Music In the Hall Series: Piano & Violin Performance

2 Jun 2020

St Edmund Hall is pleased to be bringing to you a new video series called ‘Music in the Hall: a musical performance series from Teddy Hall students in isolation’. Over the coming weeks, you will hear from singer/songwriters, pianists, the Teddy Hall Chapel Choir and much more!

This week’s music is themed on piano and violin. We welcome back to the series Gavin Bala (2019, Maths) who plays Joseph Haydn’s beautiful Piano Sonata in D major Hob:XVI/51. The sonata is in two movements: 1. Andante and 2.Presto (the latter starting at 3’21” in his video). We welcome also Henry Chan (2019, MSc Engineering) and his five-year-old cousin Avis who together play Martha Mier’s charming ‘Romance’ from Romantic Sketches Book 2, a piece originally written for piano solo but to which Henry has added a violin obligato to enhance his little cousin’s playing.

Martha Mier is an American composer whose educational piano music for students of all levels are known around the world, especially the popular ‘Jazz, Rags & Blues’ series. She graduated from Florida State University and owned a piano studio in Florida for many years. A nice side effect of checking with the composer that she was happy with the temporary addition of a violin obligato for this particular recording came in the form of her gracious reply, in which she said she of Henry and Avis’s moving performance ‘It was beautiful when played by your student and his cousin. Congratulations on such a musical rendition.’

It was a violinist, Johann Peter Salomon, who first brought Joseph Haydn to England and on hearing of the upcoming visit, Charles Burney campaigned for the composer to receive a D.Mus from Oxford. Haydn came to Oxford in July 1791 and conducted one of his own symphonies at the Sheldonian Theatre two days before the graduation ceremony. The Symphony, No 92, became known as the ‘Oxford’ Symphony, although it was actually written and premiered a few years earlier. He did, however, write specially for Oxford a short and ingenious three part canon which could be sung simultaneously with the second and third parts formed by turning the music upside down and singing it backwards. Haydn later said ‘I have much to thank this doctor’s degree in England; indeed, I might say everything; as a result of it, I gained the acquaintance of the first men in the land and had entrance into the greatest houses.’

Coming up: in the final weeks of term we have music from pianists Zhuo Guan and Hudson Hovil together with more from Teddy Hall Choir.

To be notified of future performances, please subscribe to the St Edmund Hall YouTube Channel.

The series is curated by Dr James Whitbourn, Director of Music, who can be contacted at james.whitbourn@seh.ox.ac.uk.

Gavin Bala
Gavin Bala plays Joseph Haydn’s beautiful Piano Sonata in D major Hob:XVI/51
Henry Chan
Henry Chan and his cousin Avis play Martha Mier’s charming ‘Romance’ from Romantic Sketches Book 2

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