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A Fushion of Cello and Piano

A man with a cello. A woman at the piano. Two great names in the same place, the same day. That is, visiting artists Gregory Sauer and Heidi Williams who came to perform at Tiedke Concert Hall on Oct. 27th. Sauer: a member of Trio Solis, a cello professor, and who has performed everywhere–Carnegie Hall, the Old First Concert Series, the Houston Symphony. Williams: an artist faculty for the MasterWorks International Summer Music Festival in Indiana and Interharmony International Music Festival in Tuscany, and who was featured in Fanfare’s 2012 Critics’ Want Lists.

Let’s flashback to 3:00pm in the concert hall, where the yellowy light glints off the burnished, deep brown cello and the proud black grand piano. We zoom in to see Sauer, waiting, poised with his bow, and Williams looking at him, her hands hovering over the keys, a camaraderie evident in their eyes. At a mutual nod of the head, they launch off and start playing Lukas Foss’s “Capriccio”–a lively piece composed in 1948. They continue with Frank Bridge’s two movements for “Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor”; softer, yet just as beautiful. When we reach the intermission, they both bow and exit the room; he is clad in a brown vest with lighter-colored striped shirtsleeves, she is in a simple, yet elegant, black dress. After the 10-minute intermission, they are welcomed back with general applause. They start playing a piece composed by one of Rollins’ prestigious faculty: Daniel Crozier’s “Nocturne for Cello and Piano.” Sauer’s bow either glides back and forth across the instrument or gracefully leaps like a playful fish for staccato notes. Williams’s fingers undulate on the keys and jump powerfully, lending a unique passion to the piece. The final note of the piece still resonates in my ears, like a soft clear chime across time. And finally, these two renowned artists end their performance with Francis Poulenc’s “Sonate pour Violoncelle et Piano,” comprised of four movements, all rich with different moods and musical technique. They end their performance with the finale’s “Largo Presto Subito”–a soft, high-sustained note, in sharp contrast to the boisterous beginning. Thus ended a peaceful Sunday afternoon, gilded with the talent and fusion of a cellist and pianist. Another round of applause for the music department’s varied and entertaining program!

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