Classical Midsemester.doc

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John Jenkins

Yevgeny Kutik’s performance environment was significantly different than that of the Wind Orchestra. Kutik performed during lecture, where he was set up on a much smaller stage. He stood in street clothes, addressing not only a smaller audience, but a more compact one, as well. The stage was not very high off the ground, therefore, the audience was closer to the stage and Kutik. He addressed us as he would if he were in a casual conversation, able to make eye contact with many in the audience. The interaction between Kutik and the audience was personal and informal. The lecture hall is easy to fill with light, even when the spotlight is focused on the stage, so the contrast between the audience and stage is less noticeable than it would be in a concert hall. Kutik stood center stage, just to the left and slightly in front of the pianist. Behind them, a partition stands as a backdrop, and there isn’t much else that catches your eye apart from these things. The Wind Ensemble’s performance environment was set in the Fine Arts Center, in the grandiose Rand Theater. Compared to The Lively Arts lecture hall, the Rand Theater is much bigger and more concave. The audience is positioned in seats that form a semicircle with the stage, due to the pit in front where an orchestra could go if there was a play going on. There is additional seating in higher levels that look down over the floor audience. The stage is larger, and the musicians were all sitting in black chairs in a semicircular fashion, centered around the conductor. There are many more lights to manipulate in this theater, so offstage was almost completely dark and all the attention was drawn to the brightly and adequately lit onstage performers. There were panels set up onstage behind the orchestra, covering the back of the stage. I believe these are for better acoustics, creating a better experience for the audience. At the start of the show, the head of the orchestra addressed us, introducing the conductor and explaining the program. Everyone was dressed in black. This, along with the height and distance of the stage from the audience, contributed a formal atmosphere to the space. The first piece Kutik played, “Hebrew Melody, op. 33,” consisted of four movements. The first movement was turbulent and dark, with the rhythm throughout described as “off-kilter,” due to the syncopation of the beats. It began with legato, drawn-out notes, separated by faster notes. This was followed by the introduction of the piano, repeating what the violin played, and piano solos that made particular use of rubato, at times. The sequence of notes went from staccato low notes to short, less drastic strings of high legato notes, providing contrast. Unexpectedly, the movement becomes lower, but then rushes ahead to high notes. It calms back down, the staccato notes trickling lower like a waterfall. There is then an abrupt leap of harsh high notes before the violin settles back down. It repeats these notes twice before slowing down, ending the movement on lower notes. The second movement was reminiscent of someone who had been through a lot, very nostalgic. It was simple melody with simple accompaniment, featuring sweeping sequences of notes. At first, the high sequences were supported by a progression from the piano playing the same notes in a lower pitch. Following this was a bursting bouquet of notes, taking steps to a flourishing set of high notes. In the final counts, there were three notes drawn out, Kutik pausing in between each one. The rhythm of this movement was relatively steady. The third movement was supposed to be sentimental but humorous at the same time. Kutik explained it as a little confusing because it goes by like a ghost. It began with crescendos of long notes followed by staggered steps of notes, abruptly getting lower and lower. There were then harsh stabs of music flowing into a smoother decrescendo, accompanied by staccato notes on the piano. A longer decrescendo, succeeded by short couplets ending on high and low notes seemed to mark the end of this movement, but the transition
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