Phillip Young, instructor and director of the Schumannâ€™s Ghosts concert, began the Saturday night show in Harbeson Hall with a slow haunting piano piece that filled the room with shadowy sounds.Â It was Schumannâ€™s last piece, Young told the audience, written just before an attempted suicide and two years in an asylum.Â
â€œWe will try to absorb you into the crazy and beautiful world of Schumann,â€ said Young.
The performance began with Pedro Castro on clarinet and Betty Yang on piano playing FantasiestÃ¼ck (Fantasy Piece), Op 73, no. 1.Â The piece seemed to begin where Youngâ€™s introduction left off, with a beautiful haunting melody played by Castro.Â Moving and swaying with the notes, obviously in love with the music, Castro enthralled the audience.
It was an evening where the performers continually outdid expectations in their skill at the instruments and voice.
Patrick Tsoi-A-Sue sung Nacht und TraÃ¼me (Night and Dreams), D. 827 by Schubert as this was a night not just of Schumann but those he knew or those he influenced. Tsoi-A-Sue was accompanied by Siyang Deng on piano, and despite standing quietly on stage, and seemingly never opening his mouth, he projected his deep voice all over the room.Â The song speaks of dreams and night and Tsoi-A-Sue sung it with the calm and peace it deserved.
Sooyong Chu on the violin and Sally Emilia accompanying on piano played Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 78 by Brahms.Â With the bow floating back and forth with ease.Â Sarah Lin and Xinyi Wang played dueling pianoâ€™s to Schumannâ€™s Etude in Caononic Form, Op. 56 no.1, with practiced judgment.
But it was after the last song, Trio in D minor, Op 49, no 1, performed by Erika Salas on violin, Sooji Hong on cello and Michael Cooper on Piano when the deep notes flowed out of the cello through the room and into the gut, with the perfectly balanced violin dancing over the top.
It was not until it was over that I realized that Young had succeeded in sending the room back 200 years.Â The screaming guitars, pounding drums and amplified sound of today was forgotten for a few hours, as haunted dreams and troubled lives came alive in Harbeson Hall.