April 15, 2022 | LIFE | By Hannah Van Zandt
On Tuesday, April 12, Colorado College Summer Music Festival presented its Intermezzo season concert in Packard Hall. This performance included violinist Mark Fewer, pianist John Novacek, and breakbeat poet Idris Goodwin. The program included pieces such as Mozart’s Sonata in G Major, Erkki-Sven Tüür’s Conversio, James Scott’s Kansas City Rag, and Bohuslav Martinů’s Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano. Additionally, Idris Goodwin performed poetry with original music by Mark Fewer.
Packard Hall was filled with eager adults waiting to be enamored by instrumental music.
As this was the first time I attended a CC Summer Music Festival, I was not sure what to expect of this show. How it could captivate its audience? Classical music, generally, has the reputation of being ‘boring’ or ‘uninteresting.’ However, this was far from it.
Every single piece was unpredictable and surprising at every turn, keeping you observant and on your toes. You could practically see audience members jumping in their seats because they did not expect what was coming.
Reign La France ’25 commented on this saying that “when I listen to music, I always think that I know what’s going to come next, but in this situation, I just didn’t know what it was or when it was going to end.” She was referring to one piece in particular, Martinů’s Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano, which had three movements to it, and was dramatic and ever-changing with different rhythms throughout the piece. This was personally my favorite piece of the entire show, as it was nothing I have ever heard of before, and I was blown away by its complexity.
La France also commented on the overall performance, saying how she “thought it was beautiful, especially the first piece and the last piece’s contrast. First, they started very slow, and you could feel the drama. Towards the end it just felt like everyone was dancing.”
What stood out to me the most was the way the musicians played. It is one thing to see an instrumental performance, but another thing to see the musicians play with such passion, energy, and feeling.
As an audience member, it was easy to transcend amidst the music, each emotion palpable with their playing. I observed how I could hear each player take a sharp breath right before they entered into a song, or before they hit a dramatic note, which added to the excitement and tension of all of the pieces that they performed. The musicians commanded the stage with simply their presence, making it even more impossible to look away. It gave the stage more vibrancy and excitement, and I could see these emotions exude from the audience and the performers.
Pam Marsh ’66 said that the concert was “fabulous…the two that I loved best were the first piece, the Mozart, I’d never heard that before, and I also loved the Rag. John’s just so good at Rag’s and all that kind of music as well as any music, and I think he particularly enjoys that.”
La France also made a similar comment towards Fewer, saying that “I could tell that [Mark] was just so in love with the music he was performing.” This comment is a testament to how audience members were able to take notice of the power of their expression and the way they play.
After the end of the show, there was a Q&A session where everyone was able to ask questions to the three performers. One audience member, Nasit Ari, whose wife used to be the Dean of the Summer Sessions at CC, asked a question along the lines of what rule they all cherish the most as musicians. All of them responded similarly with the answer that they must find themselves in the music, make it personal, live in the moment, and perform in the way that they want to. Fewer added that they don’t try to get the music right but try to play the way that they interpret it.
After the show, I approached Ari to hear more about what he appreciated most about his question, to which he responded: “At the end of the question period when Mark Fewer talked about the freedom to interpret is extremely important for all significant discourses in our society. That is our right to be an individual. That is what today’s concert was about, the right to be an individual and to interpret what we have.”
La France also noted the importance of this discussion, saying that “[Mark Fewer] said that if you don’t play what you feel, it isn’t true music. Even if the music says this, it’s how the music sheet makes you feel and how you play it. And to him, he wasn’t breaking any rules, and that is exactly what he did and that’s amazing.”
All in all, it is evident how big of an impact this concert had on its spectators. The music and poetry were performed beautifully, and it was a wonderful experience to be able to witness. To anyone who has never attended the CC Summer Music Festival event before, this is a wonderful show to see. It was easy to tell that the audience was moved and as Ari said, “I saw some people finally overcoming their PTSD after the pandemic, and that was very nice.”