Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Duck and Jazz?

When students have a long week, and just want to chill out with their meal card, they can come to this restaurant. Not only does The Fluttering Duck accept DePauw University’s meal cards, but they have live music every Thursday from 9 P.M. to 11 P.M. On some instances this restaurant features some musicians from DePauw’s own School of Music.
On October 27, I sit in the front section, closer to the music then the TV, and smoking section which is further in the back. I enjoy a dessert called “Lava Cake” while I listen to the music playing. The instruments that were playing to night were a saxophone, bass, keyboard, and a drum set. Randy Salman who plays the saxophone is the Jazz Band professor in DePauw University. John DiCenso plays the drums, Paul Musser plays the bass, and Jim Connerly plays the keyboard. Jim Connerly was Professor Salman’s and graduated in 1985. When playing together, they sounded so good that the whole restaurant fell silent, at first. After listening to the beginning of the piece of music, everyone started getting use to the music and went back to the conversations. As I look around I saw some heads stare at the musicians while other was into their own conversations.
I asked a couple of customers told me the food is “great and fulfilling.” All I can say with the food is that the “Lava Cake” is great when heated well. This is my third lava cake I’ve ever tried. I wasn’t very satisfied with this one because my chocolate was not melted, but I did enjoy the berries that were satisfying.
Right at this point the Jazz ensemble is having their solos. The solos are whatever the musicians want it to be. In other words, it’s improving music. My favorite solo is Mr. Connerly’s as I call it a drum roll. It is beats going one after another. When looking at my clock, this one piece is about seven minuets long, but without realizing it. I say without realizing that the piece is so long because I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t want it to end. After the piece was done, the people who were listening started to clap, which then brought the rest of the crowd clapping.
I recommend this restaurant, especially on Thursdays, to anyone who wants to relax, and listen to some Jazz. Also, the people who are chocolate lovers, I recommend the Lava Cake. But tell your server to make sure that it is heated well enough to be melted.

Pare and Clodfelter: A Wonderful Duo!

As I’m waiting for the lights to dim, I read through the biographies of the singer, Barbara Paré, soprano, and the pianist, John Clodfelter. Ms. Paré has performed at many opera houses including the Cincinnati Opera Summer Festival, the Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opera Iowa, the Ensemble Company of Cincinnati Opera, and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. She has also recorded Bernard Gilmore’s Five Folksongs for Soprano and Band under the Klavier Label, with the Cincinnati Wind Symphony. I then moved on to read about John Clodfelter. Mr. Clodfelter is a DePauw Alum who has been working at DPU for the past ten years as a staff accompanist and vocal coach. This last summer he studied in Vienna, Austria, with a grant to study under Carolyne Hague and Walter Moore at the Univerität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wein. What I found to be strikingly interesting is that Ms. Paré and Mr. Clodfelter have been working together for the past 5 years. So far, the recitals I have attended at DePauw, the vocalist rehearses with an accompanist for a few weeks before the recital, or in some cases, the day of. It has never seemed to cause a problem during the performance, but this relationship between Ms. Paré and Mr. Clodfelter was easy to see through out the entire performance.
As they entered the stage, immediately you could sense the comfortableness between them. They opened with an Italian piece, Alma grande e nobil core, a powerful song about a lady upset at her lover because he has upset her and basically she is saying she doesn’t really need him, and that she wishes to seek revenge. I was immediately taken back by the sound that was filling up the Thompson Recital Hall, as well as the expressions she had while telling the story. Even though it was obviously sung in Italian and many of the audience don’t know Italian, by reading the translation before hand, one would be able to know what she was saying by her facial expressions as well has her hand motions. The best display of their silent communication was during the V-IX pieces from Gedichte von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe of Hugo Wolf. During the introductions you could see the expressions of Mr. Clodfelter coming through the music as well as his body language. His body would sway back and forth while his fingers would run across the keys. There was even one time he was so expressive that the piano was literally bouncing up and down because of the intensity behind his playing. Then, once Ms. Paré would begin to sing, you could continue to watch Mr. Clodfelter and not only could you see the expressions he was putting into the piano, you could see how he was singing along with Ms. Paré because his head would sway with the runs she was singing, and he would almost mimic the facials she was making. It was truly amazing to see such communication. The bond between Ms. Paré and Mr. Clodfelter was also shown after the recital and not only did Ms. Paré acknowledge Mr. Clodfelter, but brought him back out, hand in hand, for a final bow which one doesn’t see very often. If you don’t like Opera music very well, it would still be very entertaining to see just for the pure communication and relationship between the two musicians.

Greencastle High School works toward a fun-filled rendition of Godspell.

Steven Schwartz, the writer of several hit musicals such as Godspell, Wicked, and The Baker's Wife studied piano and composition at Juliard School of Music while in high school and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1968 with a B. F. A. in Drama. Not only did he write shows for Broadway, which at one point in time had three of his musicals running simultaneously (Pippin, Godspell, and The Baker's Wife), but he also wrote lyrics for existing pieces. Such works include the English translation for Bernstein's Mass, lyrics to Strouse's Rags, and children's books, one-act plays, and off-Broadway musicals.
Godspell has become one of Schwartz's best known works, especially for high school performers. This is because it is energetic, fun, and involves the audience, drawing them into the show. However, this is not his work at all. John Michael Tebelak wrote the script, and the original libretto, and the music consisted of Episcopal Hymns. However, once entering the hands of Schwartz, the music became entertaining rock-inspired music to words from the gospel of St. Matthew.
Productions include outrageous makeup, costumes in a 70s or even "clown-like" style, pantomime, and vaudeville-esque performances. However, a message of love, happiness, and the avoidance of what is commonly seen as the story of Jesus are prevalent throughout the show. And Greencastle High School in Greencastle, Indiana has taken up this adventure.
At a recent rehearsal, I was able to see performances of a few of the songs in the first act of this wonderfully energetic musical. They started their warm-ups with "Day by Day," now an international hit. This featured one of the members of the cast. Notice that I do not use a character name. This is because Godspell is not meant to have characters. The cast list includes Jesus, Judas/John (played by the same actor), and the rest of the cast is supposed to be listed by their names and credited as such. However, Greencastle was early in the rehearsal process and did not yet have cast lists.
That being said, the cast had lots of fun even while warming up. Then, the "show" started. There were fits and starts, of course, because there were still kinks to work out and details to add. The first song in the musical is "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord," which has a member of the company baptizing all of the others. This began by a parade of characters marching up the aisles of the audience singing, breaking Stanislavski's idea of the audience being the imaginary fourth "wall," and not involving them in the performance. There is an apparent lack of interest from the player in charge of this task. He sang quietly, not nearly filling up the stage, even with a microphone. In fact, most of the vocalists were quiet. This may be explained by the fact that it merely was a rehearsal, but it is a common idea to "practice like you perform," making a lack on interest and volume unacceptable.
On the other side of the coin, a certain feeling of fun and entertainment came from the body language of the performers. This was especially evident in the performance of "Bless the Lord." The show choir-like choreography made the 25-30 performers on stage march, roll their bodies back in forth away from each other, and turn around while saying, "Ooooooohhhhhhh yeah," with a heavy feel in two from the bass.
This was one of the better pieces in the rehearsal, with the climax, and our soon departure after, coming at "Learn Your Lessons Well." This is a very short song, but there is lots of fun to be had while performing and watching. Two men in the company start the song at the beginning of Act Two as the rest of the company is still entering. Traditionally, this is done by one character accompanying himself on the piano. However, this is done by two characters who will eventually have guitars, or at least strummed instruments. They spot a few "sinners settin' yonder," who are a few more members of the cast, who shamefully enter the stage and sit with the rest of the cast. The two actors use cheesy "country" accents and strum guitars, ending their last note in vaudeville style, holding out their arms and belting the last "well!"
The show will be a very pleasurable, exciting experience, especially when the cast finally clicks into a "community," feeding off of each other's energy and paying attention to how the others move on stage. The huge cast fills the stage with warmth and love, and the opening performance will be energetic, exciting, and full of fun.

Note from the editor: There are those who feel that the idea of Godspell to be innapropriate and even blasphemous. Click here for an interesting view of this side.

Friendship is Better than Partnership

This review is going to be somewhat of a challenge for me to write subjectively. Seeing as how I briefly studied under the performers being reviewed, my own opinions and emotions want to come into play. Rest assured, however, that this will not be the case.

The above-mentioned performers are Barbara Pare, soprano, and John Clodfelter, piano. The actual performance was a faculty recital given on Wednesday, October 26, at the DePauw University School of Music. Barbara teaches voice and John is a vocal coach. They share something in common other than the fact that they are both faculty members at DePauw; they share friendship. Barbara and John have been working together as a singer/pianist team for five years, performing in symposiums and master classes as well as concerts and recitals. It is important for the pianist and singer to have a connection and understanding of each other in order to produce a good performance, and friendship can only enhance this. It is evident of Barbara and John’s close friendship in not just the music, but their actions. After one of the pieces, as Barbara was bowing she reached across the piano to hold hands with John in order to accept the applause together, as a team. This type of friendship isn’t seen very often onstage, and it was very refreshing and uplifting to see it.

In this recital, Barbara shows her full range and control as an exceptional, extremely-talented vocalist. Her voice was always well-supported. She never had to struggle with the notes, especially the low ones. A common mistake of inexperienced or unprofessional singers is to always sing the high notes loud and the low notes soft, regardless of the dynamic markings in the music. This was not the case with Barbara as her low notes were as audible as her high notes. Unless of course the music called for dynamic change, which Barbara achieved with skill and ease; her dynamics were well-controlled and contextually made sense. However, as great a singer Barbara is there is something she may be better at: acting. Her expression for each piece was extraordinary. It was very realistic and believable, and it was realistically expressive, never over-the-top. An example of her skill of communication was with the song Sur les lagunes (On the lagoons). The first words of the song is “My beautiful beloved is dead, I shall weep forever;”, and as Barbara raised her head at the start of the song, before she even began singing, her face showed sadness and dark depression. Another reason Barbara is so good at expressing true emotions is the fact that she is not afraid to express the necessary emotions physically. Instead of standing in one spot and becoming statuesque, Barbara moves about the stage and uses hand gestures. Movement is very important because it makes the song even more believable and acceptable to the audience.

Although the recital mainly featured Barbara, that does not mean that John was left in the shadows. On the contrary: John proved to be a true accompanist genius. He was always attentive, watching Barbara in order to get the timings and tempos just right. In one particular piece the piano would stop and go as Barbara continuously sang. Instead of watching the music and trying to count on his own, John’s eyes never left Barbara, letting the entries and exits of the piano reach their full musical potential. One could argue that John and Barbara are equally talented in their own rights; whether this is true or not, John never over-powered Barbara. He showed his job as an accompanist and therefore showed his understanding of a good musician.

The highlight of the show was undoubtedly the final piece, Nun eilt herbei from the opera Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor. The piece is a humorous recitative and aria, and Barbara displayed it perfectly. The piece was very funny and humorous because of her expressions and emotions. In fact, she was so expressive that she seemed as if she were belting out a solo number in a musical on Broadway instead of singing an aria from an opera.

The only thing I didn’t like about the recital was due to, ironically, Barbara’s skill of dynamics. There were times when she was too loud, and seeing as how the recital hall was fairly small, it was sometimes painful for the ears. But the recital was ultimately a huge success, and what made it so was the passion exuded from both Barbara and John. Both were willing to trust and rely on each other. Both were willing to completely submerge themselves in the music. And both were willing to work together as a team once more, and for that the audience, including myself, was ever grateful, as evident of encore applause and small standing ovation they both received.

Jazz at the "Diminishing" Duck

Thursday evening, Jim Connerly joined the Randy Salman Quartet featured as a guest pianist. Jim Connerly, once a student of Salman, is a DePauw University alumnus of the class of 1985. Connerly accomplished a Masters Degree in Jazz Studies at the Indiana School of Music. Connerly returned to DePauw from 1991 to 2001, directing the jazz ensemble and giving life to the jazz combo program. While at back at DePauw, he also taught jazz history, jazz piano and the history of rock and popular music. “Oh, it was a lot of fun because I love playing with Randy,” Connerly claimed, “yeah, it was fun!”

The band sounded very thight, as if they have been playing for endless years before this show. The opening tune was the strongest of the night, not to say that the rest of the show was not great. 'In Walked Bud' is the name of the first tune, by the renowned Thelonious Monk [not theloniousfunk]. It was a great tune to open with: a bright, well-known song, really got the band in the swing of things. Throughout the show the members of the band were looking at each other communicating, except for one (Jim) who just heard what to do and where to go in the music. Connerly was basically always playing with his eyes closed, appearing very intense and engulfed in the music he was creating. From the audience's point of view, his body language and expressions were fantastic.

Despite the “fun” time the quartet had playing together on Thursday, the two sets of music were less than an hour each, ending the music at eleven o’clock. Apparently the management of the entire Walden Inn, which includes two restaurants The Fluttering Duck and The Different Drummer, a Starbucks Coffee Shop and the hotel itself, decided to terminate the music at eleven o’clock instead of midnight because the music was disturbing the people staying in the hotel, all the way on the other side of the Walden. Since early October, the bands have been ending earlier and earlier. Being a consistent Jazz at the Duck frequenter myself, diminishing [do not mind the pun] the amount of time the bands play Thursday night is very distressing. But I’m not the only one upset about the length, or lack there of, of Jazz at the Duck.

Another alumnus Kevin James, who throughout this past week has given lectures, master classes, and performances at the University, was also an attendee at The Duck on Thursday. "The only thing wrong with the band was that the set ended too soon" declared James while the band was packing up. Salman, clearly worried about the Thursday night Jazz said “I hope they keep this place going. It’s great for the area and especially for the students; givem’ a place to go!”

Although many are noticeably unhappy with the brevity of the concerts each Thursday at the Duck, the bright side of the situation is that the bands that play each night have a great time and so does the audience. At the end of the show, the Randy Salman Quartet were giving each other hugs, as old friends would, each saying, “thank you” to each other, and “it’s been a pleasure.” Hopefully Jazz at the Duck will continue to keep having these wonderful groups come to play, regardless of how brief the show may be; it is better to have great jazz only for a little while than to not have jazz at all.

Expression is Key

Without facial expression and dramatic body language, vocal performance would be extremely boring and not worth presenting. I came to this important realization while watching Wednesday night’s faculty recital, given by soprano Barbara Pare, accompanied by pianist John Clodfelter. Pare performed three songs in German from Mozart, Wolf, and Nicolai, the latter two being from operas, and the first a French piece by Berloiz. The most mesmerizing aspect of her performance was her constant attention to facial expression and her strong stage presence. On most occasions, I find myself very bored during classical soprano voice performances because the songs always begin to run together. I seem to lose interest by the end of the first song in a set and am never able to regain my interest during the performance. Pare’s recital was my first experience attending a recital where I did not get, for lack of a better description, bored or felt sleepy. I was excited the entire time as to what her character would experience next or what emotions she would express in her following song. Before even reading the translations of the lyrics, I already had a very good idea of what was going on in the story of the songs and what emotions her characters were feeling. Her emotions ranged from sad, happy, confused, devastated, courageous, excited, frisky, and the list goes on. While noticing her wonderful drama I realized something else. The only way that a musician is able to be passionate and expressive about what they are performing is when they know the material very well. Before a person, especially singers, can add their own interpretation of a piece they should know the music so well that they are completely comfortable with the piece forward and backward. Plus, they must understand the meaning of their story, setting, and character that they are conveying. They should have no questions in their mind about any of these aspects. Pare was obviously confident and very sure of her music, making it possible for her to have fun with the music and really use drama to capture the audiences’ attention. The audience seemed very attentive throughout the whole performance. I often found myself very entertained and much more enraptured in each song than I would normally be. Sometimes I found myself feeling very sad or laughing out loud because of her marvelous acting, as if I was watching a movie. Pare’s performance made a great impression on me and also changed my feelings about vocal performance. Now I have a much better understanding of how facial expression and dramatic body language are vital aspects of singing that trombonists and pianists and most other instrumentalists do not have to consider. Lyrics set singers aside from other performers and add a special dimension to their skill.

A Big Band in a Small Town

On Thursday, October 27, the Woody Herman Orchestra provided nearly two hours of musical genius in the small town of Anderson, Indiana. Since its inception in 1936, the orchestra has been known for discovering young talent, and continues to attract some of the biggest names on the jazz scene today. Over the course of his 50-year career, band leader Woody Herman hired more than 2,000 musicians, often launching them into successful careers. Although most the musicians of Thursday night were already well-established in their own right, hearing so many of them together, performing at such a high level, was well worth the price of admission. Such performers included John Fedchock, one of the premier trombonists and composer/arrangers in the country today, and Grammy-winning saxophonist Chip McNeil. The outstanding trumpet section featured Bob Lark of DePaul University, Joey Tartell of Indiana University, and DePauw’s own, Professor Lennie Foy. The band was led by Herman’s hand-picked successor, Frank Tiberi, a saxophonist with the band since 1969.

The musical selections ranged from the classic to the somewhat bizarre. Standard jazz repertoire, such as April in Paris, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, and Satin Doll were all performed masterfully. Also on display were tunes made famous by the Woody Herman Orchestra, such as Apple Honey and Woodchopper’s Ball. The “bizarre” of the night came with the Gary Anderson arrangement of Aaron Copland’s masterpiece, Fanfare for the Common Man. This arrangement stayed true to the original only in voicing, as the brass sections of the group carried the melody in a forceful, precise fashion. Backing up the brilliant melody, however, was a rock beat featuring extra percussion, such as cow bell and sand shaker. While well played, and just unusual enough to be enjoyable, the selection was not quite what was expected of the evening.

To me, the highlight of the performance came in John Fedchock’s arrangement of the classic jazz ballad, Laura. The piece feature Fedchock himself, whose rich, mellow trombone sound resonated beautifully throughout the hall. Each section also did its part to support the soloist, making a great arrangement all the more superb.

Perhaps the only drawback to the evening was a factor out of the ensemble’s control. The microphones placed at the front of the stage were a bit “live,” making it difficult to enjoy the soloists with already large sounds. However, overall, I am sure that the Anderson, Indiana stop on the Woody Herman Orchestra tour was enough to make its namesake proud. Each selection was performed with masterful precision and incredible energy, making the night one I will not soon forget.

The auditorium was teeming in anticipation for what was to be more than just a fun concert, a memory into times of old when swing bands were prevalent in America's cultural society. Although the majority of the audience had seen their fair share of days, they still showed the same excitement that they would have shown when they were younger. As the band entered the stage, the audience clapped wholeheartedly, excited to see the performers that would dazzle us this evening. The majority of the performers were collegiate jazz professors who were also very active in the performance scene: Joey Tartell, trumpet, Indiana University; Lennie Foy, trumpet, DePauw University; Bob Lark, trumpet, DePaul University; Tom Garling, trombone, Northern Illinois University; Chip McNeill, tenor saxophone and Grammy winner, University of Illinois; and Roger "Muscle Man" Ingram, screaming high trumpet, Roosevelt University. Whereas there are others, such as John Fedchock, a phenomonal trombone player working in New York that started his career with Woody Herman's "Thundering Herd," dazzled us with their amazing playing. The performers began with a bang- swinging like there is no tomorrow from the first note of the concert. The auditorium emanated "stank" from end to end, one solo followed by the next.

The Woody Herman Orchestra has been a mainstay in the jazz world for endless years. Although as times change, faces change, and sounds do too. Most notably, with the death of Woody Herman several years ago, Frank Tiberi has become the new bandleader, doubling on saxophone. The band, although playing favorites such as "Woodchopper's Ball" or "Blue Flame" to remind everyone of the classic Woody Herman sound, experimented with different types of swing and jazz as to play to different delights of the audience. A newer piece, "Apple Honey" was announced by Frank Tiberi as simple "craziness" allowing for performers such as Chip McNeill to bust out those fast-playing, audience dazzling chops that won him the Grammy in the first place. Another abstract piece was a version of "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland written for jazz band. This piece began with the standard opening as Copland had originally written but spanned into both latin and fusion styles throughout the course of the piece.

Most of the rest of the concert featured classic swing/jazz charts that the audience can relate to and feel happy about. At one point, Frank Tiberi announced that they would play "April in Paris," a classic Count Basie chart that is common knowledge throughout the jazz world as being on the classic Basie recording simply entitled "April in Paris." The audience give mixed reactions for all the same purpose. There were sighs, ooos, and aahs, all to describe the excitement of getting to hear a jazz classic. Other classics such as Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll" were played, evoking the same response.

Ultimately, the performance highlighted the performers though. Whether it was Frank Tiberi, Chip McNeill, John Fedchock and Tom Garling duelling it out, Lennie Foy and Bob Lark battling for soloistic supremacy, or Joey Tartell and "Muscle Man" having a high note competition after every other song, all added to the overall dazzling nature of this performance. In fact the awe produced left the audience laughing in merriment as the concert ended, signaling large agreement through the audience and the performers that the concert had went well. Only few bands could match the playing ability and love of music that this band presented to the audience.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Real Music and Real Musicians

Barbara Paré and John Clodfelter

Extensive work has been done by Barbara Paré and John Clodfelter separately. Paré has extensive Opera experience and it shows in her performances while Clodfelter has grown a love for accompanying other musicians and is evident in the way that he accompanies on the piano.

Barbara Paré is a Soprano and each song she did seem to fit her voice nicely but as with many performers, there were one or two songs that seemed to really accent her vocals. The first song, Alma grande e nobil core, K. 578 by Mozart, was the opening of the show. In this song, Pare and Clodfelter absolutely shined. The communication between the performers was magnificent and instantly drew in the listener and the on looker. Paré’s opera roots really pulled through in her performance making her presence absolutely magnificent. As the night progressed, the characters that Paré expressed were evident and the program started out with vigor and increased anticipation of the next event. Through out the entire night, the phrasing was superb. Each line seemed o have an expressive factor from not only the vocalist but also the pianist. Throughout the performance, John Clodfelter was consistent and reliable. While during the second half of the performance things seemed to slump a bit for Barbara Paré. There was a false start on a phrase during the second to last song of the evening which was Kennst du das Land from Gedichte von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe by Hugo Wolf. The character that seemed to draw in the on looker became a little repetitive but was revived throughout the evening with some twists and turns. The technique of both the vocalist and the pianist appeared to be quite sound and refined. Although at times the Paré seemed a little closed mouth in the upper register for my tastes. Overall communication, phrasing, dynamic contrasts, and all of the fine details that one enjoys from top notch performers were there and set in stone. Ms. Paré had a beautiful contrast between loud and soft in her upper register that many seasoned sopranos lack in the classical music scene. The ending piece was simply wonderful. Paré really took the character to the next level when she took that the beautiful Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor by Otto Nicolai. This song most certainly encapsulated Paré and Clodfelter’s intense communication skills and willingness to really dig in and enjoy the music. I felt that the recital was not only good but great and definitely quenched my thirst for a good live performance and good fun.

Jazz at The Duck

"It was amazing. The painist (Jim Connerly) was incredible. The contact between the drummer and Jim was very awe inspiring."--Stephanie Gurga
"The only thing wrong with the band was that the set ended too soon."--Kevin James
"I really enjoyed playing with all the other three people..We listened very well to each other which made the experience even more enjoyable." Paul Musser
I've never missed a week at The Duck but last night, the music was especially good--and less crowded than usual (however, the food arrived just as slowly but delicious nonetheless). The Duck always seems to be very "homey" and warm and full of relaxing (or freaking out over classes) friends to talk to. Thursday nights are a time when everyone is ready for a weekend, but not quite there yet. The Duck offers a glimpse of the weekend, an escape from our hectic schedules. And what better way to relax than to listen to talented musicians play well-written music?
The contact between the performers was very strong and created a nice sound and steady beat. The rhythm section (bass: Paul Musser, drummer: John DiCenso) was always in sync despite fluctuations in the speed within the pieces. The pianist played the melodic lines in such a way that it enhanced what the rhythm section was doing--this made the music sound "funky" and active. Randy Salman, on saxaphone, had very intelligent solos and had an interesting individual sound that meshed well with the other musicians.
The night at the Duck was thoroughly enjoyable because the musicians put on such a unified and entertaining show. And I agree with Mr. James, the set was much (an hour, to be exact) short.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Matt's Hardcore Review

On a Soprano and Pianist

Sounds of famous writers such as Mozart, Berlioz, and Wolf filled the air this past Wednesday evening, as duo Barbara Pare and John Clodfelter performed a faculty recital in Thompson Recital Hall. Works ranged from Mozart’s proper and affirmative “Alma Grande e Nobil Core” to the somewhat light, but definitely playful “Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor” written by Otto Nicolai.

After a strong, incontrovertible beginning, the program took an amorous turn. Songs from Hector Berloiz’ ‘Les Nuits d’Ete’ were almost flawlessly performed by both John and Barbara. These songs, derived from Theophile Gautier’s poetry in 1840 and 1841 were portrayed in such a way that I felt like I wase conversing with Barbara. And for a person who doesn’t fluently speak foreign languages, I felt I knew exactly what she was talking about.

The songs performed by the duo tended to all be heavy; pseudo-dramatic, gaudy even. I was overwhelmed with ornate, typical soprano arias and other art songs. The farther along the recital got, though, the burden of cumbrous music was lifted with a more delicate singing style. Words were more comprehendible. The overall performance was excelled.

John, who worked in Vienna this past summer with Famed Walter Moore, really began to shine after the first set of songs. Hugo Wolf’s Mignon set was portrayed extremely well by Barbara, yet the songs seemed to show off more of John’s abilities; more so than the previous set of songs (rightfully so, seeing as it was his recital as well as Barbara’s).

These songs seemed to display the close partnership between Pare and Clodfelter. Five years of partnership were well represented as neither seemed to make a slip up; never one slight indiscretion, which is why it’s easy to imagine the pair excelling at such performances as the Symposium of Nineteenth Century German Song at Westminister Choir College.

Overall, I was pleased with the Wednesday recital. Yet two more astounding DePauw University School of Music faculty members showcased decently. The star of the performance; the one that really took the stage well and kept me wanting more even after the recital was over, was Nathan Cross. He turned pages like there was no tomorrow. Impeccably done, sir.