On Sunday, Feb. 14, two sophomore percussion students, Jake Victor and Sean Goldman, hosted a recital in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Titled “Jake and Sean’s Valentine’s Day Recital of Love,” the concert featured a mix or light-hearted and serious performances.
Most sophomore musicians do not decide to have recitals, but if they do, it is often with a friend. In about 70 minutes, Victor and Goldman played nine pieces, showcasing a wide variety of instruments and techniques. They enjoyed the freedom to personally select works that they wanted to perform.
A few latecomers who tried to enter through the main doors to the chapel were surprised to find that the audience was sitting on stage. Victor and Goldman played with their backs to the edge of the stage. The presence of so much empty space behind them in combination with the audience’s close proximity created a unique listening experience.
The first selection was “My Heart Will Go On,” the famous piece from the soundtrack to the movie “Titanic.” Victor and Goldman worked together to arrange the pop song as a duet for piano and recorder. They delivered a tight performance, and people in the audience smiled at their humorous interpretation.
Both performers are multi-interested. In addition to percussion, Victor studies jazz piano and frequently performs with jazz ensembles on campus. He filled some space in the program with a short piano improvisation in a languid, flowing style. Not many people are able to create chord progressions and melodies so effortlessly on the spot.
Later, Victor gave a thoughtful performance of Bach’s “Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, i. Fugue” adapted for solo marimba. This piece is commonly studied by Lawrence violin students; it was interesting to hear it on a different type of instrument. Each mallet strike resonated in the spacious hall as he brought out the different voices of the fugue.
Goldman’s first solo piece on the recital was “With Sunshine in His Face” by Ben Wahlund. He demonstrated a wide range of emotional and technical musicianship. A focus of the composition was contrast in range and mood—warm low-register chords juxtaposed against skittering arpeggios.
Goldman also accompanied a guest performer, junior flutist Jordan Peterson, on an adventurous piece written by Gareth Farr called “Kembang Suling.” Over the course of three movements, the piece explored different ways to combine the two instruments’ sounds. The two played well, and the audience enjoyed the change of pace.
The strangest piece on the program was a marimba duet called “The Lonelyness of Santa Claus” composed by Fredrik Andersson. While people may have guessed from the title that the piece was rather unique, they did not expect what turned out to be a ten-minute trudge through a series of bleak soundscapes. The connection to Santa Claus was left unexplained, but it contributed to the mystique of the performance.
The recital concluded with a jazz performance including Victor and some of his friends playing his original composition “How It Is.” This piece, which involved jazz improvisation, rounded out the program nicely. The performers smiled to each other as the audience nodded along to the beat.
Afterward, Victor and Goldman thanked everyone in the dispersing crowd for coming. Their comfort onstage and their musical skills made for an engaging and successful recital. Victor said, “Putting together a self-directed showcase of the music that I find interesting … was a really great way to make a large step on my journey towards finding my own voice as a musician.”