Holly Fielding: Roder gives gift of heart in recital

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— Anna Roder, Steamboat Springs’ locally cultivated artist and now a student at Indiana University’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music, treated a lucky audience of hometown residents to a recital on her violin Sunday at Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library. Roder, who has been playing the violin since she was a toddler and studied under the tutelage of Steamboat Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Teresa Steffen Greenlee for eight years, began her recital with a delicately nuanced rendition of J.S. Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D minor for solo violin in 5 movements. She played with skill and confidence, paying attention to every turn of musical phrase, keeping the beauty of the baroque master’s composition alive for the audience as if he had just composed it the day before.

Bach was followed by two accompanied pieces, beautifully done on piano by Alice Rybak. For the first piece, a romance by Antonin Dvorak, the interplay of melody between the piano and the violin reminded the listener of conversation between lovers, sometimes affectionate, sometimes scolding but always concluding that they are in love for always.

Fritz Kreisler’s Caprice Viennois Op. 1 was as flirtatious as Dvorak was timeless. Roder’s playing of the virtuosic double-stop passages was effortless. The bow sparkled and danced its way over the strings. The entire composition was a playful romp, and audience members were seen smiling in response to it.

Closing as she had begun, Roder chose a set of unaccompanied Caprices by John Corigliano from the 1998 art film “The Red Violin.” The movie tells the story of a violin’s remarkable journey across three centuries, five countries and several owners. The opening theme is simple, reflecting the honest quality of a skilled violin maker’s workshop giving birth to a new instrument. The first variation on the theme, “Presto,” is a technical study extraordinaire, which Roder did very nicely. The second variation, “con bravura,” has the passionate sound of gypsies practicing their art. The third movement, named “Adagio, languid” with its foreboding quality, recalls the unsettling elements of society in the 19th century that brought down the European nobility and spawned the French Revolution. The fourth movement, “Slowly, con rubato,” is replete with difficult octaves throughout, which Roder played to perfection, artfully drawing the audience into the 20th century in the timeline of the story. The fifth and final variation, “Presto, pesante,” is a coarse peasant dance that came to a conclusion with a dazzling display of virtuosity by Roder, the kind that raises the audience to its feet at the end. That is exactly what the audience did, in hearty appreciation of a gift given straight from Roder’s heart.

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Violinist Anna Roder

Anna Roder rehearses a Bach piece before her performance at 4 p.m. Sunday at Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library. Tickets cost $20 for general admission, $35 for preferred seating and $5 for students.

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