On Sunday, Sept. 25, Associate Professor of Music and Teacher of Trumpet John Daniel took the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage with collaborative pianist Nick Towns to a flurry of applause. Immediately, Daniel began to speak about the “mostly French” program. While at one point Daniel’s faculty recital was to be filled with music by all French composers, he then changed the second half of the program to one with works by Robbins, Liszt, and Enescu: composers from Great Britain, Hungary, and Romania, respectively.
The concert opened with Jean Hubeau’s “Sonate pour Trompette et Piano,” a three-movement sonata with a Sarabande, an Intermède, and a Spiritual. During the Sarabande, Daniel demonstrated a general control of sound, weaving a relatively calm first movement with a more tumultuous second movement. In the Intermède, Daniel weaved seemingly effortlessly from his low range to his high range, producing beautiful high notes that tied together beautifully with the lower range of the trumpet. This technique was also present in the final movement, the Spiritual, which, according to Daniel, is “unique in the repertoire” for both piano and trumpet. This movement was extremely hymn-like, but on an even grander scale.
Daniel and Towns demonstrated an incredible musical partnership during the Spiritual, drawing upon each other during the sweeping jumps in the piano part.
Next, Daniel brought out Assistant Professor of Music Timothy Albright for another piece written by a French pianist: Jean-Michel Damase’s “Trio pour Trompette, Trombone, et Piano.”
The Trio began with a Moderato movement, showcasing majestic harmonies between the trumpet and trombone, coming across as a brilliant game of copycat through the conversation between the two brass instruments. The final movement of the Trio was the Allegro, a definite high-point in the concert. Starting in unison, the three instruments showcased beautifully phrased runs and arpeggios, also demonstrating a sort of two-voice fugue between the trumpet and trombone.
During the second half of the program, Daniel played three shorter pieces. The first, “Mont Saint-Michel” by Robbins brought forth an emotional and sweet tone from the trumpet, conveying the wonder and awe of the composer towards the island of the same name off the coast of Normandy. The next piece was Liszt’s “Oh! Quand je dors,” a French song transcription. This song was reminiscent of a lullaby, and was played by Daniel with strength and clarity of sound. Finally, Enescu’s “Legend” brought forth a thick, textural layered piano accompaniment from Towns while the trumpet glided on top with high, fast notes one after another. The mood of the piece changed greatly, from thick and layered to sweet, from sweet to muted, and finally towards a gracious end.
John Daniel’s faculty recital supported by Nick Towns proved to be an astounding success. Daniel showed true musicianship in a dynamic partnership between trumpet, trombone and piano, leaving the entire audience in a buzz following the concert.