Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cleveland Classical Guitar Society: Gaelle Solal

Bach: Partita No. 2 BWV 1004
Traditional Turkish: Drama Koprusu 
Traditional Turkish: For the yellow flowers (added)
Albieniz: Piezas Caracteristicas, Op. 92, No 12: Torre Bermeja, Serenata
Gismonti: Palhaco
Nazareth: Brejeiro
Gismonti: Agua E Vinho
Sadinha: Lamentos Do Moro
Two encores, titles unannounced.
Gaelle Solal, guitar.
At the Plymouth Church, UCC

Before tonight's concert began, Rachel thought she spotted an idol in the audience -- and she may be sitting next to me  rereading one of his collections next to me as I'm writing this -- but she was too respectful to see if she was correct -- but I had the distinct honor of seeing her (normally ultra reserved) go uber fan girl -- hitting some octaves I didn't think she was physically capable of before this evening.

Anyway, getting on to the main event, the guitar has a wonderful ability to bring immediate warmth to a room -- and on yet another chilly Cleveland evening, where it was 17 degrees when we left the house -- spiritual warmth is always appreciated. Ms. Solal also gave particularly informative and elucidatiory introductions to the pieces she so adeptly played.

The first half of the program consisted entirely of the five movements of Bach's Partita No. 2 -- which through their different tones (warm and sedated then sprinting, a Sarabanda that seemed to capture the loss of a close friend, to the lighter Giga and 64 variations in a Ciccona) made me think of this as a musical answer to the stages of grief.

Following intermission, two traditional turkish pieces (one on the program, one added) brought a distinctly Eastern European tone to the hall, and was one of my favorites from the program.

Albeniz's Torre Bermeja was more mellow, and Girmonti's Palhaco was moe metitative. Nazareth's Brejeiro brought more energy and was a bit of chirpy, jaunting fun -- also one of my favorites from tonight's program. For as light and happy as Brejeiro was, Gismonti's Agua E Vinho was almost depressingly sad. As a counterpoint, Sardinha's Lamentos Do Morro had more (at the beginning, pulsing) energy than any other lamentation I can recall hearing.

Ms. Solal presented two encores, titles unannounced but with wonderful dedications -- the first to the musical outreach program, and the second to her Cleveland hosts.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Heights Arts Close Encounters : Bach, Bartok, Beatles

Bach; Air from Orchestral Suite #3, BWW 1068
Poetry Reading: Kathleen Cerveny: Mended Dreams, a pantoum
The Beatles: Blackbird (arr. Steven Laven)
Bartok: String Quartet #6 (1939) Mvt. 3 Mesto
Bach: Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded Chorale from St. Matthew Passion, BVW 244
The Beatles: Yesterday (arr. Larry More)
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto #5 in D, BVW 1050, Mvt. 1 (arr. Merle Isaac)
Bartok: String Quartet #6 (1939) Mvt. 3 Burletta 
Bach: Sonata in C-Major for Violin Solo, VBW 1005, Mvt. 3 and 4 (Isabel Trautwein, solo violin)
Bach: Art of Fugue, Contrapunctus I
Poetry Reading: Cerveny: Fire and Frost, a villanelle
The Beatles: And I Love Her (arr. Laven)
Bach: From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee Chorale from cantata BVW 38
Bartok: Dance from Maramos (#32)
Poetry Reading: Stafford: You Reading This Be Ready
Lennon: Imagine (arr. Laven)
Kathrine Bormann and Isabel Trautwein, violin; Sonia Bratten Molloy, viola; Tanya Ell, cello (all members of The Cleveland Orchestra)
At Kalman and Pabst Photo Group's Studio, Midtown Cleveland.

I've been in love with Kalman and Pabst Photo Group's midtown studio space since the first time I wandered in several years ago and I've always wondered how it would sound as a live music space. This season stars aligned in a major way -- not only did the talented crew from KP generously donate their talents to produce the beautiful imagery used to promote this season's concerts but they also graciously hosted us in their studio this afternoon for the second concert of this season.

Today's sold out concert was a unique journey matching three eras of music -- starting with J.S. Bach, skipping forward to Bela Bartok and finishing with the music of The Beatles arranged for string quartet grouped intelligently as musical tastings and with poetry readings interspersed.

Aside from highlighting the versatility of these fantastic musicians through the diverse musical selections, with insightful commentary linking each set of pieces and musical theory and execution -- particularly humorous was when Ms. Bormann related her experience digging behind the music while learning Debussy under the direction of a Russian instructor.

Though the music was as delightful as a whole -- and I don't really consider myself a fan of the Beatles -- I did particularly enjoy this group's performance those pieces reminding me, conceptually of Vitamin String Quartet, a rotating quartet that records string arrangements of popular music.