Monday, November 29, 2010

CIM Faculty Recital: Rose/King/Mo/Gonzalez/Chiang

Beethoven: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2 in A Major, Op. 12*
Arensky: Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano in D Minor, Op. 32**
Brahms: Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 4 [sic]***
*- Stephen Rose, violin; Pi-Ju Chiang, piano
**- Boson Mo, violin; Josue Gonzalez, cello; Pi-Ju Chiang, piano
***- Richard King, horn; Stephen Rose, violin; Pi-Ju Chiang, piano

(Please see the audience courtesy note at the bottom of the post; it's a bit rantish and I may be alone in my irritation, but the lack of courtesy amongst certain [older] audience members really bothered me tonight)

To tell the truth I wasn't sure if I was going to make tonight's recital, but it was a most satisfying recital. Beethoven's sonata, like the pieces that followed it alternated between what I would characterize as distinctly 'happy' and 'sad' movements with not much gray space between. The first movement sparkled like few I've heard in Mixon hall, the second movement seemed mournful, and the third movement brought a return of happiness but without the champagne sparkle.

The middle piece on the program was composed by Anton Arensky, a name I am not familiar with. The first movement was beautifully lyrical, and the scherzo had a unusual and intriguing method that I can best call a bounced bowing that spent most of the time in Mr. Mo's violin but made an occasional visit to Mr. Gonzalez's cello. While listening to the third movements it stuck me as if I were listening to a somber eulogy for a dearly loved one, glancing at my program, I noticed the movement is identified as Elegia. Adagio. Well played. Mid-movement the tone changes from that of an eulogy to a respectful but less somber tune, striking me as delightful actually, before returning to the general mood of an eulogy. I'm not sure what to say about the finale.

Brahms's Trio also intrigued me--while Brahms's name is no doubt more familiar than that of Arensky, I can think of few chamber music examples that include a horn. Beautifully played by Richard King it did not disappoint (though, again--audience courtesy note--the gentleman in front of me kept feeling the need to declare that "he really should stop dumping the spit out" which kind of made embracing the entire work difficult). The andante first movement was depressing, but the following scherzo had a lighter, happy but not fully joyous sense to it. While I can't pinpoint a particular passage that evoked the feeling,

the impassioned third movement (adagio mesto) started to water my eyes, and the alegro con brio finale brought a sense of joy back and was the perfect note to end the recital on.

And Now I Start To Rant:

Audience Courtesy Note: I feel kind of bad saying this, but I'm afraid if I don't vent now I'm going to snap in a most unflattering and YouTubeable way during a recital or concert: When musicians are doing their thing, particularly during a quiet passage, show your respect by not (a) Repeatedly tell your neighbor how beautiful the music is or how so-and-so stopped by this afternoon, (b) do (a) even if you think you're whispering, (c) unwrap cellophane candy excruciatingly slowly--leaving no crinkle uncrunckled, (d) crinkle your program endlessly, (e) jingle the change in your pocket, or (f) repeatedly zip, unzip, Velcro, unvelcro, snap, or unsnap your bag. Do not continue to do (a)-(f) while several audience members are glaring at you. When one is completely immersed in the music these are a most jarring and rude return to the real world.



  1. Unfortunately, this is the kind of activity I've observed all too often at CIM concerts.

    During Babayan's recent performance of the Goldberg Variations, an elderly audience member loudly got her walker set up right during the Aria's reprise (which is very quiet) at the end. And I saw an angry old woman walk out during the Rite of Spring last season. I wonder if these people are more inconsiderate because the concert's free.

  2. Hank,

    I'm glad I'm not alone! While I notice it more often at CIM's concerts (probably because of how intimate Mixon is), it happens at Severance as well.

    I think the inconsiderate-because-free is part of it, I also think many don't realize how loud they're being -- or have forgotten that there are other people in the hall. Of course, if they're immue to the icy stare there's not much else that can be done -- "Sssshhhh"ing them would, of course, be much more disruptive. (And I really don't want to be whacked by someone's cane for 'disrespecting my elders')