The Lane Series is winding down as the second semester winds down, but a striking Concert took place on Friday evening, April 24, at the Redstone Recital Hall. The name of the performers for the evening's music, the Bowed Piano Ensemble, was more mystifying and failed to cast light upon what was about to take place( we were assured that no piano had been harmed in the preparation of the concert).
Picture this scene: a single piano that is alone at the center of the stage; the keyboard is pointed upstage, its lid removed. Upon entering the hall, I noted that the area of the strings inside the piano seemed to be cluttered with packages of varying sizes. Beyond that, nothing was clear to the arriving audience.
All of the performers took assigned positions around the the piano, gazing intently into it; then at a signal, the music began.
The music, silken and satiny, wound its way into the air, needing time to perfume the air with sounds of endless melody. The highlight of the performance was by the soprano soloist, Victoria Hanson, a singular interpretive performer and the focus of poems by Lorca, La Guitarra. It was one of the subtlest combinations of words and music realized by a vocal artist; it was a pleasure to hear.
The principal conductor for the evening was Stephen Scott; he seemed to make things run smoothly. The ensemble merited sustained applause.
There is not enough room here to communicate the truly wondrous performance experience of a work, 400 years old this year, by one of the greatest composer of his time. The composer in question, Claudio Monteverdi, assembled music that was written for a vesper service that probably never took place exactly as he had planned-where he dedicated the work to the reigning Pope in the hope of being appointed to the papal court as composer in residence. The employment never came, but Monteverdi got one of comparable value in the Republic of Venice,where he stayed until his death 40 years later.