by Gabrielle Bing
This weekend marked the Symphonic Wind Ensemble’s 13th year performing for Family Weekend.
The pieces performed ranged in genre and style. Each song complemented the group’s various talents, while working to engage the audience.
Gustav Holst’s “First Suite in E-Flat for Military Band” introduced the concert, with low brass notes that quickly dissolved into a subtle mingling of flutes, oboes and saxophones. The piece is comprised of three parts: the Chaconne, Intermezzo and March, which resonated like a story; the Chaconne, like a hopeful response to a grave declaration, the Intermezzo, the rolling journey of hero and the March, triumph. The challenge for the ensemble when approaching this composition was to achieve the sound of a smaller group of musicians.
The second piece performed was Finale (Rondo) from “Concerto No. 3 for Horn,” a movement from a Mozart concerto that sounded serene. The performance featured Chelsey Hamm, visiting assistant professor of music, in lavender dress as the horn soloist, who delivered an eloquent performance that was exceptional and moving.
Professor of Music Dane Heuchemer, a very emphatic conductor, passed the baton to his student assistant director, Katherine Connolly ’17, for Richard Strauss’s “Serenade in E-Flat Major.” This was her debut as a conductor for the group. Connolly, like Hamm, received a warm reception from the audience.
Stravinski’s “Circus Polka — Composed for a Young Elephant was originally written for the Ringling Brothers. While some audience members perceived the piece as provocative and enjoyable, others disagreed. Attendee Eva Warren ’19, an avid classical music listener, was not a fan of the Stravinski. “It’s too chaotic,” she said. As for the previous performances, she was impressed. “Holst had a nice pace, and I was pleased with the Trittico.”
The final piece, Vaclav Nelhybel’s “Trittico,” like “First Suite in E-Flat,” evoked feelings of an adventure, but created an experience that sounded galactic rather than traditional. The first part of the piece, the Allegro, created a suspenseful sound with a strong introduction of horns and drums. This momentum did not slow. Rather, it grew throughout the Adagio and Allegro Marcato, creating a largely satisfying end to the concert.