Classical Music (Orchestra)
The New Century Chamber Orchestra held a concert under the direction of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, their musical director on Thursday, March 1 2012. The New Century Chamber Orchestra had their concert at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley. The New Century Chamber Orchestra is a string orchestra specializing in classical music. The ensemble does not have a conductor, and it features nineteen members. The orchestra does not only feature classical music, but it also includes music from other genres such as rock and jazz, thus adding to its versatility. The orchestra has collaborated with other artists, and it has released several albums.
The concert featured the soloists and mandolin players Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall. Marshall performed his Mandolin Concerto No. 1, which he had composed, while Lichtenberg performed Vivaldi’s mandolin concerto in C major. Lichtenberg led the solos with Vivaldi’s piece with the assistant of Susan Babini, the principal cellist, and Anthony Manzo on the bass. The rest of the ensemble played the strings with exemplary skill. Marshall then followed with his strong and vigorous yet tender performance. His piece moved the audience, as it was set in three movements, involving the ensemble. Marshall and Lichtenberg then performed a duo encore, Nao Me Toques, a Brazilian piece. This gave the audience a different sound and feel of the mandolin because of its jazzy sound. The orchestra featured works such as Emergence by Evan Price Four Traditional Pieces by Gordon Getty and John Adams Shaker Loops.
Getty’s music is tonal and more past the romantic age. The orchestra performed his piece splendidly. This piece is especially lively, and the orchestra could not have picked a better piece to begin with. It combined spirited and energetic dance tunes and folk melodies, reminding the audience of years gone by, and filling them with nostalgia. This piece gave a picture of what was to follow. Sonnenberg did the solo violin part of the song, and she did not disappoint, for she gave performance that seemed to fill the entire room with warmth. The orchestra’s performance of Shaker Loops was a vibrant and gripping performance that took thirty minutes. It was well tuned with a firm rhythm. The orchestra played the Emergence in three continuous movements, which included Awakening, Flash Mob, and Nightlife. The first movements were slow and descending sounds of the violins. The ensemble then joined in the interlude, which was more chorale-like, only to fuse the music in the final piece.
The concert’s venue was at First Congregational Church in Berkeley, a church renowned in the area for its musical concerts. The venue is suitable for chamber and classical music, as well as other performances. During the concert, it was clear that the church provided the ideal venue for the concert. It had enough space for the orchestra and the audience. The venue is used as a religious setting, and its arrangement enables the audience to see the performance well. The rooms are built and arranged in such a way that they accommodate the sound. This makes the sound clear, and the audience is able to hear and enjoy the music.
The concert was well attended, and the audience was lively. There was a large audience of different ages. This is probably because of the versatility of the band. Although the orchestra specializes in classical music, it plays different genres of music, making it appealing to people from different ages. The orchestra has different ranges of artists, and it has collaborated with many different artists. This makes it possible for different people to enjoy the music. The audience enjoyed the music because the ensemble and the soloists gave their best performance. The performances were lively, and this made the audience more attentive. During the performance, there was not a moment when the audience was dull and non-responsive.
The New Century Chamber Orchestra gave a thrilling and enjoyable performance. This particular concert was one of the performances they had dedicated to the local artists in the Bay area. The inclusion of the two mandolin artists, and the ensembles decision to play music from local composers gave them a chance to appreciate local talent. The orchestra proved that they were worthy of the reputation they receive, and of the title of one of the best stringed orchestras around. All the performances were lively and spirited. It did not take an expert of classical or chamber music to enjoy the performances, because even people not fond of classical music enjoyed the performances.