Lucid Culture


Concert Review: The Sospiro Winds at Trinity Church, NYC 2/5/09

Billing themselves as “an exciting new force on the chamber music scene,” the Sospiro Winds worked their way through a demanding program that would make a believer out of pretty much any cynic who might consider such a claim to be a complete oxymoron. The quartet, including oboeist James Austin Smith, Kelli Kathman on flute, Romie de Guise-Langlois on clarinet and Adrian Morejon on bassoon, played with a rigorous virtuosity matched with a boisterous irreverence. This was a totally 20th century bill. “The 20th century was for wind players what the rest of history was for string or piano players,” Smith related – true for western orchestral music, although if you were a Berber, a gypsy or a Jew in a prior era and you played a wind instrument you were BMOC. They opened with a rearrangement of an interestingly baroque-tinged Stravinsky pastorale originally written simply for soprano and piano. Then the fireworks began, with the four movements of Jean Francaix’ Divertissement for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon (Kathman sat this one out). Showing considerable verve, the trio onstage moved dexterously from the circular melody that opens the suite, through a bouncy dance featuring the oboe, a stately, matter-of-fact elegy and then an energetically fluttery, almost ragtime-tinged scherzo with a neat trick ending. This and the other Francaix piece on the bill, a rather celebratory wind quartet, worked ambitious, 20th century tonalities within a very classical architectural style with call-and-response and other familiar devices.


The quartet then reassembled for Jacques Ibert’s Two Movements, pairing a playful, cavorting excursion with an even more humorous second part, almost a mockery of Romanticisn. Kathman and Morejon’s take on Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Braslieras #3 for Flute and Bassoon were an interesting if ultimately predictable blend of pre-baroque devices and bright, colorful tropicalia.  The real showstopper was Eugene Bozza’s Three Pieces of Night Music. The opening nocturne was more of a requiem for the day that just ended, moving ominously along on dark, low arpeggios from the bassoon. The second part, a party scene, evoked Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, de Guise-Langlois remarked, and she was right. The piece closed with a strikingly restless dream sequence, more troubled sleep than any kind of peaceful end to a turbulent day. Watch this space for upcoming New York performances: the group’s next show is April 18 in Greenwood, Virginia (280 Ortman Road, near Charlottesville, 434-361-2660) as part of the Casa Maria Concert Series. In the meantime, since Trinity archives their concerts, you can watch the complete performance here.


February 6, 2009 - Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , ,

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