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Bohorquez's playing was just as magical in the very different musical milieu of Claude Debussy's Sonata for Cello and Piano. While Debussy (1862-1918) was the ultimate creative embodiment of French musical Impressionism, in his later years he embraced exoticism and mainstream European modernism. The Cello Sonata is one of his last completed works. Debussy was enthralled by the première (at the Diaghelev Ballet Russe) of Mikhail Fokine's ballet Scheherazade (set to the Rimsky-Korsakov score). His artistic response was the adoption of Oriental and Islamic chants in the Cello Sonata. Arabesques (the varied repetition of one note) are subtly woven into the tapestry of this path-breaking score which still sounds thoroughly contemporary today. The music abounds with surprises. Thematic fragments end abruptly or are succeeded by unrelated material. Phrases lead to complex, surprising turns and developments. The score's harmonics are boldly dissonant. Debussy's solo writing challenges the very limits of the cellist's technique. Bohorquez attacked the astringent Prologue with incredible speed and energy -- unabashed bravura playing. His delicately plucked version of the Serenade conjured up a magical landscape (in both musical and literary terms). The richness of tone that Bohorquez brought to the darting leaps of the Finale held the audience mesmerized in Debussy's exotic trance. His brilliant rendition of the high-lying writing (played close to the instrument's bridge) was the final icing on an extraordinary performance. Bohorquez's sonata partner was no less than the brilliant pianist Tao Lin. This gifted virtuoso has been impressive in numerous solo and chamber music appearances in South Florida. He brought subtle pianistic colors and fleet fingered panache to Debussy's magnum chamber opus. A riveting performance of a twentieth century masterwork!
The full blown Romanticism of Johannes Brahms's Sonata for Cello and Piano in E Minor, Op 38 (circa 1862-1865) brought forth a performance of fierce abandon and impassioned eloquence from Bohorquez and Lin. The opening theme of the Allegro non troppo was shaped with bracing intensity by Bohorquez. Lin's realization of the calming second theme had wonderful pastoral elegance. Unlike most performers, Bohorquez and Lin took the exposition repeat -- allowing Brahms's music to speak in all its spacious glory. What wonderful contrasting melancholy the two artists brought to the Trio, in contrast to the gracefully shaped Allegretto quasi Menuetto. Bohorquez's dark well of burnished tone in the concluding Allegro was the very essence of Brahms. A vibrant, deeply felt performance of one of the landmarks of musical Romanticism!
Copyright © 31 August 2004
Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA