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SHSU orchestra delivers entertaining, quality music with Classical (R)evolution

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Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 00:11

SHSU’s Symphony Orchestra’s Classical (R)evolution featured a three piece set reminiscent of the influences of the budding Classical era of music and the forefront of the changes in music yet to come.

The concert was the second this season, held at the PAC Concert Hall on Saturday.

The concert had a strong start with a late Renaissance brass octet by Giovanni Gabrieli entitled Canzon noni toni a 8, or Song in the Ninth Mode for Eight. Haydn’s Symphony #49 in F Minor, la Passione, was the first piece performed by the full orchestra before an intermission for a silence, aural cleansing before the star piece featuring guest violinist Dylana Jenson.

Haydn’s Symphony features the Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) style prevalent in the mid-Romantic era. With an alternating slow-fast-slow-fast pattern to the movements, the tensions carry throughout. Where the first movement was slow and emotional with flowing phrases, the second movement was fast, high-tension and energized, almost panicked.

Following trend, the third movement was slow again with an alternating 1 and 3 feel mixed with tempo and rhythm changes. As a finale for this piece, the fourth movement was mostly unison with a strong build up to the end. Elegance reigned supreme in the end, despite the stress and tension given by violin trills, conquering the storm and stress style.

Traditionally brass and woodwind players are forced to the background in orchestral settings, yet the inclusion of Gabrieli’s piece was a nice addition and a fantastic start. The brass stood in the rafters to the sides of the stage where their sound could echo and reverberate throughout the concert hall. The piece is characteristic of Renaissance music with phrases passed around the voices in a canon and simpler musical phrases.

After intermission, Jenson showcased her phenomenal technique with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, op. 35. The biggest surprise in this piece is the virtuoso’s ability to perform the entire 35 minute work from memory. Every aspect of Jenson’s performance dripped with perfection and mastery of the instrument, from her posture to technique.

The orchestra provided the ideal support for Jenson, keeping the rhythmic and steady pulse consistent, even through the swells. A stunning unison from the orchestra rang out clearly in the concert hall. The amount of technique and finesse of all the performers made it easy to forget it was a student ensemble on the stage, not a professional orchestra.

While the Haydn piece dragged out, the other two pieces provided entertainment and enjoyment even for those with little exposure to this genre of music. This concert receives 4 out of 5 paws, if only because Haydn has been known for putting people to sleep in any other situation.

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