By David Smith
Three small ensembles are performing a free concert of woodwind music tonight at 7:30 in the Madsen Recital Hall.
The “Woodwind Chamber Night” will immerse the audience in a little over an hour”s worth of classical and contemporary chamber music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Joachim Raff and Francis Poulenc.
“[Visitors are] going to hear music that will encourage them to be whistling all the way home,” said Christian Smith, one of three coaches for the chamber ensembles and a full-time professor at BYU.
Chamber coach April Clayton said tonight”s concert is a rare event because it exposes individuals to music they normally will never get a chance to hear. Even with finals on the horizon, this is a worthwhile concert that”s filled with good music, she said.
“I think it”s a great stress reliever to listen to music,” Clayton said.
Chamber music is usually performed by a small group, such as a trio or quintet. Smith said because of its intimate nature, chamber music has a light feel that some listeners prefer. You have a unique chance to hear each individual instrument – bassoon, oboe, flute, clarinet and french horn – “up close and personal,” Smith said.
“Everyone is essentially a soloist, which means you can”t hide,” Smith said. “You have to have your role perfected.”
Smith said the concert will begin with “an incredible” three-movement work by Francis Poulenc. It sets an atmosphere of a smoke-filled French salon with the lights turned down low, he said.
“You can hear in this music what it may have seemed like at this time before World War II,” Smith said.
The next work is a three-piece trio written by Ludwig van Beethoven. Smith said it is interesting to be able to hear something by Beethoven that is not a large-scale symphony.
Following a brief intermission, the concert will conclude with a classical four-piece work by Joachim Raff will be performed by a group of 11 instrumentalists – a larger woodwind student chamber group than has performed in many years, Smith said.