I went to the UCF String Ensemble this past Friday night not knowing what it was about or who was performing but I knew it was free and that was enough. The concert consisted of three ensembles and two programs.
The first act lasted an hour with two ensembles performing. The first ensemble was a five piece ensemble made up of two violinists, two violists, and one cellist. They performed the String Quintet No. 2 for two Violins, two Violas, and Cello. Op. 11 by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). The individual acts were entitled “Allegro non troppo, ma con brio; Adagio; Un poco Allegretto; and Vivace ma non troppo presto.” Marcus Ojito and Caitlyn White were on Violin, Addison Viets and Ayaka Yonetani were on Viola, and Michelle Chen on Cello. The performance was really good, there were a few times that the principle violinist was out of tune throughout the piece but the overall conduction was good. The queues were together, for those of you who do not know what a queue is, it is a breathing technique usually done by the principle chair to let everyone know when to start. The audience was small at first, but in typical college student fashion, lots of students showed up late, but surprisingly were respectful enough not to enter the room until one act was finished.
The second piece was a Sonata Concertata for Guitar and Violin by Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840). The individual acts were entitled Allegro spiritoso; Adagio assai espressivo; Rondeau-Allegretto con brio, Scherzando. The performers were Vasily Yurin on Guitar and Ayako Yonetani on Violin. I had never seen a classical guitar performance before, this was a treat for me. I am a big rock n’ roll fan so I see plenty of guitar played up close and in person, but this type of performance was a little different in technique. I felt like he was playing a classical instrument. It was different. Multiple fingers being used to strum multiple notes at the same time. Individually hearing each note, classic Baroque era style towards the end of the Baroque era.
After the first program was over, the second was part of the Student Recital Serires. That nights student was Savannah Adams on Violin, and accompanying her was John Olearchick on Piano. She performed a piece by herself called Sonata No. 2 in A minor, S. 1003; Grave and Allegro by J.S. Bach (1685-1750). Then a couple of duets with the pianist, the songs Concerto I. Allegro con fermezza by Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) and Havanaise by one of my favorites, Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921). The first performance was hard to listen to because it was very out of tune, but even though I don’t know her I blame that on performance anxiety. The next two pieces she began to calm down, even though she had a few misses, you could tell she was in her zone. She was a much better fast paced performer. I can relate, sometimes when the piece is slower the count is harder.
The overall performance was great, and I would recommend all UCF students come out to the upcoming performances by your very UCF orchestra. Its free, and its a great date idea. Or even if you just have nothing to do, why not come listen to some great classical music. I’m glad I did.