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Musicians display classical talents

Grace Xia Zhao, piano, and Karmen Suter, flute, play “Airs de Ballet d’ Ascanio,” composed by Camille Saint-Saëns, for the “Songs of Remembrance” concert Sunday in Morgan Auditorium. Performers played a collection of classical music pieces to fit the theme. / photo by Jessica Harsen

Grace Xia Zhao, piano, and Karmen Suter, flute, play “Airs de Ballet d’ Ascanio,” composed by Camille Saint-Saëns, for the “Songs of Remembrance” concert Sunday in Morgan Auditorium. Performers played a collection of classical music pieces to fit the theme. / photo by Jessica Harsen

Mariela Patron
Staff Writer

Classical sonatas and German music captivated an audience Sunday in Morgan Auditorium for the concert titled “Songs of Remembrance.”

The program featured performances by ULV artist-in-residence Grace Xia Zhao, Los Angeles Phil Harmonic principal bassist Dennis Trembly, flutist Karmen Suter, tenor Jonathan Mack, and the ULV Chamber Music Ensemble.

“It’s a language we speak and it’s a pleasure to share it with the audience,” Zhao said.

The concert began with six members of the chamber music ensemble clapping a composition by Steve Reich called “Clapping Music.”

Zhao patriciated by conducting for about three minutes during the piece.

The idea came together because the chamber music group did not play any instruments that would compliment each other.

“Clapping was the only way they figured they could perform together,” junior music major Emmanuel Lagum­bary, said.

“I was surprised, I have never heard a classical song clapped,” associate professor of academic affairs Al Clark, said.

The ensemble mostly stayed together, but halfway through their performance they went off tempo but quickly recovered.

“It’s definitely tiresome but when you’re in performance mode, you are in performance mode,” Lagumbay said.

“Clapping Music” marked the end of Reich’s use of the gradual phase shifting process.

Suter played two songs from French composer Pierre Octave Ferroud’s “Three Pieces for Solo Flute.”

“It makes me think of a woman in prison,” Suter said. “The thoughts in her head of ‘What am I doing here?’ and ‘How am I going to get out?’”

Suter played with a clear, crisp sound and vibrato while she would move her body in a circular motion while playing a string of notes.

The beginning of some measures of Ferroud’s “Bergere Captive” had an Arabic feel that resembled the main theme of the Nutcracker’s Suite “Arabian Dance.”

Zhao on piano accompanied Suter in “Airs de Ballet d’ Ascanio” by French composer Camille Saint-Saens.

Zhao began the piece gracefully and played the keys with articulation and grace while Suter played long runs demonstrating her extreme breath control.

They played the piece like a lullaby and put the audience into a peaceful spell, but ended abruptly with speed.

“I love a small audience it’s more intimate,” Suter said.

Suter said that a smaller audience is more appropriate for the kind of pieces she played.

Zhao also joined Trembly in “Sonata for Bass and Piano” by Paul Hindemith and also performed two pieces by Reinhold Gliere.

In Gliere’s “Tarantella,” Trembly was able to showcase his speed and made the bass sound like a swarm of bumble bees.

Trembly effortlessly moved his fingers up and down his fretboard, even past the roseword fretboard and onto the bridge.

“His playing is so exquisite and so lyrical that it doesn’t sound like a bass but more like a cello,” professor of music, Kathleen Lamkin, said.

At the end of “Tarantella” the audience erupted in applause.

The concert finished with Mack, singing song selections in German from Austrian composer Franz Schubert.

“In the German romantic tradition poets were very concerned about nature,” Mack said.

Mack sang pieces that sounded like traditional German music.

“It allures German clog dancing,” Mack said.

Mack performed with presence and adopted the persona of the characters in the song.

“I have never heard Schubert sang as beautifully as I did today,” Clark said.

Mariela Patron can be reached at mariela.patron@laverne.edu.

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