Orchestra offers an impassioned effort

On Sunday, Oct. 14, the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra gave their first concert of the year in Wadsworth Auditorium to a small crowd of students and family members. Under the direction of professor James Walker, the orchestra performed two pieces separated by a brief intermission.

The first piece, Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, was comprised of four movements, all of which were characterized by strong, expressive, thematic melodies that traveled between sections, featuring all of the 79 players.

The first movement served as an adequate introduction to the concert but was immediately overshadowed by a more passionate second movement. One of Beethoven's most popular pieces, this movement included a slow, rhythmic motif that was presented first in a minor key and was then shifted into a major key with beautiful and precise execution by the orchestra.

The third and fourth movements of Symphony No. 7 were energetic dances, and though they are both challenging pieces of music, the orchestra rose to them admirably. The third movement, a playful trio, was impressively precise and kept the audience's attention. The fourth movement was somewhat lacking in precision; at the end, there was a noticeable gap in timing between the sections. However, this error was only momentary, and the melody remerged for a strong, majestic finish. This was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

After a brief intermission, the orchestra began "The Sleeping Beauty Suite," a five movement showcase of Tchaikovsky's ballet, which is based on the classic fairy tale. The first movement, a grandiose fanfare, captured the audience's attention and transitioned nicely into the suite's second movement.

The second movement proved the most impressive and dynamic part of the concert. After a hypnotizing harp solo, the violins began to play a sweet melody, which was built upon by the rest of the orchestra. As the movement progressed, the theme became increasingly intense before coming to a striking finish.

The third and fourth movements were full of character and skillful execution by the orchestra. The third, a "character dance," was playful and mysterious, while the fourth, a smooth, rhythmic piece, was pleasant and engaging.

The fifth movement is certainly the best known piece played in the concert. This waltz was featured in the 1959 Disney film, Sleeping Beauty, as "Once Upon a Dream," a love song sung by the princess. The violins carried this well-known melody delightfully, bringing the concert to an outstanding conclusion.

The orchestra gives two concerts a semester and will also be featured in Kaleidoscope, a showcase of several Geneseo instrumental groups, on Friday, Oct. 19 in Wadsworth Auditorium.