on Plucked Strings
is something to be said for music that allows the listener to travel
to an earlier time. Tuesday night at Fairchild Chapel provided the
crowd in attendance just an opportunity, as Professor of Guitar
Stephen Aron opened the Conservatory’s Guitar Repertoire Series
with a stirring classical performance.
Aron has been on the faculty at Oberlin since 1991 and has also
taught students at Akron University. For the recital he sat on Fairchild’s
stage with a golden colored guitar and released angelic music into
the chapel’s hollow walls.
The chapel’s stone arches and stain glass windows added to
the antique air of the classical pieces Aron selected.
Aron began the concert with Fernando Sor’s Variation on a
Theme of Mozart, Op. 9. This Mozart piece played on guitar proved
dynamic—the music was replete with plenty of trills and expressive
This piece might have reminded one of Raphael’s paintings
of angelic cherubs deep in thought, or the quaintness described
in one of the Bronte sisters’ Romantic novels.
Next on the program was Mauro Guilani’s “La Rossiniane,
Op. 121.” Aron had a beautiful tone and a seasoned sound.
His phrasing was masterful and reflected many years of practice.
The Adagio section of this piece was a great addition to the overall
19th-century character of the work.
Johann Kaspar Mertz’s “Elegy” proceeded. Aron
played the minor tune with lamenting dynamics at a deliberate pace.
This piece was a contrast to the light and airy ones that came before
it, and showed Aron’s mature technique, which while slow wasn’t
easy because of the intricate phrasing and dynamics.
Aron finished the program with “Fete Villageoise, Op. 20”
and “Reverie-Nocturn, Op. 19” by Guilio Regondi. These
pieces evoked a variety of feelings. Listeners were compelled to
gaze at the panels with gold colored saints in submission and forget
Aron played the guitar with such serenity and focus that he made
it look like anyone could pick up a guitar and play these Romantic-era
pieces with no problem.
Overall the music was smooth, light and never overwhelming. As they
listened, the attentive and appreciative audience sometimes closed
their eyes in thought.
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