Combining the unique tonalities of their two instruments, cellist David Shin ’14 and pianist Harvey Wu ’14 chose a combined repertoire that featured masterpieces with contrasting musical qualities.
The concert commenced with Shin and Wu’s duet of FranzSchubert’s “Sonata in A Minor for Arpeggione and Piano, D. 821: Allegro Moderato.” According to the program, the piece’s juxtaposition of classical context with emotional themes was inspired by Romantic literature.
The piece sped up while Shin’s cello provided consistent dark undertones. The performance ended on a high note after Shin switched suddenly from bowing to pizzicato, a string-plucking technique, concluding with a dramatic flourish.
Shin and Wu then followed their opening piece with a dramatic rendition of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, Op. 19: Andante.”
“I was fascinated by the diversity in their music selection. On one hand, I found their rendition of the Rachmaninoff extremely passionate, whereas the Piazzolla was highly energetic. The two working together on stage is inspiring,” said Eric Ouyang ’13.
The rich and emotional piece, which Wu said was a “romantic piece not from the romantic era,” was dominated by a tender piano theme complemented with a gentle cello part played by Shin.
After the duets, Wu proceeded to perform two solo pieces on the piano. The first was Alexander Scriabin’s “Études, Op. 8: No. 11 and 12.”
“Scriabin and I have two things in common: we’re both passionate about our art and quite short in stature,” Wu said in a humorous introduction of his performance.
According to Wu, the piece was modeled after Frederic Chopin’s “Études.” The core of the piece was made up of a slow and cyclic group of relatively light notes contrasted by darker, heavier and more syncopated overtones. These louder notes began very low and spaced out before growing cacophonous as momentum built.
“The Études were my favorite. It was a really passionate piece. Harvey did a good job giving it definition,” said Joyce Wang ’15.
Wu’s second solo piece was Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in B-flat major, K. 333: Allegro.” Playful and lively, the piece sharply contrasted the more somber moods of the pieces performed during the evening. The piece consisted of two distinct sections: a slower and more serene part and a more fast-paced and celebratory one made up of many quick, high notes.
After Wu’s two solos, Shin rejoined Wu on the stage for Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Mélodie, Op. 42, No. 3.” According to Shin, the piece was originally written for the piano and violin, but he chose to play the cello instead because he liked the fresh tone it brought to the piece.
The night ended with Ástor Piazzolla’s “Le Grand Tango.” The rendition seemed to be an audience favorite, drawing roaring applause at the end of the performance. The fiery piece contrasted lilting, lethargic moments with impassioned, energetic ones.
“I came to the recital to support a friend. However, [Shin and Wu’s] passion for music really got me engrossed in their performance. It was a phenomenal job,” said Bach Hoang ’15.
“[Shin] is a phenomenal musician; such great technique and so many ideas. Playing [the pieces] with him was a lot of fun,” said Wu.