Classical violinist performs in mansion

By Robert Kallwass
November 1, 2007

Violinist Richard Amoroso put on a stunning performance accompanied by pianist Sheri Melcher at the Cabrini Mansion on Sunday, Oct 29. An audience of all ages, from students to elderly sat in to see the moving pieces preformed by Richard Amoroso, a young member of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Amorosa entered the small hall with Sheri Melcher, a pianist he had worked with several times, and played a score of mostly French and Spanish composers. The duo played very elegantly, impressing the crowd of well dressed adults that had taken early seats in the front and still reaching the students sitting on top on the balcony surrounding the room.

Amorosa became part of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1998, before that he worked with a number of music groups including, Pro Musica, the Philadelphia Singers and the Academy of Vocal Arts. Since a young age, Amorosa had already gotten involved with the Philadelphia Orchestra. At age 14 he won the Orchestra’s Student Competition and occasionally played with the orchestra as a soloist.

Melcher has performed several times with Amorosa, and other members of the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. She has played with many great musicians in the past, some including Eugene Fodor and members of the Baltimore Orchestra. She graduated from Peabody Conservatory of Music and Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music.

Together, Amorosa and Melcher started off with “Sonata for Violin and Piano” by Claude Debussy. A simple piece consisting of three movements which at first displayed the remarkable talent of Amorosa. Students in the front were discussing his form and music choices to the elders around them, giving nods of approval. After the first piece, Amorosa and Melcher left the room for a minute or two, and returned to their instruments accompanied by grateful applaud.

Amorosa introduced his second piece “Suite Poplulaire Espagnole- Siete Canciones popluares Espanolas” a seven song piece by Spanish composer Manuel deFalla. Amorosa made sure to inform the audience of the mis-typing in the program Cabrini made for the even. Having mixed up the separate movements of the piece, Amorosa jokingly hoped the audience could guess which one was which.

The third piece, “Theme and Variations” by Oliver Messiaen, Amorosa introduced as “sticks out from the others (French and Spanish), it is a little out there. An orchestra member of mine says ‘the harmony of Messiaen is physically nauseating.’ It’s harmony you don’t see in any other music.” They began playing with heightened interest from the audience, and some parts of the piano and violin together had an offsetting sound, almost awkward to listen too, but very unique from what the other composers played. This song provoked a lot of discussion among the audience members in the front sections.

Among the many students who attended for a class, a sophomore social work major, Dawn Gillingham attended the event. “It was nice to see something like that every once in a while,” Gillingham said. “I thought he should have talked more with the audience.” According to Gillingham a few of the other students who attended because of a professor’s assignment had fallen asleep and lost interest.

Amorosa and Melcher finished with “Carmen fantasy” by Pable de Sarasate. A slightly dramatic piece, ending on a soft note which followed by a bow by the musicians, and many applauds by the audience all around.

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Robert Kallwass

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