Melissa Rhine Senior Violin Recital Highlights

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, when many were packing to go home and saying goodbyes, Melissa Rhine was performing her senior violin recital. With a three-day notice, Rhine was asked to perform her recital two weeks before it was originally scheduled. She had to coordinate details of the last-minute recital with her teacher, accompanist, and eight others who performed with her. Also, her family and friends were sadly not able to attend the performance due to government restrictions. However, even with all of this difficulty, Rhine performed a solid recital. At the conclusion of the semester, she will be graduating with a music degree in violin performance and piano pedagogy. After graduation, she will look to further pursue her music teaching career.

Amazing Grace

The first of Rhine’s highlighted pieces is “Amazing Grace,” by John Newton. “God’s grace is unfathomable,” says Rhine. “It is, as John Newton wrote, ‘Amazing Grace.’ I would not be where I am today without God’s constant provision and guidance.” This arrangement, by Mark O’Conner, calls Christians to contemplate the matchless grace of God.

Romance from the Gadfly Suite

Another audience-pleaser from the night was “Romance from the Gadfly Suite” by Dmitri Shostakovich. This next featured piece was first written for a film score. Rhine says, “Shostakovich wrote the film score for the Soviet film The Gadfly which is based on the novel of the same name. After the film’s release, the music was compiled into what is now called the Gadfly Suite by Soviet composer Levon Atovmian. Inspired by Massenet’s ‘Meitation’ from Thais, this Romance is the 8th movement of this suite. Characterized by the broad sweeping melody, the solo violin builds in intensity to a high climax before settling down and disappearing into nothingness.”

Sonata No. 4, Children’s Day at a Camp Meeting

Finally, Charles Ives‘ Sonata No. 4 reflects on the old-time American camp revival. Rhine explains the background of the piece: “In the midst of tumultuous 20th-century music, Charles Ives remained one of the conservative composers of the time. Known for his complex rhythm and harmonies, his most defining characteristic was his incorporation of folk tunes and hymns into his music. This sonata portrays a traditional American camp revival meeting with a traditional hymn tune in each movement. The first movement uses the tune ‘Work for the Night is Coming;’ the second movement has strains of ‘Jesus Loves Me;’ and the third uses ‘Shall We Gather at the River.'”