UCA concludes virtuoso series with faculty recital

Faculty members of the Colorado State University School of Music, Theatre, and Dance faculty performed the final concert in the Fall 2016 Virtuoso series Monday. Students and community members gathered in the Organ Recital Hall at the University Center for the Arts where the faculty performed to a sold out show.

The first piece featured Barbara Thiem on cello and Joel Bacon on organ. “Kol Nidre for cello and organ 1962 rev. 1963” by Herman Berlinski allowed the musicians to showcase a melancholy sound with drastic dynamic contrast. Although the organ primarily accompanied the cello, the deep strings would occasionally drop out for a haunting solo by the organ. Both instruments strayed from the low minor sounds into shriller higher octaves loaded with emotion. The simple melody and its counter-melody gave the piece a mysterious aesthetic before a long, sustained organ chord ended the performance.

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Margaret Miller on viola and Michelle Stanley on flute then took the stage and sat across from each other. “Divertimento for flute and viola (2010/2013)” by Paul Hayden presented three movements: Canray’s Dream, Molto Tranquilo and Canjun Riveria. The first movement was a slow minor melody that transitioned into a much faster tempo. The flute flurried with runs and trills as the viola kept a steady pulse for accompaniment. Both instruments took the melody at various points and sometimes played different lines simultaneously. Key changes flipped the piece from major to minor keys and back again, and discordant notes created tension that resolved at the end of the phrase. Both performers leaned toward each other and made eye contact to determine entrances, especially when the music called for short call-and-responses that gradually switched tempos and transitioned into the next movement. The final movement showcased a quick and lively piece that the two musicians performed with great enthusiasm. The movement ended with a high and abrupt ending that was perfectly in time.

Wes Kenny conducted “Quartet for Violin, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, and Piano; Opus 22” by Anton V. Webern. The piece had two movements and featured Ron Francois on violin, Wesley Ferreira on clarinet, Dan Goble on saxophone and Tim Burns on piano. The piece featured an odd arrangement of music; notes jumped between instruments with no distinguishable melody line. Each player would belt out one or two notes, then the next would jump in with another couple. The piano accompanied with an odd, discordant assortment of chords, making the entire piece sound disconnected. As the piece progressed, it settled into a pattern and the seemingly broken-up notes started to form a melody line. The performers bobbed in time with the music and made facial expressions appropriate for the strange but highly entertaining movement. All the musicians stopped and leaned away from their stands, and one lone tenor saxophone note finished the piece.

After a brief intermission, Wes Kenney returned to the stage as a conductor along with a combination of returning and new performers. The final piece of the concert presented something unique and unusual: rhythmic poetry recited over the music group’s accompaniment. Tiffany Blake and John Carlo Pierce alternated for each short piece of poetry, which they recited with precise diction and skilled control. The music ensemble provided the mood for each poem. Eighteen movements showcased different styles of music and challenging sing-song poetry. For the final movement, both Blake and Pierce performed a duet of recitation in a call-and-response form, finishing with one last line in unison.

The Virtuoso Series spanned the fall semester at the UCA, and CSU’s music faculty finished off the season with a flourish. The incredible talent inspired their students and gave the Fort Collins community a night of diverse music and enthusiastic passion.