Ensemble of Variable Geometry Performs at Majestic Theatre

By Alicia Method, Staff Writer

On Friday Nov. 4, the Ensemble of Variable Geometry, or EnVaGe, performed a set of three unique pieces inspired by myth and folk traditions. 

EnVaGe is a music performance and research organization founded and directed by Dr. Leal. According to the event’s program, the organization has put on projects such as a full-staged ballet production of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” and Chopin’s “Les Sylphides” (in collaboration with Lexington Ballet).

The group has also collaborated with visual artist Greg Pond, choreographer Banning Bouldin, and soprano Jessica Usherwood. 

The ensemble, conducted by Dr. César Leal, was comprised of Gettysburg students and faculty. Some student performers were members of Dr. Leal’s courses, Musicology II: The Western Musical Canon after 1900 and Topics in Musicology: Music in Latin America. 

Friday’s performance began with “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune” by Claude Debussy, a titular example of French modernism. This piece was inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem “l’Après-midi d’un Faune,” which follows a young faun flirting with a group of nymphs. EnVaGe’s version was orchestrated by A. Lavandier. 

The second piece was unique in that it incorporated a spoken retelling of an Arab folk tale. Narration was provided by Gettysburg faculty member Jeremi Dilworth. The piece, “Abu Jmeel’s Daughter” was composed by Kareem Roustom. The story “Abu Jmeel’s Daughter” was taken from a collection edited by Dr. Salma Khadra Jayyusi and follows the cursed wife of a prince who may not speak in front of her husband.

The final piece, “En el Sombrío Bosque un Canto, un Pájaro” was written by Coriún Aharonián, an Uruguayan composer and musicologist. According to the program notes, the composer’s personal experiences were apparent in his music as it explored “the horrors of military dictatorship in Uruguay.”

In this final performance, off-stage members of the Gettysburg College Symphony Orchestra surprised audiences by joining the performers from their seats, playing whistles. 

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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