#chamber #music #rocks
As I was perusing the tip box responses in our staff inbox with @fos over lunch today, I stumbled across a rather charming ode* to the Chamber Music Performance in Crowell from two Tuesday’s ago. The review was written with love and gusto, and is possibly the most eloquent piece I have had the pleasure to read during my time at Wesleyan. Whether you have been desperately awaiting a recap of this dazzling performance, or you’ve found yourself with some extra time on your hands, this is definitely worth a read. We recommend you read this piece in Professor Andrew Szegedy-Maszak‘s** voice while cuddled up with a blanket, a steaming cup of hot cocoa, and your cat.
Notes on Wednesdays Chamber Music performance.
Our way takes us by foot: tingly warm November evening welcomed an auspicious evening of musicianship. It’s been some years since we last had the privilege of attending an event at the Crowell Concert Hall, and the space did not fail to live up to our nostalgic memories. Instructor John Biatowas provided a capable, though somewhat terse introduction, and we then moved on into the music.
We were first treated to Carl Maria von Weber’s Trio for Piano, Flute, and Cello in G Minor, op. 63 by a trio of capable underclassman. We most enjoyed the Sturm und Drang; pianist Irene Westfall ’22 was both technically proficient and expressive in tone as she shepherded her freshmen compatriots through the tension. Seren Lurie ’23 (cello) and Anna Du ’23 (Flute) made impressive debuts, and we look forward to watching them blossom.
Next on the program were selections on Flute, Violin, and Piano from two French composers of the Post-Romantic period. Dustin Qian ’22‘s lively dancing on flute did somewhat contrast with Eilson. He has more sensuous tendencies on the violin, but such is romanticism. Freshman Lewis Chao ’23 coaxed enormous spirit from the piano, indeed such was his coaxing that during Ibert’s Two Interludes the damper pedal came detached with a bang!
At this point one must call attention to Instructor Biatowas’s patient shepherding of his students. He, with the noteworthy aid of a female colleague***, graciously shifted the piano backstage where if might find some timely R&R. Dilettantes that we are, we failed to make a note of his colleague’s name, but we do give thanks to both for their care and time.
Lacking a piano, we readjusted our itinerary, proceeding to the Mozart Clarinet quintet in A Major, K. 581. Zachary Drum, PhD candidate in biology, demonstrated himself to be a man of many talents. He navigated the virtuosic clarinet line first penned for Austrian multi-instrumentalist Anton Stadler with commanding grace and poise. Violinists Henry Lin-David ’21 and Kate Luo ’21 provided delightful treble interplay, and Anna Zagoren ’20 on cello was in rare form. We note the delightful contribution of Catherine Cheng ’22 on viola, and look forward to her continued contributions at Wesleyan.
The next trio of performers was eagerly greeted by the audience, indeed Esme Lytle ’21 had her own cheering section, which while perhaps a bit out of the ordinary for a chamber music ensemble, did set up an enthusiastic tone for their moving rendition of the third movement from Beethoven’s piano trio, Op. 1. Ms. Lytle’s strong performance on violin was joined with charming effervescence by Lillian Li ’20 on piano. Paul McLaren ’21 on cello capably rounded out the trio, and again, it was a treat!
Our final ensemble was a piano quartet performing the first movement from Robert Schumann’s Op 47 in E-flat Major. Luisa Rodriguez ’22 shimmered on violin. Sofia Cohen ’23, on what sounded a very formidable viola, danced up into the trebles, and then down into lower registers where she found herself harmoniously enmeshed in the cello work of Hayley Qin ’21. Michael Brandt ’22‘s focused enterprise behind the keyboard made for a delightful and complete whole.
At this point our French interpreters returned, piano revitalized. Mr’s Qian, He, and Chao returned for an intriguing rendition of Mel Bonis’s Suite Op. 59. They played with vigor and spirit, particularly in light of their earlier technical difficulties, and indeed it was a most impressive performance.
All told, a splendid evening at our local center of higher learning. We look forward to future performances.
* yes, this is very likely not the right use of this word, but I’m going with what feels right.
** hands down the sexiest voice on this campus, prove me wrong.
*** if you know who this is, pls email staff[at]wesleying[dot]org or dm us on twitter @wesleying !