Monday, Nov 24th, 2014
by: George Trudeau, Penn State
We presented the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center last night in a program that included the MA commissioned work by Sebastian Currier, "Parallel Worlds." I loved the Currier which was performed wonderfully by Tara Helen O'Conner with violinists Arnaud Sussman and Ani Kavafian, violist Yura Lee and cellist Mihai Marica. Currier provides a lot of virtuosic passages for the flute contrasting with a lush writing for the strings (really want to hear his string quartets now!). I think what most captured me was the interior components of the work as in some passages long sustained notes and lines by the strings gradually were bent to reveal new harmonic landscapes. It was mind blowing for me, a really strong work.
We had Currier on campus for two days and he was a very engaging guest. He actually was born in Huntington Pennsylvania, about 30 miles or so "over the mountain." It turns out that his mother was a composer who studied for a while at Penn State. We met a couple at the concert that knew his parents from that time. Sebastian also has a friend who is a faculty member in the English Department, and had visited campus a few other times, so this was somewhat familiar territory for him. He was a delight and very willing to engage with students and faculty in a number of different forums.
Finally, congrats to the artists through Wu Han and Valerie for bringing us the Currier plus three works of Mozart – A Major Flute Quartet, Duo #2 for violin and viola and the A Major Clarinet Quintet. It was a great concert and so wonderful to go into the Thanksgiving break with a great performance of the beautiful clarinet quintet in my head. So grateful to the artists for giving master classes for our students as well as a memorable concert.