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RIC’s Chamber Orchestra is a fruitful autumnal harvest

Malcolm Streitfeld

Anchor Staff Writer

Whenever I hear an orchestral piece, my mind turns it into a story. Sunday evening when I attended RIC’s Chamber Orchestra concert was no different. A lovely symphonic prelude by Vivaldi gave way to Mozart’s mysterious symphony. This in turn was topped off with a booming finale from Brahm’s lips that resounded throughout the Nazarin Center.

As I listened to these works, I thought first of Mozart riding through the rollicking green hills of the Italian countryside. Between 1769 and 1773, Mozart would take journeys where he would write the piece that was played by the Chamber Orchestra. As the ensemble of string instruments continued to strum, my mind then flashed to seventeen years later, so to speak. In the story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” penned by Washington Irving, a schoolteacher by the name of Ichabod Crane is chased by a ghostly figure on horseback.

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The contrasting imagery of Mozart taking in the Mediterranean vineyards under a bright blue summer sky and Ichabod Crane being pursued through a frigid fall forest played in my mind simultaneously as I listened to Mozart and Brahm’s pieces. At the climax of Brahm’s composition, the rolling of Mozart’s carriage wheels sped up exactly in sync with the pounding hoofbeats of Ichabod’s horse. Italian grasses whistled softly as Sleepy Hollow winds howled and then suddenly, without warning, I was down the rabbit hole and waltzing on memory lane again.

I thought back to my own past: how far I’ve come and what has changed as summer has changed to fall. How my fiery passion, blazing like the heat of July afternoons has been tempered by the calmer more temperate throngs of serene autumn mornings. The leaves rustled by and my personality and interests changed as fast as their colors. If my frequent musings and reflections on my character didn’t affirm my growth as a person, then Brahm’s explosive mournful wails certainly made that abundantly clear. It was like the universe itself was telling me that I was on the right path towards bettering myself, shoring up on my flaws and becoming an amazing human being. I am already, though for the sake of humbleness I will not claim to be a paragon of virtue.

From Vivaldi’s prelude, through Mozart’s interim and culminating in Brahm’s climax, the Chamber Orchestra played a beautiful tale of naturalistic splendor and personal transformation from beginning to end. It was such a perfect way to greet both the new semester and flourishing fall season. Academically, I now finally feel like I’ve found my footing. I am far more confident than I was at the beginning of the semester. I also feel like I have a newfound appreciation for classical music that started out as a barely noticeable seedling that developed when I attended a RIC musical event celebrating the 75th anniversary of Israel. That seedling has now fully blossomed and as a result my cultural knowledge has expanded. The Chamber Orchestra was definitely a very strong start to what will no doubt be a plethora of musical wonders playing loud and clear on the RIC campus this semester.


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