Wednesday marked the beginning of the Bob Cole Conservatory Symphony 2019-20 season at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.
The performers played compositions from classical composers such as Joseph Suk, Franz Joseph Haydn and Silvestre Revueltas.
Up first was little-known Czech modernist Suk’s Scherzo fantastique, Op. 25. With fluttering woodwinds echoed by melancholic string melodies, the piece evoked visions of enchanted forests and the ancient castles of Suk’s homeland.
“It’s a great piece and his repertoire is played more and more,” said Bob Cole Conservatory Symphony conductor Johannes Müller Stosch. “The other day a student told me that they just heard [Scherzo fantastique] on the radio, so even KUSC [a classical radio station] is discovering Suk.”
The second piece was Haydn’s Symphony No. 104, which was published in 1795. Its more traditional style, which featured a reduced string ensemble and a full complement of woodwinds, seemed fitting for a black tailcoat-wearing symphony in a dark concert hall.
After intermission, following the conclusion of Haydn, Stosch grabbed a microphone to talk directly to the audience before resuming the program. For the long-time Bob Cole Symphony conductor, its tradition to accept questions and comments via text or email during the intermission and answer a select few.
“[Haydn]’s sort of like the odd child because he’s not romantic,” Stosch said from the stage. “It helps to build an orchestra quickly because it teaches intense listening.”
Students were impressed by the improvements the orchestra had made.
“I think [the orchestra] has grown in the winds,” said Thomas Idzinski, a first-year graduate student and tuba player in the Bob Cole Conservatory Symphony. “[The] strings are as good as ever.”
The evening ended with Mexican national and modernist composer Revueltas’ tone poem “La Noche de los Mayas.”
“Revueltas is more known, but is rarely performed, because you need 13 percussionists plus timpani so you actually need 14 percussionists total,” Stosch said. “And that is simply too expensive for most professional orchestra. But you know what, at our university, we can do it.”
The finale did not disappoint. Rhythmically interesting, upbeat, and a pleasing mix of more modern composing styles with Yucatan influence created a loud, fun and engaging piece to cap off the evening’s performance.
The Bob Cole Conservatory Symphony will be performing on Oct. 9 and Nov. 20 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.