UVU Symphony Orchestra serves earful at holiday feast

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UVU Orchestra Symphony gave a feast for the ears in the Grande Ballroom Thursday Nov. 30; they played classical songs from well-known movies such as Ronin and Wanted.

“Originally we had the theme of holiday feast, and then we included Firebird from Fantasia 2000,” said Cheung Chau, the conductor and director of orchestra. There wasn’t much of a holiday feeling with the first four pieces because they played songs such as Time to Say Goodbye and O Sole Mio, sounding more like a drama to be heard in Romeo and Juliet.  However, Firebird is played by many orchestras around the world during the holidays, according to Chau.

That’s not to say the music wasn’t well done. The opera pieces performed by Isaac Hurtado, professor and opera singer, were filled with passion and power. This was his first time being a part of the UVU Symphony Orchestra. Before teaching at UVU, Hurtado performed with the Utah Valley Symphony as well as many different opera companies across the country.

“It was a lot of fun; they did a good job [and were] fun to work with,” Hurtado said..

Hurtado’s voice and power were stunning. The crowd could feel the energy he gave off through his singing and his slow, but forceful, movements. It’s as if a beautiful, controlled tempest left his lungs. His voice easily overpowered the orchestra, making them beautiful background noise.

“It was beautiful. It was a very well done performance,” english major Rebecca Welch said.

Once the opera numbers were finished, Firebird Suite, 1919 by Stravinsky began. The fluttering of the flutes matched with the plucking of the cellos really brought the image of birds in flight. It was very soft and began to drift into the next piece, The Princesses’ Khorovod. The audience drifted away as a fair maiden pranced through their minds, the fluttering turned more to skipping tweets and the percussion became more prominent. The orchestra faded into silence.

The crowd, thinking the piece was done, were jolted out of their seats as the drums thundered from the percussionists and the symphony began to play wildly as Infernal Dance of King Kashchei began. Chau flailed madly about as he directed the symphony, feeling the darkness and fury as they pressed forward with the song, The number was played with such intensity that the horse hair on the bow of the first chair cello began to snap.

“Usually it breaks when you play hard or fast, but sometimes it’s just weak,” first chair cello music performance major Ching Yao Chang said.

Blending two numbers together, the UVU Symphony transitioned into the final two songs, Berceuse (Lullaby) and The Finale, drawing the crowd back from madness to bring a peaceful and sound resolution to the performance.