On Friday, UNCG’s Sinfonia orchestra played their first concert of the semester in the Recital Hall. Led by Dr. Rebecca MacLeod, the group consistently plays with artistry. Their program consisted of music from Vivaldi to new composers, making the evening diverse and showcasing the group’s different skills.
One of two orchestras at UNCG, Sinfonia is comprised of both music majors and non-music majors. Anyone who plays a string instrument is encouraged to join, and they play multiple concerts through the school year. So far, their bi-weekly rehearsals have been leading up to their September concert.
The evening opened with Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, a piece consisting of three short movements. Composed in 1892, this piece is the most frequently composed of Elgar’s compositions. Each movement is unique and contrasting, focused on different ideas and tunes.
The orchestra played opening movement, marked Allegro piacevole, with apt energy. Based off an English ballad, the first movement passes fragments of a melody throughout the different sections of the orchestra. The energy of the opener is greatly contrasted by the following central movement, which is slow and lyrical. Widely considered to be the finest of the three movements, the Larghetto develops a constantly unfolding melody throughout. The orchestra played with sensitivity, making the beauty of the music come across effectively. Finally, the piece closes with a bright and sunny Allegretto, bringing the Serenade for Strings to its final resolution.
Next on the program was “Meditation” from Jack Jarrett’s Serenade for Strings, a short but beautiful movement. Jarrett is a current composer and native of Asheville, North Carolina. His Meditation is the third movement of a larger piece, though it frequently stands alone due to its color and captivating lyricism.
This piece was well contrasted by Bolzoni’s famous “Minuetto.” Conducted by graduate student Amber Mattfield, this piece is light and carefree. The melody bounced around from section to section, creating a dance-like atmosphere that did well to clear the air after the richness of the previous piece.
Last on the program was Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso in A minor, a work in three movements which features two solo violins. The piece is bookended by two faster Allegro movements, with a lyrical and slow Largo at its center.
Featured were two virtuosic violinists, both a part of the School of Music at UNCG. Fabian Lopez is a professor of violin and has performed extensively all over the globe, from the United States to Spain to France and many other places. Lopez played the Vivaldi alongside his student Leonardo Ottoni do Rosario, who is pursuing his doctorate degree. From Brazil, do Rosario has performed and studied all across both North and South America.
Both violinists have extremely diverse backgrounds and are exceptionally talented players, which showed in their performance of the Vivaldi Concerto Grosso alongside Sinfonia.
The two Allegros featured scalar runs for the two soloists, showing off their virtuosity with the accompanimental support of the orchestra. Certain ensemble-focused sections of the movements highlighted the skill level of the whole group, bringing the whole piece together.
The highlight of the concerto was the second movement, which was slow and had an austere quality that was emphasized by the fast and running movements that preceded and followed it. The movement was focused and an almost operatic duet between the two violinists, with the orchestra providing a smooth foundation to the soloists’ flowing and intersecting melodic lines.
Overall, the concert provided a diverse and enjoyable program. The UNCG Sinfonia is a talented group comprised of members from very different majors and backgrounds, making their collaboration a remarkable one.
The UNCG School of Music has many concerts in the coming weeks, featuring a variety of the many ensembles the college has to offer. Check out the College of Visual and Performing Arts online to find a calendar of upcoming events.