December 21, 2013

Stony Brook. Chamber Music Festival.

         On Friday, I went to Stony Brook’s Fall Chamber Music Festival at the Staller Center for the Arts Recital Hall. I was surprised by how small the audience was; there were only a dozen people, give or take. I wasn’t sure what to expect in regards to the music, the audience or the performance, but I ended up really enjoying the experience. Despite the room being almost empty, each performer gave their all. It was clear to me that they weren’t performing because they needed an audience’s attention, but they performed because they were passionate about their music. The music played seemed to be mainly from the Romantic Period.
         The first performance featured flutist, Ray Furuta, and pianist, Christina Dahl. They played Sonata “Undine” Op. 167 by Carl Reinecke. The first movement was Allegro and so it was a fast tempo and bright. The second movement was Intermezzo, which I interpreted to be fairy-like, beautiful and emotional. The third movement was Andante tranquillo, which reminded me of a love song because of the gentleness and daintiness encompassed in a call and answer style. The fourth movement was both powerful and gentle. I really enjoyed the piece because of the flutist’s passion, not to say the pianist didn’t have passion, but being a flutist myself I automatically paid more attention to him. He played passionately and sincerely, moving with the music, smiling when he wasn’t playing, and enjoying every moment of it. He was definitely in his element and it was inspiring to watch.
         The second performance featured soprano, Bo-Kyung Kim, and pianist, Anna Betka. Bo-Kyung Kim walked out in a beautiful, long, white dress. She sang four songs by Claude Debussy and despite the songs being in French, I felt like I understood them because they each carried so much emotion. Bo-Kyung has a beautiful operatic and powerful voice. Each song was better than the next. Her voice was heavenly and while listening to her, I was able to forget about everything else. The beautiful dress combined with a beautiful voice came together to create a truly beautiful performance.
         The third performance was 8 pieces for Clarinet, Cello, and Piano, Op. 83 by Max Bruch featuring clarinetist, Carina Canonico, cellist, Kumhee Lee, and pianist, Annie Brooks. They played the second, sixth and seventh pieces, of which the seventh, Allegro Vivace ma non troppo, was my favorite. The pieces were all different in feel, the first was a bit of call and answer, which I found to be inviting. The second piece had a winter-wonderland type feel. The last piece had a faster tempo, and a fun, prance-like feel to it, but it shifted from powerful to light in feel. I thought the performers were especially attuned to one another and the pieces chosen complemented each other. I especially love the sound of the cello, but I gained a greater appreciation for the clarinet during the performance.
         The performance as a whole was a success; it was inspiring, beautiful and full of passion. I honestly would go to see a Stony Brook concert again. I was most surprised by the small size of the audience and I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of talent presented. I most enjoyed the passion of the flutist, the second performer’s beautiful operatic voice (and beautiful dress), and the calming effect of the cello in the third performance. This was a memorable experience because it reminded me of how much I enjoy music, especially live performances because while listening, the music is the only thing I feel and my mind is at peace. Without worry, I can just sit, listen, and be.

-Lisa Harbes, Winter 2013