Strong Winds And Harmonious Strings at the Conservatory

Beautiful violins similiar to the ones featured at the Conservatory./ Linnaea Mallette

   On the second floor of the Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts, in the Topfer Recital Hall, members of the Brooklyn College Conservatory performed a delightful night filled with grand baroque and somber romantic classical music. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, with piano accompaniment by Eri Kang, Music for Strings II showcased pieces ranging from Gabriel Fauré to Bach.

   While some performances were better than others, none of the students disappointed in presenting wonderful renditions of each piece. As the rather large crowd found their seats, the night opened with a few welcoming remarks by assistant professor of cello, Sibylle Johner. Here are some highlights from the night.

   Mary Beth Perez Castaño’s violoncello performance of Fauré’s Élégie, op. 24 captured the piece’s looming melancholic cadence. Even if her playing lacked precision at times, Castaño’s fluid and affected style shined through. It’ll be exciting to see what the violoncellist brings to the table in future concerts. 

   Sir Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, op. 85 was superbly done by Kaylin Romero on the violoncello. Her deft composure brought out the best of the raw grandness of Elgar’s Adagios. Just a few months ago, Romero played the cello equally as well in a stunning performance of Gidong Kim’s Chose (Thing) at a concert by the Brooklyn College Composers’ Collective. If you got a chance to see that, you’d probably already be expecting something great.

   Much to our pleasure, the last piece performed also featured Romero on the violoncello, playing with Wei-Ni Hung on violin and Shai Zohar on piano. The three of them enthusiastically tackled Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C minor, op. 66 I. Allegro energico e con fuoco

The piece seemed to bring out the best in these three, whose chemistry and zeal was a certain best of the night. Their physical coordination, which included multiple nods from Zohar to Hung and Romero, was plainly fun to watch. Each player imparted the impression that this was just another Wednesday night spent slaying a Mendelssohn.

   What made the night especially exciting to sit through was that each performer brought a little something of their own to the repertoire. It would be nice, though, to hear pieces composed by students to be played in the next round of concerts. Keeping in mind that composing is a major of its own, it’s always a bit more exhilarating to hear what students themselves can bring to the table.

   Also in the Topfer Recital Hall, The Brooklyn College Conservatory’s Glee Club is performing tonight at 5 p.m. Check their website to catch more of what our talented campus’ musicians have to offer.