Three Pomona College faculty members performed songs inspired by water in a concert titled ”Notes on Water” March 31 at the Mabel Shaw Bridges Hall of Music.
The music was performed by clarinet player Gary Bovyer, pianist Genevieve Feiwen Lee and soprano Gwendolyn Lytle.
The audience included Pomona College professors as well as students of the performers.
“I love the combination of soprano voice, clarinet and piano,” music professor Donna DiGrazia said. “It compliments the music.”
The performance included music compositions from Austrian composer Franz Schubert called “The Pretty Millermaid,” and poems of German poet Johann Ludwig Muller.
“The Pretty Millermaid” tells the story of a miller maid picking a suitor, but Schubert tells the story from the point of view of the suitor.
The suitor is also a miller, a person that runs a grain mill.
The songs of the story played were “Whither?” “Thanks to the Brook” and “The Miller and the Brook.”
These three pieces demonstrated the friendship the suitor finds with a brook as he is out on an adventure.
The piano and the clarinet displayed variety in the rhythms and played soft melodies.
“I can feel the springtime and water in the piano,” said Nancy Chenm a student who attended the performance. “It was very outstanding.”
Next, songs composed by Dominick Argento’s song cycle, “To Be Sung Upon the Water,” were performed.
The title, is an allusion to Schubert, and only two songs that referenced water were played.
After Argento’s compositions, two songs of “The Pretty Millermaid” were performed as a conclusion to this part of the concert.
Compositions from violinist and German composer Louis Spohr brought out the clarinet player.
In “Two Songs In One,” Bovyer performed standing up and played upbeat, short trills that continued through the song.
In the next song by Spohr, “The Secret Song,” Bovyer played low notes that rapidly moved up the scale in different variations as he swayed back and forth.
The final two songs of the concert were once again Schubert’s pieces.
Bovyer started playing Schubert’s “Romance” with prolonged and melodic notes with ease.
During “Romance,” Lytle gasped and stopped singing for a second for what appeared to be singing a lyric wrong.
Lytle was soon able to pick up from her mistake and continued singing flawlessly throughout the rest of the performance.
In “The Shepherd on the Rock,” Bovyer began the song with a crescendo and wasoon accompanied by Lee’s piano and responded with Lytle’s voice.
“It was a conversation, a tri-alogue,” DiGrazia said.
Throughout the song, the clarinet and Lytle seemed to be involved in a conversation as they responded to each other with melodies.
“The Shepherd on the Rock” ended with an impressive run of scales by Bovyer.
“I like coming to these performances whenever I can,” said Diane Northern, a former student of Bovyer.
After the performers left the stage, Lytle returned and rendered an emotional a cappella performance of the traditional song, “Calvary.”
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