By Guram Sakvarelidze
Sonatas from the 18th century were once again resurrected in Burke Recital Hall. The faculty recital held on Saturday, April 6, at 7 p.m. featured William Osborne, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts and founder of the Osborne Scholarship who retired in 2003, on the harpsichord and piano; and Chair of the Department of Music Andrew Carlson on the violin.
The two artists played four sonatas from different composers chronologically and interacted with the audience between the performances. After the recital, Osborne showcased and answered questions about the French Double Manual Harpsichord that he played for the recital, which was built by Ben Bechtel from Columbus.
After the performance of Arcangelo Corelli’s Sonata in C Major, Op. 5, No. 3 (1700) on the violin and harpsichord, Carlson spoke about the Osborne Scholarship. Each year, this scholarship gives 10 students majoring in Music and Studio Art an opportunity to receive a grant of $6,000.
According to Carlson, the decision to arrange the recital occurred during the Osborne Scholarship auditions, which he and William Osborne were in presence about a year ago.
Following Corelli’s piece, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata in B Minor, BWV 1014 (1720) filled the air through the strings of the harpsichord and violin, manipulated by the two virtuosos. After letting the audience experience slow, sometimes melancholic tunes, the duet treated them with melodies mixed with fast-paced and uplifting progressions. These fast notes filled the air with a kind of anxiety, one that came from the change’s overflowing melodies. And then came a pause.
The pause turned into a performance of Sonata for the Piano Forte With an Accompaniment for a Violin (1797) by a lesser known composer, Raynor Taylor. Osborne used the piece as curriculum for his American Music course while teaching at Denison.
Taylor’s piece got a positive response from some music majors attending the event. Vincent Cullen, a junior majoring in Music who auditioned for the Osborne Scholarship last Sunday (April 7) pointed out that he appreciated that the performers stayed “true to the history” of the pieces. According to Cullen, the performance was a great presentation of the sonatas according to the intentions of their composers from the 18th century.
Performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 378 (1779) was filled with joyful interactions of melodies from the violin and piano. It took the audience on an acoustic journey from the 18th century with reappearing variations on the “catchy” tune that introduced the piece. The piece ended with a standing ovations.
William Osborne then returned to the stage and answered some questions about the harpsichord he performed on, a bit of history of which he told in between the performances of the sonatas. The audience asked him questions about the instrument, and to which he answered both verbally and by physically interacting with the instrument to the audience’s enjoyment.
The faculty recital on Saturday was a performance that delivered the thrill from the past. James Smith, a junior minoring in music, thinks that the performers tried to play the sonatas by four different composers from the 18th century according to “how it was written.” Witnessing the ways Carlson and Osborne interacted with each other and with the audience through their instruments was definitely an interesting experience, and a lively one.