From the Top’s broadcast for this week was taped at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston on October 4, 2009. We asked our performers to tell us about the music they performed on the show:
Adria Ye, 11, piano (right)
Restlessness, Op. 19, No. 5; The Spinning Song, Op. 67, No. 4 from Songs Without Words by Felix Mendelssohn
The theme of Restlessness always reminds me of the Harry Potter theme song. This piece is agitated, restless, and there’s always a wistful longing sound in the melody. The Spinning Song is really cheerful, and it’s really fun to play. I had never played any Mendelssohn pieces before this…. But after working with them for a while, I started to realize that sometimes it’s harder to play pieces that are not as technically difficult, because you can’t hide under a lot of pedal and big fast loud notes.
Sean Plumb, 17, baritone
I. Vagabond and IX. I Have Trod the Upward and the Downward Slope from Songs of Travel by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Whenever I sing this piece, I see the lyrics fold out into a movie. When I perform, I like to believe that I take the audience through a story…of a man at the beginning of a long journey.
Ted Babcock, 17, timpani
VIII. March from Eight Pieces for Four Timpani by Elliott Carter
March is a piece that I’m always coming back to. Of all the pieces I’ve played for timpani, this one has the most choreography. There are so many stick flips, drum mutings, and metric modulations…. You really have to be aware of every moment.
James Kim, 16, cello
Fantasy on Little Russian Songs, Op. 43 by David Popper
This piece is divided into many parts, which includes an introduction, theme, variations, and an enjoyable G major dance section. The “Russian” character can be described as “something in life that is reached for but not fully grasped,” my teacher once [said] when describing Tchaikovsky. The theme is melancholy yet full of hope.