Orchestra brings Beethoven to RCC

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By Yasmeen Salama / Inscape Editor

Courtesy of RCC Symphony Orchestra ( From Aaron Copland to Beethoven, RCC symphony orchestra took the audience)

By Yasmeen Salama / Inscape Editor

First, a single violinist warmed up on the stage, going through basic musical scales.

Then a horn sounded in the back, contrasting horribly with the violin.

One instrument after another, Seventh Day Baptist Church soon filled with a cacophony of disjointed  sounds as Riverside City College’s Symphony Orchestra warmed up for its first and only performance of the fall semester.

And then the concert master, Mischa Lakirovich, stepped onto the stage and after a brief applause, the sounds of the chattering audience slowly dissipated until the room went completely silent.

The concert master sounded a single note on his violin and the other musicians echoed it.

Suddenly all those dissonant sounds came together to produce a solid musical line, and with it began the performance.

Kevin A. Mayse, an associate professor of music at RCC, conducted the orchestra and chose all the pieces performed on the night, featuring violins, violas, cellos, oboes, horns, flutes, trombones, timpani, and many others.

Mayse began the performance with a lively, bright piece by American composer Aaron Copland entitled “An Outdoor Overture.”

As its name states, the piece does accurately encompass the beauty and tranquility of the outdoors, and it provided a pleasant opener to a pleasant evening.

In the spirit of the holidays, the orchestra performed “Greensleeves” next, which has to be one of the most beautiful melodies ever written, dating back to the 1700s.

The arrangement featured a solo flutist for portions of the song and it would not have been the same without the gentle strumming of the harp to compliment the piece.

“Night on Bald Mountain” may not ring a bell for most people. But Disney’s “Fantasia” or Disneyland Resort’s night-time spectacular “Fantasmic” probably does.

This piece was featured in both as a theme that captured the menacing, but artistic Disney villains but without the visuals to go along with it, the piece sounds a lot more frightening than Disney made it out to be.

With the last note of that number, followed by a brief intermission, the orchestra then pulled out a piece that people usually have to pay a hefty price to hear live: the full arrangement of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 2.”

Arranged into four movements, the second half of the performance was comprised solely of this masterpiece.

Though the audience could not hold its applause until the end of the fourth movement, the symphony moved through it fluidly.

Now, unfortunately the problem with classical music is that there is often times no discernible melody to follow and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 2” is one such piece.

By the third movement, it became easy to zone out, fidget, or just lose focus on the piece.

As musically amazing as the song is, for today’s audience, people are used to three to five minute songs.

But a 30-minute song? It is definitely a recipe for nodding off.

But for those members of the audience with a more classical ear, it was simply a treat to hear an entire Beethoven piece.

“It’s great music, I’ve always loved Beethoven,” said Mayse, who has conducted the RCC orchestra for the past 11 years and is still going strong.

“I try to program something new for the audience, do different pieces that contrast each other.”

With special thanks to RCC’s Applied Music Faculty, RCC Symphony Orchestra wrapped up the evening with the final, epic fourth movement of “Symphony No. 2” and earned a long, enthusiastic applause.    

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