On Sunday I went to the Southbank to hear the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. They were playing Aaron Copland – Appalachian Spring Suite, George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue and Modest Mussorsky – Pictures at an Exhibition.
The first thing I thought when I walked into the auditorium was “wow this is big”. I was glad it didn’t take long to find the seats and I had a good view from where I was. I could see the whole stage.
As the orchestra came in I found myself feeling as excited as everyone around me. Everything went quiet as the orchestra came in, a sort of loud hush.
I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t think I would enjoy it so much. But I did: Everyone was brilliant.
I didn’t know how much classical music I knew. I noticed at one point the music from the Galaxy adverts. I heard lots of “Tom and Jerry” type music. It was interesting to see how an orchestra plays that type of music; I’ll never watch cartoons without seeing an orchestra in the background.
For the second piece they wheeled in two grand pianos for the soloists, the Labeque Sisters, rearranging the whole orchestra around them. The piece started with a fantastic solo saxophone sweeping the stage. Then the pianists started to play. One of them was really enjoying themselves - they almost fell off the stool at one point! I could tell the people around me were enjoying the performance as their breathing sped up with the music.
The conductor, Leonard Slatkin, also did a bit on the piano as apparently he had never played the piano in London. I enjoyed that part a lot. I felt sorry for the conductor; his arms must really hurt after waving them about so much. I’d never realised that he had to make funny faces and jump about so much!
I didn’t need to use the program as I could tell at all times where we were in the pieces. During Pictures at an Exhibition I could tell what picture we were at despite the fact my Dad had no clue. At times I could almost see the music in the air. I thought the third piece was very emotional. It was also shorter than I thought it would be.
I’m glad no one asked me what my favourite bit was as I’m really not sure. I really enjoyed it all. I felt sorry it was over. I’ve never been to one of these concerts before this, but despite how I felt before I went but I will definitely go to another one. While I’m not saying it’s for everyone I would say to anyone to try it as I think that everyone would enjoy a concert like this.
Josh Newstead, age 13
Josh attended a concert on 24th May at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London