AMERICAN CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA

May 04, 2018 at 5:15 am

We take you behind the scenes of the American Classical Orchestra, a New York institution devoted to preserving and performing the traditions of 17th, 18th and 19th century music.

Aired on May 3, 2018. 

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>>> I'M MADDIE ORTON FOR
METROFOCUS.
WELL, CLASSICAL MUSIC
COMPOSITIONS HAVE BEEN PRESERVED
FOR LISTENING PLEASURE, IT'S
RARE TO HEAR THEM PLAYED AS THEY
WOULD HAVE BEEN OVER A CENTURY
AGO.
THAT'S BECAUSE INSTRUMENTS HAVE
EVOLVED QUITE A BIT IN THAT
TIME.
BUT ONE NEW YORK CITY ORCHESTRA
IS PITTING A BIT OF THE PAST IN
THE MUSIC WITH INSTRUMENTS AND
TECHNIQUES OF THE PAST.
CHECK THEM OUT.
§
>> WHEN BRAHMS WROTE THIS IN
1839 HE WROTE IT FOR THE
INSTRUMENTS OF THE TIME, WOODEN
FLUTES, GUT STRING VIOLINS AND
FRENCH HORNS.
AND THE AMERICAN CLASSICAL
ORCHESTRA OUT OF NEW YORK CITY,
THOSE ARE THE INSTRUMENTS ON
WHICH AUDIENCES OF TODAY WILL
HEAR PERFORMED.
MUSICAL DIRECTOR TOM CRAWFORD
FOUNDED THE ORGANIZATION OVER 30
YEARS AGO.
THE GROUP FOCUSES ON MUSIC FROM
THE 1770s TO 1830s.
THE POST-BAROQUE CLASSICAL
PERIOD.
.
THIS IS ONE OF THE MUSICAL
GROUPS THAT PAUL INTO THE
HISTORICALLY INFORMED
PERFORMANCE MOVEMENT.
DEDICATED TO PRESENTING PERIOD
MUSIC AS IT WAS INTENDED TO BE
PLAYED CENTURIES AGO.
>> A WHILE BACK, A GOOD 50 YEARS
OR MORE IN EUROPE, PEOPLE
REALIZED, WAIT A MINUTE, IF THE
FLUTE WAS MADE OF WOOD, IF THE
OBOE HAD FEWER KEYS, IF IT WAS A
DIFFERENT INSTRUMENT WITH THE
SAME NAME, YOU KNOW, BACK WHEN
MOZART WAS WRITING WHAT ARE THE
DIFFERENCES AND HOW WOULD THEY
WORK IF WE PUT THEM TOGETHER.
>> CRAWFORD SAYS WHEN THE
MOVEMENT TOOK OFF CURIOUS
MUSICIANS WHO DO NOT GET THEIR
HANDS ON ORIGINAL MUSICAL
INSTRUMENTS TURNED TO MAKERS TO
CREATED COPIES OF THE
INSTRUMENTS.
THAT MEANT MUSICAL GROUPS LIKE
CRAWFORD'S WERE ABLE TO GET A
TASTE OF AUTHENTIC CLASSICAL
MUSIC.
>> SPEAKING FOR MYSELF AND OTHER
MUSICIANS.
WE WERE ASTONISHED AT THE
TEXTURE.
IT CHANGED PROFOUNDLY.
THIS IS A HUGE THING FOR A
MUSICIAN.
BECAUSE THE NATURAL BLEND OF
PERIOD INSTRUMENTS IS -- FOR ME
AND MANY OTHERS -- THE GREATEST
ASSET OF ALL.
>> THAT BLEND ON CLASSICAL
INSTRUMENTS TO WHICH CRAWFORD
REFERS CAN BE CHALLENGING TO GET
ON MODERN INSTRUMENTS.
WHICH ARE CREATED TO BE LOUDER
AND BRIGHTER SOUNDING.
AS THEY EVOLVED OVER THE LAST
FEW CENTURIES, STRING
INSTRUMENTS WERE REINFORCED
INSIDE TO ALLOW MUSICIANS TO
PLAY LOUDER IN LARGE CONCERT
HALLS.
WOODEN FLUTES GAVE WAY TO METAL
PARTIALLY FOR THE SAME PURPOSE.
WHEN CRAWFORD STARTED HIS
ORCHESTRA MUSICIANS WERE
INCREASING INTERESTED IN THE
PRECURSERS TO THEIR INSTRUMENTS
BY MANY DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO PLAY
THEM.
PRINCIPAL OBOIST MARK SHACKMAN
PICKED UP THE BAROQUE OBOE AFTER
GRADUATES FROM JEWEL YARD.
>> I FELT IT WAS KWOB.
HOW THE HELL WILL WE DO THIS.
>> IT WAS A CHALLENGE.
THE MODERN OBOE HAS ABOUT 20
KEYS.
THE BAROQUE OBOE.
AT THIS REHEARSAL HE IS PLAYING
THE CLASSIC.
.
IT'S MORE EVOLVED THAN THE
BAROQUE BUT STILL DIFFERENT
DIFFERENT THAN THE MODERN
VERSION.
>> IN MOZART'S TIME YOU CAN SEE
A FEW KEYS WERE ADDED.
THE BIGGEST CHANGES WERE
INTERNAL IN THE QUESTION OF THE
BORE.
THIS IS A NARROWER BORE.
THE KEYS WERE ADD AND IT BECOMES
MORE APPROPRIATE FOR MOZART OR
BEETHOVEN WHERE HE LIKES THE
HIGHER REGISTER OF AS OPPOSED TO
THE LOWER REGISTER OF THE OBOE.
>> HE SAYS IT TOOK YEARS TO
MASTER THE CLASSICAL OBOE.
HE DECIDED TO SELL HIS MODERN
OBOE ALTOGETHER.
R.J. KELLY IS SLRLY INCHANTED
WITH HIS 19th CENTURY KOR
DECHARS.
A PRECURSOR TO THE FRENCH HORN
MADE IN PARIS.
HE PREFERS TO PLAY PERIOD PIECES
ON THIS INSTRUMENT BECAUSE HE
FEELS THERE IS KNEWEN LOST ON
THE MODERN ONE.
>> WHEN YOU SEE THE MODERN
FRENCH HORN YOU SEE THE HAND IN
THE BELL.
IT'S A LEGACY TECH KNEE FOR THIS
OLDER INSTRUMENT.
IF I CLOSE MY HAND A BIT ON THIS
INSTRUMENT I GET A SLIGHTLY
DIFFERENT NOTE WITH A SECOND
SOUND.
§
>>> WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT THE
COMPOSER INTENT IS WHEN YOU LOOK
AT THE NOTE AND KNOW IF IT'S
OPENED OR CLOSE, CHANGES THE
COLOR, THE DYNAMIC CONTENT, MAY
ALTER THE ARCSATION.
ALL OF THESE THINGS INFORM YOUR
INTERPRETATION.
AND I LIKE TO THINK THAT IT
GIVES US A BETTER IDEA OF WHAT
THE COMPOSER HAD IN MIND,
WHETHER THAT'S THE DIRECTION YOU
WANT TO GO IN OWNER IS A
SEPARATE ISSUE ALTOGETHER.
>>> ACCORDING TO FOUNDER
CRAWFORD, AN INCREASING NUMBER
OF MUSICIANS AND MUSIC LOVERS
WANT TO GO IN THAT DIRECTION.
HE THINKS THE INTEREST IN PERIOD
MUSIC PLAYED ON PERIOD
INSTRUMENTS COMES FROM A BELIEF
IN THE LITERATURE, THE MUSIC AS
WRITTEN.
AND A REALIZATION THAT THE
EXPERIENCE IS ENGAGING FOR
AUDIENCES AND MUSICIANS ALIKE.
>>> THE DEPTH OF THE PLAYERS AND
THE PERIOD INSTRUMENT MOVEMENT
HAS NOW -- DID IS NOW PERMANENT.
AND IT'S WONDERFUL.
>>> FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE
AMERICAN CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA,
VISIT METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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