Summer Camp Week Two: Wednesday

Today I am planning to show the children this YouTube clip of the first movement of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. I don’t know if they will have the concentration to listen to or watch much of it but I chose this particular clip for two reasons:

1. It’s a stunning piece and a great introduction to the gorgeous tone of the cello.

2. It is conducted here by Estonian Anu Tali – a female!

I may well return to the subject of the sad lack of high profile female conductors in a future post but, for now, my aim is just to allow my children to watch a female conductor in action and hope they see it as something both normal and inspiring (and not too boring!). I’m very interested to see whether they already (at ages 3, 4 and 6) have an opinion as to whether conducting is a ‘male or female’ kind of job… but I’m not sure I intend to lead the conversation in that direction.

Summer Camp Week One: Stampede Saturday

In honour of Calgary Stampede here’s a quick suggestion for your listening pleasure.

This is the Hoe-Down, the final ‘episode’ from Aaron Copland’s ballet score, Rodeo. It’s definitely one of those pieces of music you know, even if you didn’t think you knew the title or composer.

The version embedded above has visuals of the instruments used throughout which is a great way to help with recognition of the sounds the various instruments can make.

It is played here by the New York Philharmonic and, I believe, conducted by Leonard Bernstein – it certainly rattles along at the same pace as the Bernstein recording. When I first heard it at this speed I thought it sounded too frantic and chaotic, but now I’ve heard it this fast all other versions seem too staid. I wonder what the dancers would make of this tempo, though!