AMERICAN CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA

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 and September 5, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> 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.

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