Bittersweet symphony

By Arielle Maxner

Conductor Mark Hilt donned a feather-ornamented pirate hat for the finale of the last symphony concert of the year, which featured the theme from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Opening with chamber music, the orchestra performed in Rugby Auditorium on May 18 as soloists and in small groups, but not as a whole until the final piece.

“We had fun playing ‘Pirates’ in the end,” pianist and percussionist Danni Xia ’12 said. “It’s a popular and exciting piece, ending the year with a bang.”

The Harvard-Westlake Percussion Quartet played two pieces, one of which was a composition by Hilt. The other piece was a rhythmic Brazilian work.

Traditional classical music was played as well, with excerpts of Haydn, Saint-Saëns and French music by Charles Gounod.

Many had the opportunity for solos in performing selections from Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals.”

To introduce each selection, Hilt recited poems and prose about the animals that inspired the pieces.

He commented on the personification of the animals and their attributed traits, describing the perception of the lion as an intimidating king and the association of the tortoise with a slow but steady march.

Hank Adelmann ’11 played a solo on the bass in “The Elephant,” or “L’éléphant,” and James Myerson ’11, despite being sick, played “The Swan,” or “Le Cynge.”

“I really liked playing in small chamber ensembles in the concert because it gave me a more intimate musical experience, different from playing in an orchestra,” Xia said.