Faculty recital celebrates female composers

Geneseo faculty recital “The Color of Emotions” took place on Friday Sept. 11 and showcased intense and thought provoking pieces from adjunct lecturer in music Beata Golec and Rebeca Boyd. Although I am heavily biased toward music from the Romantic Era, the works performed by Golec and Boyd—a pianist and violinist, respectively—were a match made in musical heaven. My favorite performance by far was the opening act of Grażyna Bacewicz’s “Sonata da camera for violin and piano.” A gorgeous dialogue between the piano and violin, as well as a satisfyingly dark experimentation with various melodies, highlighted the largo—or the slow section.

The four sonatas performed were all composed between 1945–1951. It’s important to note that Bacewicz’s four sonatas were written under Stalinism during the post-World War II Russian occupation of Poland. This meant Bacewicz and her Polish contemporaries were subject to the ideological control of the new Communist government. It’s no wonder these pieces are so dark, expressive and revolutionary.

After intermission, the performance was devoted to Golec’s compositions. I have listened to classical music almost exclusively for the last seven years, yet this is the first time I have listened to compositions in which I could not trace the inspiration. Golec’s compositions are entirely her own. Hearing her work felt as though she had never heard pieces from other composers.

Golec explained that when it comes to her compositions, complete originality is indeed her goal. She began composing at 13 years old without guidance from other composers.

Golec’s compositions are examples of textbook minimalism, especially “Falling.” Composed in 2013, it is a piece about the devil falling from heaven down into the depths of hell. This was my favorite of her four pieces performed—I couldn’t help but imagine the beginning of the piece as being a dialogue between the devil and God. I pictured the devil pleading to stay in heaven and then—when unsuccessful—falling through the air and accepting his fate.

Another profound performance was Golec’s premiere of her piece “We Remember.” Golec composed this piece in July after visiting New York City in tribute to the victims Sept. 11—the recital took place on the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Golec and Boyd’s performances were touching and exquisite. I won’t soon forget this concert.