After years of annual Arts Fests, Christmas performances, fall and spring showcases, winter concerts and everything in between, it seems Gasson 100 has become the de facto venue for live music performances. And where better? The large space has a wonderfully classical atmosphere, seemingly pulled out of a cathedral and (mostly) stripped of its iconography. And the music can funnel out of the double doors and fill the rest of hall to the enjoyment of passersby and the likely consternation of professors trying to teach class somewhere on the floors above. The only drawback to mention—and it is often mentioned—lies in the somewhat dour visages found on the portraits of the Jesuits of yesteryear.
Thinking ahead, the Chamber Music Society chose to face the crowd away from these grim likenesses, and toward the stained glass windows that served to back their performances. The concert commenced after a brief opening by Sandra Hebert, director of the performance and of the chamber music program, during which she introduced the seniors who would be performing at Boston College for the last time.
The concert began with a stentorian assertion of notes from Alexis Wisdom, piano player and MCAS ’21, and a fluid response from Elizabeth Allen, violin player and MCAS ’21. The piece the two instrumentalists performed was Edvard Grieg’s Sonata #3 in C minor for violin and piano, allegro molto ed appassionato. As the name suggests, the performance was passionate, full of careful but strong piano work, answered by clear and shining notes from the violin, played as if the higher voice was straining to be heard.
This piece was followed by a solo performance, Cello Suite #1, op. 72, Serenata: Allegretto pizzicato, Marcia: alla marcia moderato, composed by Benjamin Britten. Playing the cello alone on a chair was Harry Hoy, MCAS ’19. His performance began with with a period of plucking and finger strumming, drawing out creeping and constructive melodies. As the piece continued to repeat the same base notes, Hoy continued to build on the music, adding more and more until it seemed as if there were more instruments than just a cello in play.
Bringing up the start of the second half was the trio in B-flat major, op. 11, allegro con brio, composed by Beethoven. It was performed by Derek Cho, clarinet and CSOM ’19, Vicky Zhang, piano and CSOM ’19, along with Hoy, again on cello. The music was happy and upbeat, especially in comparison to the somber and more serious pieces that came before. There was an exploratory quality, as if the instruments were running and leaping, searching for the next new setting to play on. But it was not all sunshine and joy—the piece grew dark in tone and in pitch, casting a concerned melody into the air.
The Chamber Music Society Showcase concluded with Felix Mendelssohn’s trio in C minor, op. 66, allegro energico e con fuoco. It was performed by Gabriel Valle, violin and MCAS ’20, Michael Oh, cello and MCAS ’19, and Gwyneth Miner, piano and MCAS ’19. This ultimate piece began with a wave of sound, washing over the audience, like there was an entire orchestra performing in the room. The notes grew gradually in confidence, building to a steady rhythm and finally concluding in a performatory flourish.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor