This past Sunday afternoon the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra's Annual Concerto Winners Concert took place in Wadsworth Auditorium. The performance featured the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gerard Floriano, as well as the performances by several soloists. The styles of music varied greatly from opera excerpts to a Brazilian concerto, and provided an enjoyable spectrum of sound for the entire audience, who received every number with rounds of applause.
The first piece was the Herbrides Overture composed by Felix Mendelssohn in 1830. It began slowly with a buildup of sadness that came to a climax of intensity as the piece progressed. Continuing, the overture made a return to its previous calm only to again increase in power with a determined and striking rise. Finally, the orchestra concluded Mendelssohn's overture with a soft fade reminiscent of the original theme. All musicians as well as conductor Floriano provided an impressive rendition of the Herbrides Overture.
The next musical offering was the fourth movement, "Desperdida," of the Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra composed by Ney Rosauro in 1986 in Brazil. Featured along with the orchestra was senior marimba player Irene Fiesinger. Fiesinger is currently completing a major in music performance and regularly plays with the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Geneseo Wind and Percussion Ensembles. Throughout the piece, the marimba lead while the orchestra acted as an accompaniment. The heavy use of Fiesinger's instrument produced an exotic, ethnic sound reminiscent of Brazilian cultural music. As the song concluded, the audience not only applauded Fiesinger's efforts, but the orchestra gave her a standing ovation as well.
David Popper's Requiem Op. 66, written around the turn of the 19th century, was the third item in the concert. Featured along with the orchestra were three soloist cello players: seniors Sarah Pinchoff, Evan Hunt and Carolyn Scaramella. All three are recognized as talented musicians in their fields and have greatly contributed to musical life at Geneseo through their efforts. The Requiem began with a slow and deliberate mood and continued in a melancholic fashion. Often the three cellists would return to the themes of the orchestra with a soft response until the piece concluded with a slow high finish. Afterwards, the soloists bowed and received abundant applause from the audience, as well as bouquets of flowers.
Following a brief intermission, the orchestra set up for The Doll's Aria (from the Tales of Hoffman) composed by Jacques Offenbach in the nineteenth century. Senior Danielle O'Grady, a soprano vocal performance major, appeared on stage before her performance began and gave a brief explanation of the scenario for the operatic piece. Hoffman, the main character, recounts the tales of his three loves while in a tavern. The first was Olympia, a doll made to look like a woman and compel men to fall in love with her. As the orchestra commenced playing, O'Grady positioned herself like a doll, standing upright with her arms akimbo, and proceeded to sing the lively aria. She continued to move her limbs and body stiffly like a doll as the piece progressed, and at several points pretended to run out of power only to be 'wound up' again and continue singing. O'Grady gave a magnificent performance much to the delight of the audience, and at the end received a bouquet of flowers from her family. Her solo was truly the highlight of the concert.
Finally, the orchestra played "Suite No. 2" from the opera Carmen written by Georges Bizet in the 1800's. All six movements were played including the famous "Habañera" and "Chanson du Toréador." Mood varied among the movements from forceful to exotic, despairing and even triumphant. The Geneseo Symphony Orchestra gave a truly skilled performance of this section of the classic opera. The Annual Winners Concert was a successful endeavor and enjoyable experience for all involved. The School of the Arts puts on such concerts throughout the year, and the schedule for the remainder of the semester can be found at http://sota.geneseo.edu/ under the performance season link. All members of the Geneseo community are encouraged to attend at least one of these surely unforgettable events.