This weekend I took time out on Saturday night to enjoy the season opening concert of the Emory Symphony Orchestra. The Emory Symphony Orchestra is composed of mostly students attending Emory University and majoring in Music. Over 80% of the Emory Symphony Orchestra members are double majors in Music and Science preparing to become doctors, engineers and other professionals but maintaining their hearts for music.
The Saturday night concert featured classical works that are very familiar to music lovers. The Emory Symphony Orchestra opened with Brahms' Academic Festival Overture. The performance was a good warm up and prepared the packed audience (literally standing room only) for the next two pieces being performed.
The second piece was Maurice Ravel's 'Bolero.' Filled with solo passages that featured all of the wind section leaders, the piece really exposes its listeners to the various sounds in an orchestra. And the piece adds the tenox saxophone and the soprano saxophone which is a bit of a stretch for works written during the same period. The performance of the 'Bolero' requires patience by its player and conductor as it starts with a very simple snare drum rhythm that maintains the tempo throughout the entire piece. While the Emory Symphony Orchestra performed the piece well, there was a bit of rushing as the solo melody was being transferred from one player or players to the next player or players. The rushing made the rhythm a little akward for me. But the sound was beautiful and quite excellent for these student players.
The third and final piece played was Tchaikosky's Symphony Number Four. This piece is a part of the Emory Symphony Orchestra's repertoire, and the young university student musicians were excellent. I so enjoyed the violin section - their play was at a very professional level. The principal wind players (principal flute, principal clarinet, principal oboe and principal basson) all played very well and without a break I might add. Each individual carried his or her part with beautiful tone and good technique. The Symphony Number Four is a masterful work, and these young student musicians brought their 'A' game to the performance.
The violin section was powerful throughout the evening. Excellent contrast in dynamics and following the leading of the conductor. The bassoon solo in the second movement of the Tchaikosky was very peaceful, and the orchestra's performance of the fourth movement was more than I expected. Great classical music!
For more information about the Emory Symphony Orchestra, go to www.emorysymphony.org. The group has three more major concerts this season, and you will have a blast listening to them perform. The next performance is Monday, December 5th, at 8PM in the Emerson Concert Hall of the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts on the Emory University campus. Mark your calendars and enjoy the free music.