Sunday, February 5, 2012

Heights Arts House Concert: El Gar!

Beethoven: String Trio in c-minor, Op. 9, No. 3¹²³
Poulenc: Sonate for Violin and Piano "A la memorie de Frederico Garcia Lorca"ª°
Elgar: Piano Qunitet op. 84¹²³ª°
¹-Tanya Ell, cello; ²-Mari Sato, violin; ³-Kristen Docter, viola; ª-Isabel Trautwein, violin; °-Vivian Weilerstein, piano.
At the Rawson Cowap Residence, Shaker Heights

On the heels of two orchestral concerts in the past week, and feeling a little lacking in the Chamber Music department, it was delightful to return to the Cowap+Rawson residence for three varied pieces intimate of chamber music, featuring Cleveland Orchestra violinist Isabel Trautwein, orchestra cellist Tanya Ell, Cavani Quartet members Kristen Docter and Mari Sato, along with visiting pianist Vivian Weilerstein [If you recognize the last name, yes, they are related]

Opening the program was Beethoven's Opus 9 Number 3 string trio with an introduction by Ms. Ell in which she commented on Beethoven's lack of success in the field of opera -- despite fantastic results in every other category -- and mentioned that themes in the piece sounded to her like operatic characters evolving throughout the piece and thought it didn't always strike me clearly there were certainly parts where I heard what she was referring to. Regardless, it was a delightfully relaxing beginning to the concert.

Next up, Francis Poulenc's Sonate for Violin and Piano dedicated to Frederico Garcia Lorca, a Spanish poet killed at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. In introducing the piece, Ms. Trautwein quoted Lorca (via Poulenic) with "The guitar makes dreams weep" and mentioned Poulenc revised the finale after the violinist who had premiered the piece was killed in an airplane accident.

The piece started with a an explosive bang from both piano and violin and continued with a tumultuous sense of violence passionately played and invoking the spirit of war through instruments that are typically so serene. The same was largely true of the final movement until it tapered to a lonely series of notes at the conclusion of the piece. The intermezzo that was bookended by those movements, however was tender, sad, and introspective with the hint of grief and the pointlessness of war.

Concluding the program and unting all five of the performers we had the pleasure of hearing tonight, Edward Elgar's Opus 84 Piano Quintet, introduced by Mari Sato. Throughout the three movements of the piece the slightly muted color gave me a somewhat surreal nostalgic sense that reminded me of the feeling I had watching the film Big Fish -- not a direct musical quotation, but just the general feeling. The first movement started with an insistent statement that turned mysterious then impassioned. The sound from the ensemble seemed to fill every available available molecule of air in the Cowap's dining room.

The second moment kept the nostalgic and muted color feeling but turned a bit more tender and was passionately expressive, where the final movement was festive and gave me a bit of a feeling of riding on a carousel in that surreal soundscape.

All in all it was a delightful concert and a bit of a unique program given that two of the three pieces were composed within the past 70 years.


No comments:

Post a Comment