LSO to feature Britten, Sibelius

Deas, Kathryn

As third term edges closer to completion, the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra (LSO) has two more concerts with highly-charged repertoire to close an outstanding season. This Saturday the LSO will play Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” and “Passacaglia” from “Peter Grimes” as well as Sibelius’ “Third Symphony,” and will showcase Vincent Soler, ’07, performing Chausson’s “PoŠme for violin and orchestra.””Peter Grimes” is an opera about a fisherman, Grimes, who is trying to survive in his English village with a reputation for having an apprentice die in his supervision. The local magistrate tells Grimes he may not have another apprentice until a woman can care of the boy. Grimes acquires a new apprentice, then makes the mistake of striking Ellen, a woman he has grown interested in. The villagers rise in anger. Grimes’ apprentice dies, the magistrate orders Grimes to sail out and sink his boat, and Ellen is led away by a comforting friend and the villagers forget Peter Grimes.

The Sibelius symphony, while significantly less epic than “Peter Grimes,” is a significant step away from the older Romantic traditions of composing. It is no coincidence that Sibelius wrote it after moving his home, which gave him fresh perspective. He abandoned the immediate fully-stated themes, and instead began by introducing fragments. The result looks clean and logical on paper, but sounds Wagnerian and full of vast power. Patrick Ehlers, ’06, comments, “Sibelius is definitely a rock symphony. I look to the bassist next to me and we both go, ‘Metallica!'”

In contrast, Chausson is known for the magical and shadowy impressions he leaves his listeners. To illustrate, Chausson’s “PoŠme for violin” is, as Ehlers says, “one of the prettiest things I’ve ever heard, and Vincent does such a terrific job.” Vincent Soler is this year’s co-winner of the Conservatory’s concerto competition, along with pianist Joseph Ross, ’06, who performed with the LSO in January.

While the performers have been talking about the difficulty in preparing these pieces as the concert date quickly approaches, Professor of Trumpet John Daniels addresses the upcoming concert with a smile. Says Daniels, “How could anyone miss it? That’s what I want to know.”

The Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Bridget-Michaele Reischl, performs Saturday, May 1 at 8 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel.