Last Sunday, Rieth Recital Hall welcomed guest artists Noreen and Phillip Silver, better known as The Silver Duo, to share their talents with the Goshen community.The husband-and-wife, piano-and-cello duo from the music faculty of the University of Maine performed works by J.S. Bach, Camille Saint-Saёns, Paul Ben-Haim and a trio by Vasyl Barvinsky which featured Goshen College’s own Solomia Soroka on violin.
The Silver Duo is known around the world for performing chamber music. They became a duo while they were studying together at the New England Conservatory of Music. Both have been on various faculties for prestigious music programs across the U.S. and Europe.
The Duo has gained popularity in recent years and become very highly regarded in the music world. They specialize in master works that are well established and well-known, but also in works by composers who are not as prominent.
The first half opened with just pieces involving The Duo. Each piece of music was handled with care and a sense of ease, despite the challenges and nuances of each work.
Ben-Haim’s “Three Songs Without Words” took them into an intermission, itself a striking show of the capabilities of The Duo.
The Silvers have performed and researched globally. They strive to bring recognition to composers and musicians experiencing oppression or adversity — for instance, they have worked with musicians that were affected by the Holocaust to try and tell their stories in unique ways.
Another way that they worked toward this goal was a push toward mastery of a piece by Ukrainian composer Vasyl Barvinsky.
As a part of Sunday’s program, Soroka told a story about Barvinky’s Piano Trio in A Minor before its performance. “The piece was inspired by Ukrainian folklore, so it is very dear to Ukrainian people,” she said.
“The composer wrote the music and hid it under his mattress to prevent the Soviet Union from burning it. His music survived, and it was found and produced by musicians that care.
Soroka continued, “This piece has been performed very few times in the United States, so please enjoy.”
The piece danced through the hall, with the performance receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.
In response, the trio played an encore for the eager audience.
After the final bows were taken, the musicians were sent off with many thank-yous and compliments from the audience.