martes, enero 06, 2009

A varied musical roundup (II)

This is the second and final instalment of the season´s musical roundup. I will start with two concerts of the Pilar Golf cycle, certainly the most important of what might be called "the countries area". Argentine soprano Carla Filipcic Holm spent a year in Germany with various engagements but she also took special courses on the interpretation of the German Lied. It certainly showed in her splendid all-Schubert recital with a common theme: specifically songs for women. Although she missed the opportunity of doing short groups with the same heroine, her programme was very attractive, and if some pieces are very well-known, others were almost novelties: "Iphigenia", "Daphne am Bach". The soprano sang everything with exquisite phrasing and lovely voice, and she was partnered with great sensitivity and accuracy by Diana Schneider.

"The legacy of Cremona" was in principle a good idea: a group of local players had at their disposal splendid instruments made in that city for the collection of Carlos Pedro Blaquier, following the techniques that have long distinguished that city of "luthiers": models of Stradivarius, Guarneri, Montagnana and Landolfi. Unfortunately someone programmed the Brahms Piano Quintet with a poor pianist, Eduardo Páez; with his mistakes and lack of style he apparently disconcerted the string instrumentalists, who sounded under-the-note and murky. Things turned much for the better with the original and lovely Dvorák Quintet for strings with double-bass op.77; a rarely played work was given its reasonable due and some of the lustre and quality of the instruments could be appreciated. The artists were Pablo Saraví and Hernán Briático (violins), Verónica D´Amore (viola), Siro Bellisomi (cello) and Luis Tauriello (double bass).

The Midday Concerts of the Mozarteum at the Gran Rex provided some nice surprises. The Ensemble Musica Viva is made up of Argentine players living in France: Mónica Taragano (flute), Pablo Márquez (guitar) and Ezequiel Spucches (piano). They were joined by the French cellist Johanne Mathaly and the Argentine violinist residing here Elías Gurevich in an out-of-the-trodden-way programme: the very pleasant Sonata op.48 for flute and piano by our seminal composer Alberto Williams, valuable music by the great Brazilian Villa-Lobos (Two chôros for violin and cello and the Guitar studies Nº 10, 11 and 12), "Al declinar el día" by the Argentine Gustavo Beytelmann (1945-) and "Tango que yo ví bailar" by the French composer Thierry Pécou (1965-). All of this provided varied and attractive textures and the instrumentalists were first-rate.

In the same cycle it was a real pleasure to hear the Austrian Minetti Quartet (Maria Ehmer and Anna Knopp, violin; Markus Huber, viola; and Leonhard Roczek, cello). They offered two substantial scores (Berg´s Quartet op. 3 and Schubert´s Quartet Nº 14, "Death and the Maiden") in well-considered readings, as befits disciples of the Berg Quartet. Young, concentrated and proficient, they should have a fine career.

Their season closed with the debut of the important Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid, very well conducted by Jordi Casas Bayer. There were only three "foreigners" in their programme: Rossini with his funny "Carnevale di Venezia", Fauré´s refined "Cantique de Jean Racine" and our Guastavino´s "Gala del día". And just one piece of the great Renaissance Spanish repertoire: F. Guerrero´s "Niño Dios de amor herido". Two fine composers of their country were represented with well-wrought and inspired pieces: Rodolfo Halffter by his "Three epitaphs" (for Don Quixote, Dulcinea and Sancho Panza) and X. Montsalvatge by two of his "Canciones negras". The rest was an exhilarating zarzuela recital, with pieces by Barbieri, Giménez, Bretón, Chueca, Vives, Alonso and Sorozábal done in authentic style.

A lute recital is a rare occasion; although the instrument has a big repertoire, little of it is played. The Museo Larreta is an adequate venue and the Argentine player Evangelina Mascardi, who lives in Europe, gave an illustrative cross-section of tasteful and charming music: Charles Mouton´s "Pieces in A major, a contemporary of J.S. Bach, Sylvius Leopold Weiss ("Suite in G major", "Tombeau sur la mort de M. le Comte de Logy") and by Bach himself ("Prelude, Fugue and Allegro", BWV 998). Except in the Allegro of the Bach score, her interpretations were clean and in style. This was a session of the Bach Academy.

Víctor Torres is undoubtedly our best chamber baritone and he is always looking for interesting and neglected music. He certainly found two lovely British cycles for his recital at the Auditorio Borges of the National Library in the series "La Scala fuera de La Scala": the "Songs and proverbs by William Blake", a mature Benjamin Britten; and Ralph Vaughan Williams´ "Songs of travel" on texts by R.L. Stevenson. With fine English diction and his ingrained musicality, the artist gave an object lesson of insightful interpretation and was well abetted by the talented pianist Haydée Schvartz.

The intelligent soprano Soledad de la Rosa also gave an impressive recital of British music but with guitar, well played by Guillermo Gutkin. This was at the Salón Anasagasti of the Jockey Club and for Ars Nobilis. The First Part was dedicated to the Baroque with three great composers: John Dowland, Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel. Britten took the Second Part with his "Songs from the Chinese" and some of his imaginative arrangements of English popular songs. The singer´s wonted musicality and complete professionalism were constantly in evidence, as well as careful diction. And thus I lay down my pen.

For Buenos Aires Herald

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