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The intimate, acoustically bright Holley Hall at Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center was the perfect venue for an afternoon musicale on 10 June. Cellist Christopher Henkel (a professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg in Breisgau, Germany) gave an impeccably stylish performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No 1 (for unaccompanied cello). Henkel did not attempt to copy the thin, vibratoless sound of the period instrument movement. His warm, full tone and strongly accented phrasing were in the tradition of the great Pablo Casals (who revived Bach's cello music in the twentieth century). The dance movements really flowed with springy, vigorous rhythms. The austere beauty of the music was truly glorious! Great Bach playing! Timothy Cobb, the newly appointed principal bass of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, deftly negotiated the intricacies of Paul Hindemith's astringent Sonata. The final Molto Adagio was a fascinating contemporary version of a Baroque aria turned dissonant with a sudden shift to a lively Italianate coda. Allan Vogel, principal oboe of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, brought beautifully wistful tone and soaring, arching line to three Romances by Robert Schumann. This passionate Romantic music was a real sleeper -- a neglected nineteenth century minor masterpiece. Vogel's playing was a model of great artistry! Robert Levin contributed rhapsodic eloquence and bravado to the important piano line. (Schumann was one of the greatest creators of music for the keyboard instrument.) Flutist Leone Buyse (former first chair of the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops) and pianist Michael Adcock closed the program with Schubert's Variations on 'Trockne Blumen' from Die Schöne Müllerin, D802. This delightfully enchanting light music was fully served by the silvery purity of Buyse's flute and Adcock's emphatic playing.

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Copyright © 24 June 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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