Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University - Meldessohn, Barber, Takemitsu, Villa-Lobos & Brahms - 03/05/10

Mendelssohn: Song without Words in E Major, Op. 19, No 1
Barber: Sonata for piano, op. 26 (IV)
Takemitsu: Voice for Solo Flute
Villa-Lobos: Assobio a jato (The Jet Whistle) for Flute and Cello, W. 493
Brahms: Trio for Violin, Horn (or Violoncello) and Piano in E-Flat Major, Op. 40

Back in the Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center for the "Conservatory Project", yesterday evening it was the students of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University who had the privilege to entertain us with a pretty eclectic program fortunately book-ended by two German composers who need no introduction: Mendelssohn and Brahms. Friday night is of course the perfect time to go out and enjoy a free musical performance, so it was in a packed auditorium that my friend Heidi and I made our late entrance due to a particularly hectic work day, but better than never.

Mendelssohn's Songs without Words are brilliant little gems and I am really sorry we did not make it for that one, but life, and music, go on.
Right after we got situated in our seats, Mi-Jong Lee attacked the Fuga of Barber's Sonata for Piano with much force and kept us focused on her the entire time. That's what I call hitting the ground running!
Next was contemporary Japanese composer Takemitsu and a solo piece for flute sprinkled with French words. I am not a big fan of wind instruments and the interspersed French words sounded kind of weird, but at least it was short.
The same flutist, Catherine Ramirez, came back, accompanied this time by a cellist, Lachezar Kostov, and their Spanish rhythms-infused duo was an unusual but nice combination of the two instruments.
And was well that ended well with a stunning rendition of Brahms' Trio for Violin, Violoncello and Piano which the three musicians on the stage (Lachezar Kostov again, Sonja Hasarim and Andrew Staupe) delivered with plenty of heart-felt vivacity and way-beyond-their-years ease. When all is said and done, it is hard indeed to beat the stunning craftsmanship of Brahms and we fully indulged.

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