Saturday, October 30, 2004

Paré and Clodfelter

The performance of Barbara Paré and John Clodfelter was certainly one of diligent preparation. These two performers have been working together for over four years in different competitions around the nation and also have received many awards and accomplishments individually.
Paré received her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the Florida State University. She has past experience singing throughout the country with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Cincinnati Opera Summer Festival, the Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opera Iowa. She has also been a soloist for the Cincinnati Ballet.
Clodfelter graduated from DePauw University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Music. He also studied in Vienna with Hans Graf. He recently began his graduate studies at Indiana University. Clodfelter focuses his time and energy into vocal coaching and chamber music.
Paré and Clodfelter performed a large variety of songs. Some of these foreign works included from Giulio Cesare, Sieben Frűhe Lieder, and from Bunte Lieder. English pieces included "The Lament of Ian the Proud," "The "Astronomers," "Winter" from Six Elizabethan Songs , "Baby, Baby," and "The Pocketbook" from How to Get Heat Without Fire.
My first impression of the two performers as they walked onstage were quite favorable. They were dressed to match- red and black, and took their places on stage with the ease and confidence that marks professional performers. I must also note here, that this performance was a bit difficult for me to review, simply because I don’t have a particular affinity for opera music.This first impression, therefore, meant a lot.
The first thing I noticed during the performance, was that Paré was very good at portraying and keeping her character. She didn’t just sing the words, as many, even professional vocalists do. When she sang "Mountains silvery as in a dream loom large, silver paths of silver light into the valley from the hidden bosom…" even though this was in a German, a language in which I am not completely fluent, I could truly visualize the silvery mountains by the pure sound of her voice. The second thing I noticed was that the dynamics Paré used where relatively unfavorable. There were many sudden changes, from piano to fortissimo, but there was nothing leading one to the other. Personally, I prefer being led between dramatic dynamical changes. I feel that this adds to the intensity.
During this first half, I especially enjoyed Nacht the first part of the Sieben Frűhe Lieder. The piano part was very spooky and I thought Clodfelter did an amazing job introducing the piece. Paré’s voice came in and perfectly complimented and melded with the haunting piano melodies. She sang with immense but quiet power at some parts, and then her voice would explode into intense energy, soaring above the piano.
The second half of the performance, I enjoyed a lot more. In some of the pieces, including "The Lament of Ian the Proud," and "Winter" the words were hard to understand because of the register and speed at which they were sung, respectively. I really noticed in this part of the performance, that along with Paré being able to protray character very well, she was also able to change character easily. She moved from singing Handel and Berg into a lullaby by Bowles and then ended the performance with a bang, singing "The Pocketbook." This piece added humor and was a nice change.
Overall, the performance was very well prepared for. I believe that if the pieces were more diverse, it had the potential to be even more entertaining. The performance by Barbara Pare and John Clodfelter, was one I am glad I didn’t miss.

Perfect Collaboration

Wednesday, October 27, 2004 was a night portraying perfect collaboration between two musicians as soprano, Barbara Paré teamed up with pianist John Clodfelter once again. Working as a singer/pianist team for four years, it was obvious from their perfectly matching elegant attire to their bows they were in sync.
Wednesday night’s program was filled with a variety of styles and languages. The beginning of the program was dramatic and set the mood with Non disperar, chi sa? from Giulio Cesare by Handel and ended in a humorous note with How To Get Heat Without Fire from The Pocketbook by Tom Cipullo. Works by Paul Bowles, Alban Berg, and Richard Hundley were also heard throughout the evening.
Both Paré and Clodfelter portrayed engaging facial expressions and played/sung with heaps of emotion. Also, they both changed moods splendidly between pieces. Paré’s tibre was consistent through the whole concert and her beautiful voice resonated throughout the room. However, it was shocking to me that music was used by Paré in a few of the pieces as it was distracting, unprofessional, and took away from her character at times. Clodfelter’s parts on the piano were very intricate and he surprised the audience in the final piece with some singing. From beginning to end, the audience was drawn in by the connection between Paré and Clodfelter and the enjoyable program they offered.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Concert Review

Walking out onto the stage in their striking red and black attire, John Clodfelter(pianist) and Barbara Paré (soprano) start out their performance on a high note (no pun intended). Beginning the program, pieces from Giulio Cesare by George Frideric Handel(1685-1759) come alive. Paré, staying in her character through the long introduction, uses many hand gestures and facial expressions to portray the feeling of the songs. Non disperar, chi sa? is an aria about Cleopatra, who is vying with her brother for control of the throne, when she learns of Pompey’s assassination from Nirenus, her advisor. She decides to woo Caesar in order to gain his help. Ptolemy, aware of his sister’s ambition, derides her. Cleopatra sings this aria to her unattractive brother and leaves. The only thing I have a hard time figuring out in this song is the pitch when Paré hits the really high notes. I feel like her vibrato is overpowering the exact value of the pitch.

Piangerò la sorte mia, the second aria in this set, is when Cleopatra has been taken prisoner by Ptolemy’s soldiers and is told that Caesar is dead. She sings this expressive aria mourning her losses in contrasting passages of dignified resignation and unbridled fury. Paré, contrasting the two pieces very well, shows lots of expressiveness in her face and gestures. She doesn’t lose her composure at all. I do like, however, when she doesn’t use such a strong vibrato because it makes the sound purer. This piece has a lot of melismas, or runs, throughout, and the thing I notice is she braces the piano so she can get through them in one breath. It’s not really a bad thing to do, I guess it’s just a matter of personal opinion.

The second set of songs, Sieben Frühe Lieder, by Alan Berg, take on a new flavor. In my opinion, they are very bizarre pieces; very contemporary sounding. The notes seem to be all over the place with no real pattern. The set consists of seven songs, so it is rather lengthy both for Paré and for the audience. She does portray each song differently, however, with different facial expressions and hand gestures. Her diction is amazing. You can definitely tell she pays attention to detail in all aspects.

After a brief pause in the program, Paré and Clodfelter return to the stage for the second half of the recital. This half is my favorite because of the song selections. These songs aren’t nearly as serious, and I think she has more fun with these because they aren’t as taxing. I have two favorites, Baby, Baby, by Paul Bowles which sounds like a lullaby, and from How To Get Heat Without Fire, “The Pocketbook”, by Tom Cipullo. In this song she really shows off her humor, and Clodfelter even gets to take the limelight a few times in this song. Overall, I think she did a fabulous job with preparation and performance. Paré and Clodfelter certainly work well together and I saw it in their performances.

Beat out on that rhythm on the........hubcap?

Review for “Stomp Out Loud”

Is food musical? Can regular household items become full of life with bountiful rhythms? What about scrap metal, can it be a musical instrument? Do keys, basketballs, and brooms have the potential to rival the triangle, timpani and glockenspiel? After seeing Stomp Out Loud I believe that you can make music with everything and the kitchen sink.

The DVD Stomp Out Loud is one that I enjoyed greatly. The special features in the beginning are one aspect that makes this DVD so enjoyable. In the special features there are six categories: general information and timeline, directors and cast, photo gallery, filmography, making of Stomp Out Loud, and awards. You should check out these special features, because they give you an excellent history of Stomp and some of its predecessors. Though there are not many pictures in the photo gallery and the cast does not have their biographies posted, I truly enjoyed viewing the special features that were on this DVD.

After seeing the many great accomplishments and awards this show has earned, I was ready to watch the actual show. During the first five minutes, I knew that Stomp Out Loud was going to be amazing. The first scene began with six people suspended from what used to be a billboard, swaying back and forth very rhythmically. On this billboard were scrap metal, hubcaps, street signs, pipes, and a plethora of other metal and plastic objects just waiting to be pounded upon. This was not your average toddler pot and pan banging though; rhythms flourished amazingly throughout the introduction. It was at this point that I realized why this show received the many awards that it did. These wonderful rhythms continued throughout the entire show.

One scene that particularly peaked my interest was the one in the kitchen. Knives were chopping furiously, dishes were clashing, pots were clanging, and pans were clanging. The most interesting instrument in this scene would have to be the blender. All were arranged to create rhythms (that were worthy of dancing). Near the end of the scene the rhythms died down into a soft whisper.

Each scene seemed to fit into one another like a crossword puzzle; each scene’s ending revealed an aspect of the next scene. The transition from scene to scene was seamless. There was never a time where nothing interesting was going on. Other scenes that may tickle your taste buds include a different assortment of “percussion” instruments such as basketballs, push brooms, buckets and poles.

There is a great amount of entertainment value in this DVD. Every scene has wonderful choreography that is visually stimulating and the multi-layered rhythms will make your ears ready to hear more. Overall, I was very impressed with this performance and hope more will come. I highly recommend renting or even buying this DVD because it would be an amazing addition to anyone’s movie collection.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Getting everything done....

Well our end of unit test for the technology part was not necessarily hard, however it was hard to get everything done in the time allotted. This has been a theme of my life lately. I have a hard time fitting in the things I need to do and the things I want to do. One thing I need to do that I find I don't have enough time for is forming social relationships. Everyone on my floor is really close to one another and I'm having a hard time finding time to bond. Also I'm having a hard time fitting in all the school work along with practicing. College is hard.

The Rotation and becoming a professional musician

I only wish we had more time to cover other areas of music. There is so much out there to learn about music. It's not all theory, diction, and lessons. Professor Randall sent her Italian diction classes an interesting email about being a professional musician. The article talked how colleges train excellent musicians but not always good professionals. There is more to music than just technique. This article talked about the necessary skills in the professional music world, such as the ability to interview, write a resume, and act professional around colleagues. Also, the article talked about the fiercer competition in the professional world, which includes people of many experience levels unlike college. I think that this rotation really imparted some of those skills necessary to be a good professional. I found the performance technique portion especially helpful. Another valid point that this article made was that in the professional world, the competition is for the next paycheck. Wow! That sure puts things into perspective, and I have definitely heard this said by several of the professors here at Depauw. I think that, so far, the first year seminar has been preparing us for these harsh realities by opening our eyes to the many areas in music.