Brass performers deliver thoughtful recital

On Saturday, Jan. 26, a brass chamber recital took place in Harper Hall wherein several groups played a range of pieces from Rachmaninov to Brahms to Bach. It was a very thoughtful recital, featuring unexpected, improvised pieces.

The evening started with “Music for Brass Quintet” by Bennie Beach, performed by a quintet made up of sophomore Caleb Carter and freshman Jack Benedict on trumpet, junior Jonathan Ibach on French horn, sophomore Allie Goldman on trombone and sophomore Henry Parks on tuba. It was a very nice way to start the evening, which then moved to “Vocalise” by Sergei Rachmaninov, which I had previously thought of only as a string piece with a vocalist, but this was completely different from what I had expected. From there the quintet performed “The Voices That Are Gone” by Stephen Foster, which is an especially lovely and ruminative piece.

Following the quintet was a trio consisting of senior Abi Keefe on violin, fifth-year Julian Cohen on French horn, and senior Nick Suminski on piano. They began with the first movement from Brahms’s “Horn Trio,” a rather ominous piece, forecasting the movements to come. Next, the trio performed “Bouree 1 & 2” from Bach’s Third Cello Suite. These pieces are meant for string instruments, or at least that is how I thought they were to be played, so I was incredibly impressed at how good the brass groups were at performing these very challenging pieces.

After the trio, the audience was treated to a surprise performance from Assistant Professor of Music Ann Ellsworth, her friend Sheila Silber and Jonathan Ibach.  They performed an improvised piece on Tibetan singing bowls, which are small percussion instruments. Ibach and Silber performed on the bowls while Professor Ellsworth played the French horn. It was a very interesting and unexpected performance.

Finally, the JAM ensemble played a few pieces. JAM features sophomore Mariel Lopez, Ibach and Cohen on French horn, sophomore Alex Medina on saxophone, sophomore Ali Remondini on bass and vocals and junior Alex Quade on drums. They played arrangements of “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” by Andrae Crouch, which added a more spiritual element to proceedings, and ended the night with a performance of “Lucky Me” by Kat Edmonson.

Overall, this was a very nice way to warm up on a cold winter’s evening and I look forward to attending more brass recitals in the future.

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