Music Hum in a Day (Or Two Hours)
Written by Bwog Staff
Most students are content to sit through Music Hum, listen to some great music, and get the easy A. But not so with the members of Columbia Classical Performers and fourbythree. These students, with the help of a few special guests, organized and performed Music Hum in a Day. Bwog reports on the musical madness.
Music Hum in a Day was successful because of the talented student musicians, but also because of the generous support of the Miller Theatre Fund. The fund provides the recipient group with a bit of cash, and most importantly, the Miller stage, the best stage on or near campus. All other performing groups (besides the V-show, because they get more than enough money to buy their own solid gold stage) should be jealous.
The opportunity given to CCP and fourbythree was rare, and their performance more than lived up to the billing. I should say first, though, that I am by no means an expert on the history or appreciation of music. I do pay attention in class more often than not, so that gives me some liberty to claim the title of expert. Plus, the organizers advertised their event as a quick romp through music history that would be accessible to those with limited musical knowledge.
The concert began with the strings interpretation of the polyphonic chant, Sederunt Principes, by Perotin (c. 1220). The performers initially looked stiff and timid, but that might have been because the music they were playing kinda sucks.
But then the second piece began, Recercada Segunda Sobre El Passamezzo Moderno by Diego Ortiz, and it became clear that we have some talented peers. Like, so-what-i’m-a-professional-musician-on-the-side-AND-i-keep-up-with-all-the-normal-work-that-you-normal-people-struggle-with type talented. Elizabeth Lyon stepped on stage to play cello, and she absolutely enchanted the audience. Her sound was rich and confident.
The strong showing continued during Bach’s 5th Brandenburg Concerto. Shannon Lee (violin) and Mi-Eun Kim (harpsichord) were amazing. In music criticism, I’ve always thought that it was strange when commenters praised the virtuosity of a musician. It seemed like such a vague definition, and it never came through on the digital recordings. But at this live performance, it was finally clear to me what virtuosity means. It’s just that feeling when you take a step back, pull down your CSI sunglasses, and think, “DAYYYUM.” The REBEL Baroque Orchestra performed Seeing Double: Concertos by Bach and Vivaldi
this past weekend, and these Columbia undergraduate musicians compare favorably to their professional counterparts. CCP and fourbythree musicians overflowed with musical power and energy. In Beethoven’s dark and tumultuous Quartet Serioso, Shannon Lee and Ken Hamao gave an evocative and emotional performance.
And then the music transitioned into areas that I can’t even pretend to know about, but it was all interesting, at the very least. A performance of note, however, was Oskar Yoa’s “Etude No. 1 in C Major” by Chopin. Oskar’s hands jumped up and down the keys with impressive audacity, and he even snuck in hilarious smiles to the audience while he was playing. I suspect that Oskar is Lerner piano guy.
Music Hum in a Day, besides being an entertaining show, proved a larger point. Music understanding and appreciation requires first hand experience. It is not enough to listen to several dozen digital recording of famous songs. A large part of musical experience comes from watching all of the work and emotion that goes into the creation of sound, notes, melody and rhythm. Music should not be stripped of its human support, or else we are left with something between live performance and sheet music. Music Hum in a Day joined live music with students in a way that avoided the “douche-iness” of individual classroom performances. If we are so lucky as to have a similar performance available in the future, then I urge all listeners of music to go and experience western music in an intimate and compelling way. The Core office would do well to learn from the success of this performance. The organizers at least deserve the Core scholars cash.
group image from fourbythree.org