By Parker Thomas Staff writer
Senior music performance major William Cantin performed his senior recital in Stretansky Hall on March 25, as part of his senior capstone.
Cantin, a classically trained baritone, sang 10 pieces consisting of classical music from the early 20th century and the Romantic period, in addition to a piece from the Baroque period. Cantin selected the pieces performed and received voice instruction by Associate Professor of Music David Steinau.
Cantin was accompanied by Lecturer in Music Ilya Blinov on piano for every piece except for the first, which consisted of four movements from Georg Philipp Telemann’s “Die Kanarienvogel-Kantate.” Here, Cantin was accompanied by a small ensemble consisting of sophomores Jennie Lien and Valerie Smith-Gonzalez on violin, first-year Ronnell Hodges on viola, senior Victoria Doll on cello and Associate Professor of Music Marcos Krieger on harpsichord.
Telemann’s “Die Kanarienvogel-Kantate” or the “Canary Cantata” was commissioned by a patron in Hamburg, Germany for the loss of the owner’s pet canary. Combining the elegant style of the late Baroque period with the text conveying the tragic loss of a pet bird, Telemann created a satirical piece that comes off both sad and comedic.
Cantin chose this piece for the start of his concert to humor the audience. “It is kind of this comic, tragic, satirical piece of music,” Cantin said before the concert. “I hope people will get the joke.”
Following this, Cantin performed “Warum sind deine Augen den so naβ?”, “Mein Herz ist wie die dunkle Nacht” and “Wie Frülingsanung weht es durch die Lande.” All three short pieces were written by Hans Pfitzner and discuss either deep foreboding and isolation or the desperate and wild joy of the heart.
For the last piece of the first half, Cantin sang another German piece: “Questo amor, vergogna mia” from Giacomo Puccini’s “Edgar,” an unsuccessful opera released in 1889. Despite the opera’s failure, the baritone aria that Cantin performed is considered highly reputable and is the only memorable piece from the opera.
After an intermission, Cantin returned with Blinov to sing “Four Walt Whitman Songs,” a song cycle by Kurt Weill after he fled Nazi Germany in the first half of the 20th century. Upon stumbling across a collection of Whitman’s poetry, Weill decided that several of the poems had the potential to be written into song. Weill converted “O Captain, My Captain,” “Beat, Beat, Drums!”, “Dirge for Two Veterans” and “Come Up from the Fields, Father” to song. These pieces all discuss the personal tragedy, chaos and strife of the American Civil War.
Cantin discussed his liking for these pieces, since they were written in English.
“The whole thing with singing any music is that you can convey these intense emotions through the music itself,” Cantin said, “but you can also convey specific, syntactical meanings through the text itself, too, especially with the ‘Walt Whitman Songs.’”
Cantin closed the concert with four French pieces, including “Chanson d’avril” by Alexandre Bizet, “Psyche” by Emile Paladilhe, “Crepuscule” by Jules Massenet and “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saens. The pieces describe and discuss the beauty of nature and loved ones and the ability of such sights to inspire love. The famous “Danse Macabre,” on the other hand, discusses a sinister scene of joy with Death playing a violin and skeletons dancing joyfully, while rendering an overall message that despite their differences before, people are all equal after death.