Conservatory Hosts Enchanting Faculty Recital In Rachmaninoff’s Memory

The Long Piano Duo performing together last Thursday./Allison Dubrow

By Allison Dubrow 


   Rachmaninoff’s spirit came back to life last Thursday, Mar. 2. In a concert hosted in the Don Buchwald Theater, the music performed by faculty in Brooklyn College’s Conservatory of Music brought the audience to a different place, illustrating how the legendary composer’s memory will never die.  

   The faculty recital included sisters Beatrice and Christina Long on the piano, and special guest Marianne Gythfeldt playing the clarinet, who celebrated composer Sergei Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday through their performances. Rachmaninoff was a Russian pianist, composer, and conductor. Most of the work he produced features the piano as he wanted to use his skills to demonstrate the instrument’s eloquence. 

   The Long Duo walked onto the stage in black and silver sparkly gowns. Both performers took seats at baby grand pianos placed side by side with the performers facing each other. Throughout their performance, they remained in tune with what they were playing, all while acknowledging each other’s presence. 

   Their first performance was “Larghetto and Allegro in E-flat major,” by Mozart. Together they performed such a complex piece, all with a resembling ease of someone typing on a keyboard, calm and knowing where every key is, allowing each sound to echo through the chamber. While watching them perform, they allow one to imagine they are in the room where films get scored and the magic happens. 

   “I thought the music was just enchanting, I guess. That’s the word I’ve been telling them. Enchanting, spellbinding, you know it’s a very technical piece, lots of flurry of notes, but you don’t think of the technical side of it, they always bring out this musicality,” said BC senior Jay Symon Abrera, who is a student of Professor Beatrice Long. 

    To the audience, it was evident how the performers are passionate about their instrument and art, and how their knowledge would pass on to their students. The remaining pieces that were played, including “Floods of Spring 11. from 12 Romances, op. 14,” by Rachmaninoff, were so intense at some points. One could imagine a whole orchestra performing alongside both sisters, and yet it was only the two of them. 

   Later in the night, Marianne Gythfeldt played the clarinet in accompaniment of Beatrice Long, who continued playing the piano. Their instruments in “Oh, never sing to me again 4. from 6 Romances, op. 4” by Rachmaninoff, complemented one another very nicely, melding a sorrowful but hopeful sound. 

   “I was taken into their world, for that 60 minutes of performance […] I was in another world and it was amazing” said Abrera. 

   As the recital went on, Beatrice and Christina Long continued to impress the audience. Their hands graciously bounced along nearly all keys of the pianos, creating an accompaniment unlike no other. At one point it sounded like there was a bee buzzing due to the speed at which they were playing. 

   The concert’s music seemed to portray a story of sadness and hope, demonstrating that there is more to be found and more fun to be had in life. “I thought it was a great performance,” said BC student Maxwell Hinton. 

   Audience members looked on in amazement, watching all of the performers’ talent and the beautiful sounds of the compositions they played. 

   The Conservatory of Music’s next concert is on Wednesday, Mar. 8 at 5 PM in the Don Buchwald Theater, where students will present solo and chamber works for strings.  

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