sábado, octubre 21, 2006

Imaginative programming from Pilar Golf and Ars Nobilis

Our own artists sometimes provide very interesting experiences. And not only in the capital but in its surrounding area, as happens with the cycle of concerts offered by the spectacular Pilar Golf. One special occasion even had a staging by Marcelo Perusso. It was called “Paris-Cocteau . Human voices”. The First Part could well have been a straight piano concert, but draperies, lighting and statues gave a nice atmosphere to José Luis Juri’s generally fine and stylistic playing; he gave us Satie (“Gnossienne No. 1”), Stravinski (his wonderful “Tango”), the delicious Ravel “Noble and sentimental waltzes” and Debussy’s evocative “The joyful island”. But the real justification for the title of the “soirée” was the Second Part, an inspired interpretation of “La voix humaine”, the sensitive adaptation by Poulenc of a Cocteau text for the radio. This, unless handled with care, can be bathetic, but wasn’t in the intense personification by Vera Cirkovic of a jilted woman having a last phone call with her lover. The singer is a real actress with perfect diction and she is communicative and sensual. She was supported with fine intelligence and precision by Juri. And the staging was unobtrusive. Juri was also the pianist of a group of fine professionals playing Austrian chamber music masterpieces. The others were: Pablo Saraví, violin; Verónica D’Amore, viola; Claudio Baraviera, cello (this talented artist is living in Spain); and Luis Tauriello, bass. They played with efficacy Mozart (Quartet for piano and strings in G minor), Mahler (his Quartet Movement for the same combination, his sole chamber work) and Schubert's atypical and wonderful “Trout” Quintet with bass. Somehow the magic was missing though the level was of course good. Almost no reservations about a fascinating all-Handel evening with soprano Soledad de la Rosa and the Orquesta Barroca del Rosario under Juan Manuel Quintana. The title was “Handel arias for Francesca Cuzzoni”, a famous diva of the composer’s company. Recitatives and arias alternated with purely orchestral passages in a finely contrasted programme of lovely music, the best of Baroque opera. Some of the pieces were quite unfamiliar. On the other hand, the chosen arias from “Rodelinda” and “Giulio Cesare” and the ballet music from “Alcina” are standards in Europe (not here). Although intonation wasn’t always as pure as it should, the 21 players responded well to Quintana’s stylish conducting, and de la Rosa is certainly the best singer we have for this repertoire: crystal-clear voicing in all registers, beautiful phrasing and taste, skill in divisions and long-lined breathing. Ars Nobilis is having a busy season with three Festivals at the Sociedad Científica Argentina. Two are already in the past: an homage to Mozart in five subscription concerts, and a tribute (three free sessions) to composer Eduardo Alemann, who died last year and was married to Mabel Mambretti, the organizer of these concerts. The third is dedicated to Beethoven and still has a concert to go. Mozart. It was certainly useful to hear the complete Piano Trios, six in all from K.254 to K.564, not all of them masterpieces but even less than topnotch Mozart is well worth knowing. The best player was pianist Cristina Filoso, generally accurate and in style apart from minor lapses; Carlos Nozzi, the cellist, was clean and correct; but violinist Oleg Pishénin had many faults of intonation and a most un-Mozartian heavy vibrato. Silvia Kersenbaum’s strong touch has always been better suited to later composers than Mozart, and there wre some mistakes. So a mixed review for her recital of wonderful pieces, Sonatas K.330, 457 and 331, Fantasia K.475, Rondo K.485 and Adagio K.540. The pleasure was unalloyed, instead, in the recital offered by the baritone Víctor Torres and pianist Carlos Koffman, 14 songs in German except for two in French. Refinement, excellent taste and diction, and a fine-grained timbre quite suitable to the music: such were the qualities of this outstanding singer, who was very well accompanied by Koffman. Alemann. This distinguished composer was also a newspaperman and music critic of integrity and he gave decades of quality work to the Argentinisches Tageblatt. As a composer most of his music was accessible and straightforward, though not lacking in modernistic traits. Intelligent craftmanship was allied to a sense of proportion in his abundant chamber music. I could hear two of the three long concerts and I was happy to meet a good deal of material I didn’t know. Very able professionals gave us an informative and valuable conspectus of his creations. Lack of space precludes further detail on this commendable initiative. Beethoven. Alexander Panizza has a big technique and has pursued an international career. He certainly has the means to play the famous “name” sonatas he chose. Most of what he did was firm and professional; however, lapses of memory cropped up in the enormous “Hammerklavier” almost to the brink of disaster. But the final balance of his two concerts was certainly positive. To conclude, the Armonía Opus Trío’s unconventional makeup (David Lheritier, clarinet; María Marta Ferreyra, bassoon; Fanny Suárez, piano) allowed for a curious programme made up of Duetto No. 1 for clarinet and bassoon, Trio op.11 and Trio op.38 (this last a transcription of the Septet); the bassoon substituted for the prescribed cello in the Trios. I could only hear the First Part and they seem to me honest players, though not quite virtuosos. 26/10/10 para el Buenos Aires Herald

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