Show 205: Listening Guide

Samuel Gaskin, Yurie Mitsuhashi and Vijay Venkatesh

This week’s broadcast was recorded at the Mary Gibbs Jones Concert Hall at Baylor University in Waco, TX on November 11, 2009. We asked the performers to tell us about the music they performed. Here are their thoughts:

Yurie Mitsuhashi, 17, violin
Danse Hongroise by Sergei Rachmaninoff

“This piece is very powerful and majestic. I enjoy how the piece is structured. The beginning and end are very fast and frantic, and sandwiched between the two is a contrasting sequence of a heavy violin melody followed by an exchange of roles between the violin and piano.

This piece reminds me of a particular scene in the Lord of the Rings movie, where a war is interrupted briefly by Oliphants, but battle ensues again soon after.”

Vijay Venkatesh, 18, piano
The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa, arr. Vladimir Horowitz

“This piece has a huge emphasis on the military march theme. In addition, there are so many different voices in the music that are like different instruments playing that you have to level out which voices are heard more than others.”

Samuel Gaskin, 17, organ
II. Fugue from Prelude & Fugue on Alain, Op. 17 by Maurice Duruflé

This piece is the latter half of Duruflé’s Prelude et Fugue sur le nom d’Alain. Alain was a contemporary of Duruflé and he died in combat during World War II. To mourn the loss of such a great composer, Duruflé wrote this masterpiece based on the notes A-D-A-A-F, which spell out Alain’s name. The Fugue begins somberly, developing the “Alain” theme. Then, a second more dazzling theme is introduced.

I think it’s important to convey the sense of grief Duruflé must have felt at the loss of his friend and fellow composer.

LaMont Barlow, 10th Anniversary Alumni Performer, bassoon
Suite for Bassoon and Piano, I. Introduction and Allegro by Alexandre Tansman

“When I was young, I always enjoyed playing pieces that were fast and flashy, but as I got older, I started to appreciate more melodic and expressive pieces. I like playing this piece, because it has an equal balance of both: it starts with a very stately and sobering (almost pleading) introduction that slowly winds down to a complete halt. Then it jump starts right into a light and playful allegro with highly-syncopated rhythms that leap across the different registers of the bassoon.”

Nathaniel Smith, 15, cello
, Op. 54, No. 2 by David Popper

“Intonation is one of the hardest parts about this piece. I guess a good way to put the piece into words would be a romantic encounter that doesn’t go quite as planned!”

Mia Orosco, 16, Fiddle Encore – fiddle
Sally Goodin, traditional

“When I play this piece, it makes me think of the roots and ancestry of fiddlin’, because this song was the first of the Texas fiddle pieces to ever be recorded in 1922 by Eck Robertson. The hardest and most unique thing about this piece is the feel. I have really been working to acquire the style or feel of this song, which is essential.”