The Music Box
The Music Club presented a concert of works by five Harvard composers Wednesday night at Kirkland House. The over-all quality of the music was excellent and the performances were generally competent. The friendly, informal manner in which the proceedings were conducted made this out-of-the-ordinary program all the more enjoyable.
Four songs by Yehudi Wyner, 1G, received the most appreciative applause of the evening. Although Brownie, based on a poem by A. A. Milne, was described as being in a "lighter vein," it is in fact a graphic representation of a small child's momentary terror of the unknown. The composer tellingly recreates the image of the poem--a child's imaginary view of the sinister "Brownie," dispelled by the interjection of a companion--by a parallel tension and relaxation of the musical line. When You Are Old And Gray, based on a poem by Yeats, is a beautifully conceived work, simple in structure and poignantly expressed. Monkeys, seemed not totally successful in expressing the loneliness of two creatures in the gloom of a "beast shop." The drabness of its musical tone is probably intentional and may become more meaningful after the song has been heard a few times.
John Davison, 1G, wrote his Violin Sonata in an appealing, pastoral style, strongly reminiscent of Vaughan Williams. The first three movements became slightly monotonous because of the similarity of their musical ideas, though this impression may be due to the uniformity of the tempi with which they were performed. In the fourth movement, Mr. Davison departs from his hitherto placid style and attempts, I think successfully, a more elaborate plan. Especially noteworthy are the many long, beautifully constructed melodies which appear in the course of this composition.
A Moderato for string trio by Imogene Horsley, teaching fellow in music, is a logically built work with some excellent contrapuntal passages and often lyrical melodic line. Betty Churgin's Allegretto for flute and piano consists of the episodic treatment of two recurrent themes. Because of some weak transitions, the sections seemed somewhat dis-connected--though they were skillfully worked out in themselves.
A compelling, tightly-kit Suite for two pianos by Edward Rickard, 1G, ended the program. While thoroughly at home in the musical language of America today, as examplified by Barber and Copland, Mr. Rickard avoids being merely imitative. His musical ideas are original and he expresses them in a carefully thought-out, effective manner. The Suite contains a wealth of ingenious rhythmic and structural patterns, yet their variety never endangers the unity of the work as a whole. The deeply-felt final adagio--rising to a loftier, more intense level of expression than any of the other movements--seemed to be the consummation of ideas expressed in the contemplative opening movement and the rhythmically fascinating, sometimes barbaric second movement. A superb performance by Robert Wolverton and Mr. Rickard showed to full advantage the composer's expert scoring for the two piano medium.