With calculated waves of his baton, professor of music Gerard Floriano led the observant eyes of both Spectrum Women's Ensemble and Geneseo Chamber Singers for the Fall Choral Concert on Oct. 18 at Central Presbyterian Church. Dressed in black, the ladies of Spectrum brilliantly contrasted with the elegant white walls of the church, while their harmonies added an aura of merriment to the crisp October air.
Delicate balances between soprano and alto parts were constant throughout. The ladies carried the audience through the night with Felix Mendelssohn's “Wasserfahrt,” followed by Franz Schubert's “Psalm 23,” George Frideric Handel's “No, Di Voi Non Vo' Fidarmi” and Edward Elgar's “My Love Dwelt in a Northern Land.”
Floriano said he tries to organize his concerts by juxtaposing slower and faster pieces “in the spirit of older basic music traditions, to keep the energy going.”
While the pieces the Women's Ensemble sang followed that classic pattern, they all culminated in a final number, Howard Hanson's “How Excellent Thy Name.”
Nazareth College lecturer of music Linda Boianova accompanied the Women's Ensemble with a masterful control of the piano, depicting a sound of restlessness that avoided becoming dissonant. The singers embraced the piece's pleasantly surprising crescendos.
The end of the song solidified it as a standout rendition. It concluded with an ethereal-sounding “hallelujah” that induced chills.
In addition to persevering traditional placement, Floriano said that he always seeks to “end on a positive note.” Indeed, he ended the first half with a charming positivity that transitioned to the Geneseo Chamber Singers' performance.
They began with compositions from Maurice Duruflé's “Quatre Motets,” including “Ubi Caritas” and “Tantum Ergo.”
Following Duruflé's pieces was Anton Bruckner's “Christus Factus Est,” accompanied by an unexpected dispersion of the singers around the front portion of the church. Soon, the front pews were enveloped in a unique and surreal sound - one that doesn't require a trip to Best Buy.
Despite the choristers spread out, Floriano effectively conducted all of them. He mouthed the words along with the singers and stayed incredibly aware of everyone.
In preparation for any concert, Floriano said his most challenging struggle is always “trying to get the level of quality consistent.”
“You don't want the audience to think, 'Wow, that was a stinker,'” he added.
With the remainder of the concert containing vocal solos from Irving Fine's “The Choral New Yorker” and Warren Martin's arrangement of “Great Day,” Floriano continued in his objective of holistic quality.
Fine's “Caroline Million” included a solo from smiling alto junior Jenna Cecchini and flowed fearlessly with the other songs of the set. Lastly came Martin's arrangements, which contained a bold tenor solo from junior Rahul Thandla.
As Floriano hoped, the Chamber Singers concluded with a jubilant mood that carried on through the twinkling eyes of listeners as they left the church.