NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Romantic Violin and Piano Concert at NECC

By Jessica Freeman

On Monday, Nov. 24, at 5:30 p.m. NECC held a concert, “Romantic Violin and Piano” on the Haverhill Campus in Building C, Lecture Hall A. The music was performed by George Kucera on violin and Alisa Bucchiere on piano.

Kucera, born in Prague, and a math teacher at NECC, says in regards to playing the violin, “[I] shouldn’t be doing this stuff.”

Kucera is passionate about music.

“The violin is my wife; I’m married to her,” said Kucera,

Bucchiere, a music teacher at NECC, said this is the first time she and Kucera had played together for a concert. Bucchiere is also involved with the music for the school’s upcoming production of “A Christmas Carol.”

The music for the evening consisted of songs played on the violin and piano, composed during the romantic period, spanning from the late 1700s to the early 1900s. Bucchiere, referred to the concert as a, “musical journey through time.”

The program was made up of 12 songs, including music from Tchaikovsky, Paganini and Chopin. Before each piece, Kucera gave an anecdote about the history of the song or information about the musical elements found in the song.

One story shared was about the third piece played titled, “On the Wings of a Song” by Mendelssohn. Bucchiere shared the story of how the song has been credited only to F. Mendelssohn, and that this may have referred to, the composer Felix Mendelssohn’s sister Fanny.

During this time period of the 1880’s Mendelssohn’s sister couldn’t have published music under her own name because she was a women, but that she was known to publish songs under this name.

Despite many European composers on the list, one American song “Banjo and Fiddle” by Kroll was included. Bucchiere said with the song’s upbeat tempo and fast pace, the only thing she could think of was, “a bugs bunny cartoon,” and that it was like a “cartoon chase” and “it’s a lot of fun to play.”

Many of the pieces played were not originally composed for the violin and piano, but were later translated to accommodate these instruments. One song, “Thasis” by Massenet, has been “translated for every instrument under the sun, except for the kazoo” according to Bucchiere. She said it sounds “most beautiful on the violin.”

Another song, “Mazurek” by Dvorak, was composed specifically for the violin and piano, and the two instruments echoed each other throughout the piece.

After the show was over, Nancy Nickerson, a teacher who works in the math department with Kucera, presented both of the performers with bouquets of flowers. Nickerson is involved in the school orchestra with Kucera. When asked about the show, Nickerson said, “the program was extraordinary,” and that “they’re both such professionals.”

Bucchiere said it was okay to have a small crowd and that it was better than a large crowd who didn’t care and didn’t really want to be there. Kucera was glad to see some of his math students came to the show as well.

Looking to the future, Bucchiere, says the next month is, “a month of concerts for her,” but that she hopes to have another performance with Kucera in the spring.