by Moon Kyoung Kim
Last night, we had an opening concert featuring faculty members of the Amalfi Coast Music Festival at Maiori’s beautiful Town Hall.
The concert was packed by people who wanted to hear and meet the faculty. As it turns out, the concert was delayed because of the Madonna delle Grazie Festivities. We were lucky to have a unique experience to watch the solemn procession that carries the statues of Mary.
The festival's opening concert began with a lyric performance of Liszt’s “Un Sospiro” by Prof. Thomas Mastroianni. It was a perfect piece to open the concert, the reflective and intimate atmosphere perfectly carrying over from the procession. The rest of the program in the concert was also very inspiring and delightful. The audience had the opportunity to sample a wide variety of music including a brilliant and fleet performance of of Chopin’s first Scherzo in B minor by Prof. Yoshikazu Nagai, the main theme varied imaginatively with every occurrence. Prof. Daniel Shapiro then gave a concentrated and musicianly performance of Beethoven’s Sonata in E minor, Op. 90. The second movement, one of Beethoven’s most Schubert-like compositions especially sweet and touching to hear. The concert took a change of direction with Prof. Logan Skelton’s set of colorful pieces by Bèla Bartòk which he vividly brought to life. Prof. James Giles treated the audience to Franz Liszt’s Ballade in B minor, imbuing the music with a long and elegant sense of melodic line. Prof. Paul Barnes followed this with a driving and energetic performance of Joan Tower’s piano composition “Or … like a…an Engine.” Paul and April Barnes brought the concert to a rousing conclusion with a sparkling performance of Francois Poulenc’s Sonata for Four Hands. Throughout the evening, the hall windows were left open to keep the air flowing. And every single moments when the music stopped, we could hear the sounds of Maiori, such as ringing bells, chatting people, children playing, and so on. It was like we at the festival and Maiori were communicating each other. We felt truly a part of this place, the town of Maiori, and Italy … a magical evening of wonderful music in a beautiful and inspiring place. It was a great beginning to the festival.