TWO YOUNG MUSICAL TALENTS

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TWO YOUNG MUSICAL TALENTS

First the facts: Miriam K. Smith is ten years old. She has been studying with Sara Kim and Alan Rafferty since she was 4, and has already built up an extensive resume, playing in concert and in recitals across America. Her partner pianist was Jacob Miller, who just received his Master’s degree at CCM, and who will continue his work with Ran Dank towards a DMA this fall.

On Friday May 12, Miriam and Jacob played a recital at CCM’s Werner Hall, beginning with Beethoven’s Variations on the Pamina-Papageno Duet, from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Miriam’s gift for producing a seamless, singing sound was soon in evidence. Miller proved at once to be a fine and flexible collaborator.

Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata sounds best to this pair of ears when played by a cello, and Miriam Smith’s elicited from her instrument a creamy though robust sound perfectly suited to this seemingly simple yet complex composition. Miller again was an equal partner

After a brief pause, the recital began anew with Alberto Ginastera’s moody Pampeana No. 2. The fairly brief composition mines the lower register of the cello with restless, at times dissonant gestures that evoke the desolate and lonely expanses of Argentina’s southernmost regions. The Smith-Miller pairing excelled in their playing, both assertively taking on Ginastera’s musical asperities with flair and flawless musicality.

The recital came to a close with Mstislav Rostropovich’ Humoresque for Violoncello and Piano, an early opus by the legendary Russian maestro that would give pause to any but the bravest of cellists. Miriam Smith played it with cheeky virtuosity and Jacob Miller kept up with the rapid tempo, ever attentive to his partner.

The sizeable audience gave the pair a well-deserved ovation that brought the two back for a lovely rendition of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise.

Miriam can be found on http://www.miriamksmith.com

Rafael de Acha

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