Lucid Culture


A Stellar Concert at the Bulgarian Consulate

Despite all the cuts in funding to the arts over the past couple of years, there are still innumerable vital neighborhood concert series hidden away in unexpected places throughout New York, and we have not come close to discovering all of them. One recent rediscovery is the exciting chamber music series at the Bulgarian Consulate on the upper east. Last night Trio+ played an unselfconsciously inspired program that blended the comfortably familiar with some unexpected treats.

Pianist Vadim Serebryany, of Huntingdon College in Alabama, opened with Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata, Op. 1, a defiant evasion of any kind of resolution. Serebryany left plenty of room for hammering home the crescendos when he needed to, through the matter-of-factly fugal tradeoffs between righthand and the left in the first movement, the more sustained middle passages and the hint of a triumphant theme to close it: acidic tonalities within familiar architecture delivered with a confident familiarity with its strengths.

Cellist Wolfram Koessel (of the American String Quartet, and concertmaster for the Mark Morris Dance group) was joined by violinist Yosuke Kawasaki (of Japan’s National Arts Centre Orchestra) for a fearlessly intense romp through Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello. It sounds like nothing Ravel wrote before or after, a jarring, percussive series of juxtapositions that could easily pass for Bartok in places. Yet as astringently assaultive as much of it is, it’s an opportunity for musicians to interweave those striking gestures with grace, and that’s what Koessel and Kawasaki did. The first movement is a series of convergences and divergences, themes shifting from one instrument to another and unexpectedly resolving counterrythms that seemed perfectly logical in the hands of these two. And when it came time for Koessel to switch from pizzicato to sweeping sustain, rather than smoothing it out, he dug in with an intensity that kept the joyous ferocity going full steam. The biting cantabile of the third movement and the clever exchanges of ideas and role reversals in the somewhat triumphant final one were delivered with fluidity yet also with wallop.

The exuberant fun continued when Serebryany joined them for a similarly spirited version of Schubert’s Piano Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 98 (D898). The catchy (some might say somewhat cloying) first movement is a staple of classical radio, something that WQXR would throw on regularly at about five minutes before the hour back in the day. This trio took the theme, went deep into it and pulled out every bit of operatic grandeur, then elevated the andante pocco mosso second movement from a lullaby to a majestic, swaying dance on the waves, then traded off with an occasional smirk on the final scherzo and rondo, Serebryany’s impeccably imperturbable fluidity the perfect anchor for the energized swells and accents of the strings. The series here (121 E 67th. between Park and Lexington Aves.) continues on February 16 at 7:30 PM with an all-Beethoven program by violinist Georgy Valtchev, cellist Amir Eldan and pianist Lora Tchekoratova.

January 20, 2011 - Posted by | classical music, concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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