Spanos Theatre welcomed students, alumni, professors and classical music fans to the Music Department’s faculty recital on Saturday evening. Mezzo-soprano Jacalyn Kreitzer accompanied by violinist Brynn Albanese and pianist Susan Azaret Davies performed twelve pieces related to overcoming the struggles of life in a professional display of classical music.
The hugs and warm greetings by attendees displayed the closeness of the music department — professors cracked jokes with students while faces lit up at the sight of old friends.
Cal Poly alumni Rory Fratkin and Andrew Olson — both former music majors — were in town for the weekend and were able to attend the show.
“While we were students, we supported them every time because they do this every year,” Fratkin said. “It’s really awesome that the people that teach us are also going on stage and performing as well, so we get to see how its done, as opposed to how just hearing how it’s done. It’s just a quality performance.”
Olson said that he’d seen past performances of the professors and was excited to see what they had in store this time.
“Basically just from seeing (Kreitzer’s) past performances, we know that she’s really good. They’re talented; they’re incredible,” Olson said.
Preceding the recital, Kreitzer said she selected the pieces because they all relate to the theme of solving the problems of life.
“Sometimes when you’re listening to great music, it helps you feel you have answers. So all these pieces are about that,” Kreitzer said.
Kreitzer, who has performed internationally with symphonies such as Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Metropolitan Opera, said she enjoys performing classical opera because of the distinction of the accompaniment.
“The difference between classical and any other genre is that the accompaniment is much more complex,” Kreitzer said. “It’s just that the beat isn’t so primal as in some types of rock or rap. The beat is not as pronounced — it’s more the threads and thickness of the harmony and the structure.”
Kreitzer and Davies began the recital with a piece by Richard Strauss, entitled “Sein wir wieder gut.” Kreitzer said that this first piece was the most difficult.
“The Richard Strauss piece is hard. We start the recital off with a big bang,” Kreitzer said in an interview prior to the recital.
After the piece “Gia il sole dal Gange” by Alessandro Scarlatti, Davies and Kreitzer exited the stage and re-entered with violinist Brynn Albanese to perform two pieces by J.S. Bach. Albanese said that the first of the two, “Erbarme dich” from St. Matthew Passion was her favorite to perform.
“It’s so deep, it’s so poignant,” Albanese said. “And even though it’s got a biblical sort of sense to it, somehow the music touches me deeper than some of the others.”
Kreitzer and Davies ended the first half with a more dramatic piece, “O ma lyre immortelle” by Charles Gounod. Kreitzer sat on a couch, acting out the passion behind the words, which are based on work by the Greek poet Sappho.
“It’s about a woman who becomes so distraught about being misunderstood that she wants to throw herself into the sea,” Kreitzer said.
Kreitzer said that the piece that Kreitzer and Davies performed to begin, “Brangaene’s Ruf” by Richard Wagner, is considered a monologue that happens to be a personal favorite.
“It’s one of my favorite Wagnerian monologues of all time,” Kreitzer said.
After Kreitzer and Davies performed the second piece of the half – “La flûte enchantée” by Maurice Ravel, Albanese was welcomed back to the stage for Johann Strauss’s “Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 325,” which translates to “Tales from the Vienna Woods.” Albanese said a few words about a young friend in the hospital and dedicated the piece to her. Afterward, Brynn received a strong applause for perhaps one of the longest pieces in the performance.
Following two pieces by Gustav Mahler — “Wer hat dies liedlein gedacht” and “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,” the recital ended with all three returning to the stage for a piece by Strauss entitled “Morgen!” which translates to “Morning.”
“(The piece is about) how through troubled times, the sun will rise again,” Kreitzer said.
After a standing ovation, the three exited the stage and quickly re-entered for an extravagant encore piece, entitled “When I have sung my song” by Charles Duke, which was the only piece sung in English.
“This is dedicated to my knight in shining armor …” Kreitzer said.
Audience members were excited and impressed at the end of the recital. Music sophomore Mackenzie Hunt attended to see Kreitzer, who is also her vocal teacher, perform with Davies and Albanese. Hunt said she felt the recital was incredible.
“It just takes an incredible amount of skill to sing like that and play like that,” Hunt said. “It’s just really neat to see. I don’t know, how these women have dedicated their lives to their instruments and how it really takes a lifetime of dedication to get to that point. It’s just pretty inspiring.”