A Conversation for Introduction to Orchestral Music

Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Post 1


Hi, great entry, just simple enough to be readable, just comprehensive enough to convey the scope of the subject. I already enjoy listening to orchestral music (and Satie!), so most of what you say is familiar, but I have never seen it better presented to someone who has no prior knowledge.

I don't want to improve on the entry, but I would certainly recommend Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra to anyone who wants to find out what an orchestra is all about. This terrific piece of music takes a well-known tune (oh yes, everyone has heard this one!) and puts it through the musical wringer, or rather takes us on a musical journey through the various sections of the orchestra using many of the vast array of tricks and effects that are available to a composer.

The result is a highly enjoyable piece of music, and a great way to discover what an orchestra is capable of. Having seen Britten in the second and third parts of your 'suggested listening' section, I though this very different piece might be suitable for the first stage listener. As to whether you put this under 'Baroque' or 'Modern', well...

Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Post 2

Steve K.

That does sound interesting, reminds me of Mozart's Variations on "Ah, vous dirais-je, maman" (the melody is known to most as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"). Sort of a tour de force of compositional technique, even as a piano solo.

It also reminds me of Leonard Bernstein's "Young People's Concert's", 53 broadcasts with the NY Philharmonic in the 50's. I think there is a video collection of some of these available, I also have a book with fifteen of the best scripts. Bernstein was sort of lovably pompous, but he did a great job of explaining music.

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Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

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