On Thursday the 26th of January, the Year 11 GCSE music class were kindly invited by the Ulster Orchestra, to come and see their concert again after coming last year for a ‘taster’ of what GCSE music will include.  The concert was held in the Ulster Hall in Belfast City Centre and the theme of the day was time travel. Therefore throughout the concert, we were taken on a musical journey through each time period including pieces from each period.

In total, the concert consisted of eleven pieces with a few added extras. Conducted by Alasdair Malloy, the Ulster orchestra continuously grew each time the musical piece changed.  Also, the orchestra was colour coded according to each section. The strings were all in pink, brass in green, woodwind in orange and the percussion were in blue or black.

The first piece was played solo, then gradually more musicians were added until a full Twentieth Century orchestra was playing. Purcell’s Rondeau from Abdelazar was a Baroque piece and was quite short, played by the strings section. Next was Handel’s La Rejouissance from Royal Fireworks Music and consisted of a few extra strings coming in. The piece was composed in 1749 and  is a Baroque piece. Following that, was Mozart, Finale from Symphony No.35 Haffner. This piece is in D major and includes more instruments such as  some woodwind instruments and strings building up to a typical Classical Orchestra. This piece was much longer than the first two. Beethoven came next with, First Movement, Symphony No. 5. This piece is in C minor and  is one of the most popular and best known pieces in classical music.

Next was Brahms First Movement from Symphony No.2. This piece is from the Romantic Era and has even more instruments now added to it. Stravinsky, Kashchei from the Firebird followed which is a piece taken from the famous ballet, the Firebird. Yet again, more instruments are added particularly more brass and percussion are included.

Britten, Theme from the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and ‘Storm’ from Four Sea Interludes came next.  The Theme for the Young Person's guide is one of the best known piece by Benjamin Britten. However Storm from Four Sea Interlude is more tense and is in rondo structure. Towards the end, Arvo Part, Cantus in memory of Benjamin Britten came next, which was a piece written in honour of the composer, Benjamin Britten. This piece begins with silence and ends with silence. It is a short canon in A minor for a string orchestra and bells. It was written in mourning of Benjamin Britten.

Jellicle Ball, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber from the musical Cats. This was the penultimate piece played and describes an active love of nightlife. To finish the concert was Zimmer, Pirates of the Caribbean. By this stage, the orchestra is full and was used in the popular film, Pirates of the Caribbean!

We had a great day hearing the Ulster Orchestra and look forward to studying some more pieces soon.