It was indeed an afternoon of exceptional cello music that filled the beautiful sanctuary of Ascension Lutheran Church on Sunday, September 22, 2013.  Guests arrived in full capacity for the much anticipated first performance in a series of the Great Music at Ascension.

As the sanctuary brought itself to a total silence, the concert opened with Joyce Geeting’s graceful and at times passionate performance of Sonata in A Major, No. 8 by César Frank.  Accompanied by acclaimed pianist, Christine DeKlotz, the audience was entranced for about half an hour with inflecting melodic phrases, a signature of Franck’s style and approach to music. Geeting played with great warmth, the hallmark of her prized cello, and created expressive melodic lines, sweeping of the accompaniment. The tone of her instrument resounded through the sanctuary, even in the quiet moment when one might expect to lose the sound.    

The mood became a bit playful as cellist Joyce Geeting began David Popper’s Spanish Serenade.  A virtuoso piece infused with the flavor of Spain, she extended her sounds to great depths - in range, in tone color and in emotion.

In Popper’s Hungarian Rhapsody, Geeting found a place to demonstrate her virtuosity in terms most people understand.  Her interpretations are guided by a profound feeling for the composer’s nature and intentions. David Popper is one of those composers known mainly to cellists, for that was the tool of his fame in the late 19th century.  His Hungarian Rhapsody, drawn from several Liszt’s eponymous pieces, was great fun as well as the predictable opportunity to demonstrate a lot of Geeting’s hair-raising pyrotechnics.

Right after a brief intermission, Geeting was joined by her students as they performed Mazurka, a lively tempo bringing the audience to a resounding applause.

What followed was a somber Requiem filled with beautiful emotions, crowning the whole piece with sentiments as they played in precise harmony.  A very fitting tribute in memory of Janos Starker, eminent cellist who died April 28th, 2013. This was followed by the exotic Bachianas Brasileiras #5 by Brazilian composer, Heitor Villa Lobos featuring soprano Christine Hansen, accompanied by the cello ensemble of Geeting’s students, and conducted by Dr. Daniel Geeting. The major work on the second half of the concert was the Suite by Popper followed by an encore, a hoe-down including younger students, followed by many bows to the rousing applause. The concert was a “smashing success,” according to concert organizer Edith Ott.

Great Music at Ascension!