Orchestral Fireworks

Mae-Emlyn Currie, Contributing Writer

The University’s orchestra began the semester with its first concert, “Orchestral Fireworks,” in the Weis Center on Sept. 20, after it had practiced for three weeks.

“I was looking for a program that would challenge the orchestra and found these works that are associated with joyfulness,” said Christopher Para, associate professor of Music and the conductor of the orchestra, 

The show’s first piece, “Overture to Zampa,” was composed by French native Louis Joseph “Ferdinand” Hérold (1791-1833). It is the opening for the opera “Zampa,” which was also written by Hérold.

“Élégie for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 24,” the show’s second piece, was composed by another French native Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) in 1880 and was first performed for the public in 1883. The work, in C minor, features a sad and solemn opening and then climaxes into an intense, fast-paced middle section. It finally concludes on a sad note.

For the University’s orchestra, it introduced newcomer Lisa Caravan, a cellist and assistant professor of Music.

“Dr. Caravan started this semester. She teaches cello and music education,” Para said. “She’s a marvelous cellist with a big, beautiful sound.”

Written by French composer Georges Bizet (1838-1875), “L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2,” the orchestra’s third performance piece, was arranged and published in 1879, four years after Bizet’s death. It consists of four movements, which are Pastorale, Intermezzo, Minuet, and Farandole. The second suite starts with an introduction from the wind section. From the orchestra, Ryan MacIver ’17, an alto saxophone player, received a solo. 

The final piece of the concert was “Polovtsian Dances” from the opera “Prince Igor,” which was accompanied by the Concert Chorale, conducted by Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Rachel Samet. “Polovtsian Dances” remained unfinished after its composer Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) died. The dances are performed with a choir and last 11-14 minutes. 

“I thought it was a magical experience for all ages, and I was enchanted by the music,” Sienna Mosher ’18 said.

“This is a concert for celebration of brilliant orchestral music,” Para said. “Bucknell has a unique situation for having an outstanding orchestra, and it’d be marvelous if [students] heard it.”

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