By Nicole Zamlout
A soft, shifting melody, light and spritely waves through the air, followed by bombastic booms that punch through the auditorium. Beethoven’s Symphony No.7, while it was written years ago, still amazes and shocks audiences today — specifically, an audience at Mayo Concert Hall on Nov. 14 as it was played in all its glory by the TCNJ Orchestra.
The concert was conducted by violinist and adjunct professor Uli Speth, making this his second time leading the group. Before the concert began, Speth praised the members of the orchestra for their hard work and dedication.
The concert’s opening then shifted to a somber note when the conductor honored Jason Zujkowski, a junior music education major who recently died.
“We want to dedicate this concert in his memory,” Speth said.
Speth then asked for a moment of silence from the audience, which was respected. After the moment passed, the concert began to the excitement of the students in the orchestra.
The orchestra started the concert with “Pelléas et Mélisande, Suite for Orchestra op.80” by Gabriel Faure, a successor of Beethoven. The piece began lively and almost spring-like, a welcome diversion from the bitter cold weather of these last few weeks. Its rhythm and tone was quite similar to Antonio Vivaldi’s “La Stravaganza” or Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.” The tone shifted by the end of the piece, though, and the mood became quite melancholic and somber.
After a brief intermission, the musicians went on to present the Beethoven classic, Symphony No. 7. The piece flowed more effortlessly than the Faure piece did, making it suspended in time. The piece did not seem to be telling a clear story as Faure’s did — instead the piece’s random and bombastic notes became a celebration of music and the joy it could bring, counterbalancing the somber note permeating the room.
The concert concluded with applause and pride for the students. Many complimented the orchestra for its efforts.
“I really like Beethoven’s seventh symphony and I thought they did an excellent job,” said Katie Cole, a sophomore elementary education major.