Singing high, melodic notes as she began her first song, “Der Zauberer” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Barbara Kilduff , soprano and voice instructor at Andover, stood tall on stage in a sparkling, floor length, sapphire gown. Her voice was accompanied by a harmonious piano melody played by Brian Moll, pianist and faculty member at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, Boston Conservatory, and the New England Conservatory of Music.
This piece was performed on Saturday night in Cochran Chapel as a part of a faculty recital featuring the two musicians. The recital consisted entirely of songs and arias composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with 12 voice and piano duets and one piano solo.
“We were first asked to do an all – Mozart program for another festival, which actually I probably wouldn’t have thought there’d be enough variety in the music. We’d want to go to other composers, but in looking at [Mozart’s] various styles and periods , we found that there was a lot [of diversity],” said Moll.
Kilduff’s favorite piece of the night, “Das Veilchen, K. 476,” tells the story of a violet and a young maiden who eventually ends up stepping on and flattening the flower. Kilduff paired her performance of high pitched, flowing notes with gestures to act out the story, her lofty voice projecting through the chapel in unison with the piano accompaniment.
“The most interesting [parts] were the times when Kilduff acted out parts of the arias and was very emotional when performing. This was my first soprano concert , so that alone was very unique,” said audience member Emily Ho ’20.
The single piano solo of the night, “Rondo in F Major, K. 494,” consisted of a soft and gentle melody, the notes seemingly tiptoeing through the chapel and perking up the audience’s ears with Moll’s clear and sharp playing. The song transitioned from a higher, lighthearted feel to a more dramatic and deep tone before picking back up into a rapid speed. This pattern repeated similarly throughout the piece.
“The atmosphere of the chapel here and the nice piano [melody of the song] just created a [mood] that I wouldn’t have had if I were in a different hall or a different room, so I think it felt right to play it here,” said Moll.
The two artists, who have been performing together for over twenty years, both come from extensive musical training and experience. Kilduff has sang in numerous operas and was the first place winner at the prestigious Munich International Competition. Moll is a magna cum laude graduate from Hamilton College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has served as assistant conductor for various opera productions. Despite the fact that they perform on different instruments, both Moll and Kilduff have found their passions in music.
“I have just always been singing… I can remember I won a competition in Connecticut , and we went and we sang at a nursing home , and this woman smiled at me and because she smiled at me, I sang to her , and because I sang to her she smiled more. And then we all got back on the bus, and we went off and somebody came running out and said, ‘ Oh my god I have to tell you , this woman has been depressed for like months [and] she just lit up ,’ and that’s when I thought , ‘That’s the power of music,’ ” said Kilduff.