There are a plethora of recitals that happen at Lawrence. Conservatory students, chamber groups and faculty all give recitals showcasing their abilities; recitals are a huge component of the music degree here at Lawrence. Every so often, instrumental studios give a recital. These usually include various members of that studio performing repertoire that they have been working on, and then maybe a group piece at the end. One studio that has started to put on consistent recitals is the Classical Guitar Studio, which gave a great recital this past Sunday.
The guitar studio is a relatively small one; only five guitarists played in the recital. Freshman Alex Layton opened with etudes 1-3 from Afro-Cuban composer and classical guitarist Leo Brouwer’s “Etudes Simples,” and then a beautiful piece titled “Lagrima,” composed by Francisco Tarrega. The next piece was performed by junior Rick Kubly. The piece that he performed, “Prelude” from Lute Suite No. 2 BWV 997 by Johann Sebastian Bach, was not only very technical, but incredibly musical and dynamic. After Kubly finished the Bach to heavy applause, senior Jack Kilkelly-Schmidt took the stage, playing two movements from Frank Martin’s “Quatre Pièces Brèves” —the second and third. These two pieces, especially the third movement, “Plainte,” were very thematic, often containing quarter note strums and runs down the fretboard, before returning to the main theme of the piece.
The next piece on the program was titled “Rondo,” composed by Spanish classical guitarist Fernando Sor and performed by freshman Alex Ruffolo. This piece seemed to be one of the most technical pieces on the program, and Ruffolo definitely stepped up to the challenge, hitting the contrasting dynamics and runs of the piece with ease. When Ruffolo finished performing, Kubly took the stage once more to play two movements, “Allegretto and Lento,” from “Sonatina,” composed by British composer Sir Lennox Berkeley. Once again, these showed off Kubly’s technique and dynamic control on the guitar.
The next piece performed was a guitar and harp duet composed by Gary Schocker, called “Elysian.” The performers listed on the program were “Alex Gomez and guest,” whom senior Gomez introduced as “my friend Lily” —senior Lily Atkinson. I found, while listening, that the timbre of the guitar and harp blended very smoothly together, in a very soothing and elegant duet. After the duet concluded, Gomez remained onstage to play “En Los Trigales,” composed by Joaquin Rodrigo. This piece was reminiscent of flamenco guitar, and contained all the intricate strumming, runs and instrumentation required by the style.
The final two pieces were from Astor Piazolla’s “History of the Tango,” titled “Cafe” and “Bordel.” Ruffolo took the stage and was joined by flutist Hannah Tobias. I had previously heard “Cafe” a number of times—the trumpet rendition, specifically. The flute added tremendous musical value to the performance, and this choice (since Piazolla is well-known for writing for guitar) was a good addition to the program. Overall, this was an enjoyable and classy recital from the Classical Guitar Studio, with music programmed to showcase each player’s ability.