lunes, diciembre 11, 2006

Welcome visitors, a summation

For some reason this year we had many visiting trios (piano-strings). The Guarneri of Prague came back and offered two concerts: one for Festivales and the other for AMIJAI's subscription series; that's the one I heard. They played two wonderful and basic works: Beethoven's Trio No.6, "Archduke", and Dvorák's "sui generis" Trio No.4, "Dumky". There was strong unity in the interpretative concept, but it was again apparent that the dominant figure is pianist Ivan Klansky, magisterial in his firmness and articulation. Violinist Cenik Pavlik is quite uneven, with good passages along ungrateful ones. Marek Jerie (cello) is very clean but has a small sound and a retiring deportment.

I could only hear the Vienna Piano Trio in Shostakovich's Trio No.2, but they seemed very professional and smooth; too much so maybe, for this score needs some ferocity as well. They played at the Gran Rex for the Midday Concerts. Stefan Mendl, piano; Wolfgang Redik, violin; Matthias Gredler, cello. The intimate venue of the Museo Fernández Blanco allowed me to hear in warm acoustics a Trio with no collective name, it is known by the surnames of its members: Karvay (Dalibor, violin, Slovak); Karanovic (Milan, cello, Serbia); and Stroissnig (Stefan, piano, Austria). All quite young and talented. I could only hear the First Part: Mozart's Trio K.548 and Schubert's Trio No.1. They impressed me very favorably and were quite homogeneous in approach and technique.

The catalan LOM Piano Trio is called thus due to the initials of its members: L(igorio), Daniel, piano; O(rpella), Joan, violin; M(or), Jose, cello. It made a fine debut at the ornate Salón Dorado de la Casa de la Cultura playing a very interesting programme: Beethoven's Trio No.5, "of the Spirits"; Turina's "Círculo", three atmospheric pieces; Shostakovich's one-movement Trio No.1; and Granados' considerable Trio op.50, a good example of admirable Spanish chamber music. The players are again young and talented and it was a pleasure to hear them.

On the initiative of our contralto Susanna Moncayo, Francesco Fanna came from the Istituto Vivaldi di Venezia to offer the American premiere at the St. Francis Basilica of Vivaldi's "Dixit Dominus" RV 807, edited by Michael Talbot. This version of Psalm No.109 is one of three Vivaldi composed in D major and was found in Dresden, once attributed to Galuppi. As Fanna says, this "Dixit" , written about 1832, is rich in counterpoint but also is influenced by the Neapolitan florid style, though it ends with a splendid fugued Finale. The whole Vivaldi programme was interesting; it also included "Laetatus sum" RV 607; "Salve Regina" RV 617 (fine work from Graciela Oddone, soprano, and Manfred Kraemer, violin); Concerto op.3 No.10 (quite well known); and the Stabat Mater for contralto, sung unevenly but with some good points by Moncayo. Splendid playing from La Barroca del Suquía led by Kraemer, good singing from the Grupo de Canto Coral prepared by Néstor Andrenacci, and very knowledgeable and firm conducting by Fanna.

Several choirs came over from the USA. Space and the relative quality of the programming precludes more than a passing reference to several of these. The Main Street Singers ( Mark Shaull) of Los Altos,Ca., offered a potpourri at the Law College Main Hall; I will single out the premiere of the melodic Requiem by John Rutter (England, 1945). It was offered jointly with the Choral Seminar of the Gilardi Conservatorium at La Plata (Oscar Escalada). The Butler University Chorale (Indianapolis) under Henry Leck and Eric Stark offered a very mixed bag at the First Evangelical Methodist Church and collaborated with our Coral Femenino de San Justo (Roberto Saccente). No less than four children's choirs (from Washington, D.C.; Miami; Minnetonka; and Winnipeg, Canada) plus our Coro de Ninos Cantores de Córdoba, intervened at the Colón in "Melodía!", South American Festival of Music for Children. There was music by Mozart, Copland, Hatfield and Escalada (the premiere of his very conservative "Elogio a la ninez"), and the conductors were Doreen Rao and Escalada. All this was of good quality, but I will single out the Dallas Symphony Chorus, a big concern led by David Davidson, with "La Filarmónica" in support. The venue was the Coliseo and they tackled a fundamental score: Brahms' "A German Requiem". With good soloists (Christina Major, soprano; Weston Hurt, baritone), Davidson offered an orthodox and noble rendition of the mighty piece, that showed to advantage the qualities of this true symphonic choir.

The Chamber Symphony of Budapest (Weiner-Szasz Orchestra), really a string ensemble, gave a pleasant debut concert at the Templo Libertad.They played B.Marcello, Mendelssohn (Symphony No.10 for strings) and Mozart: Concerto No.23 for piano (with added local players) and the "Little Nocturnal Serenade". Sebastián Forster, the Argentine pianist, played beautifully. The ensemble showed fine intonation and good grounding. The concert was presented by the Kinor Foundation in its "Solidarity" series.

The two final concerts of the Fundación Chopiniana at the Avenida gave us the debut of Polish pianist Adam Wodnicki and of the Duo Nicolosi-Bresciani (Franz Liszt Piano Duo). The former gave a good account of himself in Bach-Busoni and Chopin, but it was the Second Part that was worthwhile: three rarely heard pieces by Paderewski and ths splendid Prokofiev Sonata No. 6 had renditions of true quality. The Duo tackled the arrangements by Liszt of both his Sonata and his Symphony called "Dante": difficult and rhetorical music brilliantly realised by the pianists.

Para el Buenos Aires Herald - December 14, 2006

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