By Izzy Yellen
On Sunday, Oct. 12, I had the privilege to attend a faculty recital, which is always a treat. It’s amazing learning from these talented educators, but an entirely different experience hearing them play a full concert. The recital included Janet Anthony on cello, Erin Lesser on flute and Anthony Padilla on piano. They played a variety of diverse pieces that showcased each of their music abilities well.
The concert was part of Daniel Pearl World Music Days. Pearl, a journalist was kidnapped and murdered by Pakistani militants. When his friend, who is a conductor, heard the news, he almost did not conduct his concert that night. Then he realized the importance of music and the positive effects it can have on people and conducted.
Pearl’s family also realized this, and since then, has had concerts every year since his death in 2002 to commemorate him and remind the world that music is important in coping with many issues. These concerts also promote the idea of music as a universal language, since the concerts taken place in over 60 countries. Since its inception, it has grown to take place throughout all of October.
This recital and its pieces remind us of what can be conveyed through music. All of its pieces were inspired by current events and how the composer dealt with them. This was an effective theme, because it not only encompasses a wide range of music, but it also leaves the audience thinking about the subject matter.
The first piece, my favorite of the three, was “Brother Malcolm,” composed by Jean Rudy Perrault, for cello and piano. It is a fictitious conversation between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X about Barack Obama becoming President. This piece was beautiful and uplifting, mostly due to its core concept.
Musically, it was very enjoyable. While the piano primarily played either dreamy sounding textures or lush chords, the cello played lyrically with intensity. By emphasizing certain elements, such as dynamics or technique, the two were able to traverse many emotions and feelings.
Some parts were dreamy, some were somber and some were happy. Both musicians did an amazing job of putting that emotion in their performance. With all the pop songs today, it is often that you hear music with little emotion behind it, but there was an overflow of emotion in this piece.
The other two pieces did this too. They tackled more depressing topics—the Abu Ghraib prisoner torture and the death of Neda Agha-Soltan. While these pieces were more difficult to listen to because of their dissonance and disturbing subject matter, the three musicians played them with a sense of duty and respect. They chose to share the stories told in the pieces.
This concert was a hard one to sit through because of all the stories and feelings connected to the pieces, but it was important because it forced the audience to recognize the more negative aspects of humanity so they can appreciate the good that much more. Fortunately, the good in humanity often comes in the form of music, which can be enjoyed by nearly everyone.