Today: Jun 17, 2024

Student brings his musical talents to Engleman

Photo Courtesy | southernct.edu Mani Mirzaee performed selections of “Pictures at an Exhibition” last Wednesday in Engleman Hall.

Josh Falcone – General Assignment Reporter

Southern music major Mani Mirzaee performed a selection of romantic and classical piano pieces last Wednesday in the Charles Garner Recital Hall located in Engleman Hall.

Mirzaee performed four works from Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s 1874 “Pictures at an Exhibition.” In the mid 19th century Mussorgsky became involved with a group of fellow Russian artists in what was labeled “The Five.” Along with the “The Five” Mussorgsky became good friends with architect and artist Victor Hartmann, whose sudden death at 39 stunned Mussorgsky. Mussorgsky began working on musical arrangements to accompany Hartmann’s artistic renderings after being inspired by a showing of Hartmann’s drawings by noted critic and defender of the Russian arts movement, Vladimir Stassov.

Mirzaee said he had hoped to play the full 10 movements that encompass the suite but did not have the rest of the pieces prepared.

“I only have four prepared for today,” he said. “Hopefully the whole 10 pieces will be prepared at the concert on the 29th.”

Mirzaee started the performance with the piece “Gnomus.” Mirzaee said the drawing that accompanies the piece shows a tiny gnome clumsily waddling on crooked legs. This movement tempo is constantly diverging from sudden stops and starts, imitating the gait of the gnome.

The second movement that Mirzaee performed for the audience was “Tuileries (Dispute between Children at Play),” Mirzaee provided the audience the description that Stassov gave Hartmann’s drawing.

“The accompanying drawing shows an avenue in a Parisian garden that is full of many children and their nurses,” Mirzaee said.

The piece is in ternary form, which is a three-part form, where the first and third parts are musically similar and the second part offers a contrasting tempo.

The third selection Mirzaee performed was “Limoges.” Mirzaee recalled Stassov’s description as a drawing of French women arguing furiously in the market square. “Limoges” is also a ternary form and gives the listener a sensation of the French women going back and forth in lively conversations.

The final piece Mirzaee performed for the audience was “The Hut on Hen’s Legs.” Mirzaee presented what Stassov said to describe Hartmann’s drawing.

“The accompanying picture is of a clock in the form of a witch’s hut on a hen’s legs,” he said.

“The Hut on Hen’s Legs” mirrors “Gnomus” and that piece’s rather grotesque qualities but in a much larger form. The piece gives the listener the feeling of being on a witch’s wild midnight ride.

Lisa Harrison who took in Mirzaee’s performance last week said she enjoyed it immensely.

“I thought he was great,” she said. “I’ve heard many of the pieces in ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ before, and I have always really loved them.”

Harrison said that she is hoping to be able to attend the band concert next week, and would like to hear Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” in full.

After performing the four selections from “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Mirzaee then played a setar for the audience. The setar is an Iranian instrument, he said, and is part of the lute family. Mirzaee played two improvisations in one of the model scales. Which there are 12 of, he said.

Photo Courtesy | southernct.edu Mani Mirzaee performed selections of “Pictures at an Exhibition” last Wednesday in Engleman Hall.
Photo Courtesy | southernct.edu
Mani Mirzaee performed selections of “Pictures at an Exhibition” last Wednesday in Engleman Hall.

Mirzaee said that he has been playing the setar for quite awhile but only recently began to play the piano.

“I’ve been playing the setar for a long time,” he said. “And I started playing the piano two years ago.”

The SCSU Band will be performing concert on Monday, April 29 in the Charles Garner Recital Hall.

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