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.
Today, Matthew Woodbury ’06 will be performing his senior recital in the Lang Concert Hall at 7:00 p.m. The recital will consist of beautiful Baroque, Classical and Romantic peices for the piano in the piano in three short sets. Students can expect to hear a multi-faceted collection of classical music at this performance.
Woodbury’s Baroque set consists of four of J.S. Bach’s Two-part Inventions, Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8 in C minor, D minor, E major, and F major, which were written to keyboard playing and composition. The Classical repetoire is Joseph Haydn’s 13th Piano Sonata in G major. “This [is a] four-movement sonata, with an unusual concerto-inspired third movement,” says Woodbury, “the other three are fairly standard: Allegro, Minuet/Trio, and Finale.”
The Romantic repetoire is made up of three “character pieces” written by Franz Listz in the 1880’s. Wingenlied, the first, is a lullaby that eventually became the first movement in his orchestral tone poem, “From the Cradle to the Grave.” “The second piece,” says Woodbury, “is terrifying.” It was written during Listz’s witnessing of a gondola funeral procession, which led him to imagine the eventual fate of his dying friend. “He wrote this piece and a second in order to stop the ‘oars of a lugubre gondola’ from ‘beating on his brain,'” explains Woodbury.
Matthew Woodbury has been playing the piano since the first grade, but his interest was piqued in high school, where he played jazz. After taking Jim Freeman’s course on opera in his freshman year at Swarthmore, he “was so taken by Verdi, Crumb, and Mahler and writing about music that [he] decided [he] wanted to do a minor in music.” Through subsequent courses Woodbury became furthur immersed into the world of music, and eventually met his teacher, Marcantonio Barone, about whom Woodbury says, “in the four semesters of lessons I’ve had, I’ve learned more about piano and music than I did in all the other years I played. He’s an amazing teacher… he always goes way beyond the call of duty in his teaching and cares about each student, as a musician and person, regardless of ability.”
Next year, Woodbury is hoping to get a job in Philly and prepare for grad school, and plans to persue a doctoral degree in music history.