Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cleveland Institute of Music: Junior Recital: Joseph Rebman, harp (@CIM_edu)

Grandjany: Fantaisie Sure un Theme de Haydn
Rebman: Eros: Pithos Anesidoras (2011)
Debussy: Sonate for Flute, Viola, and Harp (Jeiran Hasan, flute; Julia Clancy, viola)
Saint-Saens: Fantaisie for Violin and Harp
Ravel: Introduction and Allegro (Andrea Hughes, Nicole Sauder, violin; Julia Clancy, viola; Cecilia Orazi, cello; Jeiran Hasan, flute, Elinor Rufeizen, clarinet)
Joseph Rebman, harp

The harp is an instrument relatively rarely encountered in the wild, and there seem to be relatively few orchestral peices that feature the instrument. I was delighted a while back when, at a Classical Revolution event a harp rolled through the front door and the attendees were given a unique and upclose exposure to the music of the harp. That harpist was Joseph Rebman (who I also heard at FiveOne Music's Sonic Cinema performance last year), and Mr. Rebman was kind enough to extend an invitation to his junior recital this afternoon, and it was wonderful to hear the instrument again.

Although today's recital was more traditional in both programming and setting than either of those events it was no less interesting. As expected, the harp was at the forefront and the range of both the instrument and Mr. Rebman were demonstrated.

Marcel Grandjany's Fantaisie Sur un Theme de Haydn for solo harp was crisply played and I was impressed by the nimble finger work -- the piece was festive with ever so slight a hint of mediteranean flair about midway though. Second on the program, an impressive composition by Mr. Rebman, Eros: Pithos Anesidoras was likewise interesting, beginning with alternating notes played by his left hand with plucked interruptions from the right hand. As the piece progresses there's a sense of building energy and frenzy into an explosion and then a more deep and meditative sound -- both deeper and more meditative than I typically think of for a harp.

Debussy's Sonate for Flute Viola and Harp, was technically interesting for contrast in instruments: In the first movement, the impulse of the harp, the sustained notes of the viola, and the flute as the wind outsider. Between the three the sounds of spring seemed to be floating in the air. In the second movement, the feeling becomes even warmer and you begin to feel as if you're running through the countryside, but the third and final movement starts with an opening that seems almost ritualistic and builds to an exciting crescendo.

After intermission the recital picked up with Saint-Saens's Fantaisie for Violin and Harp which was full of the somewhat sureal feeling (almost pastel-colored view on reality) that I associate with Saint-Saens's works, though it turned intense nearer the end

Closing out the program Maurice Ravel's Introduction and Allegro featured the largest ensemble from the afternoon's program with a slow, romantic introduction and strong relationships between the individual instruments, as when Elinor Rufeizen's clarinet met a note begun by Ms. Orazi's cello. The variety of sounds combined with the extensive solo piece made the piece quite enjoyable to hear, even if it isn't quite as striking as some of Ravel's better known works.


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