Mosaic / Music / Reviews / November 16, 2011

Symphony soloists stand out

With an amazing young violinist and a basic selection of music, Saturday’s Knox-Galesburg Symphony (KGS) was hit-and-miss in comparison to previous concerts.

The selection from Hugo Wolf, Wolfgang Mozart and Franz Haydn was a below average choice from KGS, giving the audience no real surprise or excitement that some have come to expect in the orchestra’s selection of new or rare pieces.

The night started with the “Italian Serenade for Small Orchestra in G Major” by Wolf. The reduced orchestra for the piece continued throughout the night and mirrored the small selection of music and the reduced audience size.

The Wolf piece provided no moments of major tension or discomfort that could have provided a nice addition to the piece and the concert.

Despite having a quiet demeanor on stage, soloist Rachel Stenzel proved her ability with the violin well beyond her 15 years.

“I only wish I could have been that good when I was that age,” junior Cole Atcheson said. Atcheson was with the majority who enjoyed the performance from Stenzel.

The “Violin Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Major” by Mozart was given a large boost by Stenzel’s performance. Her ability to command the music and bring emotion during her solos resonated throughout the theatre.

“The level of technical skill was impressive, especially for the age of the performer,” senior Chelsea Coventry said. The 15-year-old performer garnered the most cheers of the evening and was a clear highlight of the concert.

The introduction by conductor Bruce Polay for the second half was reminiscent of his Bruce and “Old Friends” events that he holds occasionally. Polay talked briefly about the Haydn piece, giving the audience context for the piece about to be performed. This was a fresh addition to the usual symphony concert style.

Another artist stood out during the night mainly during the first and last piece of the night. Carolyn Suda’s performance on the cello during the Wolf piece and the “Symphony No. 102 in B-flat Major” by Haydn resonated throughout the theatre and was a delightful addition to the evening.

“I really enjoyed all of them,” Atcheson said. Atcheson had difficulties picking his favorite song of the night, but eventually decided on the Haydn piece.

“I thought it was an interesting order of music,” Coventry said. Coventry enjoyed the how each selection flowed together while spanning a variety of times.

Overall the pieces were well performed, but the overall quality was hindered mainly because of the mundane selection for the night.

John Williams

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