Despite the student-created holiday weekend taking place, people from around State College decided to relax to musical selections from Penn State’s Philharmonic Orchestra.
At 8 p.m. Friday, Penn State’s Philharmonic Orchestra performed at Eisenhower Auditorium with selections from American musician Leonard Bernstein, composer of “Candide” and “West Side Story.”
The night began with Bernstein’s “Mass,” where the orchestra elicited a soft, melodic sound that was simultaneously fluid and powerfully ominous.
“The quality of this piece had this really dark texture to it,” Kevin Lynch (freshman-music education) said.
But “Mass” was also exciting for the audience. The sound exhibited an active vibe, as the walls vibrated with bells and the tunes became whimsical. Lynch said that the way in which the conductor instructed the orchestra included high energy that added to the overall effect of the piece.
The second act included a special performance by pianist Kyung Ah Lee, a winner of Penn State’s Orchestras Concerto Competition this year.
As well, the act included an orchestra favorite “Capriccio Espagnol,” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Philharmonic Orchestra member Chi Ho Yang said.
“It’s very exciting and very fast which makes it fascinating,” Yang (sophomore-music education) said.
The audience favored the final piece by Rimsky-Korsakov, as well.
“It’s a staple in the orchestral repertoire.” Rebecca Palmer (sophomore-music education) said. “It’s an amazing piece for the orchestra to have done because they can do it so well.”
The performance, along with “Mass” and “Capriccio Espagnol” included selections from “Firebird Suite” by Igor Stravinsky and “Piano concerto No. 1” by Sergei Prokofiev.
The musicians were excited to perform Friday, not for the acclaim or prestige, but for the music.
“There’s a lot of variety in the orchestra,” Yang said. “I’m not just listening to myself; I’m listening to everyone and hearing different melodies.”
The uniformity of the orchestra did not go unnoticed by the crowd.
Lynch said that he could sense how aware the orchestra was of one another.
“They’re all in sync with each other, together listening to each other,” Lynch said.
The quality of the music also added to the surreal grandeur of Penn State’s Philharmonic Orchestra.
“It’s very unrealistic,” Yang said. “It sounds like people are chasing the prince; the image just shows up.”
Penn State’s Philharmonic Orchestra demonstrated Friday night the genius behind production music.
The music produced by the orchestra is not merely symphonic; it is “fantasy personified,” Yang said.