Honors Recital Review

Honors Recital Review

On November 21, 2014, I attended the Honors Recital in the Mundelein building inside the Skowronski Music Hall. My initial thoughts before attending the recital was that I would hear classical, old-time music from small to moderately-sized ensembles. When passing the Mundelein auditorium on some days, it is quite audible to hear the orchestra make music and I had the impression that I would hear music just like that at the recital. After attending the recital, I was left in awe and amusement as I have never heard music performed that good before in person.

The first musician was Marisa Mitchell, who played wonderfully on the beautiful grand piano to Debussy’s Reverie. Out of all the performers that played in the recital, this performance had to have been my favorite; it was an excellent way to open up the night. Firstly, the melody was smooth, air-like, and cohesive. It sounded as if it was made to be a nocturne piece because of its calming, flowing tune. Because I sat fairly close to the front (third row), I was able to see Mitchell’s face. It was visible to see that she blended herself into the music, swaying her body to the slow tempo and moving her head to the rhythm; her body movements corresponding to the music made the whole performance complete.

The second performance was a guitar solo from Cameren DeCaluwe with the song Capricho Arabe by Francisco Tarrega. His performance was interesting because he had neat guitar tricks for plucking certain strings. In addition, the main melody was easy to identify and every time it was played, it was done a little differently which kept me attentive to the song. As a whole, this song was moderately slow, easy-going, and was a very enjoyable piece to listen to.

Things became more intriguing because the third performance opened up with a pianist accompanied with vocals by Victor Schneider. I focused on listening the vocals more than the piano because Schneider was in front the piano. He sang in German with a deep bass voice. I was a little distracted with how Schneider performed because he looked angry and kept looking to the back of the room; there was little body movement and hand gestures. Because the vocals were sung in a different language I did not understand, possibly the vocals implied for him to sing that way in the stiff, angry position since the program notes stated that the song performed, was about a high priest interacting with a god.

The fourth performance was a simple piano solo from James Fritz on a song from Mozart, Sonata No. 18 in D Major. This was a fun piece to listen to because it was optimistic sounding, included several trills, and staccatos. From where I was sitting and from the reflection of the piano lid propped up, I was able to see him play the keys. As a amateur piano player myself, seeing Frtiz play makes my piano skills look bad! All in all, I enjoyed watching Fritz play and it was nice to hear a music piece from Mozart again.

My second favorite performance had to have been The Light in the Piazza. This was a piano performance with vocals of Ingrid Burton. Unlike Victor Schneider’s performance, Burton was much more enjoyable to listen to because it was sung in English, the melody was sweet and heartwarming, and she articulated every word clearly (so that every word could be heard and understood). From the first minute of listening to this song, I knew it was clear that it was a modern song in terms of accentuated vocals and tunes from the piano that sounded like they came from a musical (and when I looked at the program notes, it was true that it did come from a musical).

Maxwell Gagnon’s performance with the vibraphone was quite impressive as it mixed up the agenda pattern of piano and vocals. It was amusing to see him play the vibraphone because he used his whole body to play it. The only thing that was a little distracting was the squeaky noise that came from using the pedals on the vibraphone. Other than that, Gagnon did a superb job creating wonderful sounds out of the instrument.

The seventh performance was another vocalist with piano accompaniment. The pianist, Susan Chou made her third appearance (she was the pianist for all the vocal performances). The vocalist, Katie Little, sang opera-like in Italian to the song, Quando m’en vo’. She hit all the high and low notes perfectly and was the loudest singer out of all the three vocalists. A piano solo by Vasyl Ilchyshyn followed right after and opened up the song with very loud notes on the keys, a fast tempo, and melody that sounded fierce and dramatic. Just like Little’s singing, Ilchyshyn’s piano playing had to have been the loudest out of all the piano songs that were played in the recital.

After the piano solo, a unique trio came after which was composed of the piano, cello, and violin with the song called Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49. It was fantastic to finally hear the cello especially because the cello is my favorite instrument. Here, all three instruments had their own solos and there was a duet with the cello and violin. Altogether, I found this piece of music to be a favorite as well.

The Honors recital wrapped up with a piano solo from Charles Kilgore on the song Polka de W.R. by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Like Fritz’s piano solo, this piano solo was upbeat and had a range of different tempos-slow to moderate to fast. Through the reflection of the piano lid, I saw Kilgore do some crossing over of the hands to play the keys at some parts (which I thought was really commendable and terrific).After his song ended, all the musicians came up to the front and took a couple of bows and from the sounds of applause, these talented people deserved to be highly acknowledged and congratulated for their astounding work. I enjoyed attending the
Honors Recital very much and I definitely know that it will not be the last time I will go see them, or any on-campus musical concert!

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