A Captivating Student Recital: Rainer Crosett ’10

It’s not necessary to have taken AP Music Theory to know that Rainer Crosett ’10 is an excellent musician — it’s in the effortless way he draws life out of his Nathan Slobodkin cello. At every interval during Crosett’s student recital, the audience seemed to be holding its breath, spellbound by the intensity and emotion with which he performed the four pieces. Each performance was packed with the enthralling action of a prime-time television show: passion and fire, drama and intrigue, all conveyed with the precise movements of Crosett’s bow. “[Rainer and I] have been in the same chamber group together for two years,” said Katie von Braun ’09. “I’m always moved by his playing— he plays with such genuine feeling and musicianship.” Even for those who are not familiar with what makes a chamber music virtuoso, the genuine feeling Rainer Crosett displays as he performs is evidence enough of his talent and dedication. Crosett began his recital with J. S. Bach’s “Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major,” a traditional cello recital piece which is “the happiest piece [he’s] ever played,” said his teacher of two years, Mark Churchill. Crosett played the first ringing notes of the piece with his eyes closed, absolutely sure of where his fingers would fall on the fingerboard and of which notes would follow. If anyone in the audience was left unsure about the subject matter of the piece, the answer was written on Crosett’s face. When the notes were lingering and longing, so was his expression; when the piece was lively, Crosett’s face reflected a profound joy. “When I play, I sometimes focus on the phrasing or on remembering notes, articulations and rhythms,” wrote Crosett in an email to The Phillipian. “But more often my mind wanders to completely different things. These thoughts, inspired by the music I’m playing, influence the way I play and add unique emotions to each performance.” Crosett then played Boccherini’s “Sonata No. 6 in A Major,” a fiercely passionate piece on the intensity of love, Victor Herbet’s “Cello Concerto No. 2 in E Minor” and Ginastera’s “Pampeana No. 2.” Since it can sometimes be difficult to sit through an hour-long cello recital, Crosett and Churchill designed a program with variety. The four pieces varied not only in key but in style, from baroque to romantic, modern and Latin. Rainer Crosett first picked up a cello in the third grade after moving from Ohio to Andover. He now plays at the New England Conservatory and belongs to Boston’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he practices and performs every Saturday. He practices two to three hours every day and five to six on a good day. The long hours of practice and the calluses on his hands are worth it because, in Crosett’s words: “Playing the cello means the world to me. It is my means of self-expression, and I value playing cello over almost everything else in my life. Learning to play it well is equally important to me as academics are.” Not only is his diligence self-rewarding, it also mesmerized the audience who watched his recital this past Friday. “He’s amazing,” a man behind me whispered during the intermission. Why whisper? It’s no secret.