UConn Chamber Ensemble Recital: An intimate night of small ensemble music

A member of the Five Guys, Valves and Slides Brass Quintet performs "Sonata from Die Bankelsangerlieder" during the UConn Chamber Ensemble Recital on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 in von der Mehden Recital Hall. (Owen Bonaventura/The Daily Campus)

Chamber ensembles of the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts took to the stage during their semesterly recital in von der Mehden Recital Hall on Tuesday night.

The concert opened with the Five Guys, Valves and Slides Brass Quintet performing "Sonata from Die Bankelsangerlieder" by Anonymous.

Following their performance was "Within... for Flute Choir" by Ian Clark performed by the UConn Flute Ensemble. The piece was a direct contrast of the opening brass quintet. It began with a slow and lyrical solo in minor. The ensemble then comes in with continued features of dissonances and rhythmically demanding chromatic lines. The piece also featured one flute beat boxing to keep the piece driving forward.

The mood continued to darken with Meraki String Quartet's performance of "String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, op. 110" by Dmitri Shostakovich. The piece continued to evoke sinister or haunting undertones through its primarily minor composition.

The UConn Trombone Choir also performed a piece with darker undertones. "In Memoriam for Trombone Quartet" was written by Raymond Premu. The piece begins with all the trombones performing in unison and eventually splits the ensemble into dissonant harmonies. The piece progresses in a way that a chorale would, and the dissonance continues to present itself through the last note.

"Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart brings a more lively feel back to the concert. As the title suggests, the oboe is featured with its virtuosic melodies and the strings accompany the oboe through the piece.

Osiris String Quartet performs the Allegro movement from "String Quartet No. 7, op. 58, no. 1 in F major" by Ludwig von Beethoven at the UConn Chamber Ensemble Recital on Tuesday evening. (Owen Bonaventura/The Daily Campus)

A second brass quintet entered the stage and performed movements two and four of "Colchester Fantasy" by Eric Ewazen. The slow and calm second movement featured fugal moments with each instrument echoing the parts one by one in canon. This fugal behavior alternated with lyrical solos by all musicians. The fourth movement opened with a trumpet melody that was echoed across the ensemble.  This movement was upbeat and at a faster tempo that kept the music moving, as well as the musicians.

The concert closed with the Osiris String Quartet performing the Allegro movement from "String Quartet No. 7, op. 58, no. 1 in F major" by Ludwig von Beethoven.  This piece was both a combination of lyrical passages by all the ensemble members, as well as fast-moving melodic solos from the first violin.

This semester's concert featured seven small ensemble groups who auditioned for a performance in the concert after a semester of rehearsal and preparation.

The experience is unique in that the students have the opportunity to work on music in a smaller, more intimate setting, as opposed to the large ensemble groups musicians often do most of their collaborative work in.  

"You work collaboratively as a team, which allows you to determine your strengths and weaknesses as a musician," said second-semester music and pharmacy studies double major, Mai Vestergaard.


Lucille Littlefield is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lucille.littlefield@uconn.edu.