Murray State music professors Dr. Stephanie Rae (flute), Dr. Amy McCann (clarinet), and Dr. Matthew Gianforte (piano) will present a culturally diverse recital featuring works from South America, the Balkans, and northern Africa. Dr. Rae visits Sounds Good to discuss the showcase.
The next Murray State faculty recital centers around a global culture theme. "We are performing music from all over, several continents, in combinations of solo, duo, and trio," Rae says. "The largest part of the recital is flute and clarinet together. Amy McCann will perform a solo clarinet piece, called "A Tango Etude," by Astor Piazzolla. Funny enough, that piece was actually written for flute, but she's going to play it on clarinet." Several other pieces in the recital will be performed on a different instrument than the one for which the piece was originally composed.
"We play a duo that's accompanied with piano that's called "Greetings from the Balkan." It has real flavor of klezmer styles, scalar sounds that will immediately strike even a listener who is not necessarily familiar with the music theory background of it. You can just hear this culture in the sounds [and] the way the notes are all strung together," Rae adds. "There are nine pieces total, and it covers styles from Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Morocco...we've been rehearsing for the last week or so and getting everything together. It's really fun music with a whole lot of variety."
Along with presenting cultural themes from around the world, this recital will highlight the versatility of smaller, higher instrument ensembles. "There are times, whether it's a solo flute piece or a flute piece within a larger group like a combo situation, [where] a certain flute part will have a bass line. Maybe a clarinet will have an accompaniment line. You can have these pretty high instruments together and still have those layers that you have in a larger ensemble or larger combination of instruments," Rae explains.
"Same thing with solo flute. It might just be a more melodic piece," Rae continues. "Sometimes we play a melodic line, and we accompany ourselves. There are sort of two lines happening, and we're jumping back and forth playing both things, but you make it sound like there are two lines that are separate...almost like there are two people playing two different instruments. There's a lot of role-playing. We don't talk about that term so much in classical music, but it's kind of like playing a role. I do think of it that way as an actor on stage, or I'm actually being two actors at the same time having a dialogue as two different parts of conversation."
This recital features more recent works from the mid to late 20th century. "I think in the last twenty or so years, what we call classical or art music has become more accessible to a general listener, more enjoyable to [trained musicians]," Rae says. "It's come a little more back to popular genres. It was a little closer at one time. If you think about George Gershwin using popular styles in his sort of classical music for orchestras and piano. He wrote lots of popular songs and musicals...but he also wrote pieces for orchestra that were widely accepted by all audiences. There was a time there in the 20th century where it really diverged, and classical and popular genres were just night and day. They seem to be continuing to come back."
The recital will take place on Friday, January 31st, at 6 p.m. in Farrell Recital Hall in the Price Doyle Fine Arts building. Admission is free and open to the public. Recital credit will be offered to students.
"I really strive to make all my programs enjoyable for not just a flutist. It's a niche market for sure," Rae laughs. "I just love music, and so I want to play music that other people are going to love, too. I think this program has a lot for a general audience [and] for lots of ages. I would encourage anybody with even the slightest interest to come out and check it out."