Friday, December 13, 2013

Orchestra celebrates Britten with winter recital

By Paul Schmitt
Arts & Entertainment Editor

In celebration of English composer Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday, the Saint Mary’s University Chamber Orchestra performed selections from his repertoire on Dec. 8 in Figliulo Recital Hall.

The recital, titled “Britten’s Centennial,” included the composer’s pieces “Simple Symphony” and “Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings,” along with the Tchaikovsky work “Andante Cantabile for String Quartet.” Joining the orchestra for “Serenade” were Mark Mowry, Ph.D., a professor of voice at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, as the tenor vocalist, and Regina Barbosa, a senior public relations major from SMU, on french horn.

“Typically the piece is played by graduate students and professionals, so it was a challenge for us as undergrads, but we pulled it off. And, of course, having Dr. Mowry was a big help too,” said Barbosa.

The “Hymn” movement, which featured Barbosa was most difficult for the orchestra to pull off, said freshman viola player Aly Cross, because “while the strings pizzicato the entire time,” referring to the technique of plucking an instrument’s strings instead of using the bow, “Regina has a very busy melody.”

Made up of only eight students, the orchestra itself is quite small, though Cross said, “We all have a lot of power that is able to fill the recital hall.”

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