Hal Grossman violin performance evokes 19th century America

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Hal Grossman, master class violinist, was featured as a guest recitalist in Boyd Recital Hall on Monday. Performing a myriad of American and Austrian folk-songs, accompanied by piano, Grossman showcased a variety of cultures within his concert.

“There are a lot of Americana themes in it,” he said of the first piece he performed, originally composed by Antonin Dvorak, in which the melody of the first movement is loosely based off that of 19th century American folk song, “Oh My Darling, Clementine.”

“Other pieces [Dvorak] wrote at around this time were the New World Symphony and American String Quartet, so you’ll hear a lot of that kind of theme in this piece,” Grossman said. “The second movement has been nicknamed ‘Indian Canzonetta’ by famous violinist Fritz Kreisler because there are a lot of Native American kinds of thematic material in there. The middle section of the second movement, the fast section, reminds me of a Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs Bunny was canoeing down a river.”

For sophomore law and justice major Taylor Jachts, attending Grossman’s concert was a great way to relax after a stressful day of classes.

“I thought the music choice was interesting,” Jachts said. “I enjoyed the pieces that they chose, and I enjoyed how in the first piece, all four movements all had very different vibes, and it was a good display of talent. I think that the pieces made a lot of sense for the current climate.”

Even though Jachts had never attended a guest performance before, she was pleased that she attended this one by Grossman.

“I found it to be very enriching,” she said. “I think it’s very good, especially for people who don’t really know what they’re interested in and are trying to find themselves, because it gives them an opportunity that they wouldn’t otherwise have to experience important things such as the arts. If I had to pay for that, I would not go.”

According to his online biography found on halgrossman.com, Grossman has impressive performance credits to his name, including appearances with the Rochester Philharmonic, the North Carolina Symphony and Polish Sinfonietta, among others.

“He has performed for Prince Charles and Princess Diana and his New York Debut at Carnegie Hall received exceptional reviews from the New York Times,” his biography reads. “Recital appearances have taken him throughout North America and Europe. In the United States he has also been heard on National Public Radio, WQXI-New York, and WFMT-Chicago.”

The next event hosted by the Music Department will be the Rowan Percussion Ensemble, on Monday, Nov. 19 in Pfleeger Concert Hall.

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