The Orchestra Through the Ages: Bridgewater Hall Concert Trip

The Orchestra Through the Ages: Bridgewater Hall Concert Trip

On Friday 28 September, 33 GCSE and A level music students, including Ethan and myself, got the opportunity to attend a concert performed by the Halle orchestra and guests at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

The aim of the concert was to hear a live performance of a range of pieces that we study and analyse during the GCSE and A level music course.

We left school led by Miss Downing, Miss Britton and Mrs Dickson to catch the metro in to Manchester.

After a long queue at the ticket machine we all managed to board the tram and were looking forward to the afternoon's entertainment.

Once we had arrived in Manchester we were surprised to learn that lunch at McDonalds was part of the plan and we joined a number of other schools in the queue who had also had the same idea.

Once inside the Bridgewater Hall, we realised how impressive the venue was and were interested to find out that it had been specifically built to provide the best possible acoustics when listening to live music.

We decided to test this out ourselves with a few rounds of impromptu applause as the sound man, caretaker and stage hand/chair mover appeared on stage.

The concert opened with a Renaissance work by Susato which featured the brass section stood around the auditorium, accompanied by a field drum; an impressive opening to the concert that set us off along a musical timeline detailing the development of the orchestra.

The concert continued with Bach's Brandenburg concerto featuring the harpsichord and then moved on to Haydn, Mendlessohn, Berlioz, and Stravinsky where the orchestra grew in size and more unusual instruments were added. We all particularly enjoyed the March to the Scaffold by Berlioz after the compere told us it was inspired by his obsession for his ex-wife, actress Harriet Smithson.

Berlioz had become her stalker after their separation and ended up murdering her leading to his execution at the scaffold. Apparently it was all an opium induced dream.

The concert ended with a rousing rendition of music from Pirates of the Caribbean by Klaus Badelt.

It was interesting to be told that many of the best known film themes borrow significant ideas from music written by the great classical composers of the past including parts of John Williams' iconic score for Star Wars and Hans Zimmer's Gladiator.

We would like to thank Miss Downing, Miss Britton and Mrs Dickson for organising the day and were pleased to see the Bridgewater Hall sold out with an audience of students all studying and sharing in our passion for music.

Presented in assembly by Jay Broadhurst and Ethan Daniel.