miércoles, agosto 13, 2008

Our rich concert life

Apart from the big cycles, there´s a myriad of concerts. Not all are valuable, but many are and no critic can cover them all, but I try to be selective. Herewith a personal sample.

The Midday Concerts of the Mozarteum are free and have been going on for more than forty years, in recent seasons at the Gran Rex. Many of them are interesting. I will comment three of them.

Johannes Moser is a splendid German cellist who has been before at the Midday Concerts. He has an ample and secure technique and a sensitive way of phrasing. He was partnered by the talented Argentine pianist Paula Peluso, who has recently added to her fine mechanism a deeper sound quality and a more forceful attack, which are very welcome. Both showed to best advantage in two important sonatas: Mendelssohn´s op.58 and Shostakovich´s op.40. The encore was the "Moto perpetuo" from Britten´s Third Suite.

Capilla del Sol is a very commendable endeavor of the Museo Fernández Blanco, where Ramiro Albino formed a vocal-instrumental group dedicated basically to the music of the Jesuit Bolivian missions (Chiquitos and Moxos). But on this occasion they changed tack and gave us a premiere of a different repertoire: the "Dances of the Most Holy Corpus Christi" by the notable Valencian composer Juan Bautista Comes (1568-1643); it was a rare occasion to hear these sacral dances, sometimes vocal, alternating with songs not danceable. The numerous dances and songs were distributed according to their places of execution: beginning of the dances, at the altar; first stage, at the cloisters; second station, also at the cloisters; and conclusion, at the main altar. These were interspersed with organ pieces played by the excellent Cristina García Banegas, from Uruguay: "Si bona suscepimus" by Philippe Verdelot with variations ("glosas") by Francisco Fernández Palero; an Anonymous, "Mundo, ¿qué me puedes dar?"; a "Tiento" (theme with variations) by the great Antonio de Cabezón; a "Pange Lingua" by Joseph de Urreda with variations by Cabezón; finally, another "Pange lingua" but by Cabezón, this time by organ and choir. The level of execution was very good and the whole was an instructive experience.

Ukrainian pianist Vitaly Samoshko was born in 1973 and made his local debut. He displayed an admirable pianism in different styles: Beethoven´s Sonata No. 14 , "Moonlight", had a sensitive coloring in the first movement and muscular dexterity of the first order in the third. Another moonlight was included in the second score, Debussy´s "Suite Bergamasque", along with three other pieces, all played with true Impressionist hues. The tremendous war Sonata No. 7 by Prokofiev was most impressive, especially its turbulent "moto perpetuo" finale. The pianist announced the encore as Rachmaninov´s Etude-tableau in E flat, but there are two, op.33 No.6 and op.39 No.5; unfortunately I don´t have a recording to sort this out.

Pilar Golf offered a concert where Ramiro Albino (our writer of Critic´s Choice) was again involved. This time with the duet called Mr. Banister where Albino plays recorders and a period Renaissance harp and Evar Cativiela , lutes. They invited several artists and called the programme "British Orpheus, English music from Dowland to Purcell": it was a nice traversal of beautiful seventeenth century music. I dislike programme changes and there were several, which I sorted out talking with Albino (his announcement wasn´t quite clear); but some of the audience must have been confused. Both parts were started by improvisations on the Bergamask and the Chaconne. From John Dowland we heard several pieces: "Now oh now I needs must part", with Víctor Torres (baritone), Silvina Sadoly (soprano) and Pablo Travaglino (tenor); an instrumental Fancy; "Weep ye not more, sad fountains", with Torres; and "Come again sweet love doth invite", with Travaglino. From Henry Purcell, "A dialogue between Thyrsis and Iris", with the three singers; "As soon as the chaos was made into form" with Travaglino (this time as countertenor) and Torres; and "´Tis wine was made to rule the day" with all three singers; all these pieces from "Orpheus Britannicus", Second Book. But we also heard from Purcell: "Ah, how sweet is to love" from "Tyrannic love, or the Royal martyr", with Travaglino; "Hark, my daridear" from the First Book of "Orpheus Britannicus", with Torres and Sadoly; and from "Dioclesian", "Sound fame thy brazen trumpet", with Sadoly. We also heard Thomas Simpson´s "A division for the practice of learners", an Anonymous piece, "Mr. Reddins Ground"; "A Division" for recorder by "Mr. Hills" and "A division to a ground" by Solomon Eccles ("division" meaning "variation"). As you see, a varied programme with rarely heard music, most of it quite interesting. Both players were good, and the singers more variable, Torres the best, Sadoly following and Travaglino hampered by poor vocal means.

Ars Nobilis presented a free concert at the Jockey Club. Guitarist Carlos Groisman and the young Cuarteto Akos presented a mixed programme. An off-form Groisman played Granados, de Falla and Ponce´s "Sonatina meridional", where he got better results. Then the Quartet gave acceptable versions of Mozart´s Divertimento K.138 (adapted, for the original includes a bass line) and Piazzolla´s "Four for tango" (the title is originally in English). The best results were obtained when Groisman and the Quartet played the beautiful Castelnuovo-Tedesco Quintet op.143, certainly one of the most accomplished scores for that combination.

For Buenos Aires Herald

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