This past Sunday afternoon, students, faculty and community members gathered in Wadsworth Auditorium for a skilled performance by the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra.
The concert was conducted by School of the Arts professor James Walker and consisted of two pieces: Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 in G Major Op. 88 and Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
According to the concert program, the Dvorak piece, composed in 1889, follows, "…the typical exposition-development-recapitulation first movement, slow second movement, waltz-like third movement, and theme and variations fourth movement."
Indeed, this description of the first movement, "allegro con brio," was wholly accurate; it featured a slow beginning followed by a skilled explosion of sound, leading to a period of tension, and finally returning to its former slow and powerful mood.
The second and third movements ("adagio" and "allegretto grazioso," respectively), likewise held true to their summaries; "adagio" was a calm and emotional segment and "allegretto" was more dance-like and flowing. Finally, "allegro ma non troppo" was the most energetic of the four movements, quickly changing over from a low and quiet beginning to a dramatic and powerful finish. The orchestra concluded the first segment of the concert to rounds of applause from the audience.
After the brief intermission, the orchestra then commenced the Mussorgsky piece, a lengthy composition made up of 11 different movements as well as an initial promenade. Pictures at an Exhibition, according to the concert program, was written in the late 19th century as a dedication to the composer's recently deceased friend, artist Victor Hartmann. Each movement is a musical description of one of Hartmann's works, and is titled as such.
The Symphony Orchestra did an excellent job of capturing its varying emotions and images, from light and energetic segments like "The Old Castle," to dark and foreboding pieces like "The Hut of Baba Yaga." The concert concluded with the triumphant "Great Gate at Kiev," which the program accurately described as "…the capstone of [Mussorgsky's] memorial tribute." As the show ended, the audience congratulated the orchestra with a standing ovation.
The concert was very well performed by the Symphony Orchestra, though at times the lengths of its two pieces made the show feel somewhat drawn out. The schedule for upcoming School of the Arts events can be found at sota.geneseo.edu.