It was a full house at the Imig Music Building on Tuesday with patrons filling up the Grusin Music Hall to attend the first concert of fall 2019. The start of a series of concerts was put on by the faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Music.
The repertoire of the evening consisted of works from Franz Liszt, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Frédéric Chopin, all famous virtuoso pianists and composers. Pianist of the night, Margaret McDonald, made the executive decision to perform some of the composer’s less well-known works: songs and duets. All of the arrangements played were received with warm applause.
The concert began with a stunning performance of Lizst’s songs by McDonald on Piano with Abigail Nims on vocals. These works of art were composed during Liszt’s most brilliant period as a concert pianist. Nims’ voice filled the crowded hall. Delicate piano notes created a contrast to the power of Nims’ voice, evoking awe in listeners and starting the evening off strong.
Associate Professor of Trumpet, Ryan Gardner, showed off his skills of the flugelhorn, playing in duet with McDonald to deliver a soulful and gripping rendition of Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14”. Originally composed by Rachmaninoff to be arranged with piano, Gardner’s performance surpassed any misgivings. The flugelhorn and piano complemented each other to weave a sorrowful tale leaving the audience holding their breath and yearning for more.
Following “Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14,” Andrew Garland, renowned vocalist and assistant professor of voice, shook the audience with his earnest and emotional performance of Rachmaninoff’s early series of romances. Garland’s baritone voice echoed over the awed attendees.
After a brief intermission, the highlight of the program was delivered with gusto by Margaret McDonald and David Requiro on the cello. The two played renditions of “Chopin’s Sonata in G minor for Cello” and “Piano, Op. 65,” a unique piece published during the later years of Chopin’s life.
Moments of ease and happiness in the first movement of “Piano, Op. 65” were like brief rays of sunlight peeking through clouds. Attention leaped to and fro from piano to cello. In the second movement, listeners were held in transition, fixated as each instrument gave breath to audible personified emotion. The third movement followed quietly and hopeful for a future without sorrow, before leading to the last movement that jumped from minor key to major as the two fought for dominance, calling the piece and the concert to a strong and bold ending.
The upcoming Faculty Tuesday on Sept. 10 is set to feature guest performers from the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra, presenting songs from Felix Mendelssohn, David Popper, Stjepan Šulek, and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Min Ling Chuah firstname.lastname@example.org