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