In my visits to PAC events, I have experienced the experimental and the positively bizarre more often than I would have ever figured. In contrast, I haven’t been to many of the rather ‘normal’ fare events for the PAC. I anticipated the Chamber Composition Concert would be a nice change of pace, and I can tell you that notion was correct.
The CCC is a recital series involved with Composition and Digital Arts programs, and has performers to interact with the student conductors to give feedback on and to give life to the compositions, and teaches composers to help their performers grow with their respective instrument amongst other avenues of improvements. According to Dr. Vermillion, who also attended the recital, the concert series has been active for well over 22 years, with a recent incorporation of the Contemporary Music Ensemble dating around 2 years ago.
This concert was unlike many of the other prior recitals and performances I’ve attended, mainly due to its length. The CCC was roughly only a half hours’ worth of my time, and it was well worth it. It didn’t drag on, nor did it waste my time. No backstory, no ideology behind their making; we were here for the compositions and nothing else. Speaking of the compositions, they and the performers giving them life were all very impressive.
The first composition was simply titled “Duet” and was performed by a duet of a violinist and a cello player. This piece had a very somber, yet upbeat sound to it, and each of two the instruments complimented the sound of the other throughout. As a consequence, when the instruments separate, or have a solo, they felt out of place; with it being difficult to find if it’s a fault with the piece itself or stress getting to the performers. This was only near the end, and the piece was very enjoyable regardless of that minor shortfall.
The next performance was a piece by the name of “Let the Light Shine Through.” This was a very stellar performance and piece, and I would like to explain my metric for this. I am a very visual thinker, with an admittedly high tendency to daydream, and audio complements this activity very well. When I hear a song/composition that actively forms and shapes a daydream in my head, I find myself in a moment of bliss.
This composition brought me into a nostalgic dream of being younger when I played WWII games with friends and by myself. The sound of this composition put me in the feel of being behind enemy lines in that period of time, with any media with the same scenario having a similar sound. I would like to give both the composer and the performers a very belated standing ovation for this piece. Bravo.
The third piece of the night went by the name of “Audible Insanity,” and it certainly lived up to its name. The first half of the composition sounded ironically structured and logical, with only the saxophone having a minor deviation from the norm. The flute performance was very lovely and must be commended.
Then the ‘mind’ of the piece breaks, and the song starts to fall into madness, slowly losing its structure along the way. If you are able to listen to this piece carefully, you can get a ‘picture’ of this piece being a sound mind, which makes it’s breaking point just a bit more impactful. Very imaginative.
“Illusions” is an interesting composition to describe, as it is a solo piano piece. As the piece began to gain steam, the sound began to take the feel of a Noir-esque performance. With it followed a cavalcade of related scenes playing in my head: Rainfall in a dark cityscape, mystique, and mystery, and the attire of the 40’s and 50’s. This was a very nice performance, and the sound of the piano was very pleasing to my ears. Bravo.
As with the concert itself, we arrive with the final composition of the night: “Acostrumbrase.” Aside from being difficult to pronounce offhand; this performance was an ensemble of four percussionists balanced by three string players and one brass performer. If you are a fan of percussion taking the limelight in a song, you will like this piece. Giving me pictures of naval fleet battles, the sound of this piece puts the percussion at the forefront, with the strings and brass providing the backing rhythm and flow to the piece. An interesting composition for sure, and I feel that it may be my second favorite of the whole concert.
I walked out into the cold night afterward, with a very positive impression of the concert series, and of the composers as well. None of the pieces fell flat or were even mediocre, which I admittedly thought would have happened at least once. All in all, a great show, and I hope to hear about future success from this batch of newly experienced composers, and I would welcome the opportunity to interview them in the future.