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Deep in music of the Future

Student composers at Bard College
by Kevin T. McEneaney
Mon May 2nd, 2016

Da Capo Chamber Players

In residence at Bard College, the Da Capo Chamber Players performed a concert of works composed by students this past Monday afternoon. I’m happy to report that the results were quite promising. Telo Hoy’s “Return Cycle,” a trio for violin, cello, and piano, led with the violin, then cello and piano, but returned to the lead violin. This aptly titled lyrical, serial composition retained a fascinating and enigmatic quality as it sounded like a suspenseful loop that that firmly arrived with a mood of contemplation.

Nora Knight’s “The Marsh” featured cello with improvised asides on other instruments. “Tango for Few” by Augustina Kapoti was distinctly a non-danceable tango full of japes and jokes, especially in pizzicato, that was as charming as it was strikingly original.

Andrew O’Connor’s “Remnants of You” was a post-romantic love letter about a lost relationship that evoked pleasant memories with nostalgia and energy. O’Connor himself performed the lead double bass accompanied by piano, two violins, viola, and cello. While cerebral, this piece lingered with emotional impact. “Cascabel” by Jackson Spargur provided a dialogue between vibraphone and bass clarinet. This jazz-like number featured the bass clarinet snaking through the vibraphones vigorous rhythms. A cascabel is a poisonous snake from Brazil.

“Prelude-Nocturne” by Richard Koenig was a more symphonic piece with excellent writing for oboe and flute. The resonant and thoughtful ending lingered with its sudden effectiveness. Mike McCarty’s “Da Capo” displayed orchestral talent with piano and cello amid clarinet, flute, and violin. Augustina Kapoti returned with a short violin and harp piece based upon a poem (The age of blue memory”) by the Nobel Laureate Odysseus Elytis. Here images of the sea, horizon, and shells swirled amid strings. This was an accomplished parlor room piece that could be played anywhere to acclaim.

Noach Lundgren’s “The Skies Tell of my Rock and Redeemer” was a five-piece and mezzo-soprano setting for Psalm 19. This hymn of religious praise provided an integral, well-melded chamber orchestration that evoked the awe of creation. This was a wonderful selection that concluded an afternoon of awesome creation by current students at Bard Hall with about 60 attendees.

All students mentioned how grateful they were to the Da Capo Chamber Players and how they appreciated working with them. The Da Capo Chamber Players consisted of Patricia Spencer on flute, Meighan Stoops on clarinet, Chris Macomber on violin, Peter Sachon, guest cellist, and Isabelle O’Connell, guest pianist, whose rhythm and phrasing provided clarity and grace.