Music Faculty Showcase to feature ‘Masterpieces of the Romantic and Modern Eras’

The Connecticut College Department of Music presents “Masterpieces of the Romantic and Modern Eras,” a concert featuring chamber performances by faculty, on Friday, Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Hall of Cummings Arts Center.

“In ‘Masterpieces of the Romantic and Modern Eras,’ we explore the rich musical time period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when harmonies were at their most lush, and composers were pushing boundaries in pursuit of new modes of musical expression,” explained Midge Thomas, associate professor of music and chair of the department. “The four works to be performed in the concert are stunningly beautiful and evocative, and they will showcase 12 Connecticut College music faculty performers, along with five guest musicians. It is going to be an incredible evening.”

The program includes:

  • “Souvenir de Florence,” a gorgeous string sextet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who aimed to score this work so it would sound particularly full. About it he said, “It seems that rather than writing for six voices, I am, in essence, composing for the orchestra.” To this end, one of the two cellos the piece calls for will be replaced with the deeper bass, to be played by Adjunct Assistant Professor Mark McCormick; also performing in this work is Adjunct Instructor Daniel Lee (violin) and guest musicians Theodore Arm (violin), Joseph Gottesman (viola) and Ezra Seltzer (cello)
  • “Danses Sacrée et Profane,” written for harp and string quartet by Claude Debussy. At its essence the work is a harp concerto, and the featured faculty soloist will be Adjunct Instructor Megan Sesma, who is also the harpist for the U.S. Coast Guard Band. The performance of this beautiful coloristic and lyrical two-movement work will be the debut of the Lyon & Healy harp the College received as a generous gift from Mario and AngelaRita Rossi in 2011.
  • “Poèmes pour Mi,” a glorious and powerful song cycle by Olivier Messiaen that explore issues of the natural world, spirituality, human love and symmetry and also incorporates a polymodal pitch language along with unmetered rhythms. “Poèmes pour Mi” will be performed by adjunct instructors Samantha Lane Talmadge (soprano) and Patrice Newman (piano).
  • “Homenaje a Federico García Lorca,” written by Silvestre Revueltas on the occasion of playwright and poet Lorca’s death at the hands of fascist government forces in Spain. The piece exhibits a remarkable range of emotion, from inconsolable sorrow to delirious exhilaration. With its expressive and technical demands, the “Homenaje” is a perfect vehicle to showcase the talents of the 11 faculty and guest performers who will be conducted by Assistant Professor Mark Seto. Faculty performers include Adjunct Instructor Thomas Brown (trumpet), Adjunct Assistant Professor Gary Buttery (tuba), Adjunct Professor Patricia Harper (flute), Adjunct Assistant Professor Peter Jarvis (percussion), Adjunct Assistant Professor Victor Johnson (trombone), Adjunct Assistant Professor Thomas Labadorf (clarinet), Lee (violin), McCormick (bass) and Newman (piano). Guest performers are Christopher Lane (trumpet) and Arm (violin).

“It's a really interesting program, the pieces are very compelling and the performances will be wonderful,” Thomas said.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for seniors and students, free to Connecticut College students, faculty and staff. For more information, call 860-439-2720.

January 29, 2013