All eyes were drawn to the Doty Recital Hall stage, the only source of light in the dark auditorium.
Adjunct professor of piano Chiao-Wen Cheng sat in clear view with hands poised over a grand piano. Adjunct professor of flute Emlyn Johnson stood in front of the crowd with a shining flute to her lips. She took a breath. Suddenly, the silence was broken and stunning, delicately wavered notes played. Eyes closed in awe.
As part of the Fall 2017 Faculty and Guest Artist Series, the Geneseo Wind Quintet held a concert on Sunday Nov. 12. The “Duo for Flute and Piano,” by Aaron Copland, was only the first of four compositions performed, featuring guest pianist Cheng and permanent Wind Quintet member Johnson.
Adjunct professors Megan Kyle on the oboe, Ernest Lascell on the clarinet and saxophone, Martha Sholl on bassoon and Maura McCune Corvington on the French horn are all members of the Wind Quintet faculty ensemble. Music professor Jonathan Gonder acted as a guest pianist for the group in this particular concert alongside professor Cheng.
After the first performance, Kyle and Lascell stepped up to perform the “Duo for Oboe and Clarinet,” by Marion Bauer. The piece imitated an argument between two voices; resounding rich tones from Lascell’s clarinet seemed to either agree with or shout over the sweet trills of Kyle’s oboe.
Next on the stage was Gonder, Johnson and Kyle for the “Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano,” composed by Madeleine Dring. In a whirl of frenetic major and minor notes, the instruments told a tale of action and adventure that brought spectators into the story.
For the finale, Sholl and Corvington joined Johnson, Kyle and Lascell on the stage for “To the Dark Wood,” by composer George Rochberg. At first, the five tentative instruments introduced their individual sounds. Eventually the sounds combined in a haunting and exclamatory tune, becoming louder near the end as if alerting the audience to some plot climax in the musical story.
Abrupt silence followed each movement of all the pieces, only to be broken by musicians softly turning the pages of their sheet music and sitting up a little straighter. Everyone in the audience seemed to hold their breaths, excited to find out whatever new wave of sound was going to cut through the quiet.
English major freshman Lydia Gleason was one of the many awe-struck audience members to enjoy the music of the group.
“My favorite [movement] was … ‘andante semplice’ from the ‘Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano’ because it sounded like a lullaby: really soft, sweet and beautiful,” she said. “I would totally go back to see another concert.”
Unfortunately, this particular faculty ensemble only performs twice a year, but students are invited to attend any of the other upcoming concerts on-campus. The music department will be hosting the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra on Sunday Nov. 19 and the Bill Tiberio Band on Nov. 28 at Wadsworth Auditorium.