Introduction to general-public symphonic concerts and matinées for young audiences/families

Are you looking for an innovative concert that is sure to educate and move your audiences as well as raise their awareness while making them discover the symphony orchestra from every angle?

What would you say to a show in which music and theatre mesh perfectly together to highlight all of the orchestra’s musicians and their conductor?

Orchestration+

2 – Flute
2 – Oboe
2 – Clarinet
2 – Bassoon

4 – Horn
2 – Trumpet
2 – Trombone
1 – Bass Trombone
1 – Tuba

1 – Timpani
3 – Percussion

8 – Violon I
6 – Violon II
5 – Viola
4 – Cello
2 – Double bass
Strings: Indication of the minimal number required

1 – Harp *
* Symphonic Vikings

1. Symphonic Buzz - Let There Be Brass!

Brass quintet, actor and symphony orchestra

Buzz Brass joins the Symphony Orchestra to offer the general public a merry eight-tiered program that presents the many sides of brass instruments. An entertaining show that amazes with its great creativity! Indeed, the humorous staging takes you out of the ordinary with various situations that highlight the brass (the quintet’s as well as the orchestra’s) and lead to a grand finale!

TECH
Microphone required (1 wireless microphone) / a minimum space of 8 feet between the orchestra and the edge of the stage

Repertoire & Scenario+

– – – – – Part 1

As an introduction, the conductor has the orchestra perform a work of his choice that particularly highlights his ensemble (without the presence of the Buzz Brass quintet).

– – – – – Part 2

King Elidor
Enrico O. Dastous

To open, Buzz Brass proposes an opera without voices whereby each of the quintet’s musicians impersonates an operatic character. Instead of singing, they play their brass. As to the narrator, he introduces the characters, describes the action and accompanies the quintet’s musicians on the stage. Although the opera is dramatic, it is clearly of the humorous variety!

Musical presentation of each character with exposition of their respective themes (their leitmotivs). While the orchestra plays, Buzz Brass’s musicians enter each in turn, dressed in their costumes.

Elidor: The King
Herman: The King’s younger brother
Angelino: A Noble Knight, loyal to the King
Malvolio: A Dark Knight, cruel and unscrupulous
Adelaide: The Princess, the King’s daughter

The opera then opens in the castle’s gardens…
It is all done in very funny fashion and set to original Canadian music of great beauty!

– – – – – Part 3

Montréal Hora Cero
(Fuga y Misterio, Buenos Aires Hora Cero, Otoño Porteño, Primavera Porteña, La Muerte del Ángel)
Astor Piazzolla
Arr. Javier Sebastián Asencio

Here, Buzz Brass quintet performs famous Latin airs by Astor Piazzolla, brought together in a dynamic arrangement that calls for 2 percussionists from the orchestra: the two leave their section to join the quintet at the front of the stage, the 1st on vibraphone and the 2nd on a drum set consisting of snare drum, hi-hat and suspended cymbals (so no bass drum nor toms).

– – – – – Part 4

A Love’s Reflections
Javier Sebastián Asencio

Buzz Brass next proposes a second original Canadian work, whose sentimental music sets the mood for a humorously romantic number that is intentionally over the top and assumed, all in good-natured tone and taste. Thus—with the participation of a volunteer woman randomly selected from the audience, who gladly accepts to climb onto the stage where she will be respectfully featured—, the quintet’s five musicians each in turn musically “court” her and so try to win her heart.

———- Intermission ————

– – – – – Part 5

As an introduction to the second half of the concert, the conductor has the orchestra perform another work of his choice that spotlights his ensemble (without the presence of the Buzz Brass quintet).

– – – – – Part 6

Classicism
Arr. Enrico O. Dastous

Water Music
Georg-Friedrich Haendel

The Four Seasons: Spring
Antonio Vivaldi

Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Johann-Sebastian Bach

Surprise Symphony and Divertimento
Joseph Haydn

A Little Night Music
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Symphony No. 9
Ludwig van Beethoven

In a comic staging that combines music and theatre, Buzz Brass, its actor and the orchestra take the audience through the aesthetic musical transition from Baroque to Classicism in the space of half a dozen excerpts, each of which is better known than the next!

– – – – – Part 7

The Maestro
Arr. Enrico O. Dastous

Symphony No. 5                                 
Ludwig van Beethoven

Hallelujah
Georg-Friedrich Haendel

The Imperial March, Duel of the Fates and Force Theme (Star Wars)
John Williams

Just a Closer Walk
Traditional American Folk

When The Saints Go Marching In       
Traditional American Folk

While Buzz Brass is still at the front of the stage, the narrator now introduces the public to the conductor’s role. The narrator steps onto the podium to conduct the orchestra—without, however, having the required skills (all of which is played very comically)! Striving to counter the strictly Classical music that the conductor is trying to impose, the musicians resist by means of jazz. Things get out of hand to such chaos that the REAL conductor intervenes! The narrator surrenders! The musicians are immediately reconciled with their true conductor and good-heartedly perform with him the end of the last work that had been interrupted.

– – – – – Part 8

La Péri’s Martian Bolero
Arr. Javier Sebastián Asencio

La Péri – Fanfare
Paul Dukas

Bolero
Maurice Ravel

Mars, the Bringer of War (The Planets)
Gustav Holst

Beyond the soloists and great stars of the Classical music world, it is now the orchestra’s turn to make its name. The rhythmic ostinato that is specific to Ravel’s famous Bolero serves as the main theme in this medley of spectacular pieces that are all perfectly suited to delight the audience. In this arrangement, each member of the brass quintet is in turn assigned the Bolero melody, even the solo. Once done, each member of Buzz joins the orchestra’s brass section. In a joyful and majestic finale of Classical orchestral music, all of the musicians rejoice to be playing a last piece with their real conductor!

– – – – – Encore

Sabre Dance
Aram Khachaturian
Arr. Javier Sebastián Asencio

To the audience’s applause, the musicians of Buzz leave the orchestra’s brass section and come forward to join the conductor downstage and take a bow before they segue into a last, quick orchestral piece to go out with a bang. We bring to your attention that the arrangement draws a very interesting parallel between Khachaturian’s Saber Dance and composer Danny Elfman’s theme to the television series The Simpsons. The perfect encore!

2. The History of Music

Brass quintet, actor and symphony orchestra

Buzz Brass joins the Symphony Orchestra to offer young audiences a fabulous theatrical odyssey that travels through space and time at a thrilling tempo to explore the music of the Western world from pre-historic times to the present day. Bursting with energy, astonishing originality, extraordinary musicianship and a brassy humour all its own, this is one symphonic matinée that is truly music to the ears.

Over the past years, Buzz Brass has presented the original version of The History of Music show more than 600 times, in 3 languages on 3 continents, gaining rave reviews from teachers, students and journalists alike, in addition to winning numerous awards and accolades.

Beyond the laughs and the fun that this captivating symphonic experience generates, this show seeks to educate and move young audiences as well as heighten their awareness by making them discover the symphony orchestra, its conductor, its musicians and especially its brass section.

TECH
Microphone required (1 wireless microphone) / a minimum space of 8 feet between the orchestra and the edge of the stage

Repertoire & Scenario+

—      Prehistory

The Cavemen’s Rap
Johanne Latreille, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

—      Antiquity

Song of the Sicilian Sheperds and Sikkinis Dance
Anonymous, arr. Jason De Carufel and Sylvain Lapointe

Roman Calls
Jason De Carufel and Sylvain Lapointe

20th Century Fox Fanfare
Alfred Newman, arr. Enrico O. Dastous

—      Middle Ages

Venetia, Mundi Splendor / Michael Cui Steno Domus
Motet for the Installation of the Doge Michele Steno, 19 December 1400
Johannes Ciconia

Antiphony to the Holy Virgin
Anonymous Gregorian chant

—      Renaissance

Canzon per sonare no.1 “La spiritata”
Giovanni Gabrieli

Now is the Month of Maying
Thomas Morley, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

The Marie-Golde
Anthony Holborne

—      Baroque

The Four Seasons: Spring
Antonio Vivaldi, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Frederick Mills

—      Classicism

Surprise Symphony and Divertimento
Joseph Haydn, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

A Little Night Music
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

9th Symphony
Ludwig van Beethoven, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

—      Romanticism

Buzz Brass proposes an opera without voices whereby each of the quintet’s musicians impersonates an operatic character. Instead of singing, they play their brass. As to the narrator, he introduces the characters, describes the action and accompanies the quintet’s musicians on the stage. Although the opera is dramatic, it is clearly of the humorous variety!

King Elidor
Enrico O. Dastous

—      20th Century

Until this point in time, the only way to hear music had been to be where it was being played. With the appearance of sound recording, radio, television and cinema, music reaches an even broader audience. From then on, music has accompanied people in their everyday lives, reflecting their moods from dawn until late in the evening…

Bubble Jazz Cocktail
Marie-Josée Poulin

Decadence
Enrico O. Dastous

Hockey Night in Canada
Dolores Claman, arr. Jocelyn Leblanc

James Bond Theme
Monty Norman, arr. Jocelyn Leblanc

Johnny B. Goode
Chuck Berry, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

On Broadway
Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Mike Stoller, Jerry Leiber, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

The Rite of Spring
Igor Stravinsky, arr. Benoît Côté

Singin’ In The Rain
Nacio Herb Brown, arr. Sylvain Lapointe

Super Mario Bros. Theme
Koji Kondo, arr. Jocelyn Leblanc

—      The Maestro

The narrator now introduces the public to the conductor’s role. The narrator steps onto the podium to conduct the orchestra—without, however, having the required skills (all of which is played very comically)! Striving to counter the strictly Classical music that the conductor is trying to impose, the musicians resist by means of jazz. Things get out of hand to such chaos that the REAL conductor intervenes! The narrator surrenders! The musicians are immediately reconciled with their true conductor and good-heartedly perform with him the end of the last work that had been interrupted.

The Maestro
Arr. Enrico O. Dastous

5th Symphony
Ludwig van Beethoven

Hallelujah
Georg-Friedrich Haendel

The Imperial March, Duel of the Fates and Force Theme (Star Wars)
John Williams

Just a Closer Walk                                                        
Traditional American Folk

When The Saints Go Marching In
Traditional American Folk

—      Final

Beyond the soloists and great stars of the Classical music world, it is now the orchestra’s turn to take center stage. In a joyful and majestic finale of Classical orchestral music, all of the musicians rejoice to be playing a last piece with their real conductor!

Sabre Dance
Aram Khachaturian
Arr. Javier Sebastián Asencio

3. Symphonic Vikings

Brass quintet and symphony orchestra

The Scandinavian legend of a dragon slayer, adapted for the stage and set to music, laughter and thrills. Fearless Viking warriors, a magnanimous king, a dragon to slay and an unlikely hero. These are the ingredients of a musitheatrical show where bullying is condemned and self-confidence is celebrated. Action, humour, emotion, twists and turns. When the symphony orchestra finds itself at the very heart of a Viking tale, it’s sure to knock your helmet off!

TECH
Lighting plan provided / Microphones required (4 wireless microphones) / a minimum space of 12 feet between the orchestra and the edge of the stage

REPERTOIRE
Much like a film score, the descriptive and original music has been composed especially for the show.

Les Vikings
Enrico O. Dastous

Scenario+
The action sails between past and present times, myth and reality, music and theater. After a musical introduction, the story takes off with two feisty Viking warriors. In their wake, we meet the diminutive Hott who is the target of their bullying. The fourth man is Björn, a wise protective figure and a fighter of injustice who will be helping Hott to prove his worth and to triumph in front of the magnanimous Viking chief.

Mirroring the legend, a contemporary plot takes place in the very midst of the orchestra, introducing us to four musicians: two percussionists, one of which is a bit of a bookworm, and two rather scornful trumpet players. Travelling back and forth in both realms, the four dual protagonists dazzlingly juggle with their characters through numerous twists and turns.

The five guest performers thus join the orchestra musicians to impersonate the main characters—now Vikings, now orchestral musicians, since the show takes place in two realms: that of the legend and that of reality.

The trumpet players actually sound their instruments, sometimes sitting in the orchestra, sometimes performing on the center stage. In the scenes set in contemporary reality, the actors impersonate percussionists. Their musical contribution is rather modest.

The conductor is required to contribute to the plot by impersonating the legend’s valiant Viking chief. He notably needs to address the audience with a few short lines.

PRESS REVIEW

“Daring production. Very well done. The young and young-at-heart were conquered, so was I!”
Anik Moulin, Estrie Express program, French-language CBC
May 2, 2013

COMMENTS

“Wonderful! The music, the subject matter (bullying, self-confidence, helping one another), the acting, the playing, a stage set out of nothing, a story. I hadn’t seen such a good children’s show in a long time.”
Marie Théorêt, teacher, Jardin des Lacs school
May 2, 2013

“What an amazing show!!!  The students loved it and were at the edge of their seats.  Please pass on how well done the entire production was to all performers and musicians.”
Jane O’Regan, Our Lady of Fatima School
January 19, 2016

LETTERS OF REFERENCE – Excerpts

“This show is a wonderful success and is backed by a solid team of professionals.”
Emmanuelle Pequin
OSQ

“Our family and student audiences loved the original music by Quebec composer Enrico O. Dastous as well as the epic story […] played brilliantly. The Buzz team, the NAC Orchestra and conductor worked together extremely well.”
Geneviève Cimon
NAC

Video gallery
Symphonic Vikings

Orchestre Symphonique de Sherbrooke

French Version

Symphonic Vikings

National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa – NAC)

Bilingual Version (French and English)

Photo gallery - Symphonic Vikings
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