Orchestra presents a night of French music

Posted by Rachel Kim

On March 5 the college's orchestra performed its third concert in its 29th consecutive season.

The concert, led by conductor Anthony Holland, featured works by French composers Georges Hüe and Maurice Ravel.

Both the orchestra and two student soloists gave performances. Flutist Katherine Murphy '14 and violinist Hanna Tonegawa '11 were the first and second prize winners respectively of the college's annual Concerto Competition.

Murphy has played flute since her start in elementary school. She has previously been a part of the New England Conservatory (NEC) Preparatory Program, a pre-college extension of the renowned conservatory.

Tonegawa, who was the Concert Competition winner in the spring of 2009, has been a member of several conservatory and school orchestras and currently plays in the college's orchestra and chamber ensembles.

Throughout the concert, the role of the concertmaster switched between Andona Zacks-Jordan ‘11, Stephen Frye ‘11, Katherine Bohn ‘11 and Jessica Taffet ‘13. This unconventional change allowed each concertmaster and concertmistress to lead the orchestra alongside the guidance of Holland.

The concert began with Murphy, who performed the flute piece, "Fantaisie for Flute and Orchestra" by Hüe. Murphy is a Filene scholar and one of the few first-year musicians who have won first prize in the Concerto Competition.

The piece is filled with complicated and intricate melodic lines. Murphy delivered a graceful, harmonious performance. The orchestra followed her lead as she swayed back and forth. She played with confidence and visibly enjoyed being on stage.

Tonegawa followed Murphy with her performance of Ravel's "Tzigane," an arrangement notorious for its difficulty. The piece's opening immediately starts with an unaccompanied somber violin section that Tonegawa played with bold expression.

The rest of the piece flows with dramatic ease despite the difficult skills it requires from the performer. Tonegawa executed the complicated piccicato, harmonics and chords with precision, showcasing her mastery.

The audience responded to Tonegawa's performance with stunned silence, which was immediately followed by a standing ovation.

The last piece of the concert was Ravel's ballet, "Ma Mére L'oye," otherwise known as "Mother Goose Ballet." The ballet is divided into six movements. Between each movement student narrators, all members of the orchestra gave brief descriptions and explanations of each story.

The ballet includes famous stories such as "Sleeping Beauty" and "Beauty and the Beast" and other lesser known tales like "The Fairy's Garden."

The ballet brought the audience into a new realm of tales of fantasies. The orchestra unfolded each story with its performances.

The string sections captured the enchanting nature of the characters while the woodwind and brass sections produced an airy, ethereal sound that added to whimsical quality of the tales.

Although the program featured a compilation of exclusively French music, there was still a wide range that allured the audience and kept them captivated.

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