Saturday, October 8, 2011

Karen Vuong & Carrie-Ann Matheson - Purcell, Wolf, Fauré, Hahn, Delibes, Rachmaninoff & Thomas - 10/01/11

Soprano: Karen Vuong
Piano: Carrie-Ann Matheson
Purcell: Music for a while
Purcell: Sweeter than roses
Wolf: Elfenlied
Wolf: Auch kleine Dinge
Wolf: Mausfallen-Sprüchlein
Wolf: Kennst du das Land
Fauré: Mandoline
Hahn: L’heure exquise
Delibes: Les filles de Cadix
Rachmaninoff: In my garden at night
Rachmaninoff: That rat catcher
Rachmaninoff: Dreams
Pearson Thomas: Races for the Sky – Angelica Cho (Violin)
Pearson Thomas: To the towers themselves
Pearson Thomas: How my life has changed
Pearson Thomas: Meditation
Pearson Thomas: Don’t look for me anymore

Even closer to my apartment that the Symphony Space is the Advent Lutheran Church, which has been standing at the corner of Broadway and W 93rd Street since 1900. It has been a beloved pillar of the community through, among other things, an eclectic and dynamic live performance calendar, which I had never had a chance to check out. This, however, changed last Saturday thanks to the second Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert of the current season, which presented up-coming soprano Karen Vuong during a late afternoon recital of crowd-pleasers. What better way to beat the cold and wet weather than by enjoying a local musical treat while sitting a couple of rows from opera legend Marilyn Horne, who made this concert possible through the Marilyn Horne Legacy at Carnegie Hall, and under some newly restored Tiffany stained glass windows that were softly illuminating the fully occupied little space?

And Karen Vuong definitely proved to be a worthy headliner as she kept on churning out tune after tune. From the delicate, appropriately titled first piece, Purcell’s “Music for a while”, to the gripping four Races for the Sky, whose scores Richard Pearson Thomas composed to accompany random texts found near Ground Zero shortly after 9/11, the young and poised soprano steadily demonstrated that she had a strong, clear and deeply expressive voice that seemed to hold many promises for the near future. Easily perking up for Wolf’s spirited “Elfenlied” and Delibes’s playful “Filles de Cadix”, she also had us all revel in Reynaldo’s Hahn’s “Heure exquise”, which was an exquisite couple of minutes - if not a whole hour - indeed. But my personal favorite had to be Rachmaninoff’s short but ethereally soulful “Dreams”, in which the voice and the piano delicately melted together to create the perfect musical experience. The program diplomatically contained a little bit of everything for everybody, and the hearty ovation that concluded the concert unmistakably showed that she had brilliantly pleased everybody.

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