Review of ASU concerts Choir and chamber singers in Honegger's Oratorio

Review of ASU concerts Choir and chamber singers in Honegger's Oratorio

This paper will review ASU Concert Choir and Chamber Singers in their performance of the original version of Honegger's Oratorio, which is based on his incidental music. The paper will look into the instrumentation and the techniques used to play the instruments during the performance.

            The concert played incidental music from Honegger’s Oratorio which was used don a stage play by Renee More, "King David". Incidental music is written, "to accompany or point up the action or mood of a dramatic performance on a stage, film, radio, television, or recording.” (Encyclopedia Britannica 2014). Its purpose is to serve as a transition from one part of the action to another or introduce the performance.

            Since incidental music is played to accompany a performance, there is an argument that there were problems with instruments at the beginning of stage performing. The earliest known use of tools was during Greek dramas which were performed around 400BC. The performance used string instruments and reed instruments (Edmondson 2013, 841). At the concert, stringed instruments such the guitar and the violin. There was also the use of piped instruments such as the saxophone and flutes. The percussion instruments at the concert included a drum set, the xylophone, and the piano. These tools had a semblance of the instruments played in class regarding arrangement and playing technique. However, they were more advanced and the players more experienced and advanced. The sound of the percussion instruments blended well with the sounds of the other instruments creating a perfect harmony of sound and bringing out the music piece in a beautiful way.

 In playing the drum set, the drummer used the French grip technique which is performed using one's fingers with the thumbs down. That had the effect of producing jazz sound. The player of the xylophone placed the mallet between two adjacent bars with the result that the head rotated to scrape both bars. A cluster of chords was therefore created and this blended well with the drum and the other instruments. The piano was played in a quick succession of chords which at times slowed down. It was played in such a way that it harmonized with the rest of the instruments. That in effect produced a beautiful blend that produced Honegger's Oratorio wonderfully. In short, all the instruments were played in such harmony that it blended well with the voices of the music and the actors on the stage.

 The concert was an excellent representation of Honegger's oratorio. It made the play appear real to the audience. The audience enjoyed the performance a great deal. The blending of the instrumentalists and the singers, as well as the actors, made the audience feel part of the concert. There was loud applause from the audience, meaning that they enjoyed the whole thing. The music chords were played to create great harmony from all the instruments. Therefore, the theme of the play was well communicated through the performance. The music helped to aid the transition from one part of the play to the other and also helped set the mood of the play capturing the audience attention from the beginning to the end.

 In conclusion, the perfect blending of instruments and music is important to communicate the message as well as achieving the entertainment aspect of a concert. The concert by ASU Concert Choir and Chamber Singers helped to set the mood for the play "King David". The performance of Honegger's incidental music contributed to relay the message of the play perfectly to the audience. Apart from introducing the play and helping in transition, the performance of the incidental music helped communicate the themes of the play by enhancing the mood.


Edmondson, J. Music in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the songs, stars, and stories that shaped our culture. ABC-Clio, 2013, 841.

Encyclopedia Britannica. Incidental Music. 12 December 2014. 21 April 2016. <http://www.britannica.ccom/art/incidental-music>.