When many young people think of instrumental music, many of them think ah how boring. However, I believe that instrumental music has a lot to offer–if you give it a chance. If you are looking for an event to demonstrate everything this music can be, then you should definitely check out the Odyssey Chamber Music Series.
The First Baptist Church where they perform is a mere seven-minute walk from Stephens, and the tickets are ten dollars for students. The crowd is made up mostly older people, but there are a few college students mixed in. The church has pretty stained-glass windows and ample seating perfect for the performance. The concert I went to see was Autumn in Paris and the name fits the vibes of the concert very well.
The pre-concert consisted of two freshmen in high-school playing piano solos. They clearly knew their pieces well and were very skilled. The pieces that they played were a nice prelude to get the audience ready to listen to some great music.
The opening piece was the “Sonata for Oboe and Piano in D Major, Op. 166” by Camille Saint-Saens. Alison Robuck on the oboe and Ayako Tsuruta on the piano played beautifully together. During the waltz-like part, Robuck’s stylistic articulation made me feel like I was in Paris dancing. Overall, they both did an excellent job (plus I’m a sucker for a good oboe, but who isn’t?).
Next, Iskander Akhmadullin on trumpet and Natalia Bolshakova on piano performed “Five Melodies Op. 35bis” by Sergei Prokofiev. This piece began pleasantly. Akhmadullin’s entrances into phrases were seamless (a technique that many trumpet players need to work on). About halfway through this piece, his lips started to get tired. This caused his entrances to get a little sloppy and his pitch to drop. Even with this, he still sounded okay, just not a great as he began with. He might have benefitted from cutting out one or two of the melodies to save his chops.
Now, it is time to talk about the person who stole the show: David Colwell on the violin. Oh my goodness what seamless transitions from fast to slow tempos, articulative differences, stylistic differences; you name it, he could do it. In “The Sonata for Violin and Piano” by Francis Poulenc, there are very dramatic dynamic changes, and you could always tell because of how he moved his bow. At suspenseful, quiet parts, he had little strokes; at big, loud parts he struck his bow with force and excitement. This piece was a pleasure to not only listen to, but also watch.
His next piece was “Meditation” form Thais by Jules Massenet. This piece was very different from the last. The music was calmer, and Colwell’s face reflected that. He swayed with the music and I was in a trance just waiting for the next note to come.
Usually, these concerts last for an hour and a half, and that is what I was planning on. However, this one went over that, and I had to leave at the intermission because I had a prior engagement. As I walked out of the church, I found myself looking back, wondering if I really had to leave (I did, but I did not want to). If you want to enjoy some dope music, you should see their next concert Tchaikovsky Holiday on December sixth at seven. Trust me, you will not be bored or sleepy; you will be mesmerized by just how interesting music can be.