Rapidly moving his bow to produce a strong, quick sequence of notes on the violin, Alex Goldberg ’18 commenced Wednesday’s student recital with “Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61” by Camille Saint-Saëns. He built up the melody with fast and choppy violin scales before finally ending the piece with two booming notes.
Goldberg was one of 13 students who performed in the recital on Wednesday afternoon in the Timken Room of Graves Hall.
Contrasting with Goldberg’s intense playing, Yixuan Zhao ’18 performed “Sonata for Flute and Piano,” by Francis Poulenc, with a slow, playful melody. The piece began with piercing, cascading trills. Swiftly transitioning between high and low pitches, the melody included light, drawn-out notes. The song then reverted back to a variation of the original, high-pitched melody.
“I don’t have a favorite movement [from ‘Sonata for Flute and Piano’]. The first [movement] is really traditional: it’s the one that everyone hears and knows… The second one is really beautiful to listen to, but playing it is a bit of a drag. But the third one is really fast. It’s really bouncy. It’s a total contrast to the second one,” said Zhao.
Next, John Witt ’18 played “Concerto in C minor” by Johann Christian Bach on the cello. The piece opened with a deep, even tune. The melody consisted of long notes with a steady, slow rhythm. The melody’s volume increased as the piece progressed, before the song finished on one extended note.
Witt said, “I’ve always liked playing slow songs, contrary to a lot of people who like fast… I was shaking out of my mind in the start [of the piece], and I kinda pulled it together as I went along. I’ve done recitals before, but not one here, so this was my first time playing in front of people from the school.”
Daniel Yen ’18 performed “Suite No. 4 in E-flat major, BWV 1010” by Johann Sebastian Bach on the cello. Starting with smooth, rich notes, the melody slowly rose and fell using repeating phrases, evoking a feeling of calm. Towards the end, the piece rapidly ascended the scale to a trill and then ended on a loud, prolonged note.
“It’s generally regarded as one of the hardest Bach suites,” said Yen. “It’s in E-flat major, which is a very awkward key signature, especially for the cello. A lot of music historians think that ‘Suite No. 4’ was composed for a different instrument that had like five or six strings instead of four strings like the cello, but now those don’t exist anymore.”
Closing the concert, Yuji Chan ’18 performed the first movement of “Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 22” by Henri Wieniawski on the violin. Soft, mellow notes started the piece, which then grew louder before reaching a sudden climax. After a brief pause, the melody returned to a quiet, low hum. These rapid changes in volume repeated throughout the piece before the song ended on a single, lingering note.
“Wieniawski’s [Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 22] is such a beautiful piece with a good balance of lyrical and fast sections…[I think] my performances went well. I managed to hit the right pitches for the octaves, but my fingers did fumble on one passage,” said Chan.