You're the CRITIC - Developing your critical listening ear!!

March 30, 2017


This post was written ahead of a Sym-Phonic Waves Orchestra rehearsal.


Well as we approach our second rehearsal weekend, you have hopefully been making friends with your metronome! But why?? What difference does it really make? Will our audience really appreciate all the work we have put in to play really, really well together, with refined articulation and exciting phrasing so that we bring the music to vivid life???


This week, you can be the CRITIC as we compare two excellent performances of the Capriol Suite from youtube - thanks to those of you who have been sending in suggestions for performances.


Performance 1: Norwegian Chamber Orchestra


Performance 2: MYCO Youth Chamber Orchestra


So here are a few questions to get you started - you can write down your answers, or just remember them - always have an opinion though!!

  1. What do you notice about the ensembles - (hints:where's the conductor, how are they seated)?

  2. Listen to the first 30 seconds of the start of the first movement played by both ensembles.

  3. Which performance is more engaging or exciting on first impressions? Why?

  4. Which performance tempo is faster - 1 or 2? Which tempo do you prefer? How does the tempo match up to the tempo marked in your part? Are either of the groups rushing, or are they really into a groove with the tempo - maintaining that poise that we discussed in our first rehearsal? (NB Watch out for those third beats in the celli and basses in the first movement!

  5. How synchronised and together is each group? Listen to the starts of each note? What would you rate each group out of 10 for their ensemble synchronisation? If you can't hear the difference, listen again a few times.

  6. What about the details? How synchronised is each group - are they playing with uniform articulation? Are they all in the same part of the bow?

  7. How about the dynamics - is there a big difference between p and f (the dynamic range)? How about all the graduations in between? Which group has more detail in their playing? 

  8. How are the groups shaping the phrasing? Listen to both versions of the second movement. Which group is really singing the line (like we did in our first rehearsal!!)? What decisions on phrase lengths have they made?

  9. Look at how each ensemble communicates with each other. How are they moving? Who is in charge? Watch how they interact, and breath together....

  10. Watch the whole performance from each group. Which performance is better? This is a subjective opinion - but try to base it on your answers to the questions above!

Here are a couple of performances of the Holberg Suite, if you have some more time!!


Grieg Holberg Suite: Camerata Nordica


 Holberg Suite: Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra 

 Thanks to Lauren Mangan for sending this one in!


See you all on Sunday!!








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