Ensemble ‘blows’ crowd away

By Annette Califano

Correspondent

The somber, tribal rhythm from the percussionist steadily built up into the frenzied dance. It felt as though the audience had been transported to a remote village in the Amazon. The vivacity of this piece was accented by many staccatos, crescendos and fortissimos — it truly lived up to its name, “Incantation and Dance,” and the Wind Ensemble’s performance was just as amazing.

The College’s String Orchestra and Wind Ensemble put on a recital to a full house last Thursday, Nov. 4 at the Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall. Conducted by Michel Galante, the String Orchestra opened the evening by performing two pieces.

The first piece was Bach’s “Brandenburg Concert No. 5” and was accompanied by three faculty soloists — David DiGiacobbe, a flutist, Ruotao Mao, a violinist, and Tomoko Kanamaru, a pianist. The violins, violas and cellos blended together perfectly to create a soothing and melodic experience. The soloists played with feeling and understanding, proving why they are music professors here at the College.

However, it was the second piece that stood out. As Galante introduced the next piece, “Beethoven’s Symphony No 6 op. 68 Movements III, IV and V,” he confessed that he had “never heard of this piece before.” He jokingly added that this would be a “(College) premiere” — and what a wonderful premiere it was.

“Symphony No. 6,” also known as the “Pastoral Symphony,” captured the essence of nature and the countryside. The fourth movement, “Thunderstorm Storm,” was the most interesting in terms of technique. It contrasted nicely to the jovial melody in the third and fifth movements.

The grave chords from the cellos introduced the approaching storm, and the staccatos represented the raindrops falling from the sky. While a few notes were off-key, overall, the String Orchestra delivered a powerful performance.

The Wind Ensemble, which was much larger than the String Orchestra, performed a total of five songs. Each song was markedly different from the rest. “Eulogize the Yangtze” reflected the music of China, while “Puszta-The Four Gypsy Dances” transported the audience to the gypsy camps of Hungary.

There was one song, “Horns-a-Hunting,” that lacked the grandiose quality that all the other songs seemed to posses — although it created an image of riding a horse through the England countryside and while the principal horn, played by freshman Valentine Kuntz, did a great job, the song seemed out of place.

Except for a slip up with the lightning, the recital ran smoothly. The pieces were played with feeling and understanding, and the musicians showcased their talent.