By Samia Afsar
Reporting Assistance Alexandria Woolfe
The Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music transported patrons to a fairytale-esque world in their second conservatory orchestra this past Thursday, Nov. 3 in the Claire Tow Theater.
Adjunct Assistant Professor and renowned cellist, Sibylle Johner, conducted the orchestra as they performed the music of women composers: Florence Price’s “Dance of the Canebrakes” and Emilie Mayer’s “Symphony No. 6.”
Dressed in all black and sitting in three rows of chairs that crowded the entire stage, the conservatory students kicked off the event by performing “Nimble Feet,” “Tropical Noon,” and “Silk Hat and Walking Cane,” which are the three movements of “Dance of the Canebrakes” by Price, who was the first African-American woman acknowledged as a symphonic composer.
Being a quite light-hearted and cheery piece, “Nimble feet” served as an excellent introduction. The piece allowed audience members to settle down and relax after what may have been a long, tiring day of school and work.
The dreamy fairytale-like theme continued with the Conservatory’s performance of “Tropical Noon.” Starting off with an easy going old-style ballroom melody which briefly becomes more assertive during the middle of the movement, this piece delivered powerful storytelling, and was so beautifully executed that it was easy to forget that the performers are still mere students capable of further enhancing their already grand expertise.
After a brief pause signaling the end of each movement, the orchestra performed the last movement from Price, marking the ending of “Dance of the Canebrakes.” For music lovers such as myself, it seemed as if it was over far too soon. If only an audience member had shouted out “encore!”
After a quick bow, the orchestra went right into performing “Symphony No.6 in E Minor,” which was originated by female German composer, Emilie Mayar.
The four movements entitled “Adagio-Allegro,” “Marcia Funebre,” “Scherzo,” and “Finale- Allegro” took up approximately 40 minutes of the nearly hour-long show, and were each hauntingly beautiful in their own way. Like machine work, each of the musicians’ movements were in sync for the entire piece, indicating such strong dedication and passion for their work. Since attendance was fairly low, musical notes echoed throughout the entire theater, which paired beautifully with the dramatic tones of Mayar’s piece.
There is no doubt that Mayar’s compositions possess a captivating narrative that encourages listeners, oftentimes involuntarily, to witness a story play out in their head with each note signifying a sense of comfort, tenderness, agony, or any other fervent sentiment which just simply cannot be put into words. A narrative that the BC Conservatory orchestra captured ever so perfectly.
As the event came to a close, Johner thanked the audience for attending the event and asked them to join her and the orchestra once more for their next show which will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8.