter beat
groupings and I personally found it very relaxing. There were also a good
amount of crescendos and decrescendos to help the ballet dancers transition
from one ballet dance piece to another and it blended in extremely well.
Regarding the harmony, I found it to be in major based upon the examples
we heard in class and was later able to confirm with the conductor after the
ballet was over. The harmony was so well rounded by the string , woodwind,
and brass instruments and it really supported the melody to give a
conforming pitch. The melody of this piece generally had a high pitch and
followed a step direction, which really blended well with the movements of
the ballet dancers on stage. In addition, the long durations really helped
make this piece memorable. After the concert was over, I later realized that I
had heard this piece on NPR radio before and that explained why I found it so
familiar. The form was also very clear and I felt that it contained a
call/response based upon the movements occurring on stage and the
variations of instruments played.
The second piece I heard was music by the composer Johann Strauss II.
Some of the instruments I was able to recognize were string instruments
such as violins, violas, a harp, and a contrabassi. I was also able to hear
some horns, clarinets, flutes, oboes, percussion such as timpani, and a
trumpet. The timbre of the music played for this piece was a little more

heavy than the previous but still exhibited characteristics of being clear,
warm, mellow, and resonant. The dynamics for this piece was mezzo piano
overall but did have certain parts that were forte and pianissimo and this
worked really well with the movements of the ballet dancers, especially when
they would transition from one movement to another. One interesting thing
to point out is that at there were a lot of times were locomotor and nonlocomotor movements were occurring at the same time meaning some ballet
dancers would be moving in place as the others danced across the stage.
This went really well with the distinct contour of the melody, which was very
smooth, and moved in a step-wise manner with the dancers. I did not find
the melody familiar but it was very memorable and gave the concert a sense
of piece. Regarding the rhythm of the piece, it had a waltz-like style and I felt
a triple meter. The instrumentalists did an extremely good in playing in
rhythm and perfectly matched the movements of the ballet dancers on
stage. Regarding the harmony, I felt that there was a round meaning the
string instruments and the woodwind instruments would enter at different
times. The piece appeared to be in minor and it added a dimension to the
concert which blended really well with pitches being added to the melody. I
found the form of this piece hard to identify because it was a long
composition. I tried using the timbre and melody to identify an ABA form.
Overall, I really enjoyed this ballet orchestra and although it lasted a
total of 2 hours and 15 minutes I felt as if I was only there for a minute or
two. I had an exam shortly before this concert and have many yet to come so
this concert really helped give me a sense or relaxation and take me away
from the stresses that I have been worrying about. Never in my life have I
had the opportunity to go to a ballet orchestra or attend a concert in an
opera house and I can truly say that this was a memorable experience.
During the first piece, there was a part where just the string instruments
were playing and I found this to be extremely beautiful. I have always
enjoyed the sound of the harp and the cello so I found this piece to be my
favorite part of the entire concert. I was not very familiar with the
contrabassi and the violincelli so I was not able to identify them until I later
spoke to the conductor after the ballet was over. The only negative regarding
this concert is that my seat was in the far back left, however the structure of
the venue allowed for the sound of the instruments played to resonate and
fill the entire room with music that would make this a night to remember.