Drums and xylophones may not seem to be very invigorating in terms of a musical performance, but Blasie Rothwell, Master’s student at UMKC, performed admirably with such challenging material. There was no audible error or glitch in Monday night’s performance at White Recital Hall.
The stage on White Recital Hall featured a prominent xylophone in its center. On the sides were a series of different drums. These were to be performed mostly by Rothwell, but three other performers – James Harris, Christopher Larson, and Matt Anderson – helped provide backup in the fifth piece.
“Reflections on the Nature of Water” (1986) was the name of the first piece, composed by Jacob Druckman. The piece was probably the most technically demanding, being unusually soft and challenging to perform with such required subtlety. Michio Kitazume composed the second piece, “Side by Side” (1989). The piece was a bit more varied in volume, and was thus somewhat boisterous in comparison to the first piece.
Immediately after the Intermission, Rothwell performed “Eight Pieces for Four Timpani (One Player)” (1950/1966), by Elliot Carter. The piece had its own challenges, being performed on drums. There was frequent oscillation of volume in the piece, between soft and loud. Harris, Larson and Anderson joined Rothwell for some of the fifth piece, “Marimba Spiritual” (1983-1984) by Minoru Miki. Rothwell started the piece off by himself, but slowly the other three players came into focus and became more pronounced.
The final piece, by Johan Sebastiann Bach, was very quick, but rather energetic in nature. There were slight pauses throughout the piece. Recurrence and consistent texture were features of the piece.
Matthew Anderson, one of the backup performers, was strongly enthused by Rothwell’s overall performance. “He picked very challenging music, and executed it at a very high level,” Anderson said.
Pieces chosen for Monday evening were from varying time periods, which would account for some of the challenged associated with such.