Westmont Faculty Concert Honors Women
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The Westmont Music Department presented The Spring 2017 Faculty Recital, featuring works from all women composers, ranging from well-known names of the 19th century to modern day composers living here today in Santa Barbara last Friday night, February 10th in Deane Chapel.
The program opened with the performance of “Humoresque Variations” on the violin, performed by Westmont’s recent graduate Lalia Mangione. The piece, lively and elegant, played with energy and passion. The composer, Emily Rutherford, also a Westmont alumnus, arrived five years ago to pursue her passions of the cello, singing, teaching, and composing.
The next pieces were performed by Dr. Steve Hodson, composed by Clara Schumann. Clara was a German composer of the Romantic era and the wife of the famous Robert Schumann. She lived during a time when female composers of her ability were very rare. Dr. Hodson played the Preludes and Fugues, Opus 16 on the piano after explaining the history of the preludes and fugues after Bach’s time. Up until ten to twenty years before Clara was born, equal temperament “wasn’t a thing” yet, so the music sounded different in the ways harmonies work.
Dr. Hodson proceeded to explain the “different colors” in the old tuning methods of pianos and how the “different colors” of harmony have been lost in the discovery and use of equal temperament.
Tenor Robert Rockabrand introduced and performed third, singing “Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God,” “I saw a new Heaven and a new Earth,” and a riveting performance of “One Perfect Rose.” Emma Lou Diemer, the composer of these works and local Santa Barbara resident, honored Rockabrand and the community by being in the audience. Over the years, she composed many works for various instruments and choir. Rockabrand, “Dr. Bob,” as he has his students call him, performed what many would call the best performance of the evening in “One Perfect Rose.”
Also included in the program were the three movements of “Ocean for Violin and Piano,” performed by Dr. Han Soo Kim on violin and Neil Di Maggio on piano. The movements correspond with three beaches Santa Barbara residents know well — East Beach, Hendry’s Beach, and Butterfly Beach. These pieces entranced and mystified, capturing the feel each of these beaches offer. The recital wrapped up with performances of pieces by Katherine Hoover, Clara Schumann, Amy Beach, and another by Emma Lou Diemer. Anyone interested in watching back on the recital can find it on the Westmont Music YouTube channel.