Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Tonight, the Swarthmore campus will be looking forward to a stunning and possibly ecclectic flute recital featuring Jessica Gersh, ’06. Gersh’s repretoire will consist of fun and exciting pieces, some of which,”push the flute beyond its normal boundaries, but while they are not-quite-standard and differ in many respects from the stereotypical flute repertoire, they avoid being completely bizarre,” says Gersh.
The first in this exciting array of music is Density 21.5, which was comissioned by Georges BarrÃƒÂ¨re to “celebrate the acquisition of his platinum flute.” It is a highly debated piece, compared to works ranging from Mozart to the “most unusual and atonal compositions,” says Gersh. The second peice will be Hindemith’s Sonata for flute and piano, followed by Four Two Bit Contraptions, which, as described by the composer, Jan Bach, is “A Collection of Diverse and Sundry Musical Amusements for a contaminated Rainy Afternoon Especially composed for Flute & Horn.” The fourth piece Gersh will be playing is Messiaen’s Le Merle Noir, (The Blackbird), a part of series of songs based on and celebrating the sounds of various bird songs. The final peice is especially rare, as it was nearly destroyed by its composer. In a “quest for originality,” Dutilleux destroyed many of his earlier works – Sonatine for flute and piano was one of the few to survive. As Gersh says, “each one of the pieces is interesting in its own right, both musically and historically.”
Gersh has been playing the flute for a little bit longer than twelve years, ever since her interest was first piqued during a feild trip to the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. “I was captivated by the sounds of the flute, and I started lessons that very year,” she notes. When she is not studying the flute, Gersh is a physics major/mathematics minor in the honors program but she says that music will always be a part of her life.