At the Senior Concerto Concert this past Saturday, four talented soloists turned the Cochran Chapel into a moody and even mercurial musical summit.
Presenting varying styles and temperaments, Senior musicians interpreted the works of Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Édouard Lalo.
Accompanied by Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music, on piano, Marga Kempner ’12 led off the concert with her “Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61” by Saint-Saëns.
The melodious piece lightened the heavy atmosphere of the dimly lit Cochran Chapel, and the audience applauded her performance with an enthusiastic response.
“I really liked all of the pieces,” said Bernadette Norman ’14, “but I especially enjoyed the violin concerto because of its high notes and its beautiful expression.”
Next off was David Ding ’12, whose performance of the “Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16” by Grieg, was sure to be fascinating from the outset. The piece featured two pianos, one graciously handled by Walter, and another by Ding that worked together to create a harmonious melody.
Ding said, “The dramatic and bombastic chords and lyrical melodies provide[d] nice contrast.”
“I had to listen to different recordings to hear how the music should sound like and how the different parts interact,” he continued.
The music itself was serene in parts but mostly cascading, especially near the end.
“I made a few mistakes,” said Ding, “But I believe that the passion and the vivacity of the music came across very well.”
Following Ding’s performance was Hannah Lee’s ’12 viola performance of Vaughan-Williams’ “Suite for Viola and Orchestra.”
Compared to Ding’s piece’s ending, Hannah Lee’s “Prelude” of the Suite sounded fragile and delicate. The “Ballad” that followed right after was pleasant and generous, and the momentum gained for Hannah Lee. She was warmed up, and the wonderful double stops thawed a rather stern atmosphere.
“[I am glad] no one was clapping in between movements because … if that happened that might have interrupted my flow and my zone,” said Hannah Lee.
Hannah Lee was confident performing the “Gallop” movement, which was chaotic, hurried and rowdy, all to wonderful and magnificent affect that left the audience floored.
Jina Lee ’12 played the cello for the final piece of the night, “Cello Concerto in D minor” by Lalo.
She attacked the strings with such vivacity that the whole body of the cello vibrated.
“I have to say my favorite performer was the cellist,” said Charlotte Aaron ’14, “She played with such emotion, and her heart was totally in the music.”
Jina Lee played with her ear and muscle memory, her body and no sheet music. The different expression on her face and the different ways her arms struck the strings were as evocative as the music itself.
At the Senior Concerto, all four Seniors made the same statement that more people should be exposed to classical music.
Ding said, “Classical music is interesting, expressive and exciting, and if people want to be excited, moved and interested by music, they should listen more.”