Peddie Musicians Go On the NY Philharmonic Trip

Sue Lee '18, Staff Writer

Students of the orchestra and chorus ensembles went on the annual New York Philharmonic trip on Jan. 14.  On this night, students experienced conductor Frank Gilbert, solo violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, and the New York Philharmonic orchestra’s performance. The repertoire included pieces by three rather colliding composers: Ottorino Respighi, Magnus Lindberg and Igor Stravinsky.

An hour prior to these performances, students listened to a Pre-Concert Insights talk by musicologist and professor, Elizabeth Seitz. During this discussion, Elizabeth Seitz interviewed Magnus Lindberg, the composer of his “Violin Concerto No.2,” which was performed that night. He elaborated on his thoughts on concertos and how he writes them. He also explained that politics may have influenced how concertos were written during the rise of communism, which opposed the concentration of power, or in this case, melody, on a single person.

Respighi’s Vetrate di Chiesa (Church Windows) was first performed that evening. The subtitles of these “Four Impressions for Orchestra” were “The Flight into Egypt”, “St. Michael the Archangel”, “The Matins of Santa Chiara” and “San Gregorio Magno.” Short descriptive texts accompanied each of the four melodic movements. Each of these texts describes a major event as depicted on the stained-glass windows of the Italian churches.

Lindberg’s “Violin Concerto No.2” soon followed, with Zimmerman as the soloist.

The highlight of the performance, “The Rite of Spring” by Stravinsky, began after the intermission. This music is the score for a ballet, which was based on a spiritual ritual in which virgins were sacrificed. At the time when this piece was first performed, Stravinsky was faced with an audience that rejected the theme of the ballet. Over time, the ballet and his music were more appreciated. Now, it is considered as one of the most pivotal pieces composed.

Students were unaccustomed to the modernist style of the music, but enjoyed the experience overall.

“The skill of the orchestra was impressive, but the theater itself didn’t compare well to the Philadelphia one,” said Diana King ’18.

“I really liked the timpani solo, the muted trumpets, and the violas. It felt like organized disorder. Even though it sounded like chaos, everything seemed to be planned out and intentional,” said Abigail Yaffe ’18.