Taking the stage with a wide vocal range and impressive technical skill, Ben Croen ’13 performed an eclectic repertoire of vocal pieces during his Senior Recital on May 5.
Croen came to the stage with a selection of nine pieces, each of which he has collected over the past two or three years, he said. The songs included compositions by Vincenzo Bellini, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert and Gabriel Fauré.
“The majority of my songs were in German,” said Croen after his performance. In addition to German, Croen also sang in Italian, French and English. “I have to learn to pronounce all the languages. I don’t really know them because I’m not fluent in most of them.”
Though unable to pick a favorite genre, Croen named “Once in Love with Amy” from the 1930s Broadway show “Where’s Charley” as his favorite piece. The song, he said, has a lot of sentimental value, for it was the first song he ever sang at Andover and the last selection in his final Andover recital.
“It was really great,” said Jaleel Williams ’15. “I’ve never gone to one of his recitals before. I’d only heard him sing tidbits, but to see his whole performance—I always knew he was talented, but it was very, very impressive.”
Croen opened with “Dolente Immagine di Fille Mia,” a dramatic, romantic and slow piece with a lively piano accompaniment that showed off his deep, resonating tenor and impressive range. He then transitioned to a livelier piece, “Notte e Giorno Faticar,” which had a long, smooth middle portion before once again becoming a lively narrative in which there was a clear display of emotion.
Croen then transitioned into a deeper, more minor-toned selection of songs. His third piece, “Fruhlingsglaube Schafers Klagelied Der Musensohn” had strong, smooth and unyielding vocals backed up by a slow, peaceful piano.
His fourth song, “Isis Und Osiris,” was in a minor key and more mournful and serious than any of the others. The piano accompaniment, however, transitioned from serious and fast-paced to quiet and solemn, picking up again at the end as a gentle minor.
To give his recital a more wholesome feeling, Croen performed three familiar pieces from renowned musicals like “Lonely Town,” “The Road You Didn’t Take,” “On the Town” and “Follies.”
Croen sang “Lonely Town” with dramatic facial expressions and range mastery that made his performance a powerfully emotional interpretation of the original song.
“I rehearsed a lot,” said Croen. “I was going for about three or four hours every day the week before this. It takes a couple of weeks to learn each piece. First, to get the pronunciation down, then to learn the notes and then to memorize it. You always have to interpret what the composer wants. That’s really difficult to do, because you can’t talk to them,” he said. “But I try to make them my own a little bit, and to fit my own voice.”
A member of the Yorkies, Fidelio and the Chorus, Croen has been singing since the second grade. Although singing is not something that Croen would like to make a career out of, he hopes to continue singing as a hobby after he graduates from Andover.
“Music is my big thing,” said Croen.