Mozart and Beethoven Featured at SUNY New Paltz

Professors and professional musicians came together this past Tuesday evening to deliver a concert filled with the sounds of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig Van Beethoven.

On Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 at 8 p.m. in the Julien J. Studley Theater, the SUNY New Paltz Department of Music and the School of Fine and Performing Arts presented an evening of music titled “Beethoven Meets Mozart.” The concert featured Associate Professor of Music at SUNY New Paltz, Joel Evans, on the oboe, Dr. Alex Peh on the Piano, principal clarinetist of the Unlimited Contemporary Music Ensemble Larry Tietze, Melissa Brown on the bassoon and Ryan Walther on the french horn.

The five musicians played two, three-movement pieces, one by Mozart and one by Beethoven. The Mozart piece was entitled Quintet for Piano and Winds in Eb Major K. 452. It was written in 1784 and, as written in the program, “years later it impressed Beethoven so deeply that he wrote his own quintet,for the same instruments, in the same key and essentially the same formal structure.” The Beethoven piece was entitled Quintet for Piano and Winds in Eb Major Op. 16. The format of the piece is “a slow introduction to a sonata-form first movement, a slow second movement and a rondo finale.”

To open the show, SUNY New Paltz music professor Carole Cowan said that the concert was dedicated to the memory of Nadia Shepard, who recently passed away at the age of 104. The Max and Nadia Shepard Recital Hall in College Hall on campus is named after her due to the money she put into the hall. Cowan also said that Shepard’s piano is now inside McKenna Theater for performances and rehearsals. At the end of Cowan’s speech, she revealed that Shepard’s nephew was at the concert. Her nephew then stood up and said that he was sure his aunt would’ve loved the performance that was about to happen. It was now time for the music.

Jon Francke, a third-year jazz performance major, was very excited to hear the pieces.

“I like Mozart. His music is like the punk rock of the 18th century,” he said.

The musicians came out to a thunderous applause and took their places. Once the place was quiet enough to hear a pin drop, they began the performance.

From the first note of the of Mozart’s piece, the musicians were tight and sounded crisp. It was great hearing the professors and professional musicians play together. We all learn from them each day but hearing them play is something special.

In between pieces there was a mini-intermission where the musicians took a small break. Before the playing resumed, Evans came out to speak to the audience about the concert.

He said that “he had been excited to play this concert for months” and that Dr. Peh and himself had planned the concert. He told the audience a quick story about the time that Mozart actually met Beethoven and how Mozart was actually impressed with Beethoven’s playing. According to Evans, they only met once due to Mozart dying soon after Beethoven’s visit.

Once Evans was done speaking, the musicians resumed their playing positions and got ready for some Beethoven.

The second piece sounded just as beautiful as the first and the musicians played it wonderfully.

At the conclusion of Beethoven’s piece, the musicians received a huge round of applause from the crowd. The applause lasted for so long that they needed to come out from backstage and bow for a second time. After the show, many attendees had great things to say about the performance.

Connor Milton, a fourth-year music composition major, said he really liked the performance.

“I mainly liked it because of the oboe and the oboe is awesome,” he said.

Milton also said that he thought the Beethoven piece stood out more because the feeling of the piece changed throughout. “There was constant change and new ideas,” he said.

Gary Patrik, a local New Paltz resident, said he enjoyed both pieces and thought it was a great evening of music. “I enjoyed [the concert] immensely,” he said. “I hadn’t heard the Beethoven piece before. It was quite boisterous.”