Cello recital rocks WU

Austin Abernathy,Washburn Review

April 26, junior music performance majors Karl Page and Phillip “Brail” Watson presented their junior recital at White Concert Hall. The recital, along with a senior recital, is a degree requirement for all music performance majors at Washburn.

Pumped and ready to play, Watson started the recital off with the 1st and 2nd movements of Henry Eccles’ Sonata in G minor. Watson’s relaxed shoulders and slight head bobbing indicated a relaxed playing demeanor and a sense of ease with complicated rhythmic passages. In contrast, Page seemed more rigid as he played his Sonata in G Major by GB Sammartini, which was impressively played from memory. Despite his outward appearance of nervousness, Page’s sound was no less compromised and by the second movement of the sonata, he was more relaxed and seemed to have let go of the weight of performing and simply enjoyed the experience for himself.

Watson returned to the stage once again to close the first half of the program with a favorite among the cello repertoire, the Allegro Non Troppo movement of Brahms’ Sonata No. 1 in E Minor. Watson’s execution of the sonata was obviously well prepared and the way he grooved with the wave like passages, which most cellists struggle to manage, seemed to come effortlessly to him. During a brief intermission, one faculty member had a lot to say.

“Its been very nice,” said Ann Marie Snook, music department chairperson. “We have just heard two very talented young men and I hope that they will take their studies far.”

After the brief intermission, Page took the stage once again, performing the Prelude movement to J. S. Bach’s Suite No. 3 for Unaccompanied Cello. Nerves shook off and ready to play, Page gave a well oiled and once again memorized performance. After that was Meditation from Thais by Jules Massenet performed by Watson.

Time seemed to slowly ease to a hault as Watson wooed his way through the lyricism of the Meditation. The show stopper and finale to the recital was David Popper’s Tarantella played by Page. A Tarantella piece is supposed to invoke the image of a tarantula scurrying around by quick rhythms in a fast tempo. The effect was captured by Page’s playing and brought the house down for a standing ovation.

“It was a very good recital,” said Samantha Silver, freshman music major. “I liked the contrasting selection of [pieces] presented by both players. Both players had very different styles and it was good.”

The audience seemed to agree with Silver’s reaction at the post recital reception in the concert hall lobby. Page and Watson were greeted to a cheering crowd where they beamed satisfied smiles and shook hands with friends and fans.

Upcoming music events include the President’s Concert  at 7:30 p.m. May 3, the Washburn Symphony Orchestra combined with the Washburn Choir will perform F. Mendelssohn’s Elijah. At 6 p.m. May 2, the Topeka Cello Collective will join up with Washburn Cello Ensemble in an outdoor Pops concert behind the Washburn Memorial Union.