It is easy to forget that the professors here at Wittenberg University were once students themselves, as their level of knowledge and skill seem out of reach to students.
For students in the music department, it is easy also to lose sight of the fact that the scholars teaching them daily are musicians as well.
Students, community members and faculty gathered in Krieg Recital Hall on Wednesday Sept. 14 for the Opening Music Faculty Recital.
After a brief introduction from Department Chair Christopher Durrenberger, lights dimmed and the room fell silent as the first faculty performers took their places before the audience.
Kicking off the recital were David Crean on harpsichord and Daniel Kazez on cello, performing Antonio Vivaldi’s (1678-1741) “Sonata No.4 in Bb Major, RV 45.”
Next, Trudy Faber performed a piece on harpsichord that she described as admittedly “different” by contemporary composer György Ligeti (1923-2006) called “Continuum für Cembalo.”
Staff accompanist Diane Slagle joined the next few faculty members as the program pushed on. Betsey Hofeldt’s performance took us back between the classical and romantic eras, representing the legacy of Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827) with “Sonata #4 in A minor, Op. 23.” A brief new faculty spotlight was next, as soprano Fotina Naumenko performed a piece by Alexander Alabiev (1787-1851) called “The Nightingale” that represented two voices, a narrator and that of the nightingale.
Following Naumenko’s performance, baritone David Schubert performed “Two Lips” from “I Said to Love” by Gerald Finzi (1901-1956), and “Johanna” from “Sweeney Todd” by Stephen Sondheim (b. 1930).
A duet of two of Dmitri Shostakovich’s (1906-1975) “Four Waltzes” was then performed by clarinetist Richard York and flutist Lori Akins.
Then Colvin Bear, Dave Leapley, Denver Seifried and Andrew Jones took the stage in a brass quartet performance of “Royal Fanfare” by Josquin Des Prez (c. 1450-1521) and “Finale” from “Four Pieces” by Francis McKay (1901-1985), followed by a brief performance of “48 Etudes for French Horn, No. 6” by tubist Jones.
The recital came to a close after Durrenberger and new staff accompanist Laurie Smith’s performance of “Sonata for Piano Four Hands” by Francis Poulec (1899-1963). Durrenberger said they chose the Poulenc Sonata “due to its upbeat, energetic qualities,” but also because it was a good way to showcase the new staff accompanist.
Durrenberger went on to say that this piece also served as preview for a special upcoming music event Oct. 19 at 8 p.m., where he will perform this work alongside two other French masterworks with his Russian colleague Kirill Gliadkovsky.
Events like this bridge the gap between student and professor, and inspire music students to work hard and share their passions and talents with the Wittenberg community through monthly student recitals and ensemble performances.
Durrenberger sees this traditional opening recital as a “wonderful opportunity for our applied music faculty to share their areas of specialization and passion with the campus,” and strongly encourages members of the Wittenberg community to enjoy and support these cultural offerings by fellow students, faculty and music ensembles.