July concerts abound with talent

The GMCMF was off to a running start last Wednesday evening, July 2, rekindling my fondest memories from June, 2007. The stylishness and vibrancy of the interpretations in this all-Brahms concert was astonishing! Kevin Lawrence, violin and Artistic Director of the festival whose performance of one of Charles Ivess sonatas for violin and piano was for me the high point of last year festival joined with Stefan Kartman, cello and Jeannie Yu, piano to bring to the audience a brilliant reading of the Piano Trio in B Major, Opus 8. It is a bright and cheery work, with the second and fourth movements paying homage to Mendelssohn. The technical aspects of the work were met with ease, and there was a pervasive feeling of long association among the players, which ones seldom runs into at festivals. The work brought the audience to its feet at its conclusion. These performances all partook of the same enthusiasm and sense of Brahmsian style, and it made for an extremely satisfying auditory experience. GMCMF: July 4 The concert given by GMCMF Friday, July 4, provided its own kind of pyrotechnics. Entitled American Women, American Experience, works by three women born in the 20th century (one of whom is Scotish, not American, but whose work was based upon the collecting of folk songs by the Lomax brothers in prisons in the US) were featured before the intermission. The post-intermission portion of the program was devoted to a single work by Amy Marcy Cheney Beach. The Trio for violin, piano and cello (1987) by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich was a more serial composition, deriving the entire piece out of materials introduced in the first four to six bars. The performers did their very best musically and technically to give us a clear picture of the composers intent, and I found both the performance and the music exciting and satisfying on numerous levels. The commitment especially by cellist Brooks Whitehouse, but also by the other two members of the trio, Kyung Sun Lee, violin, and Ivanov once more at the piano was superlative. I found that particularly the third movement recalled the work of Penderecki and Shostakovich. It is an exciting piece of music, and it was gloriously played. It was a splendid way to celebrate a national holiday with such musical fireworks. GMCMF: July 9 Haunting Beauty was the title of the third concert given as part of the GMCMF. It lived up fully to its title. Two pieces by Japanese composers opened the program: Toru Takemitsus A Bird Came Down the Walk for viola and piano turned out to be comparable to organum, that is, two lines that occasionally and only momentarily and on the same pitch before kicking off in a new direction again. The viola part also frequently came back to what was a home pitch that centered at work. The performance by Karen Ritscher served the piece perfectly. The piece by Somei Sato, entitled Birds in Warped Times II, was much more evocative, and it had a devilishly repeated accompaniment in the piano that must have taxed the pianist, even when the pianist was Hiromi Fukuda against this accompaniment figure Kevin Lawrence, violin, played long and lyrical lines.

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