Senior Recital: Peter Bang ’11

A continuous medley of lively melodies entertained the audience in the Timken Room last Wednesday at Peter Bang ’11’s clarinet Senior Recital. Bang started vivaciously with Carl Maria von Weber’s “Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor.” Fast, complex rhythms whistled up and down vibrantly, with an occasional low and resonating note throughout the piece, capturing Bang’s mastery of the clarinet. Peter Cirelli, Chair of the Music Department, said, “[Bang] played some very difficult pieces and was really well prepared for them. He has a beautiful sound, [and a] good sense of rhythm. He is a very intelligent player and interprets the music really well.” As the piece continued, the tempo slowed and returned to the similarly calm melody at the opening of the piece. Contrastingly, Bang’s next piece, “Sonata No. 2 in E-flat Major” by Johannes Brahms, was more tranquil with both hints of sadness and joy. The piece opened with a flowing and placid melody, allowing the audience to relax in the music. Yet in the piece’s second movement, Bang conveyed a sense of hopefulness by making music that traversed through different tempos, rhythms and dynamics. Although there were a few fluctuating notes throughout Bang’s playing, he managed to keep his composure and continue to play confidently. “I was satisfied by the difficult phrases I played well, but in the first half there were some technical phrases I couldn’t completely get right. But it’s always going to happen, so it’s fine,” said Bang. Camille Saint-Saëns’s “Tarantelle,” featuring Manuel Fernandez ’11 on the flute, provided the most memorable moment of his senior recital. As the two began together on both the flute and clarinet, they traveled through fluttering melodies in perfect harmony. Occasionally, Fernandez would echo Bang’s clarinet in canons. Angela Leocata ’13 said, “The mood of the performance was so beautiful and lively through the intricate music. I was so amazed at [Bang]’s talent.” The fourth and final piece of Bang’s recital, Francis Poulenc’s “Sonata for Clarinet and Piano” transcended between lively and calm, essentially forming a combination of the evening’s emotions. Beginning quietly with an essence of mysteriousness, the clarinet’s mellow tones created an air of tranquility. Throughout the first and second movements, periods of fast rhythms were interwoven with moments of legato. In the third movement, Bang’s music became more upbeat as he animatedly played notes that drew higher and higher, lifting the audience’s spirits. Towards the end, Bang’s clarinet repeated the motif with an increasing speed, building up excitement and came to an end with a strong final note. “The Poulenc was also very beautiful and exciting, much more in some ways than [the others]. Brahms was more lyrical, but the Poulenc was much more vibrant,” said Cirelli. Throughout the entire performance, Bang never lost focus and only smiled when he knew his playing was complete. “[Bang] is very skillful at what he does. You can tell he is very passionate about it. It wasn’t dull. He put himself into the music,” said Elliot Crofton ’13. After his performance, relieved that he had finally completed his recital, Bang said, “I was really satisfied with my playing…. [Senior recitals] are like the ritual for all musicians and I’m glad I went through with it. It signifies the end of my high school music career, which is kind of a sad but good end.”