Graduate student and winner of the first annual University of Rhode Island Chamber Composition Competition, Thomas Peppard, bass clarinetist and contemporary composer, performed his own work with a variety of musicians in the Concert Hall at URI this past Sunday.
To start, the trio, Caroline Herrero on viola, Nina Perry on cello and Garrett Campbell on double bass, performed Peppard’s first piece of the day, entitled “Seasonal Ragtime”. This piece was split into four parts: Winter, Fall, Spring, and Summer. Winter is easy going, mellow and has somewhat low energy. It is described as “reminiscent of how people tend to stay indoors during cold weather. Fall creates imagery throughout of leaves falling, and Spring hints at Antonio Vivaldi’s famous work, “The Four Seasons”. To end, “Summer” is an energetic piece, which is supposed to resemble the activities summer entails.
His next piece, “From, Us All”, is a letter set to music written by a young girl to her father who passed away. This song is meant to express the extreme emotion that is found within the letter. Edward Wilkin conducted the piece and Peppard performed on trumpet, alongside Magdelene Santos singing soprano, Herrero, and Campbell.
Next, Peppard had a solo on bass clarinet, to his two style piece entitled “A Twisted Etude”. One style is very classic, using traditional harmonic progressions, while the other style is more modern, a deviation from that traditional style. This was followed by “Travel Symphony”, a fixed media piece with a combination of sounds from different instruments, including cars, trains, boats or footsteps. This piece was created to portray an idea of everyday sounds.
The performance by Peppard on bass and accompanied by Santos, Wilkin and John Prevedini, is a piece meant to bring people together into a state of mediation, and display their “personal safe place.” On the other hand, “Epistemophobia”, the fear of knowledge or learning, is a piece that turns from happiness to rage. After learning unsought news, the person can not return to the way they once felt.
Peppard played the trumpet in the seventh song, “Hollowbrook Road”, a very imagery-driven piece, revolving around the appealing twists and turns of a stream. Christopher DeLouis joined on tenor saxaphone, along with Chelsea Anderson on trumpet, Prevedini on Piano and Linda Carpenter on the clarinet.
The second to last song, “In the Mind of the Listener”, included Peppard on bass clarinet, Delouis on alto saxophone, Carpenter on clarinet, Lukas Chaves on the flute, and Shaun Cayabyab on percussion. This piece was very unique, as it represented the different types of audience members during a concert. One by one, starting with Cayabyab on stage, Peppard, DeLouis, Carpenter, and Chaves started to play from seats in the audience, and gradually made their way to join Cayabyab. Cayabyab started to make a metronome-type of noise to represent the passing time, causing distress between the different players. The flute represented a bored audience member, the alto saxophone was angry, the bass clarinet was nervous, and the clarinet was the only one content. At the end of the piece, every member except Carpenter left the stage, showing their clash of emotions.
To end the show, Chaves, Carpenter, DeLouis, Perry, Cayabyab, Prevedini, and Wilkin all joined together to play “To the End of the Zambezi”, a two part piece symbolizing the imagery in the Zambezi river bordering Zambia and Zimbabwe. The first movement relates to the rainy season in the area, while the second movement shows the massive river, moving forward as both wide and calm. It comes to a close with imagery of the river continuing on after feeding into the Victoria Falls.
Carpenter, URI Sophomore Music Education major, is in the Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, and Concert Choir. She said that she had met Peppard through her different ensembles, and he asked her to perform in his recital.
“I love playing with musicians from different studios-it’s really a great experience,” Carpenter said. “I think that the concert went really well and a variety of the pieces flowed nicely. The program kept you interested.