SUU Symphony Orchestra presents Masterworks Concert

The compositions of Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky were heard throughout the Heritage Center Theater on Nov. 15 as Southern Utah University’s Symphony Orchestra gave their fall concert. The program was introduced by Douglas Ipson, professor of music history and theory at SUU. 

The first piece of the evening was Beethoven’s “Egmont Overture.” Written as the overture to the play of the same name by German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe, the composition has become a popular staple in orchestral music. 

“It encapsulates what we associate with Beethoven’s ‘middle style,’” said Ipson. “One of the things Beethoven did enormously well is to take the listener on a musical but also on a dramatic journey.” 

Beethoven’s overture was followed by “Duetto” from “Stabat Mater” by Gioachino Rossini. He composed the work after his retirement from a successful career as an operatic composer. Vocal performance majors Anne Turner and Emily Benson sang the duet, accompanied by the orchestra. 

“The ‘Stabat Mater’ is based on a medieval Latin hymn that describes and reflects upon the sorrows of the Virgin Mary as she was confronting the death of her son,” Ipson said.

The highlighted performance of the evening was Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos in E Flat Major.” Internationally acclaimed piano duo Jie Deng Lu and Ning Lu performed as the soloists in the piece. The pair has played in many countries on several continents, such as Austria, Japan, China, and several of the United States. Originally, the work was likely composed for Mozart to perform with his sister, Maria Anna. 

“A good concerto has to balance extravagance and eloquence,” said Ipson. “There were very few composers who were as good at concerto writing as Mozart was.” 

Finally, the concert concluded with selections from Tchaikovsky’s beloved “Nutcracker Suite.” Composed at the end of his life, the piece contains stunning, memorable melodies that have become the staple of Christmas celebrations throughout the world. 

“It is the soundtrack of all our Decembers,” Ipson said. “It is a piece of music that is full of home runs.” 

SUU’s Symphony Orchestra is directed by Xun Sun and is comprised of music majors and non-majors alike. The concert was live streamed and can be viewed at this link. 

Story by: Gracie Butterfield
Photos courtesy of SUTV-9
Editor: Tessa Cheshire