Matthew Woodson and Israel Gonzalez perform recitals

Katie Pryor

Arts & Culture Editor

Among the many events happening at the Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center this past weekend, from “Rent” to concerts, Millersville University’s Department of Music presented two student recitals Saturday, Nov. 15.

Matthew Woodson performed his junior recital on Saturday at the VPAC. Among the pieces he performed were “Spain,” “Race to Glory” and “All That Once Was Good.”
Matthew Woodson performed his junior recital on Saturday at the VPAC. Among the pieces he performed were “Spain,” “Race to Glory” and “All That Once Was Good.”

The first was presented by junior Matthew Woodson at 4:30 p.m., whose main expertise is in percussion instruments. Joined by fellow students Joe Miglore on bass, Andrew Schwartz on percussion and Luke Helker on percussion, Woodson opened his recital with Chick Corea’s 1941 jazz piece “Spain.”

His next piece was Eugene Ysaye’s “Violin Sonata No. 2,” which was inspired by a Joseph Szigeti performance of Bach’s six sonatas and partitas. The piece itself is made up of four movements. The first, “Obsession,” directly quotes Bach’s own Prelude from the E-major Partita, showing Ysaye’s “obsession” with Bach. The second movement, “Malinconia” morphs into the “Dies irae” chant, which continues for the rest of the Sonata.

“Race to Glory” was Woodson’s next performance. It was composed by Darren Stafford, a well-known percussionist who teaches at Jerry Luck of Music and the Axis Music Academy. He also currently holds the position of Head Percussionist at Detroit House of Judah and lead percussionist of The Righteous Player Band of Detroit.

Woodson’s next piece was “All That Once Was Good” by Dr. James Armstrong, whom Woodson is a student of in the Department of Music. The piece is a pattern piece centered on a descending melody line.

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Finally, Woodson closed his recital with Benjamin Finley’s “Pulse Theorem,” accompanied by Luke Helker. “Pulse Theorem” is a challenging duet for multi-percussion takes its inspiration from the polyrhythmic blending of sounds that emanate from a powwow.

Student clarinetist Israel “Izzy” Gonzalez presented his senior recital at 7:30 p.m. His

Israel Gonzalez (left) closed his senior recital with “Black,” a duet with Rick?Ferrarelli.
Israel Gonzalez (left) closed his senior recital with “Black,” a duet with Rick?Ferrarelli.

friends, peers and his entire family came out to see his capstone performance as a Music major.

He kicked off his recital with French composer Francis Poulenc’s “Clarinet Sonata.” The sonata is divided into three movements. The first movement starts aggressively, but slows down as the clarinet plays a stagnate melody. The work picks back up as the clarinet plays short phrases leading to the end of the movement. The second movement reflects a sense of melancholy and loss. The third movement energetically combines various nimble, articulate, and rhapsodic themes, bookended by a delightfully clownish tune—a mixture of serious and silly.

In his next piece, “Brahms Trio,” Gonzalez was accompanied by piano and cello. The piece, which is made up of four movements, was written towards the end of Johannes Brahms life, and while the first movement reflects heaviness and loss, the movement, and the ones after it, also have a warmth to them.

The room darkened for Gonzalez’s next piece, “Alt.Music.Ballistix” by Serbian composer Nikola Resanovic. It opened with “A Matter of Fax,” a montage of industrial noises, including the sounds of an overseas telephone operator, folk dance of synthesized percussion sounds and short-wave radio satellite transmissions. The next movement was “A Soliloquy,” an unaccompanied clarinet solo based on every pitch but the pitch “D.” “A Balkan Dance” was influenced by Macedonian and Bulgarian dance. Finally, Convolution@uakron.edu injected the overly polite voice-mail lady into the convoluted mix of instrumentation and tech noises.

Gonzalez’s final piece, “Black” was composed by Baltimore native Marc Mellits. As a duet between two bass clarinets, Gonzalez performed this quirky, rhythmic, boisterous piece alongside Rick Ferrarelli.

On Dec. 6-7, the Department of Music will present Glorious Sounds of the Season, a Scholarship Benefit Holiday Concert that will feature more than 250 Millersville University students presenting music from a variety of seasonal traditions to get audiences into the holiday mood.