Weekend Roundup: Orchestra 2001 and “Pride and Prejudice”

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Heading off campus might be foolish this weekend, with the wide range of events on campus this weekend. As well as the two Drama Board productions (see feature articles), Orchestra 2001 will perform several important premieres on Sunday night at 7:30 in Lang Concert Hall. Works by Jennifer Higdon, Kaija Saariaho, and Aaron Jay Kernis will be performed. Higdon, who teaches at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, is a very important contemporary composer of the popular “blue cathedral,” Grammy Award-winning “Concerto for Orchestra” and many other works. Her style is accessible and somewhat neo-Romantic, with inventive uses of orchestral color. Her “Celebration Fanfare” will receive its Philadelphia-area premiere, and “To the Point” will receive its world premiere. The concert also includes the Philadelphia premiere of Saariaho’s “Nymphea Reflection.” Saariaho, a Finnish composer, writes in a poetic and delicate style reminiscent of Ligeti (of “2001: A Space Odyssey” fame), with some of the same futurism. The Kernis piece, “Lament and Prayer,” will feature violinist Yumi Hwang-Williams, and is an established lyrical Neo-Romantic work.

If you simply must burst the Swat bubble this weekend, we dubiously recommend a trip to the Ritz in the Old City to see the new film adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice.” Yes, we know that the BBC mini-series with Colin Firth is firmly ensconced in your heart. If it isn’t, get thee to the fourth, err, third floor of McCabe and start watching. But this one is only two hours long! This time around, Keira Knightly is Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfayden is Mr. Darcy. Neither are obvious choices- Knightly is too pretty for the supposed ugly ducking Lizzie and never convinced us she was anything but modern in “Pirates of the Caribbean” (to be fair, we were to busy admiring Johnny Depp to notice her much), and Macfayden is not Colin Firth and therefore unsuitable (to be fair, Weekend Roundup can testify that he’s an excellent stage actor). But they deserve some sort of chance, and even the New York Times likes this new version, describing it as “as satisfyingly rich and robust a fusion of romance, historical detail and genial social satire as the time allows.”

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