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The Pierian Sodality, at its annual concert in Sanders Theatre last evening, presented a comprehensive program of unusual interest and skilfull variety. Rameau's suite from the opera "Dardanus" supplied a classic foundation, the movement from Schumann's piano concerto made an agreeable link of "classic" romanticism towards the modern works of Sibelius, Humperdinck and the exotic Rimsky-Korsakoff, while Mr. Charles B. Roepper's "Ballet Scenes" entirely justified their inclusion in the program, alike by their intrinsic merit and the composer's recent association as a student in the Department of Music.
Rameau's "Ballet Suite" imposes a searching test upon a string orchestra, and it is not too much to say that the Pierian strings acquitted themselves most creditably by reason of their firm attack, rhythmical precision, and sensitive nuances.
Mr. Roepper's "Ballet Scenes" show much imagination, a definite sense of picturesque color, coherent development, and a due sense of form. As is natural with a composer of limited experience, he tends towards unnecessary complication both in the disposition of his musical materials and his orchestral forces, but at the same time he shows marked ability as well as promise of future concrete achievement.
Mr. Moeldner played the movement from the Schumann concerto with fluent and well-founded technique, an excellent interpretive style, although he tended at times to undue self-restraint. The orchestra accompanied alike with freedom and self-control in a manner that reflected highly upon its skill as well as that of its conductor.
The atmospheric charm of Sibelius's waltz, and the delicate imaginativeness of the extracts from "Hansel and Gretel" showed the orchestra in a most favorable light.
In the barbaric glitter and wayward humor of the numbers from Rimsky Korsakoff's early opera "Snegourotchka," the orchestra rose to a climax of brilliancy and real unity of ensemble, which constitute a very palpable executive achievement.
The concert as a whole reflects earnestness and unanimity on the part of the orchestra to carry out to the limit of their ability both the intentions of the composers represented, and the in- terpretive demands of the conductor. Mr. Clifton, who has already given signal proofs of his ability as a conductor, cannot be too highly praised for his admirable work with the Pierian Sodality. His beat is clear and firm, his readings of the several works presented were scholarly, poetic, and forceful by turns. He inspires his men to be classic, romantic and ultra-modern as the occasion demands, and his training and resourceful tact have created a standard for the Pierian which is not only extremely creditable in its present accomplishment, but a basis for future striving
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