The first musical concert “De Rerum Natura (2013)” played on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 9, to a sold out auditorium brimming with students, faculty and members of the community in the new Edith O’Donell building.
In attendance were David Daniel, president of the university, Hobson Widenthal, provost and other members of the administration.Dennis Kratz, dean of arts and humanities, opened the ceremony with an anecdotal speech that highlighted the importance of trifecta of arts, technology and humanities coming together at UTD with its unique degree programs.
Robert Rodriguez, professor in arts and humanities, known for the romantic dramatic nature of his compositions and Chloe Trevor, international violinist, took the stage soon after.
“Robert is a genius and this was in my opinion the finest work he has ever created,” Kratz said, when asked about Rodriguez, who is also a personal friend.
Like the orchestral piece commissioned for the event, Kratz likened the three heroes of the play, “De Rerum Natura,” the classical first century didactic poem by Lucretius, to Daniel, Widenthal and Rodriguez, to all of whom he attributed the success of the opening of the new building.
The musical piece opened with Mozart’s “Overture to Der Schauspieldirektor,” which saw Trevor and the UTDallas’ Musica Nova setting the elegant tone for the rest of the night.
“Overall, I thought it was pretty amazing,” said biology sophomore Hayden Higgins.
A brief intermission followed the Overture and the audience grew quiet again to hear the world premiere of the “De Rerum Natura” which woke up the hall with its quiet and powerful use of dissonance interwoven between its notes.
The clarity and the use of percussion instruments added to the flair of the traditional orchestral setting. The 25-minute piece was divided into four parts, each referring to a specific part of the poem.
“It adds color to the pieces; I think I was amazed with what he was trying to get through with Lucretius’s poem using dissonance,” said Angela Tran, a mathematics sophomore.
The audience definitely moved to Trevor’s commanding presence as the first violinist playing fluidly with Rodriguez’s conducting on a piece that has never been played before. The duo along with Musica Nova brought the crowd to a standing ovation from the edge of their seats.
“I thought it was very engaging for the audience and musically it was very intellectual and poetic, considering the musical theory behind the piece,” said Clarissa Pollack, an arts and performance senior.