– There is nothing like the relaxing night in a St-Louis Symphony Orchestra, with its roaming sounds of percussion and strings, late Victorian architectural style and audience decked out in extravagant outfits.

 

By Anya Glushko, Feature Editor for The Current

There is nothing like the relaxing night in a St-Louis Symphony Orchestra, with its roaming sounds of percussion and strings, late Victorian architectural style and audience decked out in extravagant outfits. On April 13, the University Program Board provided an opportunity for students to get away from studies, stress and work and spend their night at the Powell Symphony Hall in downtown St. Louis. The bus left Provincial House at 7 p.m. and took about 20 students to experience St. Louis’s symphonic concert.

The concert featured works from Rossini, Paganini and Berlioz, and the program was conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier. Tortelier began his musical career as a violinist at the age of 14. He has conducting history at Orchestre National de Capitole de Toulouse, the Ulster Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Academy of Music in London.

The concert opened with “L’italiana in Algeri Overture.” The tune started quietly with only strings, later developing into an explosion of sound from the whole orchestra. The theme was followed by the woodwinds and rolling percussion. The program continued with “Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 6,” which included allegro maestro, adagio and rondo: allegro spiritoso movements. This piece featured a unique timing: quick chords, trills and double-stop thirds. The musicians handled this challenge with great professionalism, showing their stamina and ability to play synchronically as one body. This trilogy consisted of rhapsodic flights, dramatic accents from trombones and double bases and multiple solos by various string and wind instruments. The work was passionate and driving, but at the same time, it contained a significant amount of precision and discipline.

After intermission, the Symphonie Fantastique brought a grand finale to the evening. Its movements included reveries, un bal, scene aux champs, marche au supplice and songe d’une nuit du sabbat. This work was heavily inspired by the music of the Romantic era. However, Berlioz took it to a completely new level. He created a new form of art for the twentieth century. The first movement bore only a small resemblance to the sonata form. The second movement, featuring two harps, was similar to a waltz and combined sophisticated romantic ball music and other innovative style that strove to portray the composer’s own life. The third movement was meant to convey the artist’s despair and concealment. The fourth movement featured the climax of the work and conveyed the march style and commanding beats of a percussion drums. The final movement turned into an intense alternative to the main theme that was voiced by a shrill clarinet and portrayed demolition and wickedness.

Augustin Hadelich included cadenzas composed by himself and about 20 minutes of perfectly memorized and sophisticatedly performed solo playing. He played the work with exceptional use of accents, energetic movements and application of various styles and techniques. Paganini with Hadelich has won the Gold Medal at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship.

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