By Lana Holgado
The music department’s students and faculty convened in Mayo Concert Hall on Oct. 1 to listen to their peers perform in the first Tuesday Afternoon Recital of the semester.
At least once per semester, all music students are required to perform a piece of repertoire that they are currently working on. Although all were works from the Western art music tradition, the program showcased four different performances varying in mood, instrument and era of composition.
First up was Nicholas Marsola, a sophomore music and psychology double major. He took on an ambitious piano piece “Gargoyles, Op. 29” by the modern composer Lowell Liebermann, who is known for his distinct take on modern tonality.
Marsola performed two select movements that showcased his technique and expressive range. The first movement he played had a beautiful clear melody that floated above the swirling arpeggios. The second was fast and aggressive with complicated fingerings, earning him thunderous applause the second he stood up from the piano bench.
Next was Matthew Schlomann, a junior music education major who sang “Le Bestiaire (The Bestiary)” by Francis Poulenc, a late 19th century French composer. He and the following two performers were accompanied by staff pianist Nicholas Gatto.
Schlomann prefaced his performance by explaining that it was a song cycle, a collection of short songs, which told a story about different animals at a zoo. He encouraged the audience to pay attention to the piano accompaniment for the representations of the different animals.
Though Schlomann sang in French, the distinct character of each animal was clear, from the lethargic, swaying camel to the bouncing, jovial dolphin.
“My favorite is the carp because in the introduction you can really see the swishing of the tail in the bass notes of the piano,” Schlomann said.
Following Schlomann’s performance was Maxwell Mellies, a junior music education major. Mellies along with Gatto performed a movement from “Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano” by Bernhard Heiden.
The 20th century piece incorporated jazzy melodic lines into a traditionally classical form, a subtle juxtaposition that Mellies brought to life beautifully. From start to finish, he appeared composed and confident.
Last on the program for that afternoon was Bryan Cook, a junior music education major. Accompanied by Gatto, he gave a great performance on his trumpet of “Concerto in E-flat Major” by Johann Nepomuk Hummel.
The selected movement, “Allegro con spirito,” was lively and triumphant, as Cook’s clear tone rang proudly throughout the hall.
“I think (my performance) went really well,” Cook said. “The repertoire I chose really challenged me, but I think that’s the point of it. You’re supposed to get out of your comfort zone and play your very best.”
Given his confident demeanor and stage presence, the audience had no way of knowing Cook found the piece challenging.
The music students waited in the lobby of Mayo to greet the performers with cheers and hugs of congratulations as they emerged from the basement. The students know what it’s like to feel the pressure of performing, and they always show support for their friends.
“I think everyone either sang or played very well,” said Casey Ackerman, a junior music education major who had performed in previous recitals.
Schlomann, as both a performer and page-turner, was able to experience the recital in his own way.
“I page-turned for Maxwell, so I got to hear his performance, and I thought that went really well,” he said. “It was also my first time page-turning, so I thought it was really interesting to actually be able to follow along with the music while he was playing, so I thought he was great.”
Ackerman felt that the show’s success was demonstrated through the effort the performers put into the pieces.
“I thought it was a great start to the Tuesday Recital season,” she said. “I thought the confidence and presence from all the performers were exceptional from everyone.”