Conducted by lecturer in music Jim Tiller, the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra—composed of current students and faculty—offered up a spirited and, at times, stormy soundtrack to the early spring afternoon on Sunday Feb. 28 in Wadsworth Auditorium. The orchestra opened with “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso,” composed by Camille Saint-Saens in 1863. This performance featured a solo violin performance by adjunct lecturer in music An-Chi Lin. In addition to her work with the Geneseo orchestra, Lin has performed in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s Educational String Quartet and the Hochstein String Quartet.
“Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” was written in honor of the incredibly skilled violinist Pablo de Sarasate. Saint-Saens wrote the piece to showcase de Sarasate’s talents and the piece is often used as an opportunity for a solo violinist to showcase their own skillset.
Accompanied by the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra, Lin’s stellar solo performance set the tone for the main performance of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5 in E Minor, Opus 64.” Tchaikovsky composed “Symphony No. 5” in 1888 while he was nearing the end of his life. When Tchaikovsky first performed the symphony, it received mostly negative reviews from critics, but audiences loved it. To this day, it remains one of his most popular works.
The symphony has four movements, each characterized by different cadences and power. These four movements are tied together by a melody that Tchaikovsky called “fate,” which is present in each movement. The fate theme begins in the first movement, which gives the feeling of a funeral. From there, fate appears in the next three movements, but increases in tempo and feeling until it reaches its climax in the fourth movement, ending as an upbeat march.
Reminiscent of cold, grey winters, the concert started out moody and dark, slowly moving toward an exciting, warm finish. The performance by Geneseo Symphony Orchestra encapsulated the desired feeling for the symphony—and, in likelihood for its Western New York audience for a warmer season.
The Geneseo Symphony Orchestra skillfully executed the performance. Each change in mood was accentuated by individual and group performances and each movement flowed well, coming on strong and powerful when needed and clean throughout.