Arts concert review

MIT — SO musical

Adam K. Boyles conducts the MIT Symphony Orchestra

MIT Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Adam K. Boyles
Kresge Auditorium
Oct. 13, 2017

Right from conductor Adam K. Boyles’ downbeat, MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO) delivered a brilliant performance, featuring Beethoven’s “Coriolan” Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, as well as Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in E minor, by MITSO’s own Bertrand Stone ’18.

In Beethoven’s “Coriolan” Overture, MITSO expertly executed the boldness desired by the composer. The musicians transitioned perfectly and smoothly handed off the melody between sections, enabling the piece to develop into a brilliant and uplifting experience.

MITSO’s rendition of Stone’s flute concerto, with soloist Kyle Swanson ‘18, was incredible. Speaking of his work, Stone joked that “It’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s a lot of notes, basically.”

Stone set out to write a flute sonata for his friend Swanson last May, but ended up outdoing himself and creating a three-movement concerto. MITSO rehearsed it with dedication from the beginning of this semester.

“I can go on and on about how amazing Bertrand is,” said Nanette Wu ‘20, a clarinetist in MITSO. “[In rehearsal], every time we play[ed] something good, a huge smile [went] on his face. It was an honor to get to play for him.”

Throughout the work, Swanson’s mastery of his instrument was evident. He executed the piece’s many technical passages with delightful grace.

“I was just so impressed at how effortless the whole solo sounded,” said Alex Ferguson G. “Everything the the flute did was incredibly well-replicated in the orchestra… it was definitely a conversation between the two”.

At the conclusion of the third and final movement, the audience sat in silent amazement for a moment before rising to give Swanson and MITSO a standing ovation.

MITSO finished strongly with the Tchaikovsky’s famous fourth symphony. Before the performance, Boyles explained some context about the piece and its brilliant composer. He first asked everyone whose first time it was hearing a symphony orchestra to applaud. A significant proportion of the audience was new to this art form. Boyles then declared that MITSO is “not an impenetrable entity” but rather a “welcoming, inclusive entity.”

As Boyles explained, Tchaikovsky’s fourth symphony is an expression of his struggles with melancholy as he tries try to join in with the happiness of the world around him while fate, represented in the recurring 12 beats, darkly holds him back. The musicians expressed this idea perfectly, culminating in the frenzied fourth movement.

At the end of the night, the audience leapt to their feet. Honoring the composer, Boyles lifted up the score from the Tchaikovsky, to the audience’s thunderous applause.