By ELIZABETH FOOTE
Some of Georgetown College’s faculty and staff showed off their musical talents on Sunday, Jan. 27 at the 2013 Faculty Showcase Recital. Dr. H. M. Lewis, a Georgetown College music professor, introduced the production, and Dr. Mami Hayashida, a Georgetown College music professor, played the opening piano piece, “Confections: A Piano Sweet” by Akira Yuyama (b. 1932). The first part of this piece, titled “Ama-natto (Sugared beans),” was slow, soft and sweet. It brought to mind a warm walk in the park. However, the gentle sounds of “Ama-natto” were soon contrasted by the fast, jolly feel of the second part of the piece titled “Doughnut.” Unlike the previous, “Doughnut” resembled a carnival or bar style song.
For the second piece, Dr. Hayashida was accompanied by Dr. Lewis on the trumpet and Dr. Eloise Lewis, a Georgetown College music professor, on the violin in playing “Sonata in C, Op. 1, No. 12” by William Corbett (d. 1748). Before they played, Dr. H.M. Lewis told the audience that the author was an English violinist who played in the king’s band. Corbett traveled to Italy and came back with a great collection of Italian violins, which were later donated to Gresham College (unfortunately the college was unable to maintain the violins and no longer has them). Corbett could not afford the violins, so according to legend he was actually an English spy sent to Italy and that is how he afforded such a collection. Surprisingly, the spy theory is actually not that unusual because other musicians of his time were found to be spies.
The first part of “Sonta in C, Op. 1, No. 12,” titled “Adagio,” made me think of the beautiful couples of the 1700s dancing together to this beautiful, moderately paced melody. The second part, “Largo,” was more remorseful and tragic sounding, like something you would play in respect of a dead loved one. The third part, “Vivace,” contrasted the previous piece with a fast, light hearted sound, like something that would be played for the grand entrance of a great king. The final piece, “Allegro,” reflected much of the dancing atmosphere that the first part resonated. Dr. Lewis, Dr. Lewis and Dr. Hayashida played wonderfully together, smoothly meshing the sounds of the piano, violin and trumpet.
The third piece, “A Little More Psychoanalysis and I Should Be Just Fine,” was written and performed on the tenor saxophone by Dr. Sonny Burnette, a Georgetown College music professor, with piano accompaniment by Dr. Hayashida. Dr. Burnette introduced this piece by explaining it was meant to reflect someone with multiple personalities. This wonderful piece started with a fun, fast–paced jazz waltz and then switched to a slow, smooth blues style. Transitioning again, it moved into a medium–paced, anxiety-filled beat that faded into a slow, smooth, sad pace. Finally, the piece ended on a fast, light–hearted melody, reflecting the sound of the waltz that began the piece.
The fourth piece, “A Letter from Sullivan Ballou,” was sung by Dr. Heather Winter Hunnicutt, a Georgetown College music professor, who was accompanied on the piano by Lori Smith, a Georgetown College music professor. This piece was composed by John Kander (b. 1927) and is actually a letter from a civil war soldier to his wife, Sarah. Dr. Hunnicutt’s performance was beautiful and haunting, leaving me with chills. She portrayed the heartbreaking emotion of the soldier as he expresses his love for his country and his wife, and his willingness to lay down his life for the land he calls home.
The fifth and final piece, “Desperate Measures (Paganini Variations)” by Robert Muczynski (1929-2010), was performed by Victoria Tsangari on the piano. This fast–paced piece truly reflected the nature of its name, making me think of an old-fashioned spy movie and at times making my heart race.
In summation, all of the performers did an amazing job. From piano to trumpet to saxophone to voice, every performer showed precision, excellence and a deep, abiding love for their craft. Together, they combined to create another amazing Faculty Showcase Recital in 2013, and Georgetown College should be immensely proud of its music department faculty.