Early this morning we saw the Army bringing six cannons to the beach in front of our home, placed in front of our local park – a fairly new addition to the neighborhood designed by the famous Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer. Since there was a concert scheduled for this evening, I assumed these artillery pieces were going to be used in a performance of the 1812 Overture – and I was not disappointed.
The Recife Symphony performed several pieces outdoors tonight, providing examples of how orchestras have changed from the 16oo’s to today. Through compositions by Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky, the audience got to see how music moved from just strings to the addition of horns and other instruments over the centuries. Of course, as anticipated, the finale was a performance of the 1812 Overture, complete with real artillery pieces providing the sounds at just the right times!
This amazing concert and lecture also illustrated an important point about authenticity. The sound of real cannons being fired made the music even more compelling, bringing the entire audience to their feet. I was pleased to see plenty of young people in the audience, and to see that they were as engaged with the music as the adults. Great music speaks to all ages. Tonight’s performance was a pure delight.