Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cleveland Institute of Music - Takemitsu, Bach, Chopin, Schubert, Obradors, Puccini & Mendelssohn - 03/06/10

Takemitsu: "Air"
Bach: Suite No 3 in C Major, BMW 1009
Chopin: Introduction and Polonaise Brillante, Op. 3
Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade: An den Mond (Holty) & Ganymed (Goethe)
Obradors: Dos Cantares populares: "Corazon porque pasais" & "Al Amor"
Puccini: "Quando men vo" from La Boheme
Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No 2 in C Minor, Op. 66

Saturday was Day 3 of my "Conservatory Project" marathon and the going was getting good. Just a look at the program and I took off on a special trip to the Kennedy Center where I happened to bump into my friend Patty in the Terrace Theater. Located in the same city as what many consider the finest American classical music orchestra (and incidentally the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), the Cleveland Institute of Music is a recurring name on the list of best music schools in the country. Having the dean as the page turner no doubt was a powerful incentive for the students to give it their all, and a very attractive program did the rest.

This is the second appearance of Toru Takemitsu this week, and this piece again was for solo flute. Light and melodic, "Air" lived up to its name.
Next, things got serious with a remarkable rendition of the Prelude of Suite No 3 in C Major by Bach, and serious-looking Matthew Allen made his cello muster darkly beautiful tones with poise and dexterity.
He was back for the third work on the program, Chopin's Introduction and Polonaise Brillante, in the company of already much accomplished pianist Eri Nakamura. The chemistry was immediately palpable and her informed piano playing blended seamlessly with his nuanced effort at the cello.
She came back with Meg Hamm, a singer that delighted us with arias by Schubert, Obradors and Puccini. With her clear voice and precise phrasing, she quickly won the audience over in three languages.
I was disappointed for having missed Mendelssohn's Song without Words the day before, but I got a special treat last night with the last two movements of his Piano Trio No 2 in C Minor. The Fairmount Trio proved the perfect ensemble to perform the irresistibly melodic work with youthful vigor and mature talent.

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