A saxophone quintet performs Batimore Todolo by Eubie Blake at the UMBC Chamber Players concert. Photo by Maya Scheirer.
Clad in elegant red and black concert attire, UMBC Music students took to the stage in ensembles, bringing chamber music on campus to a whole new level. Directed by Airi Yoshioka and coached by Professors Matt Belzer, Gita Ladd, Lisa Steltenpohl and Christian Tremblay, the program consisted of a variety of different genres and time periods of music.
Many sounds and dynamics filled the UMBC Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall as strings, brass, piano, vibraphones, flutes and cellos played beautifully complex pieces of music. Each piece had its own story to tell, an admirable aspect of the performance that was highlighted by its performers.
The night began with the first “vivace” movement of Georg Philipp Telemann’s Concerto for violin, cello, trumpet and harpsichord. A renowned Baroque German composer, Telemann lived from 1671 to 1767 and wrote a variety of both secular and religious music. However, he is regarded as a pioneer since he brought classical music, which was originally just for the elite, to the general public.
Equally famous and even more renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote the next performance of the night: string quartet No.14 in G major. Patrick Smolen and Ira Subramaniam each played the violin while Josh Galita was on the viola and Sarah Van Waes on the cello.
Written during the Classical period of music history, Mozart’s music was not solely comprised within the category of chamber music. His expertise was universal, ranging from piano music to concertos and symphonies.
This particular performance of Mozart’s string quartet was reminiscent of 18th-century life. Sounding like the type of music heard at a royal dinner party, the performance was also keen on giving vibrant dynamics and therefore, lots of life to the music.
Later pieces brought the audience to a more modern era, with “Baltimore Todolo” by Eubie Blake, “Flor Mixteca” by Christian Korthals and three movements for an ensemble of six instruments by Logan Perkins.
These performances were unique in and of themselves. Blake’s “Baltimore Todolo” was performed by an ensemble of two alto saxophones, two tenor saxophones and one baritone saxophone. In addition, the program’s finale piece “Pavane pour une infante defunte” by Maurice Ravel was performed by an ensemble of nine cellos!
Filling the room with jazzy, toe-tapping tunes and heart-wrenching, melancholy ballads, these performances were anything but monotonous. Lulling the audience to a state of blissful appreciation, the UMBC Chamber Players’ performance was noteworthy and unique.