World premiere of student pieces leaves audience "shook"
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The Spring Composers’ Concert was held last Friday, April 13 in Deane Chapel. All of the pieces are semester projects created by students taking private composition lessons by Dr. Steve Butler in the Music Department.
After a brief introduction by Emcee John Butler, the night began with a Bassoon Suite by Jay Real, performed by Malachi Bryson and Dr. Paul Mori. The piece was a series of three dances entitled Tango, Waltz, and Funk Bass(oon). Not many pieces are written for bassoon duets, so Dr. Mori and Bryson really enjoyed the opportunity to groove with music written specifically for their instrument. In a nod to Real, Dr. Mori even wore a vest and fedora, and rolled up his sleeves, a classic look for the musician.
Real also premiered another piece entitled “Garcons a Paris” that featured Thomas Baldwin, Christopher Feddersen, Malachi Bryson, and himself. Translated, the piece means “boys in Paris,” which was evoked through the bouncy rhythm and distinctly French feel. To set the mood, a baguette was placed on a music stand in front of the musicians. The piece was so well received by the audience, all rose in a standing ovation with loud applause.
In a change of order, Alex Dill and the Chamber Choir presented his choral piece, “God’s Footprints,” accompanied by harp. In his bio, Dill remarks that the piece is set to the Christian poem “Footprints in the Sand,” and he wrote it as a gift to his mom who first read him the poem. Dill used a variety of suspended and distinctive chords to create a space for contemplation.
“12 Tonal,” a piece by Paul Wuest, was performed by Laura Tandy, Junia Work, Jay Real, and Logan Hodgson. This piece was written in the 12 tonal style, where all of the notes in the chromatic scale are used equally, without any one being over-emphasized, and without a key. Highly contemporary, the piece highlighted the complexity of 12 tonal music, but remained cohesive through the distinctive rhythm.
Sarah Hooker’s piece “Silence” incorporated musicians Marissa Condie, Logan Hodgson, and Paul Wuest. According to her bio, the piece incorporates full measures of silence, leaving the piece feeling unpredictable. It gives the audience the chance to equally value silence as a part of music.
Jared Clarke premiered his piece “A Touch of Spring,” with musicians Junia Work, Logan Hodgson, and Paul Wuest. The spring-like rhythm at the beginning evokes a sense of fresh newness, with a jaunty swing. The middle included a section of his piece from last semester that was slower, giving the audience the chance to stop and reflect.
Also skipping out of order was John Butler’s piece, “Megalynarion,” performed by Anna Telfer, Elena White, Peter Megorden, and Butler himself. The piece refers to Mary’s holiness, and the sweet simplicity created a reverent feeling.
“64” by Matthew Metz was presented by Christian Dubell, Jessica Lingua, Toni Ramirez, and Logan Hodgson. In his bio, Metz said that the piece was based on Isaiah 64 and is an instrumental worship song, allowing for reflection on the need for God and God’s presence in the world.
The last song of the night was composed by Miho Kim entitled “Medium,” featuring Alexa Highsmith, Jay Real, and John Butler. In her bio regarding her piece, she stated “Medium pitch, medium tempo, medium emotions, creative medium,” hence the name. The piece evoked a warm, home-like feeling that comforted the audience.
The night ended with a brief reception that allowed people to greet and congratulate all involved.