domingo, 29 de abril de 2018


Spinning Melody: The Best Classical Music of the Week

Sweet Ornamentation
What a relief it was when Lawrence Brownlee — after a timid take on Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” and the challenging New York premiere of Tyshawn Sorey’s “Cycles of My Being” — came back onstage at Zankel Hall on Tuesday with an encore: the oft-covered 1940 song “The Nearness of You.” Mr. Brownlee became a star through the bel canto repertory, but he is also an excellent interpreter of traditional songs and standards. In “The Nearness of You,” recorded here with his collaborator, the nimble pianist Myra Huang, you can hear character and depth that were unfortunately missing from his foray into Schumann’s cycle. (It was also difficult to hear anyone else’s “Dichterliebe” in the shadow of Mark Padmore’s brilliant account with Paul Lewis less than a week before.) Around 40 seconds in, Mr. Brownlee’s coloratura cred comes in handy for satisfying, sweet ornamentation on the words “oh my.” JOSHUA BARONE

A New Cycle
I join the disappointment with Lawrence Brownlee’s practiced, bland “Dichterliebe.” But I was also underwhelmed on Tuesday by “Cycles of My Being,” and that’s as a great admirer of its composer, Tyshawn Sorey. The texts, by the poet Terrance Hayes, were stiff (“could it be that you hate me because you hate yourself?”) and produced stiff music: The score — for violin, cello, clarinet and piano, in addition to voice — was diffident and dreary. Mr. Sorey has done extreme elongation before, as in his evening-length collaboration with the brilliant young soprano Julia Bullock on arrangements of Josephine Baker songs. But in that larger-scale endeavor, there was a more imaginative range of colors and textures, and the super-deliberate pace provided time and space to reflect on subtexts and nuances that were lacking in “Cycles of My Being.” Here’s that gorgeous Baker work, either to dip into or to watch in its 90-minute entirety. ZACHARY WOOLFE

Calm Confidence
Weill Recital Hall, the smallest space at Carnegie Hall, is used most often these days for concerts by young artists. So I jumped at the opportunity on Monday to see the distinguished Swiss cellist Thomas Demenga there, under the auspices of the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation. (Mr. Demenga won the Naumburg Prize in 1977.) It was a rare chance to hear a musician at the top of his game in such an intimate setting, and the audience was rewarded with an elegant program juxtaposing Bach and modern music, all performed with calm confidence. I especially loved his smoky, seductive take on the second Minuet of Bach’s first solo-cello suite; you can get a sense, though paler than the live version, of what he did at 1:17 on this track, part of a recent recording of all six suites on the ECM label. ZACHARY WOOLFE

One-Hand Band
The cello is a bowed instrument — except when it is not. In addition to Bach, Mr. Demenga played Elliott Carter, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Sonata for Solo Cello (1960) at his excellent solo evening on Monday at Weill. For considerable stretches of the Zimmermann — in the movements “Tropi” and “Spazi” (“Tropes” and “Spaces”) — beginning at 6 minutes in this 2015 video from Bern, Switzerland — Mr. Demenga used only his left, fingering hand to determine not just the pitch and character of the sound, but also its rhythm and color. It almost made Bach look easy. JAMES R. OESTREICH

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario