Practice makes perfect for FLC weekend concerts

End-of-the-year recitals are often worth waiting for. That’s true for two thisweekend.

In both cases, the musicians have been preparing for a long time, and you know they will be performance-ready.

On Friday evening, pianist Marilyn Mangold Garst will cap the wonderful recital series she organizes at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Playing works by Beethoven, Prokofiev and Brahms, Garst planned this program more than a year ago and has been on a strict rehearsal schedule ever since.

Those who have heard the former music professor from The George Washington University know she polishes everything to a fine sheen. The result is extraordinary musicality.

Garst will open with Beethoven’s remarkably short, but brilliant, two-movement Sonata in F-sharp Major, Op. 78. Don’t let the slow introduction lull you.A fast allegro follows, and the second movement is even faster and more high-spirited.

Five of Prokofiev’s 10 piano transcriptions from his beloved ballet “Romeo and Juliet” will follow. The first four set up the lovers’ passion and the conflict between the Montagues and the Capulets. Garst will leap across the middle sections to close with the composer’s transcription from Act II: “Romeo and Juliet Before Parting.”

Garst will close the recital with Brahms’ big, vigorous Sonata in C Major, Op. 1. Yes, this will be an evening of piano music not to be missed.

Then,at 3 p.m. Sunday, the Fort Lewis College Music Faculty will finally present its collage in Roshong Recital Hall. With new faculty members and stalwarts such as Rochelle Mann and Linda Mack Berven, it’s bound to be lively.

Guitarist Louis Steele opens the program with works by Manuel de Falla in honor of Claude Debussy. Jeff Solon will set aside his saxophone in favor of his harmonica for a little riff he composed himself, “Bebop Blue.”

The first of two complete chamber music works will highlight the remainder of the program. Flutist Mann and percussionist Jonathan Latta will perform “Duettino Concertante,” by Ingolf Dahl.

The little duet will likely be a first for many as will another piece later in the program: “Five Hebrew Love Songs” by Eric Whitacre. Born in 1970, he may be the youngest composer on the program. The songs will be performed by soprano Veronica Turner, violinist Nathan Lambert and pianist Linda Mack Berven.

Husband and wife duo, clarinetist Mark Walters and pianist Lisa Campi Walters, will play one movement from a Brahms sonata.

A similar pairing will feature Joshua Mietz and Mack-Berven for a bit of Bernstein. Different faculty configurations will perform Handel’s lilting “Let the Bright Seraphim” and Ponchielli’s “Il Convengo.”

Mack Berven and Turner will sing the beautiful duet from Delibes “Lakmé” with Campi Walters accompanying. And for a big finish, the Red Shoe Trio will send us all off to Oblivion with the slick, suave and swoony piece of the same title by Astor Piazzolla.

Tickets for both concerts will be available at the door.

Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, artist and critic. Reach her at jreynolds@durangoherald.com.