Looking to add an air of sophistication to your event, party or wedding day? How about going for the sounds of a classical musician or ensemble? Nothing creates a mood of refinement and elegance quite like a solo harpist, string quartet, classical acoustic guitar, singer or other classical musician from DG Music.
Even though you don’t know it, a lot of this music is familiar to you and your guests because it’s in our musical DNA. What about that tinny rendition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons while you hang on for "One of our Customer Service Representatives"; or the Last Night of the Proms playing in a lift; or that famous Nokia ring tone which is actually from a solo guitar piece written in 1902 by Spanish classical guitarist Francisco Tárrega. This is music you know and love and would be a special addition to your event.
Hearing Classical Music in the lift or on the phone, however, is nothing like being there while one of our top-class musicians play this great music live – just for you. The breadth, depth and quality of the sound will take your breath away and make you glad that you’ve chosen to listen to the real thing and not some dodgy recording.
What is Classical Music?
Sometimes called Western Art Music, the classical repertoire has grown over the past 400 years to become a major force not only in the world's great opera houses and concert halls, but also in all genres of Pop and Rock music. Remember Procol Harlem's Whiter Shade of Pale? It's Johann Sebastian Bach! The soundtrack to A Clockwork Orange? It's Beethoven! And what about that fabulous Baroque-style trumpet solo in the Beatle's Penny Lane? Or the string section in The Verve's Bittersweet Symphony which is based on an orchestral arrangement of The Stones The Last Time by their record producer Andrew Loog Oldham. And even the Hip-Hop and Rap fraternity have got the classical bug. Rapper Nas’ track I Can samples Beethoven’s piano piece Für Elise; Ludacris’ Coming 2 America samples the Mozart Requiem; and the Beastie Boys’ Intergalactic takes a cue from the cutting edge ballet music for The Rite Of Spring by Stravinsky.
Here at DG music, however, our Classical Musicians prefer to stay with the traditional approach rather than Hip-Hop or Rap, the and can bring you the true sound of Classical Music from a full range of periods.
Take the popular Baroque era when Italian composers such as the Vivaldi or Correlli and the Germany giants of the style, Johann Sebastian Bach and Joseph Handel dominated. These composers created a range of musical formats, now well known, but at the time truly innovative. Oratorios, Cantatas, Sonatas, Concertos, Suites, Preludes & Fugues and Opera were all developed during this period. You’ll already know quite a lot of this music, and it will bring a familiar luxurious feel to your event. Examples include Air on the G String by J. S. Bach (which became Whiter Shade of Pale); the Canon in D by Pachelbel, used in many film scores; Ave Maria by Bach/Gounod and of course Vivaldi’s ubiquitous violin piece The Four Seasons.
Although the Baroque period is very popular, the Classical era which followed it has some of the greatest composers the world has ever known and whose music is still played today.
Lasting about 50 years from around 1775 to approximately 1825, composers of the Classical period lasted include Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and other less well-known figures such as C. P. E. Bach (second son of JS Bach) and Luigi Boccherini. Beethoven is a composer who is often regarded as a transition between the Classical and Romantic periods because it can be said that he ended the classical period because of the range and complexity of his music.
Music from the Classical Period is recognisable because it often has a clear tune, standing alone without weaving together with other tunes as we find in the Baroque period. The Music also tends to have a lighter texture and greater dynamic range: that is moving from loud to quiet periods as the music moves along. Instrumental music also becomes more important during this era, and the harpsichord disappears in favour of the piano, a more flexible instrument, and new instruments appear such as the clarinet, an extended woodwind section, and more fully-developed brass instruments such as the valved Trumpet and French horn. These new instruments and sounds gave composers a larger orchestra to work with and because it was important to balance these new instruments, the string section also had to increase in size. Compared to a modern Orchestra, a Classical Era orchestra would still seem small. But compared to the Baroque ensemble, it was much larger and louder.
Well-known music from this period includes Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusic (A Little Night Music); Haydn’s many symphonies -a new musical form; Boccherini’s famous Minuet from his string quartet; and a great number of pieces for smaller groups of musicians very suitable for intimate, parties, events and dinners; and often requested by our clients.
Ludwig van Beethoven was the composer who changed everything. The first performances of his music often caused mayhem in the concert hall and it was strongly condemned in the popular press of the time. But Beethoven brought in a whole new world of music now known as the Romantic style in which composers turned to expressing intense feelings through their music.
Starting in the early to mid-nineteenth century, the Romantic style brought in new genres such as the storytelling Program Symphony, pioneered by Beethoven and developed by Frenchman Hector Berlioz, and the Symphonic Poem was developed by Franz Liszt along with the Concert Overture championed by composers such as Felix Mendelssohn, who wrote the evocative Fingal’s Cave to describe his trip to the famous Scottish tourist site. Short, expressive piano pieces also appeared at this time for performance in the homes of the European great and good written. This Chamber Music became very popular, and composers such as Robert Schumann – famous for his songs – and the keyboard genius Frédéric Chopin, came to prominence.
Italian opera also blossomed, thanks to the genius of Giuseppe Verdi, and this was accompanied by the development of a truly epic German music drama style coming from the pen of Richard Wagner. B these composers took their inspiration from the visual arts, poetry, classical drama & literature, and nature itself.
Which brings us to more recent times and the emotional and expressive 20th century music of musicians such as Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Jean Sibelius, who pushed the bounds of the Symphony. Alongside these composers, the Impressionist movement also gained strength, starting in France and led by the genius of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. These composers looked to the work of Impressionist painters such as Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Van Gogh for inspiration in their attempt to capture nature and human feeling. Much of this wonderful music is now very familiar to us, is highly popular and contains musical expression that we all now know and love.
Turning from the repertoire to the practicality of employing a classical musician or ensemble, DG music has the expertise to help you choose which type of music will suit your event best and how to go about ensuring the best performance. For example, it may suit your event to have some lighter material mixed in with the standard classical repertoire. In this case, our musicians can incorporate compositions into their program from this lighter repertoire, by playing pieces from musicals, film and pop genres. Just ask and we can help you.
Another thing to bear in mind is that Classical groups usually play acoustically, so, as a rule, there is no requirement for an electricity supply. Consequently, they can perform more or less anywhere: outside, in a garden or in other unusual venues. (However please bear in mind that direct sunlight can have an adverse effect on the delicate instruments.) And it’s also worth remembering when employing a solo or group of classical musicians, that they provide great flexibility if you have concerns about the level of noise. If your are worried about your event disturbing those nearby, the lighter sound made by these groups are perfect under these circumstances. Even when, quieter instruments, such as the classical guitar, use light amplification to lift their sound level so that they can be heard quietly above the ambient noise of guests at events such as a drink reception or dinner, the noise is not intrusive.
Another positive aspect is the ability of classical music musicians to personalise their performance specially for your event. Most artists are more than happy to take song/repertoire requests for wedding ceremonies so that they can fit your personal requirements. And although they may charge a little extra for learning new pieces, the special feeling which comes from knowing that this music has been learned especially for you, can heighten your enjoyment of hearing it played. And of course there’s nothing quite like the wonderful surprise and delight in the face of a loved one when you give them the gift of a favourite tune or piece of music learned and played especially for them.
As to the financial side of employing a classical musician, most players charge by the hour, covering the time they have to be present at your event. The DG music website is helpful here because we display the per hour prices. All you have to do is select from the dropdown menu in the Instant Quote box and you can see the cost. The booking time starts from the time you require the musicians to arrive and set up, and ends at the end of your prescribed number of hours.
We have great range of classical musicians to choose from, working all over the UK in a wide variety of settings. Our musicians are flexible, top-class and offer everything from solo artists to groups of a size suitable to a wide variety of spaces and budgets. All you have to do is choose what you’d like to hear, and they will play specially for you.Back to top...
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