Fanciful Schubert Fantasies

Tory Glerum

Sounds of the late composer Franz Schubert emanated from Memorial Chapel this past Sunday as violinist Laura Klugherz and pianist Steven Heyman performed Schubert Fantasies II, the second concert in the cycle of Schubert sonatas they began last February. The audience was filled with numerous members of the Hamilton community, as well as several Colgate professors and students.

Senior Brandon Grabowski, sophomore Benjamin Ashwell and first-year Katherine Kirk attended the concert as students of Klugherz’s.

“She and Steve are both incredible,” Grabowski said.

Klugherz, a Professor of Music and Africana/Latin American Studies and director of the Colgate Chamber players, has performed in Carnegie Hall and throughout the world as a solo recitalist and chamber artist. She is the author of a guide to Spanish music for the violin and viola, has been acclaimed by critics as an exciting performer of Spanish and Latin American music. She has won numerous prizes and was named Presidential Scholar at Colgate University for outstanding scholarship and service.

Heyman is co-chair of the keyboard department at Syracuse University, where he received the School of Music’s Most

Outstanding Faculty Member Award. He has been Artist-in-Residence at Colgate since 2001.

Heyman has performed in solo recitals and chamber music concerts at Carnegie Hall and throughout North America and Europe, and has been involved in numerous premieres and CD recordings, one of which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006. He has won prizes in numerous competitions, including the Juilliard School’s concerto competition.

Klugherz and Heyman have been collaborating and performing together in two concerts per year for the last five years. They have presented the Colgate and Hamilton communities with 22 sonatas, including the complete cycles of Beethoven and Brahms.

“It is very rewarding to do cycles,” Heyman said. “They offer us as well as the listener the chance to hear the development of a composer and gain a deeper understanding of what they are trying to say.”

“We have been trying to play the center of duo literature that never loses its eternal quality,” Klugherz added.

This particular cycle of Schubert’s began with two pieces from his early years, entitled Sonata in A Major, D.574 and Sonata (sontatina) in A minor, D.385. After a brief intermission, Heyman and Klugherz concluded with a longer, more sophisticated and much more complex piece entitled Fantasie in C Major, D. 934, which the composer wrote as a culmination of his chamber music.

In the concert program provided to audience members, Klugherz explained some of the specifics of the pieces and the movements within them.

According to Klugherz, the first sonata opened leisurely with a movement of sunny melodies, followed by a syncopated rhythm. The second movement brought in a rough and humorous Scherzo Presto and a lyrical trio. The piece continued with the simple melody of the third movement and concluded with a youthful and lighthearted fourth movement.

The second piece included four movements, opening and closing with a definite fast pace and dramatic theme. The two movements in between included a slow, classical movement recalling Mozart, and a rapid Menuetto followed by a more delicate trio.

The last piece, over 20 minutes long, was a tour de force of energy, drama, variation in sound and tone, complete with a loud, triumphant ending. According to Klugherz, four continuous movements extended into seven portions, which included intricate virtuoso displays and embodied a true Romantic spirit. The piece also included a variation on Schubert’s own song Sei mir Gegruesst, or Greetings to You, in the third movement.

While all of the sonatas demanded intense concentration and focus from the musicians, Klugherz said the last piece displayed Schubert’s desire to write for musical effect rather than considering the limitations of the instrument.

“He wants to express the purity of his idea no matter what it takes,” Heyman added.

As sunlight streamed through the windows and reflected off the grand piano at the center of the stage, the Chapel’s interior matched the grandeur of the music.

“They sparkled like sunlight on crystal,” Edgar W. B. Fairchild Professor of Literature Susan Cerasano of the English Department said.

When the musicians took their final bow, much of the audience stood to applaud the truly impressive performance. A reception was held in the basement of the Chapel immediately following the concert, during which the audience enjoyed conversation and refreshments.

First-year Hip Tran said Schubert’s music was a great choice for the autumn season. He was also very impressed by the performance.

“The combination of emotions and technique between the violinist and the pianist created a harmony for the audience,” Tran said. “Both of them stunned.”