Primary Concert Notes March 8th 2017

The Colours of Music

“Listen with your ears; listen with your eyes.”

Here are a few suggestions about how you might listen to the music on the CD, while you are painting or drawing. Remember that listening to music is a very personal experience, – everybody is unique; there is no right or wrong. It may even sound different every time you hear it. Music can make you feel happy or sad; energetic or calm. There are so many different moods in music. For some people these moods can be ‘heard’ as colours.

Draw or paint as you listen. It can be anything – a pattern, or a scene, even a line.

What colours do you hear in the music?

Listen again and tell us which colours you think represent which part of the music.

Draw or paint a picture using just one colour that seems to fit the mood or feeling of the music. Is it lively? Sad? Hot? Cold? Soothing? Energetic?

Brush Strokes

Using a paint brush or crayon, listen to the music with your eyes closed. In one part of the page draw use brush strokes to draw what you hear – it could be thick/thin straight lines, swirls, gentle curves, sharp/zigzags.

Listen again to a contrasting piece, and represent this in another part of the page.

Discuss the results.

What differences/similarities are there in the brush strokes produced?

What was it in the music that made you respond in the way you did?

Could you guess which brush strokes in someone else’s picture go with which piece of music?

Follow the Melody

Listen carefully to the tune in the piece of music – to the ‘melody’. Use your pencil or crayon to follow the melody, as it goes up or down, around or wherever it goes, fast or slow. Listen once without drawing and then draw as the music is playing. When you get to know the melody better, draw it again. Or draw it from memory.

Then, fill in other parts of the page with colours that represent the mood in the other parts of the music – the rhythm or the accompaniment.

I can sing a rainbow

Red and yellow and pink and green

Orange and purple and blue

I can sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow too.

Listen with your eyes

Listen with your eyes

And sing everything you see

You can sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow

Sing along with me.

The sun is yellow, the grass is green

Look how the sky is blue!

We can sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow

Surely you can too.

Listen with your eyes

Listen with your eyes

And sing everything you see

You can sing a rainbow

Sing a rainbow

Sing along with me.

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow

Way up high

And the dreams that you dreamed of

Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow

Blue birds fly

And the dreams that you dreamed of

Dreams really do come true ooh oh


Someday I’ll wish upon a star

Wake up where the clouds are far behind me

Where trouble melts like lemon drops

High above the chimney top

That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly

And the dream that you dare to,

Oh why, oh why can’t I?

Purple People Eater

Well. I saw the thing a comin’ out of the sky,

It had one long horn and one big eye, –

I commenced a-shakin’ and I said “Ooh –wee,

It looks like a purple people eater to me.”


It was a one-eyed one-horned,

Flyin’ purple people eater,

One eyed, one horned, flyin’ purple people eater,

One eyed, one horned, flyin’ purple people eater,

Sure looked strange to me.


Well, he came down to earth and he lit in a tree,

I said, “Mister Purple People Eater, don’t eat me.”

I heard him say in a voice so gruff, –

“I wouldn’t eat you ‘cause you’re so tough.”

Repeat Chorus

I said, “Mister Purple people Eater, what’s your line? ”

He said, “Eatin’ purple people, and it sure is fine,

But that’s not the reason that I came to land,

I wanna get a job in a rock and roll band.”


Well bless my soul, Rock’n’Roll, flyin’ purple people eater,

Pigeon-toed, under-growed, flyin’ purple people eater,

He wears short shorts, friendly little people eater,

What a sight to see.


And then he swung from the tree and he lit on the ground

He started to rock, really rockin’ around

It was a crazy ditty with a swingin’ tune

(Sing a boop boop aboopa lopa lum bam boom)


And then he went on his way, and then what do ya know

I saw him last night on a TV show

He was blowing it out, a really knockin’ em dead

Playin’ rock and roll music through the horn in his head.

PROGRAMME will include :

Berlioz – Hungarian March

Shostakovich – Waltz from Jazz Suite No. 2

Anderson – Forgotten Dreams

Morricone – Gabriel’s Oboe

Gerhswin – Rhapsody in Blue Themes

Mussorgsky – Promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition

Bach – Air in D

Procol Harum – Whiter Shade of Pale

I can sing a rainbow –-       Somewhere over the Rainbow

Bizet   – Toreador Song (Theme)   –

O’Riada –       Mise Eire (Theme)

Wilson –   76 Trombones (Theme)

Beatles Medley

Salute to the Big Bands

Purple People Eater

Plus Performances by Keith Hanley & D J Dashka

Composers Fact File

Hector Berlioz

Born  1803             La Côte-Saint-André, France

Died    1869   Paris, France

One of the most influential composers and conductors of the 19th century. Orchestras were increasing in size at this time, but some of his music was written for bigger forces than had ever been used in an orchestra before. He influenced many composers of the Romantic Era, e.g. Richard Wagner; Franz Listz; Gustav Mahler; and Rimsky-Korsakoff. Composers of the Romanitc Era often liked to have a narrative in their work – that the music would tell a story or depict a scene. Berlioz was very interested in literature, and especially the works of Shakespeare.

He wrote the Hungarian March for a tour of Hungary in 1846, and used a melody that had been written in honour of a Hungarian military leader, Ferenc Rakoczi. He later re-used the march in his opera, The Damnation of Faust, based on Goethe’s play, Faust. As the Goethe’s Faust did not have anything to do with Hungary, Berlioz had to change the plot slightly to make the march fit the play.

Recommended listening

Symphony ‘Fantastique’ (1830)

On the concert

Hungarian March

On the internet

Hungarian March – YouTube Orchestra (2009)

Hungarian March – with image of Hector Berlioz

Symphony Fantastique

Dmitri Shostakovich

Born : 1906 St. Petersburg

Died   : 1975 Moscow

Shostakovich is considered to be one of the most important composers of the 20th century. His life was particularly difficult under the Stalinist regime, when composers were meant to write only music that was approved by the rulers. He often found himself in conflict with the authorities, but produced an output of great masterpieces, including 15 symphonies and 15 string quartets.

His Symphony No. 7 ‘Leningrad’ was written while Russia resisted the Nazi invasion, and the city endured a horrendous 900-day siege. The music, which, was smuggled out of Russia on microfilm and performed in the West, became a symbol of heroic resistance.

Past of his film music output has a Cork connection. ‘The Gadfly’, a 1940s film for which Shostakovich wrote the music was an adaption of a book by Ethel Voynich, who was the daughter of mathematics Prof. George Boole, who taught in University College Cork, and for whom the Boole Library there is named.

The Suite for Variety Orchestra (or Theatre Orchestra) was re-discovered in the late 1990s, and became known as The Jazz Suite No. 2. However, it does not really use jazz idioms, but is written in the popular light orchestra style of the 1930s.

Recommended listening

The Romance from the Gadfly.

Piano Concerto No.2 in F 2nd movement – Andante

Symphony No. 7

String Quartet No. 8.

On the concert

Waltz from The Jazz Suite No. 2

On the internet

Waltz from the Jazz Suite No.2 (originally for a Theatre Orchestra)

Waltz from the Jazz Suite No.2   (with images)

Waltz from the Jazz Suite No.2   with large orchestra

String Quartet No. 8 – programme notes/4th movement

String Quartet No. 8. –complete Kronos Quartet

Symphony No. 7 –‘Leningrad’

BBC Documentary ‘Leningrad and the Orchestra that defied Hitler’

Romance from The Gadfly

Modest Mussorgsky

Born : 1839 Karevo, Russia

Died   : 1881 St. Petersburg

Now considered as one of the most important Russian composers of the Romantic period, Mussorgsky was mainly self-taught when he began composing as a teenager. He was sent to the military, but later decided he wanted a career as a musician. He was a member of The Five, an influential group of composers, who were part of the Russian nationalist movement. They felt that Russian music should express the Russian soul. His opera Boris Godunov achieved fame and popularity during his lifetime. Unfortunately, he died as a result of his alcohol addiction at the age of only 42. Another famous Russian composer, Rimsky-Korsakoff (also a member of The Five) revised and published many of his works.

Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures’ at an Exhibition’ dates from 1874. It was originally written for piano. Maurice Ravel made a very successful transcription of it for orchestra in 1922, bringing brilliant colour to the work. The composer’s friend, artist and architect Victor Hartmann, died aged 39. His paintings may have been forgotten, if not for Mussorgsky music, which was written to coincide with an exhibition of Hartmann’s work. Each movement features a different painting, and the piece is linked by a Promenade, which also opens the work. It depicts the composer ‘roving through the exhibition, now leisurely, now briskly, in order to come closer to a picture that had attracted his attention, and at times, sadly, thinking of his friend.’

Recommended listening

Night on a Bare Mountain

Pictures at an Exhibition

On the concert

Promenade (1) from Pictures at an Exhibition.

On the internet

Night on a Bare Mountain – New York Philharmonic Orchestra

Night on a Bare Mountain – Fantasia 1941

Pictures at an Exhibition (with paintings)

Pictures at an Exhibition (original piano version)

Leroy Anderson

Born 1908 Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Died   1975 Connecticut, U.S.A.

Anderson was one of the foremost American composers of light, popular music of the 20th century. Many of his pieces were popularised by the Boston Pops Orchestra, with which he had a close association.

He was also a brilliant linguist and served as a translator in the army during World War Two.

Film composer, John Williams, said of his workThough we have performed his works countless times over the years at the Boston Pops, his music remains forever young and fresh as the very first day on which it was composed.”

Recommended listening

The Syncopated Clock

The Typewriter

Sleigh Ride

The Waltzing Cat

On the concert

Forgotten Dreams

On the internet

Forgotten Dreams (piano solo – with image of the composer)

For this viewer, the music conjures up images of English country gardens.

Original version 1954/1957

The Syncopated Clock

Sleigh Ride

The Waltzing Cat

The Typewriter

Ennio Morricone

Born 1928 Rome


He graduated as a trumpet-player in 1946, and was awarded a diploma in composition in 1954. It was his film scores for Sergio Leone’s Western movies that brought him international fame – A Fistful of Dollars (1964); For a Few Dollars More (1965); The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966); Once Upon a Time in The West (1968) and A Fistful of Dynamite (1971). Among his other famous

film scores are Cinema Paradiso (1988); Malena; The Untouchables; and The Mission (1986). In 2015, he collaborated for the first time with director, Quentin Tarantino, on The Hateful Eight.

Recommended listening

Cinema Paradiso

The Mission –soundtrack

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

On the concert

Gabriel’s Oboe from the Mission

On the internet

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Cinema Paradiso

Gabriel’s Oboe – The Mission (clip from the film)

Gabriel’s Oboe (in concert performance)

George Gershwin

Born 1898   Brooklyn, NYC

Died   1937   Los Angeles

George Gershwin had a hugely successful partnership with his brother, Ira, who wrote the lyrics for their many Broadway hit tunes. Also a composer of classical music, Gershwin famously wrote an opera for an all-black cast, Porgy and Bess (which includes the classic song ‘Summertime’), as well as the ever-popular Rhapsody in Blue for piano and orchestra.

Recommended listening

Rhapsody in Blue

Highlights from Porgy and Bess

On the concert

Rhapsody in Blue (excerpt)

On the internet

Rhapsody in Blue (soloist Lang Lang)

Summertime (Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong)

George Gershwin plays I Got Rhythm

Johann Sebastian Bach

Born   1685   Eisenach, Germany

Died   1750   Leipzig, Germany

Bach is undoubtedly one of the most important composers in the history of classical music. A leading figure in the Baroque period, he was also famous as an organist. See

Recommended listening

The Brandenburg Concertos

Toccata and Fugue in D minor

On the concert

Air from the Suite in D for String Orchestra

On the internet

Air from the Suite in D – with graphic score and sheet music score

Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Brandenburg Concertos No.1 -6

 Louis Prima

Born 1910 New Orleans

Died   1978 New Orleans

Best known for his role as the orang-utan King Louie in the animated film of The Jungle Book, singing ‘I wanna be like you’, Louis Prima had a successful career in many different combinations since the 1930s. He started out in a New Orleans jazz band in the 20s; a swing band in the 30s; he was a big-band favourite in the 30s & 40s; and went on to Las Vegas cabaret and pop music in the 50s and 60s.

 On the concert

Sing, Sing, Sing – as part of Salute to the Big Bands

On the internet

I’m just a gigolo/I ain’t got nobody – with Keely Smith – 1959

Louis Prima with his Swing Band – 1938

Louis Prima with Big Band – Sing, Sing, Sing – 1936

Benny Goodman Big Band – Sing, Sing, Sing with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire

I can sing a rainbow

Somewhere Over the Rainbow