By Alex Riess
What was originally an hour-long piece written for a ballet in 1910, was transformed into an orchestral symphony at the Gray Chapel.
About 150 people gathered at the chapel on Nov. 12, where The OWU Chamber Orchestra presented “The Lark and the Firebird.” The event celebrated the 100thanniversary of the song, “Firebird Suite.”
The orchestra performed 19th century and early 20th century compositions. “Dawn on the Moscow River” and “Petite suite de concert, Op. 77” were played first, followed by an intermission. The next two pieces are the reasons behind the title of this event.
Antoine T. Clark, the conductor of the orchestra, said, “The suite was my favorite piece of the night.”
The “Firebird Suite” was broken into three separate movements: The Princesses’ Round Dance, Berceuse, and Finale. Each had its unique tone.
The Princesses’ Round Dance sounded very soft and relaxing. With the brass and wind instruments flowing off each other, they created a sense of calmness. The movement sounded like its name.
The Berceuse was played in a lot of minor tones, creating a tense feeling. The strings and brass bounced off each other with a sense of uncertainty.
The piece then led into the Finale. A deep, major tone was created, with all the instruments colliding together. This collision built up and then ended on a drawn-out note, creating a sense of fulfillment.
The OWU Department of Music program stated that the piece was originally created as a 50-minute ballet in 1910 by Igor Stravinsky. Stravinsky later created three shorter suites arranged for concert performance. The student orchestra played the most performed version of the suites.
The “Lark Ascending” was the other piece.
Nancy Gamso, a university professor of music, described as a “most gorgeous, lush piece. And so unusual.”
The music program stated the song was steeped in the English tradition and converted from English folk song into an orchestral piece. The piece premiered in 1921.
Alicia Hui, a violinist for the Columbus Symphony, was featured in the performance.
Hui performed small solos throughout, reflecting on the orchestra’s melodies. Playing extremely high notes in a unique style, the violinist created a sense of tribalism.
Gamso said, “There were trills from the violin, like birds do.”