Senior Recitals: Rainer Crosett

A senior recital by Harvard-bound cellist Rainer Crosett ’10 moved students, faculty and friends to tears last Friday. The recital, similar to Crosett’s earlier recitals, demonstrated his mastery and passion for the cello. His love for performing and, in his words, “the excitement that goes along with it,” were heartwarming. J.S. Bach’s “Unaccompanied Suite for Cello No. 6, BWV 1012,” widely considered the most difficult out of all the unaccompanied suites, opened the program. Despite the virtuosity of the piece, Crosett performed it with an imperturbable calm and control. Even when he had to jump to rapidly high notes , he seemed unfazed. The “Courante,” a movement of the suite, was a graceful, running dance characterized by the running scales. Crosett played each phrase perfectly with his bow by delicately running it over the strings and gliding his fingers effortlessly over the strings. Jenny Zhou ’11 said, “The subtle and incredibly rapid performance of the Bach was just amazing.” Following a short intermission, Crosett came back with renowned Russian pianist Dina Vainshtein accompanying him in a crashing introduction to Brahms’s “Cello Sonata No.2.” Featuring a lyrical cello melody over the furious tremolo patterns in the piano, the first movement of the sonata presented a picture of contrasts. The give and take of the melodic line by both piano and cello and the differences in timbre between the two instruments was a delight to hear in the Timken Room. Furthermore, the melodious, rising line coming from the lower register of the cello conflicted beautifully with the piano’s falling arpeggio scales. “All the fast notes and the tension in the piece were really cool,” said Ben Manuel ’12. The third movement, marked “allegro passionato,” provoked the most enthusiasm from the crowd. The movement started with disjointed notes that formed a furious theme while the piano growled a menacing accompaniment. The fierce chromatic harmonies as well as the mixture of rapid piano passages and the cello’s sudden sixteenth-note outbursts formed a perfect combination of sounds. The second theme, a wandering, wayward line, posed a striking contrast to the furious flourish at the beginning. Crosett said that he loved the Brahms because it is “so joyful, and there is so much rhythmic tension.” In response to this wonderful performance of the alarmingly difficult piece, the audience members could only whisper “he’s so good” among themselves. The program ended with two pieces that Crosett played with Julia Glenn, a violinist and a good friend of his from a summer festival several years ago. Glenn has performed many concerts with Crosett, including all sorts of outreach concerts, and was featured with Crosett on the radio show “From the Top.” The final piece, “Suite for Keyboard in G minor, HWV 432: Passacaglia” by Handel, transcribed for violin and cello by Johan Halvorsen, was notable for its dramatic introduction. The dotted rhythm interplayed between the two instruments provided a harmonic tension that developed into a canon and culminated in a furious scale played by both instruments. The audience could only hold their breath as they saw Crosett and Glenn bring out the life of their respective instruments. To sum up Crosett’s recital in a phrase, he said it was a chance for him to “play music that [he] really loves.” But at the recital, it was clear that it was not only Crosett who was enjoying the music. His passion spread into the audience, and he received a standing ovation at the end. Having played the cello since third grade, Crosett has won many competitions, including the PA Concerto Competition. He will be performing the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto with Symphony Orchestra tonight.