Nine students from all three divisions of the School of Music — piano, voice and instrumental — will perform the work of a broad range of composers in the second open recital of the season at 3 p.m. Saturday in Fletcher Music Hall.
This is the second of five recitals given by the School of Music that are open for students in any division to sign up for.
Violinist William Gibb will be performing “La Fontaine d’Arethuse” by Karol Szymanowski. Gibb chose this work in part because Szymanowski was gay, and as an LGBTQ artist himself, Gibb said it’s important to him to play music of other LGBTQ musicians.
The piece itself is based on a Greek myth about a water nymph who lives in the Fountain of Arethusa in Sicily, and is one of three pieces Szymanowski wrote based on mythological stories.
“Being written in the early 20th century, it’s very thick with lush melodies and harmonies that bring out lots of colors,” Gibb said.
The sound of the piece imitates the sound of water with washing, wave-like motions and even a notation that means “melting.”
“(It’s) very surprising in a lot of ways,” Gibb said.
Later in the recital, cellist David Myers will take the floor to play a movement from Samuel Barber’s Sonata in C Minor, Op. 6. Myers chose the piece because he is a big fan of the Americana sound, which is prevalent in this work. Barber was from a town in Pennsylvania, and Myers said he can hear the feel of that town in his music
“These pieces have a very lush, sort of pour-your-heart-out kind of quality to them, and that is in the movement that we’re playing from this sonata, but it’s kind of juxtaposed by a sort of, I like to say, an angst of American modernity,” Myers said.
Though the Barber piece is less technically complicated than the Szymanowski, the writing for the cello is awkward, according to Myers.
“You have to sort of play with a strong sense of commitment,” Myers said. “It’s just super intense music, and so it requires a really large amount of emotional commitment to pull it off.”
Harpist Alethea Grant will finish out the recital. As the only harpist in the School of Music, her piece is especially unique: Gabriel Fauré’s “Une châtelaine en sa tour,” which translates to “A lady in her tower.” The piece is based off a poem by French poet Paul Verlaine.
“It’s a short piece, but it’s also very charming,” Grant said. “It’s very digestible by a musician and non-musician audience. It shows a lot of what the harp is, from the range of the harp to the pedals, and it’s really pretty.”
It is a difficult piece, Grant said, because it is very chromatic, which means the player must use the pedals more than in most harp pieces, and there is a lot of voicing, which means the player must press the strings harder.
“If not played properly with proper technique, it can start to sound very frantic, when it’s supposed to be very tranquil,” Grant said.
All three of these students are in the Music School Festival Orchestra; they have played two concerts in the MSFO, but this is their first chance to publicly perform as individual artists at Chautauqua.
“Playing in an orchestra is very different from playing as a soloist,” Gibb said. “So it’ll be fun to emphasize that.”
The other students who will be performing are violinist Shiyu Liu, cellist Shirley Kim, violinist Katherine Morris, flutist Josean Delgado, mezzo-soprano Gal Kohav and pianist Mia Lee. School of Music faculty members Katelan Terrell, Shannon Hesse and Akiko Konishi will provide piano accompaniment for several of the performers. They will be playing pieces by Camille Saint-Saëns, Edward Elgar, Ludwig van Beethoven, George Enescu, Dominick Argento and Sergei Rachmaninoff.
“What I really hope for is presenting the essence of what the composer intended,” Myers said.