Quartet New Generation Brings Hulen's Work to Life

by Steve Charles

April 7, 2006

Quartet New Generation’s world premiere performance of Wabash Professor Peter Hulen’s "Games" earned a rousing ovation from the 200-plus people gathered at the College’s Salter Hall Thursday night.

With an animated video flashing a montage of human figures, Monopoly game cards, dominoes, and newsreel footage behind them, the award-winning recorder collective from Germany brought Hulen's music to life in the second half of their 90-minute concert. (See photo albums of rehearsal and concert.)

The performances by Susanne Frolich, Hannah Pape, Andrea Guttmann, and Heide Schwarz were a revelation for anyone who remembers the recorder as that squeaky plastic instrument they played in grade-school. From lilting four-part harmonies from the 16th century to the snapping percussive effects of the 21st-century "Beat Piece" and with growls reminiscent of a dijerido and chirps and squeals more at home in a rainforest, the quartet kept the audience wondering what imaginative presentation could possibly come next.

With breathtaking virtuosity, the musicians switched instruments as often as they shifted moods—from the tiny soprano recorders to seven-foot-tall box-like Patzoldbasses.

Introducing several of the pieces, the musicians encouraged the audience "to have fun with this." That the Quartet was having fun was never more obvious than in "Cybergirls Go Extreme," where the women wore multi-colored wigs and dance while playing to contemporary dance beats.  

Just as Thursday night's performance breathed life into Peter Hulen's "Games," Quartet New Generation has breathed new life into an ancient instrument. Receiving a standing ovation, the musicians returned to play another Hulen composition. A playful, tuneful piece arranged around the College's song "Old Wabash", it evoked audience response true to its name and a fitting description of the evening—"Crowd Pleaser."

Above right: Heidi Schwarz and Hannah Pape perform Chiel Miejeiring's "Cybergirls Go Extreme."

Read about Peter Hulen's "Games"





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