On November 11, the CFL was filled with the sounds of the Luther College Chamber Orchestra. Conducted by Professor of Music Daniel Baldwin, the Chamber Orchestra featured classical works from J.S. Bach, Antonio Rosetti, and Joseph Haydn, as well as the more contemporary work from Caroline Shaw.
The Orchestra opened with Bach’s “Sinfonia” from Cantata No. 42, followed by Antonio Rosetti’s “Symphony in G Minor.” The pieces provided an up-tempo start to the performance, with light themes and bright major keys.
This was followed by Caroline Shaw’s “Entr’acte,” which slowed things down a bit and added some drama with it’s staccato notes and unique harmonies. They ended with Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No.2 in D Major,” featuring a solo by Assistant Professor of Music Kacy Clopton. With such a range of music, there was something for everyone in the audience to enjoy.
“It was interesting how despite the small structure of the ensemble, they seemed to have a little more flexibility when it came to performing certain bits of repertoire,” music major and attendee Elijah Wallace (‘24) said. “You could see the breadth of genres they were able to play. They were able to play a Bach arrangement from the Baroque era, all the way up to a 21st century piece by Caroline Shaw.”
Clearly, a smaller orchestration does not mean that the range of music must also decrease with the size of the ensemble. In fact, in a Chamber Orchestra setting, performers must be on top of their game, perhaps even more than they might be in a larger group.
“I think as a Chamber Orchestra, when it is smaller than a Symphony Orchestra, we have the opportunity to grow as individual musicians because everything is very exposed,” principal cellist Willa Eacret (‘23) said. “Choosing this repertoire that’s very interesting and amazing, but also different and challenging, that really helped us [grow].”
The most visible musician was Clopton during her cello solo. Clopton received a standing ovation after her performance of Haydn’s concerto. Clopton had played this piece before, but never with a Chamber Orchestra. She said it forced her to look at performing the piece in a new light.
“I really had a good time, it was one of those nights where everybody brought their A-game,” Clopton said. “The orchestra played better than I’d ever heard them play, they were really listening and focusing and that was such a gift to me, to feel that support and collaboration with them.The energy was fabulous, and I’m at my best when I have people to bounce off of, so I was in my happy place in that concert.”
If the standing ovation was any indication, the audience also sensed that focus in the Chamber Orchestra. They will have to wait until the Spring to hear the group perform again, but can catch Chamber members performing in the full Orchestra at Christmas at Luther on December 2-5.