School of Music students will put on yet another eclectic mix of instrumental and vocal pieces this weekend.
The third of five student open recitals will take place at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 28 in McKnight Hall. It is the midway point of the open recital series, and gives students another opportunity to perform pieces they’ve been working on in a public setting and connect with the Chautauqua community. Six students will be performing in Sunday’s recital: cellist Shiye Li, flutist Ji Yun Yi, pianist Daniel Kuehler, mezzo-soprano Erin Wagner, pianist Yue Zhang and soprano Shan Hai.
At these open recitals, students can play or sing whatever piece they like, meaning that each performance is a diverse mix of preferences and styles. For example, Wagner will be singing a piece from beyond the usual vocal repertoire: “Harawi (Songs of Love and Death)” by Olivier Messiaen.
The piece is a song cycle that is part of the “Tristan Trilogy.” This particular part of the trilogy compares a story of two lovers in Incan mythology to the story of Tristan and Isolde. It explores the divinity of God, nature and forbidden love.
It is surrealist, conceptual, atonal and rhythmically irregular. It also features some lyrics in Quechuan, an indigenous Peruvian language.
“Musically, it is very difficult to put together,” Wagner said. “It’s very hard to maintain the stillness and the calmness while in your head you’re counting and making sure that you’re singing the right intervals and the right words, and at the same time being musical and telling the story.”
Joining this piece on the program are several pieces by Claude Debussy: One for flute — his famous “Prélude à l’après midi d’un faune” (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), to be performed by Yi — and one for piano, a particularly technically challenging piece called “Étude 11: Pour les arpèges composés” (For the compound arpeggios) to be played by Zhang. Zhang will also play one of Franz Liszt’s most famous works, “La Campanella.”
Li will perform Luigi Boccherini’s Cello Sonata in A Major G.4; Keuhler will play Alexander Scriabin’s Fantasie in B Minor, Op. 28; and Hai will sing two arias from two different operas: “Piangero” from George Frideric Handel’s Giulio Cesare and “Quel Guardo Il Cavaliere” from Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.
The open recitals are some of the few opportunities that students from all three programs in the School of Music get the chance to perform at the same event.
“We can all learn from each other because music is what connects all of us, and I think that it’s very interesting to watch other musicians perform and hear what they have to say, musically,” Wagner said.
As the Chautauqua season moves into Week Six, School of Music students are facing only two weeks left in their programs — one week, in the case of the piano students. However, there is still time for the students to learn and work on what they showcase in both the open recitals and their other performances.
“It’s a constant process,” Wagner said. “It’s never like you can stop working. … My experience has been very motivating and I feel very comfortable to explore new things musically, and it’s just been a really good place to hone my craft and develop my artistry and learn new things, and I’m looking forward to continuing that.”