On Wednesday, April 5, Gravitación, an early music ensemble comprised of Keene State College (KSC) faculty, presented Le Stagioni (The Seasons).
The performance was split into four sections based on each season of the year and all of the songs were sung in Italian.
The night began with La Primavera (spring) and ended with L’inverno (winter).
Gravitación consists of five faculty members, including Sherezade Panthaki and Molly Netter singing soprano, Jay Carter on countertenor, Daniel Carberg on tenor, Matthew Leese on baritone and Nathanial Cox playing the theorbo.
The performance started with all six performers out on the stage for the first song. There were three other songs performed during La Primavera as well.
For the second song, Carberg and Leese sang while Cox strummed the theorbo.
The third song had the entire group performing again and the final song of La Primavera was a solo from the theorbo.
Those who weren’t performing sat on the side of the stage silently and listened.
After each song, the group fell silent for a couple extra seconds, letting the music sink in and signaling that they were moving on to their next song.
When the songs from La Primavera were finished, Cox came out and introduced himself and his instrument.
He explained that a lute, similar to a theorbo, was most commonly used during the Renaissance times.
According to Cox, the theorbo became popular in the 17th century.
When explaining why he was using a theorbo, he joked and said it was the answer for how to make a lute sound louder.
After this introduction, the group went on to perform the second group of songs for L’Estate (summer).
The group performed four songs here and then there was a brief 10 minute intermission for the audience.
The group then began singing songs from L’autunno (fall).
They performed five more songs before moving on to the final section, L’inverno (winter) where they performed the final three songs of the show.
When they ended their last song, almost everyone in the crowd stood up for a standing ovation.
Among standing audience members was KSC first-year Laurel Mendelsohn.
Mendelsohn said she attended the performance to see her voice teacher Dr. Carberg.
She said she saw the group perform earlier in her workshop and she was interested.
Mendelsohn praised the performance after she watched it.
“I thought it was amazing and I am astonished by their voices,” Mendelsohn said.
“I haven’t heard Dr. Carberg or Dr. Leese actually perform before today.”
She said the emotions and communication between singers was phenomenal and the transitions between all the seasons and the feelings that accompanied them was amazing.
Overall, she said she thought it was a phenomenal concert.
In terms of learning from the performers, Mendelsohn said, “I try to take away something from every performance I watch and I will definitely take away the fact that they were so just in tune with each other… I have trouble as a soloist a lot of the time tuning into a group or tuning into whenever I’ve been doing something with other people, which I’ve been learning about a lot more this semester.”
KSC first-year music major Sarah Ames accompanied Mendelsohn to the show. She said she also attended to see Carberg perform.
Ames said, “Early music has always been an interest of mine and I saw them perform as well and it was amazing.”
After the show, Ames said she liked everything she saw.
“It was absolutely breathtaking. Like Laurel said, there’s so much emotion being conveyed, you could feel it, the differences from spring into summer and then into fall and into winter. It was phenomenal, I just don’t know how to describe it. It was amazing.”
KSC first-year and double major in music performance and music composition Tyler Martin also attended the show with Mendelsohn and Ames.
Martin explained that they were all in the same studio for private voice lessons and wanted to see their professors perform.
When Martin was asked what he thought of the performance, he pointed to Mendelsohn and Ames and said, “What they said.”
Martin joked, “I mean [Laurel] didn’t leave anything for me to say, it was amazing.”
Grace Pecci can be contacted at email@example.com