This last weekend marked the beginning of fall and winter arts presentations in our area. To mark this event, I attended the UVM Lane Series opener in the Redstone Recital Hall, where Martha Gomez then her quintet gave a scintillating performance of music that she has written that is based on native rhythms in the various countries where she has performed. The other members of her quintet are Franco Pinna, Fernando Huerga, YuliaMusayelyan and Juancho Herrera.
One of the banes of a reviewer's existence is trying to encompass the passion, the exuberance, the free-flowing aspects of the musical performance, as well as the press personas of the performers, as well as to pass along the excitation that comes with pulsing rhythmic drive that must be experienced by toetapping, handwaving and head bobbing by the audience members. All of these elements were present in great abundance Sept. 25 and if Gomez herself seemed to be a calm presence in the midst of all of this impassioned performing and rhythmic precision, it was something of a planned illusion of the part of Gomez herself, perhaps even partially due to the softness of her speaking voice and the gentle rounded contours of her face, and partially due to her subtle execution of the lyrics to each song. It is only infrequently that the carrier of the melody can match vocal grace with the appearance of totally angelic innocence.
Gomez is a master composer, one who knows how to float the melodic lines, the vocal lines sometimes echoed or echoing the be equally graceful flute playing of Musayelyan, over the percussive, driving rhythms supplied by Pinna on drums, Huergo on bass, and Herrera on a variety of stringed instruments (and he supplied vocal backups and a second voice in carrying the melody). I would love to have had the lyrics to read either before, during or after each performance, because they seemed to be faithfully set to music.