Colors and Characters Recital

The Colgate community is no stranger to the wonders and joys of fine music, with an endless array of concerts always gracing the campus to broaden students’ musical horizons. On Sunday, February 8, connoisseur pianist and Colgate’s own Artist-in-Residence, Steven Heyman, started off another musical semester with his concert Colors and Characters in Memorial Chapel, given to a rapt audience. The concert, made up of three separate pieces that each included several movements, displayed a wide variety of moods and included movements that evoked any number of feelings with its changing speeds, tones and melodies. Heyman truly captured the emotions of the pieces he played and did not hold back in sharing them with his audience.

A native of Syracuse, New York, Steven Heyman is a universally acclaimed musician who has appeared in various solo recitals and chamber music concerts all around the world, dazzling audiences with his musical gifts and talents. Though certainly not his first performance at Colgate, Colors and Characters served as another reminder of the astounding musical skill Heyman possesses and his remarkable ability to share it through his concerts.

“I have chosen the title Colors and Characters for this program because all the repertoire that I am playing evokes a certain mood, scene, character or color,” Heyman said of the concert. “This type of music is highly imaginative, music I really enjoy, and the program today has three wonderful examples of this type of music.”

These three examples were pieces from Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (Op. 75), Maurice Ravel’s Miroirs and Robert Schumann’s Carnaval (Op. 9). Each piece contained several movements that not only showed Heyman’s range of talents, but the range of emotions which various pieces can stir up. The first piece, two movements from Romeo and Juliet, opened the show with a bright, fun and jaunty sound that instantly caught the audience’s attention. Heyman was a sight to see as he played, his fingers moving so quickly and effortlessly that it almost looked as if he was not pressing down on the keys at all, merely scratching or tickling them lightly, except that the expanse of notes filling the chapel at every moment told an entirely different tale.

The second piece, Ravel’s Miroirs, was a collection of six movements, each extremely different from the last. In this piece, Heyman’s idea of colors and characters was a fitting description with each new movement evoking moments of somber grays and blues that could easily fade into darker, sadder blacks or rise up into warmer, bright hues, doing a brilliant job of taking listeners to every realm of emotion and feeling through the music.

After a brief intermission, Heyman returned with Schumann’s Carnaval, a decidedly unique piece that included twenty-one short movements that were connected by a recurring series of musical pitches. Each movement was entirely singular in mood and emotion from the last, but the connecting series of pitches was always there.

It was evident throughout the entire performance that Heyman clearly feels and gets lost in the music that he’s playing , though thankfully not so ostentatiously that his movements at the piano bench prove a distraction from the music. He hopes to allow his audience to feel the same.

It was a true testament to his talents that even the most causal of listeners could follow along through the range of emotions that his playing inspired, allowing them to take something important and almost therapeutic out of the music. Performances like Colors and Characters prove once more why Colgate is proud to claim Steven Heyman as part of its family.