Artful art songs

The rising musical stars of Douglas shine in Arts at One

By Kealy Doyle, Contributor

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the winter semester draws to a close, the Douglas College music department is wrapping up in grand style. This week’s Arts at One was a celebration of skill and musicianship which also acknowledged an audience challenged in recent weeks by some rather difficult music. The scholarship winners brought their ‘A’ game to pieces familiar and new and were warmly received.

It was a barnstormer of an opener. Stefani Yap put the piano through its paces with a hugely dextrous rendition of the third movement from Haydn’s “Piano sonata No. 62 in E-flat major.” The Presto is fast, strident, and proud, but always accessible. Those wonderful melodic trills were a delight. Special mention must go to Yap for her excellent attention to dynamics; she gave busy music room to breathe. It was these little touches that elevated her and many of her fellow performers from the merely ‘good’ to ‘great.’

Those sensitive dynamics were also at work in Spencer Waugh’s version of “Stella Australis,” by Argentine composer M. D. Pujol. There were some lovely arpeggios in this moody Spanish guitar piece of sunburnt landscapes and gentle Mediterranean zephyrs. It was a moment to reflect before launching into another vigorous piano session.

Amy Teo-Poh began Schubert’s gorgeous “Impromptu in G-flat Major No.” without a moment’s hesitation. Anchoring the melody with a tremendous series of oscillating triads that hardly let up throughout the five-minute piece, Teo-Poh made easy work of this romantic, deeply felt meditation. The feeling of satisfaction as the melody returned home after its anguished wanderings could hardly be expressed. It was a rewarding piece for both the performer and the audience.

Teo-Poh finished with a less familiar piece, the “Lament of Lady Zhao Jun” by Chinese composer Doming Lam. The audience was instantly transported to the Far East with the first strains of the simple but exotic pentatonic melody. It played with tempo and discordance, never quite settling into the harmonic chord. Despite some delicate work at the higher end of the keyboard, it grew into an unsettled, raging lament with only occasional glimpses of relief and harmony. To hear it played with a full orchestra would be quite something.

It was then time for a complete change of pace: enter mezzo-soprano Melissa Purnell. She began with “Le papillon et la fleur,” a lovely vocal piece by well-known Romantic composer Gabriel Fauré. These art songs are singers’ showcases, and, expertly accompanied by pianist Christian Bideau, Purnell soared. Her mature, rich voice was well-suited, her technique was excellent, and she sang with interest and emotion.

Purnell’s masterpiece and perhaps the best piece of the concert, however, was Richard Hageman’s “Do not go, my love,” a mournful early 20th century art song set to a short work by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. It is Hageman’s best-known art song, and deservedly so. This had shades of Purcell’s haunting Dido and Aeneas and the melodic French chansons of Reynaldo Hahn. Purnell’s performance was superlative: this was not simply a piece to sing but to act, and she did so tastefully and with no trace of self-consciousness.

Purnell was joined for her final piece by soprano Leanne Gilder. Mozart’s “Sull’aria” from The Marriage of Figaro is one of the best-known female duets in classical music (the eagle-eared will remember it from The Shawshank Redemption). With charming use of props, Purnell and Gilder gave an accomplished account of this beautiful duettino. Purnell was excellent, Gilder’s voice strong, and the harmony pleasing. It left a smile on this audience member’s face.

Their accompanist Bideau took up the baton next with a revisiting of a challenging François Morel étude. It was as complex and unpredictable as in the first hearing, but left the audience in no doubt of Bideau’s prodigious skill as he mastered every tempo, dynamic, and note on the keyboard. He is an enormously accomplished performer with command of the subtle touches—a pause here, a softening there. His is a career to watch with interest.

Last but by no means least was an astonishing work by Georges Guilhaud. His “First concertino in G minor” was a brilliant setting of classical motifs to alto saxophone. Accompanied by Williams Budhiharto, Kelvin Lui sent shivers through the room with an opening arpeggio almost worthy of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The sax’s full, throaty elegance worked perfectly—in its higher register, it was positively piercing. A stunning work that was well performed.

The Arts at One series finishes for the winter semester on April 5 with student ensembles. Performances are free to attend and begin every Thursday at 1 p.m. in the Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre, New Westminster campus.

The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

More Posts - Website

1,825 comments on “Artful art songs
  1. Pretty part of content. I just stumbled upon your site and
    in accession capital to claim that I get actually enjoyed account your weblog posts.
    Anyway I’ll be subscribing on your feeds or even I success you get right of entry to consistently quickly.

  2. Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.

    P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to
    ask!

  3. Hey would you mind letting me know which
    web host you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster
    then most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a honest price?

    Kudos, I appreciate it!

  4. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I
    find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back
    and help others like you helped me.

  5. Round Pool Hack tool – Coins Money Cheat, Credit history, For
    Google android, IOS (apple iphone ipad) December 2013 No Study Free Download
    and install – Introducing our model-new 8 Round Pool Hack software merely for you who
    dependent on this exceptional video game!

  6. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great
    post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks!

  7. Not often do I come across a weblog that is both informative and enjoyable,
    and let me tell you, you may have hit the nail on the head.
    Your conceptis excellent; the issue is something that not sufficient individuals are speaking
    intelligently about. I’m happy that I found this in my pursuit of something relating to
    this.

  8. First of all I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t
    mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear
    your head prior to writing. I have had a hard
    time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just
    trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations
    or tips? Kudos!

  9. Outstanding article, I simply just passed this onto a colleague who was
    carrying out a little bit of research on that. And he actually ordered
    me lunch simply because I discovered it for him.

  10. My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right.
    This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent
    for this information! Thanks!

  11. Thanks for the write up. I surely agree with what you are
    saying. I have been talking about this subject a lot these days with my brother so ideally this will get him to see my point of view.
    Fingers crossed!

  12. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.

    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your
    useful info. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  13. When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each
    time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment.
    Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

  14. I’m really inspired with your writing skills and also
    with the structure on your weblog. Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it your self?
    Either way keep up the excellent high quality writing, it’s rare to look a great weblog like this one nowadays..

  15. Good day I am so excited I found your blog page, I really found you by
    error, while I was searching on Askjeeve for something else, Anyhow
    I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a incredible post
    and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to read it all at the moment but I have
    bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read
    a great deal more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*