On Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m., the Williams College Student Symphony will perform in Chapin Hall. Under the leadership of director Dan Perttu ’01 and assistant director Jeremy Faust ’01, the Symphony will perform works from various composers and time periods.
Among the three pieces that will be conducted by Perttu, Mendelssohn’s Overture to Hebriden is the most technically challenging for the orchestra, especially for the string section. Although the piece is difficult, Perttu expressed his pleasure with the work the musicians have put into preparing it. Beyond the technical challenges of the work, Perttu commented, “The Hebrides Overture is a fine piece that captures the mystery and beauty of the lonely islands up in Scotland. I hope to try to convey that atmosphere in our performance this weekend.”
Perttu will also conduct an orchestral suite from Bizet’s opera, Carmen. The suite includes six excerpts from the opera, ending with the famous theme, “Les TorÃ©adors.” The selections in this suite cover a wide variety of musical moods, ranging from slower, more melodic movements to some that are fast and upbeat.
To round out his musical selections, Perttu will also conduct the second of DvorÃ¡k’s Legenden. Although this piece is not as famous as many of DvorÃ¡k’s other works, it is representative of his skill and style. The piece is not long, but within a short time it shifts between many different tempos and styles.
“I find this little work by Dvorak to be a microcosm of his talent,” says Perttu. “The piece is capricious, but not disjointed; it captures a sort of manic-depressive tension that pervades much of Dvorak’s music and makes it so exciting to listen to.”
Faust will conduct Nuages, the first of Debussy’s Nocturnes. Faust said that he enjoys this particular piece: “While it relies on relies on familiar and beautiful sounds, the piece is coated with a distinct and mysterious air.” Faust expects listeners to enjoy the piece because although it is beautiful and easy to like, “it still challenges listeners on many levels.”
According to Faust, the Symphony has proven itself to be very strong. He commented that the ensemble, especially the woodwind section, is creating “incredible sounds.” He encourages everyone, including those who do not typically enjoy classical concerts, to attend. He noted that not only are concertgoers likely to know at least one member of the group, but they will enjoy a “short and sweet” concert which will feature a very diverse selection of musical works.