Doty Open House welcomes faculty musicians

Doty Recital Hall was host to a triumphant faculty gala concert on Sunday March 2, presented by the department of music. It showcased the meeting of talent with an optimal musical environment for the Doty Hall Open House. The old style of Doty’s exterior sets viewers up for surprise when they enter the building to an entirely contemporary interior, pragmatic in material and design. Far from the flowery baroque style that many auditoriums adhere to, the visage of the concert hall itself is of plain bright woods, exposed steel latticework and white paint.

President Emeritus Christopher Dahl began with a speech that lauded the value of restoring an old building as opposed to building a new one.

The concert began with adjunct faculty in music Glennda Dove-Pellito and professor and Chair of the Department of Music Jonathan Gonder’s rendition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Flute Sonata No. 6 in E major, BWV 1035. This upbeat flute and piano duo started the concert in high spirit, with a quintessential “classical” feel that set the stage – so to speak – for what was to come.

Associate professor of music Amy Stanley followed with Johannes Brahms’ Rhapsody in B minor, Op. 79 No. 1, a jarring piano piece that undercut the pleasantries  in the opening performance.

Robert Schumann’s “Fantasy Pieces, Op. 73,” performed by lecturer of music James Kirkwood on cello and Gonder on piano, was a tonally dark but delightful piano and cello duo, which demands a cellist with a capacity for speed.

The Geneseo Wind Quintet performed Gustav Holst’s Wind Quintet in A-flat major, Op.14, providing some variety as the first piece with no piano component. As such, it is a piece that focuses notably more on melody than rhythm.

Akira Yuyama’s Divertimento for Marimba and Alto Saxophone is a unique piece featuring a marimba and alto saxophone duo, filled by adjunct professors of music Jim Tiller and professor emeritus of saxophone at Eastman School of Music Ramon Ricker, respectfully. I would not know if pieces such as this are business as usual for marimba players, but even Tiller’s indubitable mastery of the instrument could not make it look easy.

The moment I noticed a dulcimer, accordion and banjo on the stage, I knew that adjunct professor of English Glenn McClure and lecturer of music James Kimball’s “Stars for Liesbeth, Contra Set No. 1” would be my favorite. The song is composed of four medleys in the contra dance style and featured 12 members of the Geneseo String Band with Kimball on the fiddle and McClure on the dulcimer.

After all the stimulus of big-band folk music, a quieter, meditative section from Federico Mompou’s “Canço i Dansa No.6 in E-flat minor” by vocal coach Alan Case came as a welcome break.

Adjunct professor of music Ernest Lascell performed Paul Harvey’s “Three Etudes on Themes of Gershwin” on clarinet. This piece had a rapid, fluttering feel throughout, with Lascell’s face cartoonishly turning red at certain points of the high-metabolic piece.

Brahms’ Piano Quintet in F minor, Op. 34 brought the focus of the night back to the more prevalent idea of classical music, performed by Gonder on piano and the Trement Quartet.

David Gibson’s “French Press” and Larry Willis’ “To Wisdom, The Prize” were the two final songs of the night, ending a concert of classical music in the key of jazz to remind us all, lest we forget, that jazz musicians will always be cooler than everyone else. This band was composed of Gibson on the trombone, Tiller on the drum set, adjunct professor of music Mark Collins on trumpet and senior Christopher Pike on the upright bass.