Concert Review: A String Recital

The performance that I attended was a string recital, part of the fall solo recital series at the College of Fine and Applied Arts. The event took place in Smith Memorial Hall on Sunday, October 20, 2019. This event was a student led performance with a staff accompanist playing along with many young violinists and cellists. The event was casual because it was simply a concert hour, not a full performance. This environment was very different for me because I’m used to listening to pop music which involves a whole band and some vocal music as well. I have not been exposed to such music in a long while and it was a very different experience for me. The show was very buoyant and lively, varying from upbeat and exciting pieces to slow and moving pieces.

It was amazing to see how much the artists engaged in their performances and blended with their instrument. From the second they began playing, their focus attracted the audience into the piece and took them on a ride of emotions until the very last stroke. Every instrumentalist showed a different style to the way they approach their instrument. Depending on its emotion, the piece dictated the movement of the body, making the artist becomes one with the instrument, which is very inspiring.

When I first looked at the program, I noticed that some pieces were very popular for their difficulty. However, the show did not disappoint and hit all the marks. Starting with Sarabande by Bohm, Alice Carroll was very captivating in her performance. I really appreciated the way she connected with the accompanist and was totally in sync rhythmically and dynamically, as she played that rather disjunct piece. It was simply a joy to watch her perform. As the concert went on, I recognized a couple of tunes that I grew up listening to. Pizzicato Suite put a smile on my face because it reminded me of a very happy time of my childhood. This song in my culture is associated with comedy and it was amazing to be able to go back to that happy sensation. It is fascinating how much a simple piece of music can take you to a place of ease and happiness.

As the concert went on, it was clear that some students were much more advanced than others not just from song choice but also in their interaction with the instrument. As you become more experienced, you become more in tune with your instrument, and it was very obvious to point out who had a lot of experience and who did not. For example, there was a significant difference between Aiden Kim who performed Bach’s Minuet No. 2 and Tanvi Khadse who performed Go Tell Aunt Rhody, a traditional folk song. Kim had an elegance to her technique and her body language, while Khadse was very stiff and did not flow with the music as much as he could have.

One of the most important people who were under appreciated was the accompanist who played alongside the majority of the artists. Every performance was a homophony, which gave it a great flavor. The person that was behind most of that was Cheryl Forest Morganson, who played very beautiful, properly supporting the student performers in their rather difficult songs. As the performance went on, she would instantly change moods and begin to play in a whole new atmosphere for a different student, which was very impressive to me.

Finally, I was amazed by the level of difficulty and technique the concert ended. The beauty of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 6, played in the D Major was very captivating and liberating. The repetitive melody is simply beautiful. It was then followed by Sierra Freund performing Accolay’s Concerto in A minor, which was very energetic and fiery, sending the audience off in a happy and energetic mood. This piece is clearly not an easy piece to pull off, but Freund performed it with excellence and poise, making it the perfect way to end the concert.

To sum up, I enjoyed this string recital very much. I did not expect those younger students to be so professional in their work and it was very mesmerizing to see them connect to the music the way they did. However, I would love to attend a voice recital next. It’s easier for me to connect and appreciate lyrics with beautiful melodies. Overall, this was a very pleasant experience that I look forward to repeating.

10 October 2020
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