The new year school year is back into full swing, with this week being the first full week of classes. Needless to say, yours portly is tired, but very much enjoying the academic year so far.
I’m teaching Pre-AP Music Appreciation again this year, so I’m excited to dive back into some of the works we discussed last year—and some new ones! Of course, we’ve kicked the year off with a listening to “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra,” a favorite for introducing orchestral instruments.
My Pre-AP Music class this year is quite small—just five students—which makes for a more relaxed classroom environment. We’re able to explore tangents as they arise (and, based on my frequent use of em dashes and parentheses, you can imagine I go off on them frequently), and generally take the time to enjoy the music, which the students seem to be doing.
I don’t have much more to add that I didn’t write a year ago. Britten ingeniously weaves a whopping thirteen variations on a Henry Purcell theme, featuring nearly every instrument in the orchestra—including the percussion section!—in solo or soli. Even the neglected double basses get some love with a melody of their own.
With that, here is 31 August 2020’s “Benjamin Britten’s ‘The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra’“: