Faculty Recital Welcomes the Spring

Stephen Porter, Director of Technology, opened the Faculty Recital on Friday night with a piece that perfectly embodied the beginning of spring. “I chose this piece because it’s supposedly spring time now,” joked Porter on choosing “Fruhlingsrauchen (Rustles of Spring)” by Christian Sinding. The gliding notes and lively tunes brightened the chapel with warmth and energy that the weather outside lacked and made for an inviting beginning to the recital. “The recital is very spring like, it really cheered us up!” said one of the audience members. The recital was broken up into two parts. Each began with piano solos that were later accompanied by voice repertoires. Each piece was beautiful and inspiring, though the highlight of the performance was the main vocal piece sung by Krista River, Phillips Academy voice teacher and vocal performer, titled “Haugtussa (The Mountain Maid)” by Edvard Grieg. River sang the entire piece in Norwegian, which was comprised of short epic poems as a substitute for lyrics. The poems depicted a story of a maid falling in love and ended in a heartbreaking separation. River’s intense concentration really heightened her performance, making it seem as if she were actually the maid in love. Furthermore, the Norwegian dialect and the animated pitch changes also brought a sense of reality to her story. “The Norwegian language’s vowels are very hard, she did an amazing job speaking and singing in the language!” said one of the audience members. “I went to a college that had Norwegian classes…Also, we went to Norway on a performing tour, and I got to see the landscape that inspired Grieg. After that, I fell in love with his music. I love performing his music,” said River, detailing the difficulties of speaking the language. The second half of the recital featured a series of selected songs composed by Ned Rorem, whose lyrics captured the audience’s ears. “Rorem was very careful when choosing the words in this piece,” said Porter. Porter was also able to work with composer Rorem when he and River performed in Nantucket, MA. “It is a true honor to work with a live composer and get to know what they thought about in parts of the piece,” said Porter. The last piece of the recital, “A Bar on the Piccola Marina” by Noel Coward, was more of a musical number compared to the classical pieces of the recital with parts of the song humorous spoken lyrics. The piece told a story about a family with two strapping daughters and a rather dull son. Before he began the piece, River explained that the British composer, Noel Coward, was on vacation in the Mediterranean and saw an elderly woman, whereupon he was inspired to write the lyrics and the tune for the song. River and Porter performed a similar repertoire last fall and rehearsed over break to perform on stage this spring. “We are performing again next weekend,” said River. With the harmony and teamwork they showed us this Sunday afternoon, many are eagerly anticipating to their next performance.