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Stunning Performance

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and Anne-Marie McDermott
in New York, enjoyed by ANNA L FRANCO


Five years ago, a free concert series, Free for All at Town Hall, was launched by Twin Lions Inc in New York City. The first to perform were violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. This year, on 20 May, the duo performed three violin sonatas by Johannes Brahms as part of the spring 2007 season. The four concerts of this series were dedicated to the memory of Patti Cadby Birch, a benefactor of the series.

Anne-Marie McDermott (left) and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Photo © J Henry Fair
Anne-Marie McDermott (left) and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Photo © J Henry Fair

Brahms' Sonata No 1 in G major, Op 78, is called 'Regenlied', or 'Rain Song', also the name of a song written earlier by the composer (Op 59 No 3). The first movement of the sonata whispered into existence, as Annie-Marie McDermott and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg brought forth the opening with quiet sensitivity. Most violinists sway a bit as they perform the music, but Ms Salerno-Sonnenberg literally danced with her violin, with little steps back and forth. The second movement opened warmly, developing into varying moods: an ominous, stormy mood eventually turns into a heroic resolution; a quiet section leads to a majestic pronouncement. The duo navigated with agility and precision though these dynamic subtleties. The final movement was quietly spirited, and at one point, Ms Salerno-Sonnenberg seemed to lunge into her violin.

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Copyright © 12 June 2007 Anna L Franco, New York City, USA


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