By Claire Matlak
This past weekend was exceptionally busy for the music department, with four talented seniors performing recitals as a part of their senior exercise.
Will Seaton 13 began the weekend with a rousing guitar recital, opening with a series of solo pieces and duets and switching styles after intermission to perform group works. His opening set, Carcassis Caprice No. 1, Op. 26 and Carullis Sonatina, demonstrated a sensitivity that continued throughout the hour.
The second set, comprised of Rainer Falks Brazilian Mood, the traditional Celtic tune Variation on an Untitled Lute Dance, and Paul McCartneys Penny Lane, served as a smooth transition into modern guitar. Seatons impeccable timing shone in his lively bluegrass duet Blackberry Blossom, performed with James Plunkett 13, and his pensive rendition of James Taylors Fire and Rain, a beautiful vocal duet between Seaton and Sarah White 16.
For the second half of the program, Seaton enlisted the talents of Jason Cerf 15, Sam Graf 16, and Nathan Huey 13, Plunkett, and Adam Reed 15 in various combinations for James Taylors Mexico, George Harrisons Here Comes the Sun, the Steve Winwood classic Cant Find My Way Home, Paul Desmonds Too Rolling Stoned by Robin Trower, and the crowd-pleasing closer The Wind Cries Mary, by Jimi Hendrix.
Patrick Joyal 13 performed a novel form of recital, conducting a volunteer chamber orchestra through the entirety of Ludwig van Beethovens Symphony No. 1 in C major and selections from Jean-Baptiste Lullys opera Roland. Before the performance, Joyal spoke about the use of space in sound, explaining the purpose of the unconventional setup a lack of chairs for all but the bass instruments.
The strong opening piece, Overture to Roland, exemplified the listening and following abilities of the ensemble, especially as they deftly navigated the polyphonically complex second section of this movement. The jubilant Chaconne, also from Roland, had some minor intonation and timing issues; overall it flowed smoothly and the orchestra captured the chivalric essence of the movement. The animated final movement was the strongest, and Joyals enthusiasm and love of the music were especially apparent at that point in the recital.
Soprano Ellen Kaufman 13 finished out Saturday, serenading a full hall with works from Baroque to contemporary, masterfully handling each of these diverse styles. Kaufman opened with the somber Handel arias Lascia chio pianga and Tornami a vagheggiar, then quickly switched moods with Mozarts humorous duet Papapa! from the opera Die Zauberflote, performed with baritone Nick Foster 13.
Jill Hanley 13, an exceptional soprano herself, joined Kaufman for the tragic Vieni, appaga il tuo consorte from Glucks Orfeo ed Euridice, singing a traditionally male role. The flawless and sensitive accompaniment by Jaime Cohen 15 enhanced Kaufmans enchantment of the audience.
As she passed chronologically through composers, Kaufman gave alternately stirring and amusing renditions of works by Rameau, Schubert, and Liszt before she arrived at a set of modern and jazzy songs from the musicals The Light in the Piazza, Into the Woods and Oh, Kay! Kaufman reached her finest in the final number, Jeanine Tesoris and Dick Scanlans The Girl in 14G.
On Sunday afternoon, Daniel Harrison 13 filled Brandi with the warm tones of the cello, opening with the sweeping duet Song of the Birds, a Catalan folk song arranged by Harrison for his recital and performed with violinist Eliza Blum 15. The majority of the recital was spent in the Romantic era, with a dip into Baroque through Bachs well-known Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major.
After a hesitant entrance, Harrison expertly performed the gorgeous Kol Nidre by Max Bruch, a piece which utilizes the full range of the instrument, tempos, and dynamics. Beethovens quick and playful Cello Sonata No. 1 in F Major followed, in which Harrison engaged in energetic dialogue with accompanist Lucas Weiss.
The first movement of Robert Schumanns Cello Concerto in A Minor began with a lyric cello melody while the driving piano gave a hint of what was to come. Harrison entranced the audience with his stunning rendition of the Bach Cello Suite, a piece as challenging as it is famous.
As the curtain closed on a successful weekend, audience members (many of whom attended all four recitals) walked away satisfied and humming some new tunes.