Music and Vision homepage



High spirits

LAWRENCE BUDMEN visits the Sarasota Music Festival


On the Gulf Coast of Florida, the US city of Sarasota is home to a world class music festival. Here distinguished artists gather each summer to play chamber music. Talented students from around the world take part in master classes and performances. The quality of their playing proved that they were students in name only. I found the event to be a musically invigorating experience.

At a faculty showcase concert on 19 June 2003, the intimate Holley Hall was a perfect venue for chamber music with bright, clear acoustics. Flutist Carol Wincenc, a true virtuoso of the instrument, violinist William Preucil, concertmaster of the great Cleveland Orchestra, and violist Robert Vernon gave an effervescent performance of Beethoven's Serenade in D major. This work is early Beethoven. The music abounds in graceful melodies and lovely instrumental writing. Ms Wincenc also played six excerpts from Valentines -- short pieces written for her by composers with whom she has had a long association. Standouts were an elegant, French tinged waltz by Hollywood's Arnold Black and two pieces by the innovative Paul Schoenfield -- a haunting, plaintive melody and a foot stomping folk dance. Ms Wincenc's tonal purity and intensity of utterance were mesmerizing. Cellist Ronald Leonard (who holds the Gregor Piatigorsky Chair at the University of Southern California) gave an impassioned reading of the surprisingly romantic 1940s Sonata by Gyorgy Ligeti.

At a student concert on 20 June, clarinetist Michael Kertcher gave a piquant performance of Bartók's Contrasts. Four eager young players gave a lyrical, gracious rendering of the first movement of Beethoven's String Quartet Op 59 No 1. Paul Kim, a brilliant young violinist, led a dazzling performance of the Poco Allegro movement of the Sextet in G Major Op 36 by Brahms. A sparkling reading of Beethoven's Septet in E flat Op 20 sent the audience home in high spirits.

Continue >>

Copyright © 26 June 2003 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


 << M&V home       Ensemble home        Welsh baroque >>