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The Orchestra … why yes, there’s an app for that too!

by Jon Iverson Iverson.Jon@macphail.org

I wanted to blog about a very exciting new app for iPad and iPad Mini in the Apple AppStore that I want to share with everyone. It’s simply called, “The Orchestra” and was just released this past week.

The Orchestra app is hands down one of the most beautiful and elegant apps I’ve ever seen. Not only is there a complete discussion and visual library of each instrument of the orchestra,

 

but the app most prominently features Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra in live performances of eight major classical orchestral works: Haydn’s Symphony No. 6, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Berlioz’ Symphony fantastique, Debussy’s Prelud a l’apres-midi d’un faune, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, The Firebird by Stravinsky, Lutoslawski’s Concerto for Orchestra, and Salonen’s Violin Concerto [which is a force of nature, that piece is!]. During the performance, viewers can simultaneously watch up to five screens: Esa-Pekka conducting, two neatly and tightly edited videos of orchestra members, a graphical chart of which orchestral instrument is playing, or a scrolling view of the entire orchestral score:

There are also commentary tracks that viewers can enable: you can hear Esa-Pekka’s commentary about the piece (not unlike a movie director’s commentary on a Blu-Ray disc or DVD) or you can hear [the oft-amusing] commentary by the orchestra members.

This app is a little pricier at $13.99, but it is certainly worth every penny! I couldn’t recommend this app any more strongly. For students, parents and teachers alike, the overall quality and content in this app is first-class! The user interface is seamless and beautiful to the point of bringing a tear to one’s eye. (I exaggerate, of course, but it really is that great!) This truly is worthy of being an App Hall of Fame inductee! Bravo!

A video preview of the app [in the form of a commercial] can be found here:

 

 

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This is excellent! I plan on using this at New City school as we introduce all the instruments gradually during a composition unit. While nothing new, this app organizes those resources into one place. Not to mention the high quality demonstration.

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