Pop goes the orchestra
Coryse Borg talks to some artistes participating in this year's National Orchestra Goes Pop
Singers who will have the privilege of performing with the National Orchestra this year include Eleonor Cassar, Nadine Axisa, Lello, Galea, Patrick Wirth, Krista Paris and the band Chasing Pandora.
Popular singer Nadine Axisa thinks the concerts present a very interesting concept.
"I appreciate the National Orchestra interpreting songs which are not usually their style or repertoire. For a concert like this, a singer has to be prepared more than ever. Musicians follow their music scores, thus it is very important to keep the required song structure for the finished product to sound harmonious and complete. Opportunities to sing with a large orchestra don't come every day, so I'm sure it'll be a great experience!" she smiles.
Chasing Pandora fronts-woman Melissa Portelli says that since the National Orchestra is normally associated with classical music, performing pop songs may be considered demeaning and offensive to some people. On the other hand, she says, rock musicians performing with an orchestra may be considered to be selling out to commercialism by others.
"However, we believe that all music is fundamentally folk music and should defy categorisation. These concerts offer an opportunity for people to experience a style of music they are not necessarily familiar with and might find interesting and rewarding. We hope that people will want to come to hear some of their favourite compositions played by an orchestra as well as seeing local artistes performing in a totally different light," she explains.
For Melissa, the main challenge of singing with a large orchestra has been to retain the soul and integrity of their music, which normally requires a certain amount of improvisation and spontaneity:
"This is obviously inhibited when performing with the disciplines of an orchestra and a written score. That is the challenge and excitement of this collaboration, which in some ways requires compromises from both sides, but we believe it will be rewarding for both listeners and performers," she says.
Crooner Ludwig Galea says there should be something for everyone to enjoy during the concerts.
"I believe there is only one word which can describe the concept of it all - 'versatility'. We are talking about approximately 60 professional, classically trained musicians who will be executing to perfection different genres of music from pop, rock, jazz, soundtracks, soul and musicals mingled with different vocal timbres of the Maltese islands," he says.
Relative newcomer to the scene, but already with a couple of musicals under her belt, Krista Paris, says that the best part of taking part in The National Orchestra Goes Pop is singing with the orchestra and the other performers in one of the most popular events of the year.
"I think it is great because it provides great entertainment for those who do not enjoy the classical repertoire of the orchestral concerts and it may introduce many people, who perhaps would not usually attend its concerts, to the orchestra itself," she says.
• Tickets for The National Orchestra Goes Pop may be obtained from the Mediterranean Conference Centre by phone on 2559 5750, ticket hotline 9977 4400 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available online at www.maltaorchestra.com