McManus ’03: Musician and Composer

The one downfall of Senior recitals is that they are the only opportunities for student musicians to display their unique musical skills at such a concentrated level, and these performances do not come until the spring of their final year. It was one of these bittersweet moments in the Timken Room last Sunday at Andrew McManus ’03’s Senior recital, when the audience realized that this consummate musician was giving his debut only weeks before his graduation. It would be no surprise if audience members were to find themselves at a future performance of this talented young violist-pianist-composer. Despite this possibility, those who did not attend missed quite a performance last weekend. Beginning the show with a Bach piece, Suite in D minor, the performance commenced with a standard Senior recital sight: a talented violist playing a classical piece. As the performance progressed, it was evident that McManus was simply warming up the audience. Pausing between each dance in the baroque dance suite, it was entertaining to see the emotion that McManus put into his performance. Taking a pregnant pause before playing the dance movement, “Courante,” one could feel the tension brewed from the fast tempo, ease into the slow triple-meter “Sarabande” dance that followed. When Instructor in Music Peter Warsaw joined McManus on stage to play Max Bruch’s Kol Nidrei, which, next to the finale, was the best piece in the show, early signs of genius began to blossom. With Warsaw at the piano and McManus on the viola, the duo was well matched in the beautiful Adagio on Hebrew Melodies. The piece is composed of two melodies, the second, in D major, giving the song a more upbeat tone. After a brief intermission, McManus and Warsaw were back at their instruments to play Ernest Block’s meditation for violin and piano followed by a processional for viola and piano. An Evening in the Village, composed by Bela Bartok, was a nice contrast to follow the number because it’s staccato segments were more lively than the somber minor Bloch numbers. Let credit be given where credit is due – perhaps one of the most impressive musical displays this year was the ensemble piece of chamber music of Sextet Variations, composed by McManus himself. Before the musicians commenced, Warsaw addressed the audience. Making a reference to Mother’s Day, a day of giving back to the woman who has given to you, Warsaw discussed the generosity of the five accompanying individuals to take the time out of their hectic PA schedules to rehearse and put in the necessary effort to play the intricate piece. However, despite Warsaw’s warning that they group had never played through the entire song together, the skill of violinists Arianna Warsaw-Fan ’04 and Homan Lee ’04, violist Christina Hung ’05, cellist Meta Weiss ’05, flutist Jeffrey Wessler ’03, and McManus himself on the piano, was enough to pull the piece off, and wonderfully at that. The piece moved in and out of soothing addolorato sections to thundering affrettando sections. At the end of the recital, McManus closed with a thank you to audience and his mother. McManus’ recital was certainly a success, as he proved that he is a fine violist, pianist, and composer.