The UNC Charlotte Music Department showcased their student musicians in a night of musical performances. The night was a glorious one full of prompt circumstance, hard work and talent displayed by the instructors and students involved. As a collective, the two groups played 6 songs to solidify their hard work done through the semester.
Part I: Chamber Ensembles
As the show began, we were graced by our first group of performers in Rowe Hall, Chamber Ensembles. They started their performance with the “Kaiser –Walzer,” a 1800s piece by Johann Strauss. This piece, in short, was well performed and did a great job as an opening song with its slow and light beginning which invites the audience into the music, but then transitions slowly opening up into a very powerful, commanding and interesting middle which sets the mood for the rest of the night (the fact that these performers dare not be ignored). The song heavily featured string instruments but also didn’t overpower the flute and clarinet that were present in the piece. It incorporated the winds gracefully into the piece and made it feel like they were pivotal to the song instead of just being there (this sometimes is a common mistake of musical groups). It did its job well to open the night and set the precedent of what was to come.
The second and final song for this group was a 2-part quintet performed by a slightly smaller portion of the ensemble group. This performance carried on their talent and skill of their previous song selection, but stood out due to their choice of seating arrangement on stage, which had all the performers sitting facing away from each other and without a central conductor. This was an intentional part of the performance as stated by the groups cello player Andrew Llamas and was done to show that music as an art form is also used to communicate and that we don’t need to face each other in person in order to portray that message. This statement was clearly seen in their performance where everything sounded uniform, interesting and well performed; and was all done with the performers simply just communicating through the music. These aspects together supported a fine statement well made to conclude their portion of the night’s performance.
Part II: Philharmonia
“Symphony No. 63”
The UNCC Philharmonia started their portion of the night with Franz Joseph Haydn’s “63rd Symphony.” This song was a very nice bridge between the two groups keeping the song style familiar while establishing a slightly new tone for them to call their own. This string-only performance was upbeat enough to bring the audience back in while not completely changing the tone of the night and overall set the precedent for their song selections for the rest of the night.
Their second song was a string serenade by Norman Leyden and at this point, the Philharmonia fully established themselves as the new sound for the night. This four-part piece had plenty of powerful high points, interesting bridges, complex but engaging slow portions and an overall good execution. The part that took me the most by surprise was the last part called “Cakewalk” mostly because it featured a very inviting and light tone and overall was a great way to end a rather lengthy song. I also liked how violins and bass were very intertwined into this piece, which created a great high, low tone dynamic, keeping the performance interesting.
“Elegy & Momentum”
These last two songs, in general, were also performed rather well, but felt like they could have been better placed in the middle of their performance instead of the end. Otherwise, these songs did a great job at carrying the performance and further showcased the skill and hard work of the students involved. “Elegy” was a nice piece that emphasized powerful climbs and quick dips in tone, while “Momentum”I portrayed a slower climb that climaxed in a heavy fall.
Overall both groups gave us a good night of music and I hope that this allows them to only become better musicians and I recommend anyone go to their performance at least once in order to witness this for themselves.