Classical guitar shines at Thornton

Held during the peak of Los Angeles rush hour, Music@RushHour encourages students and faculty to come by and enjoy the live performances of students at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Wednesday’s Music@RushHour featured students of Grammy-award winning guitarists William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant. Music@RushHour featured compositions from a variety of places and musical genres, including Italian romantic melodies and Hungarian dances.

The hour began with Aaron Haas, a classical guitar graduate student, and Elissa Brown, a junior studying flute, playing Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Sonatina Op. 205, a neo-classical, romantic duet.

The first movement, Allegretto grazioso, fluttered throughout the room, as the guitar and flute echoing each other softly.

Meanwhile, Tempo di Siciliana: Andantino grazioso e malinconico slowed down the pace of the composition, becoming a melancholic love story filled with longing. Scherzo – Rondo: Allegretto con spirit lifted the audience’s spirits as Haas’ guitar and Brown’s flute chased one another through the highs and lows of the movement, ending the composition in a whirlwind of sound.

The next act, featuring David Steinhardt, a classical guitar graduate student, and Annie Jacobs-Perkins, a junior studying cello, contrasted the styles of Austrian composer Franz Schubert and modern, Welsh composer Stephen Goss while showcasing the creativity of Tedesco once again. The performance of Goss’ Park of Idols, transitioned from fast-paced staccato to smooth jazz and finally ending with passionate, intense rock.

Haas’ performance of Tonadilla sur le nom de Andrés Segovia, Op. 170, intertwined two distinct themes that spelled the name of the eponymous guitarist throughout the piece.

The last performance by the “Bokyung Quartet,” comprised of Bokyung Byun, Tomasz Fechner, Daniel Marx and Jaxon Williams contrasted the impressionism of Cuban composer Leo Brouwer and Hungarian composer Franz Liszt’s romantic, folk dance melody. Cuban Landscape in the Rain started with a melody of soft rain, then ascended to discordant and loud heights of a storm and ended  with the gentle pattern of a drizzle, mirroring the cycle of nature.

Meanwhile, Hungarian Fantasy No. 2 danced between tempos, going from exciting loud beats to gentle, drawn notes and finally leading into its all-too-familiar folk theme. With the ending of Hungarian Fantasy No. 2, Music@RushHour also came to a close. However, the tunes of the classical guitarists will continue to echo through the audience’s minds.

Music@RushHour returns next week with a focus on piano performance.