A piano song by Mozart “The Marriage of Figaro”, my discovery at the PESSBAND Orchestra Concert

After four years of lessons, all the piano songs in my repertoire were provided by my piano teacher. She has great taste so I have not complained. But I have always wanted to discover a beautiful piano piece on my own.

I bought collections of music sheets by famous composers like Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin. But I do not have the gift of hearing the music just by looking at the notes, and trying to play them was just beyond me.

Buying complete sets of recorded performance on CD would help although it would put a hole in my pockets and I’d have to listen through hours of play before I find something I like.

How do you discover a beautiful piano song when pressed for time and short of cash?

Concerts.

The Penang State Symphonic Band performed to a packed auditorium of more than a thousand classical music lovers last weekend. It was a concert to celebrate the band’s 10th year anniversary.

I found my treasure that night – The Marriage of Figaro.

As the bows lightly touched the strings of the violins, followed by the soft low pitch of the cello, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s beautiful creation began to show itself to me.

Its lush melodies poured forth from the stage down to where I was sitting, the splendid flourishes in strings and brass attacked my senses.

I was reminded of the sweeping grace and seductive structure of classical music. Only four years ago such beauty was unknown to me, deciding to take piano lessons is one of the luckiest calls I have ever made.

Mozart composed the song for a stage play that was later adapted as an opera by Lorenzo Da Ponte. The effort became a very profitable venture for him.

He was paid the equivalent of 3 times his yearly income for this single composition. Figaro would be one of Mozart’s most popular opera second only to ‘The Magic Flute’.

A day before the grand concert, four members of the band performed a preview show for fans at a hotel lounge downtown. As hypnotizing as the music was, I could not name most of them even though they were all familiar, except for two pop songs - ‘You raised me up’ popularised by Josh Groban and ‘Yesterday’ by the Beetles.

I was filled with pride when I heard them play ‘Yesterday’ because it is a piano song that I can play. As ridiculous as it may sound it made me feel like I was their equal.

Penang State Symphonic Band or PESSBAND for short was formed ten years ago after the state government felt a need to have music as one of the cultural showpiece event promoting the state to the outside world.

Since then they have successfully staged an orchestral concert every year. The musicians involved are all volunteers.

Considering the amount of logistical planning and practice required to get over a hundred different musical instrument players to produce such harmonious rhythm and melody is a feat worth congratulating

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