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<<<  <<  -- 2 --  Kelly Ferjutz    ENTIRELY TRANSCENDENT


The evening presentations were at St Brendan's Church in the town, allowing for a larger performing group, as well as a larger audience. Members of the Haffner Wind Ensemble joined with the Kelly Wind Quintet for a grand version of the early work by Richard Strauss, the Suite in B-flat Major for Thirteen Wind Instruments. The very interesting piece benefited greatly from the very lively acoustics which emphasized the depth of sound from the ensemble. Each instrumentalist had his or her own moment to shine, as solos were scattered throughout.

In a neat turn-about, collaborative pianist Yuri Serov turned soloist in the Schnittke Concerto for Piano and Strings from 1979. The ensemble was called The Festival Strings, and featured several of the younger players we've heard in recital, plus the two violinists of Quatuor Terpsycordes, as well as double-bassist Malachy Robinson.

Conductor Nicholas Daniel kept the complicated and densely-written piece moving steadily forward. Beginning and ending with softly played, rather ethereal chords, the work ventured far and wide in between, with frenetic rhythms and driving chords from the piano. The forceful Mr Serov was obviously very familiar with the concerto, and performed his part with gusto, to great acclamation from the audience.

After the interval was a most unusual and not often-enough heard work of Tchaikovsky -- his String Sextet in D minor, Op 70, more commonly referred to as Souvenir of Florence. The group of two violins, two violas and two cellos was formed by members of the Kopelman and RTÉ Vanbrugh quartets. The slightly older Russian gentlemen in their tuxedos formed a seamless entity beside the younger Irishmen in their black shirts. The performance was entirely transcendent!

This piece is densely-written as well, but in a different way. Tchaikovsky determined that each instrument have its own voice, and as a consequence, they each had solos in addition to the ensemble work. As the leader, Mikhail Kopelman imbued his many solos with an irresistible sweetness of sound. At times, the six players sounded like a pipe organ. When the musicians look at and smile at each other while playing, you know it's all going splendidly, and indeed it did. My only complaint is that it lasted just 35 minutes. I'd have happily sat through another two hours worth of their musical magic. They took turns hugging each other during the bows -- a fitting conclusion to this wonderful visual and aural treat for the listeners.

Late night featured mezzo Mila Shkertil and pianist Yuri Serov with a song cycle by the Russian composer Valery Gavrilin. His Russian Songbook is from 1965, about mid-point in his lifetime (1939-1999). His name and music are largely unknown to the Western world.

It was another tour de force for Ms Shkertil. The bleakness of the generally unhappy life of a young Russian girl was emotionally portrayed through the eight songs. There were plenty of vocal acrobatics and a mad scene or two, and even a bit of blues in the piano part of song No 7, Laments.

I cannot over-emphasize the depth of Ms Shkertil's interpretation of this kind of song. Her face and body language is so expressive, as is her voice, one is never in doubt about the words she's singing, regardless of the language being sung. She is extraordinary, to be sure.

Continue to day seven >>

Copyright © 6 July 2007 Kelly Ferjutz, Bantry, Ireland



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