Dialogue of Wind: Jeremy McEntire, flute

The University of Richmond music department presented Jeremy McEntire, flute in collaboration with Dr. Charles Hulin IV, piano at Camp Concert Hall this afternoon. I attended with my 9 year old daughter and 7 year old son and the event was a fine ending to a superlative weekend of music here in the Richmond region.

I have spent a good deal of time in the past months pondering the role of collaboration versus competion in music, and today's event was refreshingly warm and elite, but never elitist. The room is among the best recital halls I have ever been privileged to experience, and the artists are in the same league.

The program spanned a wide range beginning with Bach, flowing easily into the Debussy "Prelude to the afternoon of a faun" and concluding the first half with a wonderful Theme and Variations by NC composer James Guthrie. The second half presented a windstorm of acoustical energy focused through the flute masterfully in the music of Robert Dick coupled with the expansive romantic exploration of the Fauré Sonata in A Major for violin.(transcribed by Trudy Kane)

My opera singer ears, were attuned to the stylized organization of air molecules and the delicate structures of the Bach. The elegant duet between the piano's upper register set the tone for a series of delicious dialogues in the following sets.

Mr McEntire's eyebrow raised inquisitively as he delivered the opening melodic elements of the well know Debussy masterpiece. This visual exploration was exciting and intriguing and helped the audience to appreciate the fluid world as he created it. The Debussy as presented here, washed the room with fluid splashes of color and the sound waves intersected within the room generating a complex matrix of imagery. At the conclusion, the pp diminuendo was so masterfully presented that it was difficult for me to differentiate between the flute and the piano's diminishing acoustical energy. The effect was virtuostically stunning.

The Theme and Variations by Guthrie, showcased articulation and resonance reminiscent of an orchestra of birds singing. The percussive interplay within the themes enhanced resounding harmonics within the room creating harmonies that were both unexpected and delightful. This variational journey seemed to travel across Europe in dance styles, demonstrating variance in geography equally alongside time period.

Afterlight, by Robert Dick was an exploration of wind energies. I could not help feel as though Mr McEntire was "channeling" a windstorm across a field of flutes, chimes and thin metal sculptures. The piece explored partials and harmonics with a mind bending aural energy sequenced in a manner which sometimes approached the feel of a distortion effect generated on an electric guitar. This departure from the lyrical expectations/norm of a flute recital presented an excellent foil to the refined, structured elegance of the opening Bach in the first half.

The finale of this concert was the Fauré. Here, ensemble and bel canto lyricism reigned supreme as the operatic dialogues of the first movement inspired ideas from Verdi to Wagner. Mr McEntire navigated the tricky dialogues between voices effortlessly, the melodies blending just as two sopranos might on any stage. The expansive operatic nature of the Fauré was a surprise to me. The Allegro vivo third movement echoed Brahms' dynamic lyricism and even approached the passionate pianistic virtuosity of Tchaikovsky piano concerti.

Thank you to U of R and the Modlin Center for presenting artists of the quality of Jeremy McEntire and Charles Hulin IV in its beautiful facilities free of charge. The audience made up of many, many young musicians was treated to a beautiful dialogue of artists and artistry.

Dr. Charles Hulin IV will be presented by the Da Capo Institute in a solo concert on March 14 at 7:00pm at Bon Air Presbyterian Church in Midlothian. He will then present a master class on Sat March 15 to the public free of charge. If you are reading this, and are interested in performing, please contact Tracee Prillaman at 4323446, or at traceep@dacapoinstitute.org


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