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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Music of the UMB Faculty

(From left to right) Andy Brewster (bass), Katherine Kleitz (flute), and Seth Hamlin (congas) warm up for Rabiosa during the UMass Boston faculty music performance on April 14. - Photo by Mimi Yeh
(From left to right) Andy Brewster (bass), Katherine Kleitz (flute), and Seth Hamlin (congas) warm up for “Rabiosa” during the UMass Boston faculty music performance on April 14. – Photo by Mimi Yeh

The UMB faculty show was one of the first concerts held in the Alumni Room of the new Campus Center. The intimate setting still provided excellent acoustics for those in attendance on April 14.

Starting the show was guitarist Raymond Gonzalez with his “Variations Before a Theme,” accompanied by Emily Roos on flute. The piece was broody, moody, and dissonant with abrupt changes in tempo that would startle listeners, more for the creeping softness that came after the changes than for anything else. The wariness never quite left the flavor of the composition. Gonzalez paused to setup further and commented, “And now the actual theme,” for the benefit of the audience. The “actual theme” was gentler and tinted by more longing.

In the program notes, Gonzalez states that, “The manuscript of the theme itself kept appearing over the years, often in very strange circumstances. So instead of shelving it again, only to show up later, I decided to give it the attention that it was apparently demanding.”

Panagiotis Liaropoulos’ “Lament for String Quartet” held similar feelings as “Variations,” only more exotic in scope. Partly based upon a song in the Greek folk tradition of moirologia, meaning “laments,” it also incorporated Byzantine modal pitch language. With a pair of violinists, Krista Reisner and Rohan Gregory, Joan Ellersick on the viola, and Jan Muller-Szeraws on the cello, “Lament for String Quartet” alternated between a tapping of strings in interestingly layered screeching, and wailing woodwind rounds, as if the focus was ricocheting from one player to the next. The essential eeriness of the atmosphere was such that the ghost of Hamlet’s father could’ve dropped in and no one would have noticed.

However, Marilyn Bulli arrived with the solemn “Last Words,” which she sung for late political science professor Rusty Simonds’ memorial. It was followed by a considerably more upbeat yet nostalgic set of songs from TenBroeck Davison’s “Saving Daylight Time.” Ranging from “On the Ranch” to “Boca Chica,” Bulli’s soaring soprano helped to tell the story of growing up on the Texas border.

Next came solo guitarist Peter Janson’s “Dancing Under the Stars,” “A Dream Come True,” “Pilgrim,” and “Wu Wei.” Janson’s previous accolades include his “Sometimes From Here” album being ranked #2 on the National Top 100 Radio charts in 2001. With the exception of “A Dream Come True,” the other three songs are from his upcoming third album “Firelight Moonlight.” The flowing guitar pieces were melodic, fluid with deep melodies. Janson lightened the mood with his comment that he had written the pieces after figuring out the last digit for the value of pi.

Closing the evening was Seth Hamlin’s “Rabiosa” and included Hamlin on the Congas, Andy Brewster on the bass guitar, Marc Lauritsen’s piano, and Katherine Kleitz’s flute. This composition was an exotic array of Latin infused beats. The second movement, “Danzon,” was a precursor to the modern cha-cha and includes elements from “The Buena Vista Social Club” and Debussy’s “Nuages,” while “Allegro” is a Latin-Jazz waltz. The multi-textured piece depends upon the piano, for both rhythm and melody.

It was a pleasant evening and a change of pace from the usual student performance. For once, it was the professors who had a chance to shine outside of the classroom.

About the Contributor
MiMi Yeh served as arts editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2001-2002; *2002-2003; 2003-2004 *Evan Sicuranza served as arts editor for Fall 2002 Disclaimer: Years served is based on online database and may not detail entire service.