Chorale: “Songs of Death”
By Alexandra Samuely
The College’s Chorale had its first fall performance on Tuesday, Oct. 11. The “Songs of Death” concert, presented by the Department of Music, premiered to a large and enthusiastic audience that began cheering immediately upon the arrival of main conductor John P. Leonard.
The Chorale, smartly dressed in black formal outfits, began their performance with a rendition of Bach’s longest motet, “Jesu, meine Freude” and featured eight solos by students accompanied by an organ and bassoon. After the intermission, the chorale continued with pieces such as the haunting “Lasciate mi morire” by Claudio Monteverdi and “In Remembrance” by Eleanor Daley. It culminated with a gospel-like version of “Ain’t Got Time to Die” by Hall Johnson.
Assistant conductor Brandon Eldredge conducted two songs after the intermission in addition to playing the organ. Several of the individual songs after the intermission were performed on the higher balconies looking down at the audience, which added to the ethereal atmosphere of the concert. Many of the songs were performed in foreign languages, namely German and Italian, with translations of the music available in the back of the programs. The Chorale’s mastery of the languages in which they performed, coupled with the perfectly synchronized harmonies, made for an enjoyable and impressive listening experience.
Strings: Austro-German Classics
By Novera Shahid
The TCNJ Strings concert was a phenomenal performance — the chamber orchestra clearly displayed an energy and finesse bold enough to captivate any audience member, from the ambivalent to the passionate. Held in the Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall on Friday, Oct. 14, the concert was an experience to enjoy.
The chamber orchestra contained a dynamic variety of instruments, including the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, horn, violin, viola, cello, bass, timpani/percussion, piano, accordion and harp. The musicians, in turn, played magically, both in unison and in tandem, amazing the audience from the start with Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5, Op. 67.” The playful plucking of the strings, smooth melodies and jolting shifts in intensity made the piece the most memorable.
As the evening continued, soprano and associate professor of music Suzanne L. Hickman’s voice resonated beautifully in German during Gustav Mahler’s “Liebst du um Schoenheit.” “Hans und Grete,” also by Mahler, followed before the orchestra played Mahler’s “Symphony No. 1.”
Hickman sang another one of Mahler’s pieces, “Die zwei blauen Augen,” and then the orchestra resumed another part of “Symphony No. 1.” A transition from a lighted-hearted tone to a more somber one could be felt in the synergy of the orchestral sections.
The concert concluded with “Ging Heut Morgen uber’s Feld” by Mahler and the third part of “Symphony No. 1.” A long applause and widespread murmurs of praise resounded after the orchestra’s performance.
Wind Ensemble: Fanfare and Flair
By Thalia Ortiz
Families, students and faculty united in the Mayo Concert Hall to hear the first performance of the year for the College’s Wind Ensemble on Thursday, Oct. 13. The ensemble was conducted by professor Arthur D. Chodoroff of the music department.
The first piece was “Fanfare and Allegro” by composer Clifton Williams. This was an upbeat performance, as a steady percussion played throughout the song, which slowed down into a deep flute and clarinet transition. The beginning of the piece sounded slightly ceremonial, while the majority of the song had a dramatic flair.
Another piece, “An Original Suite” by composer Gordon Jacob, was divided into three sections. It began with the “March,” which had an overall mellow tune but had points of intensity, such as an occasional bellow from the drums. The “Intermezzo” portion had a relaxed and dreamy feel to it. The “Finale” was spectacular, as the ensemble formed together to produce an array of sounds predominantly centered around the clarinets and flutes.
However, one of the most notable performances of the night was “Variations on ‘America’” by Charles Ives. It was the final piece and a great way to end the show, with its multiple ranges and strong presence of the brass and lower wind instruments.
With impressive talent from the musicians rooted into the performance from beginning to end, the recital was quite exceptional, and this is sure to be a promising season for the ensemble.