NIU students get the job done musically, but barely


Do you know the difference between a cello and a viola?

You would if you went to The Recital Hall on Tuesday night, as two NIU students, Anna Bross and Dana Shin made the differences clear in a vibration-filled concert.

Bross, who plays the viola, started the early show with three complex pieces from three different classical composers. First of the three pieces was “Suite No. 2 in C Major” arranged for the viola, originally composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.

This difficult piece was performed well, but nothing special caught the ear. The prelude was set at a grueling pace with many different notes that seemed too numerous and blurred together at times. At some points it was disheartening to hear the notes scrambled together.

The sarabande movement was much more enjoyable. The slower pace allowed for more careful precision and allowed the contrasting notes to be noticed. This tempo was much more suitable for the viola student.

The last movement was a great way to end the piece as its upbeat, dance-like rhythms and melodies seemed to be tailored for the viola. Bross seemed to thrive in the last two movements. If only that carried over to the first….

Bross’ next piece was “Romance For The Viola And Piano.” This piece is exactly what the name entails: a romance between the viola and piano. Glenda Courtois played the piano, which was primarily used to set the theme and compliment the viola.

The last piece for Bross also featured Courtois on the piano. This piece, composed by Ernest Bloch, was one of the most entertaining aspects of the night. The piano had a more up-front role in this piece. The theme was very dark and vigorous due to the low register and quick tempo.

The one and only piece played by Shin on the cello also featured the piano, played by Viviane Hsiao.

The triple-movement piece seemed to drag on at times, and in some sections the piano was the more dominant instrument. All the movements covered a wide range of notes and tempos.

Neither of the musicians missed many notes and seemed to compliment each other well. Unfortunately, it was more enjoyable to listen to the piano’s segments than the cello at times.

Overall the nearly hour-long recital wasn’t overly exciting or entertaining. The two student performers completed the pieces but did little else. Hardly any personal flare was put into the pieces performed.