Plenty of Players

Audience members saw a complex interplay of several performers during Monday night’s Conservatory performance, with few moments for any significant solo reflection.

Everyone is used to musical bands with four or five members these days, but the conservatory’s performance presented four performers playing on an individual basis at the same time.

The pieces flowed well together, and everything worked without a hitch.

The first piece, written by Madeleine Dring (1923-1977), created a balance of modern sounds without sounding too distant from traditional classical efforts. The third movement of the piece featured an energetic piano performance at the start by Conservatory Professor Patricia Higdon.

Although Conservatory Professor Celeste Johnson was the featured performer, there was never continual domination of one instrument over another. Instead, everything was presented like a ferris wheel.

The only possible exception was the solo soprano performance by Conservatory Professor Maria Kanyova. She gave a thundering performance while not overly overpowering Johnson’s oboe performance.

It should be pointed out that the piece performed by Kanyova and Johnson was written by Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach, second son of Johannes Sebastien Bach. The piece was the only one without any movements, and was clearly the shortest piece in terms of overall time.

Johnson was a tireless performer, being present all throughout the entire evening. All performers, had their chance to shine however.

The final piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart featured a stirring performance by Conservatory Professor Benny Kim.

Performers Joseph Genualdi on the viola and Michael Mermagen on the cello also put in a rewarding effort, especially on the last piece.

After the performance, Johnson said she thought the city would gain some benefit from such musical enjoyment, as would anyone else. She also emphasized the role of other people instead of lauding her own exceptional efforts.

“I’m glad to have presented a chamber music performance for my students, colleagues, friends, and the Kansas City community,” Johnson said.

 

cmme56@mail.umkc.edu

 

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