The spectacular sounds of the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra filled the Mitrani Hall of Haas Center this past Friday evening.
Daniel Spalding, the orchestra’s music director and conductor, handpicked four fantastic pieces that formed the first performance of classical music to resound through Mitrani Hall since 2004. The initial selection was Symphony No. 78 in C Minor by renowned composer Joseph Haydn. The movements held surprises of sudden pianos and fortes, captivating the audience and then surprising them when the soft sounds turned into triumphant musical swells.
Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion, and Strings, written by Swiss composer Frank Martin, was the second in the succession of marvelously played pieces. Spalding described it as “haunting.”
Spalding, when introducing the piece, mentioned how he enjoyed visualizing the music. His vision of Martin’s concerto was that of a film noir. It was easy to understand this statement with the “haunting” notes of the second movement that built into a brilliantly accomplished climax. The modern piece featured seven soloist: Bruce Barrie, trumpeter, Marian Hesse, hornist, Richard Linn, trombonist, Dan Grada, percussionist, John Romeri, Flute, Kathy Halverson, oboe, and Robin Plant on bassoonist.
Moving away from the noir notes of Martin’s concerto, the buoyant, lighthearted sounds of Gioacchino Rossini’s Overture to La Scala di Seta, filled the auditorium with musical sun. However brief the piece was, the musicians’ ability to recaptivate the audience post intermission was nothing short of brilliant.
The fourth and final piece of the night was Igor Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite for small orchestra. Although this piece was the lengthiest of the four performed, the orchestra’s fortitude to give life and movement to the notes of the sheet music in front of them was beyond commendable. It is no wonder that this orchestra, now celebrating its 20th season, has been asked to play at venues such as Carnegie Hall.
“I was so captivated, I forgot to move,” stated Bill Doran, a senior English major here at Bloomsburg University following the chamber orchestra’s spectacular performance.
James Tomedi, a freshman Music major, summed up this powerful performance with one word, “stunning.”