Before the concert started it was lovely to see the musicians walk in dressed up very smartly all in black, and before they played the first piece the two main musicians came in. One of them played the violin and the other played the viola. The woman playing the viola was in a very beautiful dress and it complemented her very well. The Sinfonia Concertante started off really lively and jolly and continued throughout the first movement. They really exaggerated on the dynamics, especially the crescendos. For about half a minute the two main musicians played a little duet and it sounded really lovely and they really got into the mood of the music. The second movement that they played was really different as it was slightly slower and sounded quite sad. The dynamics that they used to emphasise the piece were lots of pianos and mezzo fortes. The two main musicians were really good at making eye contact with each other and the use of communication whilst playing. I also liked this movement because occasionally there was a little solo with just the violin playing and then just the viola playing. After the solo parts were finished the whole orchestra played. And finally when it came to the end of the piece they played it very beautifully with a perfect cadence.

After the interval Bruckner's Symphony no. 4 started off ever so quiet with just one brass instrument playing, then the rest of the orchestra played gradually section by section. At first it was really slow then it progressively got faster and really loud and before I knew it the brass instruments were blasting out their notes. Then for a while it was just the strings that were playing and then the whole orchestra played along with them again. Furthermore there were times in this section where it got so loud and then suddenly got really quiet. That was one of the things that I loved about it because it was really unexpected as I was getting used to the beat and the mood, and then before you knew it, it was so quiet that you could hear the people next to me breathing. Another thing that I loved about that piece was that there were parts where the woodwind played a tune and then the strings responded. It sounded like there was a contest between the two sections. When the brass instruments played their tune they played ever so loud even though it was just them playing. I suppose because they didn't really play a lot in this piece so when they did they made the most of it by playing as loud as they could. When the strings played in this piece they played some things over and over again. This only happened occasionally. One of the best parts of this piece was that when the strings and the wood wind played slowly together it sounded like a lullaby and it kind of made you drift off a bit but then the brass came in they did their job and woke us up. The movement finished with a quiet and slow ending like the beginning.

The final movement started off with the low woodwind instruments playing really quietly and then soon afterwards the whole of the orchestra played with them. The brass played as loud as possible with the percussion section giving you the beat and it got you either doing the foot tapping or the head bob. What really amazed me was that when the whole string group played the fast bits, all of the bows were going the right way moving up and down at the same time. There weren't much plucking in this piece however. Instead of plucking they played their long notes with vibrato and you could really hear the vibration of the notes which sounded really nice. And when it came near the end, the woodwind and the brass section played really fast arpeggios and chromatic scales, and at the same time all the string section were playing their very deep notes in a steady 4/4 rhythm. The music was telling you that the concert was coming to an end, and when it did the audience was so pleased with the concert that they could not stop applauding for about 3 minutes. The musicians stood up to bow and the look on their faces said it all, they knew themselves that they were incredible.

This was my first orchestral concert and I loved it so much that I would want to go again any time I had the chance. It was a great day and I was so sad that I had to leave the concert but I loved every second of it. When I left I thought to myself that someday it could be me playing my cello or flute in an orchestra that big, and people would be looking at me and I would be proud of myself. I would recommend anyone who loves music, plays an instrument, or just wants to do something different, to go to a concert and listen to the music because it can really make you feel happy. And it did for me! I came out of the concert with a great big smile on my face.

By Lorella Falzone, age 15 Lorella attended a concert on 30th October 2008 at the Royal Festival Hall, featuring the Philharmonia Orchestra and conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi, with soloists Benjamin Schmid, violin and Rachel Roberts, viola.

The pieces performed were: Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola in E flat major, K364 and Bruckner's “Romantic” Symphony no. 4 in E flat major.