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Orchestra Presents the ‘Music of Beethoven’ for Fall Concert

Kamille Galloway and Connor Cowman

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On the night of Oct. 4, the Westwood Orchestra presented their Fall Concert at the Round Rock ISD Performing Arts Center. For Parent Appreciation night, the overall theme for the performance was a tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven, with each of the four orchestral groups performing a piece written by the legendary composer. Under the leadership of Mr. Joshua Thompson, the head orchestra director, and Mr. Justin Anderson, the associate director, the concert began with the Concert 5 Orchestra performing a rendition of Larry Clark’s Contredanse.

The Concert 5 Orchestra initiated the event with a strong, sharp energy during their most enthusiastic piece. The bassists had a more distinguished sound throughout this song, adding depth to the lively atmosphere. Next, the orchestra performed Ludwig van Beethoven’s sweet and solemn Sonatina in G. In opposition to the previous sweet sound, the last piece as performed by the first orchestra was Doug Spata’s Gauntlet, which encompassed a suspenseful sound, as the build up and releases were very prominent.

“We should have worked more on the Beethoven piece because we should have been louder on that,” Sindhoora Koneru ‘20 said.

The next group, Concert 6 Orchestra, began their performance with the song Quintus by Larry Clark, a vibrant piece in which the violin and bass sections had prominent roles. Soon after came the Hymn and Fuguing Tune on Middlebury, which, as a traditional folk song arranged by Pierre LaPlante, highlighted the orchestra’s coordination and unity which made for a beautiful piece. Finally, Allegretto from The Creatures of Prometheus, the effervescent Beethoven piece performed by the Concert 6 Orchestra, concluded the group’s performance.

“Mr. Thompson is new here so, it was a little bit different in the beginning, getting adjusted to him because Mrs. Williams has worked here for so long, so that was a learning process,” Apoorva Chintala ‘18 said.

The following orchestra, Philharmonic, took the stage after Concert 6 Orchestra’s conclusion. The group’s first song, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, was one of the composer’s slower, more graceful pieces, holding a melancholy tone throughout and accentuating the gracefulness of the violin section. However, shortly after this piece came the Brandenburg Concerto no. 3, mvt. I, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. Unlike the first selection, this song roused the audience with a faster tempo and a more jovial tone, finishing strongly and leading into the third piece: Of Glorious Plumage, by Richard Meyer. This piece, as the name suggests, had the most illustrious tone out of the three, with multiple members of the orchestra starting off sections in the song with miniature solos.

“My favorite piece was the Brandenburg Concerto by Bach because it’s upbeat,” Valika Chu ‘19 said. “In the future we do need to work on keeping tempo because we weren’t together at some parts of the music and we rushed in some others.”

Next, the Symphony Orchestra began their performance with a bang. For the first time throughout the entire concert, timpani drums made a forceful appearance in Bohuslav Martinu’s composition Double Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani. Although each succeeding orchestra incorporated a dramatic tone to their pieces, the drums brought a different level of suspense and climactic tone. The whole room was swallowed by the fast, powerful piece, as tensions were ignited throughout the whole thing. Just as the tension would simmer to a softer sound, it would be jolted back with even greater intensity. Following this, the Symphony Orchestra performed George Whitefield Chadwick’s romantic, pensive Andantino from Serenade for String Orchestras, an oppositional piece, though, just as perplexing and sophisticated as the first. For the grand conclusion of the concert, the orchestra played Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in c# minor, op. 131, mvt. VI, VII. The caution and concentration exhibited by the orchestra was apparent throughout this complicated and energetic piece, as dynamics were carefully placed and incorporated. The high melodic violin parts created a beautiful sound, which created a dramatic contrast to the high energy.  

“The Martinu piece was nice just because Beethoven was really hard,” Jenny Wang ‘19 said. “I just need to practice more and dedicate more of my time and my life to orchestra.”

Throughout the entire concert, the room was filled with passion, as it could be heard and seen from the poised musicians. Undoubtedly, it was a delightful show for the audience and students alike.

“For me, the concert is the fun part,” Mr. Thompson said. “You work hard for six or seven weeks and then you get to the end and it’s the enjoyable part. I was really happy that all four groups played like I thought they were going to play, so I’m really happy with what they did.”

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