Saturday, May 11, 2013

Heights Arts: Schubertiade (House Concert/Close Encounters)

Schubert: Sonata in D Major for violin and piano, D.384^*
Schubert: Sonata in G Minor for violin and piano, D.408^%
Schubert: Der Hirt auf Felsen (The Shepherd on the Rock)^¹²
Schubert: String Quartet in G Majorª
At the Koelz Residence, Cleveland Heights
^- Rafael Sorka, piano; *- Isabel Trautwein, violin; %- Alicia Koelz, violin; ¹- Jung Oh, soprano; ²-Robert Woolfrey, clarinet¬™- The Omni Quartet (Jung-Min Amy Lee, Alicia Kolez, violins; Joanna Patterson, viola; Tanya Ell, cello)

It would be horribly neglectful to not note that tonight's concert -- the last of the Heights Arts 2012-13 Close Encounters house concert season -- also marks the last for Heights Arts founding Executive Director Peggy Spaeth before she retires July 2nd after 13 years of dedicated service. (And just to reiterate my standard disclosure: I do serve on the Heights Arts board)

Tonight's concert was our first expedition to the beautiful home of Ms. Kolez and her husband. While not Ms. Koelz's first performance with Height Arts, I believe the first time the host of a concert has also performed.

An all-Schubert event featuring six members of The Cleveland Orchestra alongside two other very talented musicians the music and company was even more delightful than expected -- and that bar is high. All four pieces on the program were passionately played and a joy to hear, although I didn't really attach strong imagery to any of the pieces -- the way I most effectively communicate about music.

Thus, I cannot say that I enjoyed any of the pieces any more or less than any other on the program. The first two pieces -- both violin-and-piano  sonatas -- were lovely and left me to just close my eyes and enjoy the beauty of music for a large swath of both pieces. The inner movement of the Sonata in D was lovely, while the first movement reminded me of the emotional release of crying.

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with singer Jung Oh and clarinetist Robert Woolfrey joining Rafael Sorka changed things up with Ms. Oh and Mr. Woolfrey's playing faithfully echoing the sentiments of the lyrics -- from the brighter beginning to the sadness and grief-stricken middle.

After an intermission, gears shifted completely with the String Quartet in G Major, D.877 where despite an extended tuning necessitated from Cleveland's indecisive Is-it-Summer-or-Winter weather (I'm glad it's not just me) the passionate playing made it a memorable piece with finely textured drops into darkness and emergences into brightness. Adding interest to the piece were rapid-fire tremors of notes executed with precision.

Clevelanders are incredibly lucky to have access to this level of musicianship in these incredibly intimate settings

I'm already looking forward to the next season...

Lincoln

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