Professor and student perform original compositions during concert

A recent CSC graduate and a music professor premiered original compositions last Thursday night during the CSC Faculty and Student Composer’s Concert.

The hour-long concert featured three works, two of which were written by Joe Cline, 25, CSC alumnus of Chadron. The final piece performed, “Beyond the Influence,” was written by Michael Stephens, professor of music.

Cline, who graduated in May, wrote these compositions while he was an undergraduate student at CSC obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry. “Thoughts on Water for Clarinet and Piano” and “The Castle” both contain four individual movements each depicting a different image or scene.

“It was definitely an interesting experience,” Cline said about hearing his work performed in front of an audience. Cline explained that while writing a composition, the computer program plays notes and rhythms back perfectly, but the automated music lacks many musical qualities.

“The opportunity to be able to hear your music played with real musicianship, the push and pull of time in the music, real vibrato, and an immensely better tone then what I get from a computer, it’s so great. The music ends up being so much better than you thought it could be,” Cline said.

The night included Cline’s first ever completed composition, “Pluviam Plink,” which is the first movement of “Thoughts on Water.” “’Puviam’ being Latin for rain depicts the ‘plink’ sounds of a summer rainstorm,” explained Cline in his program notes.

Bryony Trump, the clarinetist who performed “Thoughts on Water,” said the work was fun to learn. Movement II, “Polypus Pedum,” which Trump called her favorite, began as part of a class project during Cline’s senior year. The title is Latin for “octopus legs” and the piece portrays a Kraken attacking a pirate ship. The eight-legged creature is an appropriate representation for the movement as it was written using only the eight notes of an octatonic scale.

Cline’s second piece performed was a four-movement work for piano titled “The Castle.” Cline said writing “The Castle” provided some interesting challenges because it was only one instrument providing the melody and the accompaniment. Cline also said he couldn’t use traditional chord progressions because he used a different musical mode in each piece.

“But, I think those challenges are what really breed creativity,” said Cline.

The night concluded with Stephens’ “Beyond the Influence,” a work for tenor saxophone and piano. Jedd Raymond, 23, senior of Ainsworth, was the saxophone student Stephens composed the piece for. Raymond performed the piece on saxophone alongside Bobby Pace, CSC accompanist, on piano.

“’Beyond the Influence’ can be ironic as a title for this piece since the work draws from several of my previous pieces-and even another composer’s work-freely and in many instances intentionally. However, the quotations are combined to create a piece that stands apart from the sources,” Stephens explained in his program notes. Stephens’ piece also contained four movements.

With the semester wrapping up, there are only a few more concerts left before break and one of those is tonight. The holiday concert, tonight at 7 p.m., will feature Concert Choir and Wind Symphony performing holiday favorites, including the annual audience sing-along.

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