On Friday and Sunday, the Stanford Symphony Orchestra delivered its Fall Live performance on the Bing Live performance Corridor, with a program that includes cello soloist Jessica Lee ’24 and American composers reminiscent of Michael Abels and Lukas Foss. Most notably, the efficiency dazzled the viewers with near-flawless renditions of Abels’ thought-provoking piece “World Warming” and the basic Cello Concerto by Edward Elgar.
The spotlight of this system was undeniably the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E Minor, Op. 85 composed by Edward Elgar. Featured soloist and winner of the 2022 Concerto Competitors, Lee took the viewers’s breath away together with her execution of the timeless classical masterpiece.
Elgar was one of the crucial celebrated English composers of the late Romantic interval, most well-known for his extra optimistic works such because the Enigma Variations and Salut d’Amour. Amongst his acclaimed items, the weighty and introspective Cello Concerto looks as if an anomaly. Composed shortly after World Struggle I, the concerto teems with agony — a sentiment that may be taken to characterize the losses because of the battle and the previous European lifestyle.
Lee expressed these feelings masterfully. Breaking the silence with a forceful E minor chord adopted by a closely bowed-out melody, Lee led the viewers onto a path of sighs and twists and turns till touchdown on a booming low E that launched the melancholic orchestra chords. She actually grew to become one together with her instrument and the music: viewers members within the entrance rows might see her breathe on the initiation of each phrase. Although not written by her, every be aware was rendered hers by her actions.
The low voice of the cello wailed like one grieving after years of ache, carrying by the live performance corridor — no straightforward feat given the low register of the instrument. Every sound was masterfully managed by Lee. Every repetition of the motifs was infused with new which means: at instances a cry for assist, a secret whisper or an introspection of 1’s life.
Generally the cello led the ensemble in what gave the impression of main declarations. Different instances, with its fast working notes, it battled towards the overwhelming present of sturdy, legato sounds from the orchestra — what, to me, represented the inevitable.
I discovered a steady sense of looking out within the ascending notes all through the piece. For peace with oneself, maybe. Did the protagonist attain it? The concerto concluded on a sequence of militant minor chords whose tensions confirmed no signal of decision.
The piece previous the concerto, “World Warming,” was equally spectacular with its storytelling. Composed across the fall of the Berlin Wall, the piece didn’t restrict itself to the environmental thought of worldwide warming. The truth is, Abels composed the piece to convey his hope for democracy worldwide (the “warming” of worldwide democracy and human rights) on the finish of the Chilly Struggle. The orchestra opened the piece with a dialog between a violin (Richard Cheung ’24) and a cello (Simone Hsu ’25). This system notes described the suspenseful, wild panorama of the glissando-filled melody as “an enormous desert,” however I interpreted it as the awful world through the Chilly Struggle.
The piece included quite a few components of people music from completely different cultures to create what Abels referred to as a “noisy but harmonious world village.” The primary to achieve the listeners was one paying homage to a energetic Irish people dance, giving me the urge to stand up from my seat and swing to the rhythm of synchronized violin bows and the bodhran (Irish hand drum). The dance steadily gave technique to a Center Jap tune coloured by drum and tambourine beats. Simply as I used to be having fun with the celebratory melodies, the orchestra returned to its preliminary, bleak violin-cello duet. The world, with its many imperfections, is just not utterly “warmed” in spite of everything.
This system concluded with Symphony No. 1 of American composer Lucas Foss to commemorate Foss’ centenary, in addition to the conductor Paul Phillips’ personal composition “Go Good Into Peace” to commemorate the just lately deceased Stanford artist-in-residence Geoff Nuttall. Getting back from the journey to WWI and Chilly Struggle historical past, the viewers was grounded again in current realities by music.
Editor’s Observe: This text is a assessment and consists of subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.