Minsky Recital Hall heard it all, Sunday afternoon, from the classical notes of Bach to the contemporary rhythms of Hilary Tann as University of Maine Faculty Chamber Music group “Cadenzato” delighted the crowd who weathered treacherous roads to get to the first performance of the new year.
“We do these performances for the honor of playing,” said Beth Wiemann, chair of the Division of Music at the School of Performing Arts. “We don’t get paid for these performances, we like to do chin music because they are the best pieces you can play. There is no conductor: We play because it is fun.”
The performance started with Noreen Silver, who played the familiar notes of J.S. Bach, leading to a unique piece by Hilary Tann, which fused drums, flute and clarinet into one nostalgic rhythm.
The finale was a compelling piece, featuring rolling luls and riveting pick-ups, written by Walter Rabl.
“I was exploring pieces to play for this combination of violin, clarinet, cello and piano and came across this piece by Rabl,” said pianist Phillip Silver. “It was absolutely fantastic, and we had to do it. The piece is a hidden gem because when Rabl turned 30, he stopped writing. Nobody knows why he stopped, but we are glad he wrote this one.”
The performance was supposed to be held Saturday. But due to Winter Storm Nemo, it had to be rescheduled and split into two performances: The first was played Sunday, and the last portion is yet to be scheduled. The music department at the School of Performing Arts has been required to cut back on the number of full-time professors, due to budget cuts four years ago.
“The administration told us, ‘Here is our budget for the time being,’ so we are doing the best we can,” Wiemann said. “We achieve this by replacing outgoing full-time faculty members with part-time staff to try and fill the holes. It has been working well, for the time being.”
Even with the cutbacks, the music department has been able to accrue an impressive list of world-renowned musicians who have performed across the globe, including at the Royal Concert Hall in Scotland, for the BBC and MPBN here in Maine.
The Cadenzato group can be heard again on March 21, when they will premiere “All Odds,” by Peter Westergaard. Other events at the School of Performing Arts include the Broadway musical “Spring Awakening,” Feb. 15 – 24; the University Singers, March 23 and 24; and “An Evening with Christopher Durang,” March 27 – 29.