Friends of Music Piano Series impressive in Wadsworth

Sunday afternoon was a fine day to take part in the spectacle of sound, and Wadsworth Auditorium provided the outlet. The Friends of Music Piano Series and Geneseo's music department provided a classical piano concert for a small but cordial gathering of music lovers.

Performed by three of Ithaca College's associate professors of piano, the concert, playfully titled, "Three Are Better Than One," was carried out with the same professionalism one would see at an opera house or music hall. From the moment the concert began - decisively on schedule - the stage wafted enduring melodies, sometimes cryptic, sometimes obtuse.

The first piece performed, "Gazebo Dances," by composer John Corigliano, teetered on disjointed mischief that, on occasion, sounded as if glass was grinding in a garbage disposal, only with poise and premeditated construction. Led by the hands of professors Jairo Geronymo and Deborah Martin, this specific selection was enjoyable, but only when in between the madness of conflicting piano tones. Still, each "dance" was spring-loaded and autumn-enriched, sometimes on the rise and at other times oversaturated in itself.

Each performance started a new style of classical equanimity, mixing the four hands between Geronymo, Martin, and colleague Diane Birr. When Geronymo was on stage, he led the selections with a stoic veneer, but both his hands and body signified some poetic unity with each stricken key. Professor Birr, former president of the New York State Music Teachers Association, followed the music with continuous captivation, fervently transferring the music from brain to hand to piano and then out into the air.

All three pianists shined particularly in the last piece, which recommitted the title of the performance as three transcended to one sound.

The concert as a whole, however impressive and promising, could not withstand the fact that all of the pieces performed were not entirely contemporary, but rather a series of relics that resembled piano from the silent picture era of America. There was a lack of a profound swell of emotion, and half of the sounds were disagreeable or unsavory, but the respect was present and the intentions admirable.

Each of the three performers are commended for their ability and virtuous tribute to the spirit of classical music.