WRITTEN BY LARA LEGATH
The Department of Fine Arts at St. Francis College presented “Shakespeare in Music” which took place Monday, February 13 at 12:30pm in Founders Hall. A music concert starring Jeffrey Swann, dedicated to the memory of President Brendan J. Dugan ’68.
According to his biography on Steinhardt.nyu.edu “Jeffrey Swann enjoys an international performing career which has taken him throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He won first prize in the Dino Ciani Competition sponsored by La Scala in Milan, a gold medal at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, and top honors at the Warsaw Chopin, Van Cliburn, Vianna da Motta and Montreal Competitions, as well as the Young Concert Artists auditions in New York City. His large and varied repertoire includes more than 60 concertos as well as solo works ranging from Bach to Boulez.”
The performer is more than worthy of his many accomplishments as he amazed the audience of both students and guests with his piano performance. Swann also gave brief introductions to the origin of each piece with some humorous additions.
The concert started with the talk of composers drawing inspiration for Shakespeare’s work, one of those being Beethoven. Swann played Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2” is inspired by the Shakespeare play “The Tempest”. The Sonata consisted of three acts: Largo-Allegro, Adagio and Allegretto. Swann joked that some think Beethoven didn’t see the play and just based the piece off the title but no one could know for sure, the song is still intricate beyond belief and true music to the ears.
The next piece played is from a ballet, “Romeo and Juliet, Op. 75” by Sergei Prokofiev. This had three parts Young Juliet, Montagues and Capulets and Romeo Bids Juliet Farewell. Swann explaining how you can hear this almost tick tock sound through out the act, of either time running out for Romeo after he drinks the poison or the beating of his heart as his life comes to an end. The piece has both extremely eerie and beautiful melodies that captures the essence of the play perfectly.
The final piece is a song everyone knows, in the words of Jeffery Swann “It’s hard to believe that someone created such an iconic piece of music” this being the Wedding March. Named after the Shakespeare play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” By Felix Mendelssonhn has two parts: Wedding March and Dance of the Elves.
Anybody that attended knows that the audience was ecstatic after hearing the performance, Swann walked off stage and back on again because applause was still roaring from the crowd! Truly a heartwarming event in memory of our departed President Brendan J. Dugan.