This recital was one of the most professional and diverse performances I have attended. After a weekend of clinics and a day of teaching local brass and woodwind players, these clinicians from multiple universities put on an incredible performance to truly showcase their instruments and talents. The performers included Larkin Sanders on the clarinet, Patrick Olmos on Alto and Soprano Saxophone, Brielan Andersen on Tuba, Patricia Surman on Flute, Lauren Harris on French Horn, and our very own Dustin Williams on Trumpet.
The first piece was a clarinet and saxophone duet that contained three movements. The first movement started out soft but fast paced, and began changing in dynamics drastically. There were extreme crescendos and decrescendos that added to the intensity of the piece. The second movement was slow and somber. The piece grew in meaning as it entered into an intense and soulful sound. The third movement was more of a fugue. The tempo was very fast-paced and the combination of the two instruments was dissonant and delightful.
Next came Brielan Andersen on the Tuba. I did not know what to expect, since I had never heard a solo tuba performance before, but I was blown away. The performer’s technique and ability was very impressive. The piece had a beautiful and lyrical aspect mixed with the heavy percussiveness of the lower register of the tuba. The piece was very rhythmically complex and showed off the excellent control she had over such a difficult instrument.
The next performer was Patricia Surman on the flute. The first movement of the piece she played was happy but very romantic. She made excellent use of phrasing and vibrato that brought out the soul of the piece. The second movement was slower and more melancholy. It contained piercingly beautiful passages, and showed the performer’s true musicianship.
Lauren Harris brought an interesting and unconventional piece to the table. It was a jazz piece arranged for the french horn. Since the french horn is not a typical jazz instrument, I was weary on whether this piece could be pulled off. She ended up doing an excellent job in keeping the jazz style with this upbeat and funky piece. Her instrument provided a nice, crunchy timbre that blended nicely with the style of the piece.
Dustin Williams was next with a nice and pleasant classical concerto. His tone was clear and bright as he made excellent use of dynamics and articulation. The piece provided a call and response section that mimicked a conversation between the piano and trumpet. The cadenza at the end was expertly done for how challenging it was. Overall this was a great rendition of a classic trumpet piece.
Larkin Sanders played a solo work next. This piece was called “Three Etudes on Themes by Gershwin” by Paul Harvey, and included three very technical works. Because it was based off of themes by Gershwin alongside the classic elements of etudes, it gave the piece a unique sound. Sanders made good use of dynamics in the first movement. The next one was softer and expressive with a jazzy twist. The third movement was the most exciting, with a fun semblance of Gershwin sprinkled throughout.
This time on the soprano saxophone, Patrick Olmos played a very cool piece meant to mimic the way chickens sound in a chicken pen. The beginning of the piece sounded like a fugue with a call and response section. He used many unconventional techniques to make the saxophone sound like it was a clucking hen, and if I closed my eyes I could almost see it. The piece was very virtuosic, and Patrick did a great job displaying his talent in interesting ways.
Next came Lauren Harris with a smooth and moving French Horn Nocturne. This piece was a great romantic piece because it was expressive and emotional. The melody was very lyrical and she did a great job making the instrument sing. After that came Patricia Surman on the flute again, playing a dissonant and dramatic melody. The piece was short, sweet and moving.
One of the most unique performances of the night came from the tuba player, Brielan Andersen. She played a piece with electronic accompaniment. The track that was playing in the background featured quotes from civil rights leaders and old radio broadcasts. The tuba played along to the percussion track, combining styles from Avant Garde, Rock, and Electronica.
The final piece featured the entire cast of the performance in an arrangement of a choir piece for wind ensemble. The performers created an ethereal sound when they played this swelling and emotional piece. It is wonderful to see so many talented musicians making beautiful music in the same room together, and this recital was truly a delight.
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