Charlie Bates: Concerts are worth experiencing
July 9, 2007
Steamboat Springs — Friday night’s Faculty Recital was the second of six in the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory’s Chamber Music series. This week, the faculty recital is Wednesday, and student recitals are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Each performance is at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Because of the stipulation of a grant, all performances are free and open to the public, but donations are not only appreciated, but necessary. They may be placed in the open violin case on the shelf to the right as one enters the nave. Be sure to pick up a program in order to keep track of the movements and to read biographical sketches of the exceptional faculty. Sadly, there is always too much seating available.
Friday’s program began with Beethoven’s (1770-1829) Serenade for Strings in D Major, Opus 8, an early work. The musicians were Jonathan Schwarz, violin; Nancy Buck, viola; and Felix Wang, cello. This piece was played in its entirety, an unusual and refreshing treat.
In the first movement, denoted Marcia, the theme is expressed by the violin, then reiterated by the viola, then the cello, and then again by the violin. That sequence is repeated throughout the composition. The first movement and the second, denoted Menuetto, are prelude to the third, Adagio-Scherzo, wherein he three strains separate then re-coalesce. The fourth movement, denoted Allegretto alla Polacca, is based on a Polish folk tune but not a raucous polka. Rather, it is dreamily atmospheric and builds in tempo.
Next, we heard Jonathan Godfrey play solo Johann Sebastian Bach’s (1685-1750) Partita No. 2 in D Major, S. 1004, in four movements. It is, of course, a Baroque composition distinguishable by its mathematical complexity. Godfrey played a Baroque violin that is smaller and has a shorter neck than modern violins, and thus facilitates intricate fingering.
Perhaps the third movement, denoted Sarabande, was the most interesting. It was slow and melodic but not mournful; not at all what I would expect from Bach. The last work was Erich Korngold’s (1897-1957) Piano Quintet in E Major, Opus 15, played by Kristin Lacey Velicer, violin; Jonathan Godfrey, violin; Nancy Buck, viola; Felix Wang, cello; and Daniel Velicer, piano. The movements are denoted in German, and my German puts native speakers in a blind rage, but we have some clues.
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The first, Massiges Zeitmass, was suspenseful, lead by the piano. The second, an Adagio, was lead by the cello, then violin, then piano, then back to the cello. It seemed Romantic in the manner reminiscent of Korngold’s contemporary, Richard Strauss.
Though RMSC’s standards for music are the very highest, the curriculum is multidisciplinary, preventing artistic monomania. You deserve to experience these concerts; RMSC deserves our support.