University’s Orchestra performs in Weis Center

Ellie Lowe, Staff Writer

On Sunday, Feb. 23 during the Arts Merit Weekend, the University’s Orchestra put on its first concert of the semester in the Weis Center at 7:30 p.m. The free concert was attended by many students, professors and faculty, as well as visitors and prospective students who were visiting the University for the weekend.

The Orchestra belongs to a cluster of music ensembles at the University, including the University Opera Theatre, the Choir and the Jazz Band. These ensembles are made up of hundreds of students from a variety of academic disciplines who possess a shared passion for music, all of whom have auditioned for their parts. Following auditions and acceptances, rehearsals for the Orchestra are held every Wednesday evening at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts in order to prepare for two or more performances that are held each semester.

The concert on Sunday evening was conducted by Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Paul Grobey and consisted of three pieces: “Hebrides” Overture, Op. 26 (1832) by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), A Song Before Sunrise (1918) by Frederick Delius (1862-1934) and Symphony No. 8, “Unfinished,” D. 759 (1822) by Franz Schubert (1797-1828).

The “Hebrides” Overture, which is sometimes referred to as “Fingal’s Cave,” was written early on in the composer’s life. He was inspired by one of his trips to the British Isles in 1829. The piece has a recurring descending arpeggio in the low strings, which symbolizes ocean waves. The second element in the piece was a happy contrast to the overall stormy theme played by solo and duo clarinets. After the storm reaches its climax, the piece ends with a feeling of mystery.

“I love playing in the orchestra. My favorite piece was the Hebrides,” trumpet player Katherine Idleman ’22 said.

Fredrick Delius, who is known to be one of the few English Impressionists, composed “A Song Before Sunrise” as part of a collection featuring musical poems with nature-related titles. The piece is composed of many woodwind solos that mimic a wave-like gesture. The piece ends after the rousing climax on a minor seventh chord. 

The final and most well-known piece, the “Unfinished” Symphony, consists of two complete movements. The moods of the two themes are contrasting, as the first movement is in E major while the second movement is in B minor. Between these two movements, there is a contrast between soothing and stormy melodies. After a lengthy final swell, the symphony ends peacefully.

One of the audience members, Professor of Music William Kenny, shared his response to the performance. “I always enjoy hearing Bucknell students making music together. Coming from diverse backgrounds, musical and otherwise, to create something special for themselves and for the audience is an important and priceless contribution to our community. I think that the Orchestra’s concert illustrated that beautifully,” he said.

“The ensemble did a great job in portraying a story through their music. I really enjoyed the first movement of ‘Unfinished’ as well as the endings of the other two pieces,” April Hurlock ’23 said.

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