Faculty concert showcases music professors’ talent, passion

Faculty pianist Rob Auler and trumpeter Terry Caviness collaborated on a three-piece musical revue that transcended genres and decades.  (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)
Faculty pianist Rob Auler and trumpeter Terry Caviness collaborated on a three-piece musical revue that transcended genres and decades. (David Armelino | The Oswegonian)

Faculty in any music department are unique in that they regularly put on shows to display their talent, serving both as a way to practice what they love and to inspire and teach their students. On March 9, three music department faculty members took the stage of Sheldon Hall Ballroom in “Focus on Faculty: A Musical Journey:” With Trevor Jorgensen on clarinet Terry Caviness on trumpet and faculty pianist Rob Auler.

The concert hall was packed for a mid-semester faculty event, though the influx of students came from a professor’s Introduction to Music History class, for whom this event was required. Professor, Colleen Dailey, was in attendance as well.

“If it’s a required event for my students, then I believe I have to go too,” Dailey said.

Caviness arrived at the event in an unusual style, dressed in jeans and a Syracuse basketball sweater. He spoke to the awaiting crowd in the lobby about a half hour before the show, saying  he had just come from coaching a youth basketball league game. Caviness changed  theninto a suit before the performance.

It also marked the end of a tumultuous, but successful week for Auler, who prepared an extensive concert for Elinor Frey in the Ke-nékt series the previous Wednesday and then put together the Oswego State College Scholarship Concert two days after.

Staying true to its name, the concert explored composers and themes of different eras. The opening three pieces were composed by Byron Adams, George Enesco and Aaron Copland, all three of who are composers whose works are in the 20th century style. The final two numbers were by Henry Purcell of the baroque period and Johannes Brahms of the romantic period.

The first piece was Adams “Sonata” for trumpet and piano. Featuring Caviness, the three-movement piece followed sonata form of a rhythmic allegro (fast), a lyrical adagio (slow) and allegro. The piece felt very contemporary, using chromatic harmony that resembles more modern music. Caviness switched between using a cup mute and an open bell to create a contrast between a soft sound and  a brassy,                                      trumpet sound.

The second piece by Enesco, called “Legend,” felt like a tone poem, exploring many ideas and scenes. The introduction was very archaic-sounding and it conjured an image of a stone castle. Later, images of a forest and river were explored. Throughout the whole piece, Caviness flashed the ability to double-tongue, a technique which allows the player to play notes very quickly, often and expertly.

Next was the “Clarinet Concerto” by Copland, performed by Jorgensen. It is common knowledge in the music department that Jorgensen is a fan of dissonant and quirky music and this piece was right in line with his tastes. The twelve-tone harmony of Copland was present throughout the piece and the technical expertise required was immense, but Jorgensen lived up to the piece. There were many large jumps, juxtaposed by close, fast-flowing lines.

Following that was an interesting break from the contemporary feel: a sonata by the baroque composer Purcell. The three-movement piece was played on a four-valve piccolo trumpet, a smaller variant of the trumpet and employed many themes and ideas common to the baroque era, including repetition of themes and strong cadential resolutions.

Wrapping up the concert, Jorgensen took the stage for the Brahms sonata. The extended work  carried themes of dissonance and quirkiness, but also called to some baroque and classical themes that made the piece more relatable for the audience. The piece contained many contrasting themes and motifs within each movement, providing for a unique and fun way to end the concert.