A Lost World of Schubert rarities

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Out of Schubert’s 1500 compositions, 600 are Lieder (songs) for solo voices. There are a handful of duets, trios, quartets and choral numbers of various levels of quality. But, by and large, if one is mining for gold one better dig into the Schubert treasure trove of song cycles and his many stand-alone songs.

That said, the Delos CD A Lost World is a welcome gift culled from the Schubert mother lode and a nice item to have in one’s collection of vocal rarities.

Neither Ganymede nor perhaps Elysium are all that rare. They are sung here with delicacy and limpidity by soprano Susanna Phillips with the ever flexible and supportive Brian Zeger at the piano, providing  a welcome relief from the ponderousness and unremittingly somber moods of most of the other selections on the CD, even when sung impressively by bass-baritone Shenyang.

Odious as comparisons can be, I unhesitatingly place Ms. Phillips rendition of these two Schubert songs in the company of the similarly-voiced Ely Ameling and Barbara Bonney. Phillips’ honestly uncomplicated vocalism brings the poetry of Schiller and Goethe to life in flawless German.

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Shenyang, a young bass-baritone impresses this listener with his committed delivery of An die Dioskuren, in which he succeeds in scaling down his massive sound to the intimacy of a sailor’s prayer to the stars. Elsewhere, he unleashes a torrent of sound in the grimly descriptive Gruppe aus dem Tartarus and follows it with the equally infernal Fahrt zum Hades. Shenyang delivers Grenzen dee Menscheit with gravitas, dipping assuredly and repeatedly into his lower range.

Both singers sing to rather than with each other in two songs with operatic ambitions: Hektor’s Abschied and Antigone und Oedip. More like operatic scenes than duets, these two pieces sadly never allow for the soprano and bass-baritone in this CD to unite their voices in song.

It would have been nice to hear Phillips and Shenyang to undertake Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt. The forgiven omission will hopefully allow for many of us to have these two fast-rising artists back in an album of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Schumann duets. If only Delos cooperates…

Rafael de Acha

AGRIPPINA

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Handel was a young 24-year old aspiring opera composer when in 1709 he penned and premiered Agrippina, his sixth stage work, just in for the Carnival Season in Venice. He had thirty-nine operas left to write mostly for his glory days in London as a composer-impresario.

Naxos has just released a double-CD issue of this Handel rarity. It was filmed in 2016 over two performances at the intimate Theater an der Wien in Vienna, with a cast led by Irish mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon in the title role, soprano Danielle de Niese as Poppea, and an ensemble of European singers some of which are associated with the Baroque repertory. The production was staged by Robert Carsen, and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble was led by Thomas Engelbrock.

It is old news that all of Handel’s operas are built on a set formula that worked wonders for the composer but taxes the endurance of contemporary audiences accustomed to expeditious realism on stage. Handel gives us arias that follow arias only interrupted by recitatives that move forward the action provided one can follow the convoluted plots. It would all make better sense if a copy of the libretto could accompany this CD.

The arias in Agrippina are by and large standard issue Handel, and the occasional choral interludes come off as formulaic. Absent the glorious music of many of his more mature operas, Agrippina leaves the listener longing for more but better Handel.

The singers in this release could help matters were they better interpreters of Baroque music, but sadly and save for the ever-reliable Danielle de Niese, the cast fails to set off any vocal fireworks.

The acting, as directed by Robert Carsen, consists of striking poses and sustaining attitudes for long stretches of time. The director seems to have encouraged his cast to take a ham-fisted approach to a couple of simulated sex scenes that would not rate in the worst of soft porn sites. This reaches the nadir of tackiness early in Act I when the viewer is subjected to two back-to-back squirm-inducing quickies on top of Agrippina’s high tech desk in her oh-so-today office.

Too bad that such a rarity as this opera does not get a better production and cast. Handel certainly deserves better.

Rafael de Acha

The Art of Song: Alive and Well

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The Art of Song is Alive and Well in Cincinnati. Daniel Weeks and Donna Loewy proved that to be true as they made musical magic happen on the stage of CCM’s Werner Recital Hall last night. The two artists did this not through sleight of hand but through musicality, technique and artistry. It was a recital that uncompromisingly avoided well-worn repertory choices and tidy groupings in chronological patterns. And, at the end it was a theatrical event that broke free of the formality of the concert platform.

The evening opened with Drei Lieder aus Wilhelm Tell – three songs by Franz Liszt, with Schiller texts from William Tell. The words for these songs, culled by the playwright-poet from his epic play about the Swiss struggle for Independence, deal with the bucolic rather than the dramatic. That said, there is vivid drama in the way Liszt’s music depicts first a gentle shepherd boy’s tale, then a young man’s journey from town to countryside, and lastly an account of a mature man in awe of nature high in the Alps.

As can be expected, Liszt’s pianistic writing is daunting, and Ms. Loewy handled the accompaniments with impassioned abandon. The texts are set in a consistently high tessitura for the voice that Weeks rode with ease, displaying a vibrant lyric tenor sound and utter comfort with the German language.

Ich möchte hingehn, another rarity was given a stand-alone position rather than appended to the Liszt group. A somber meditation on Death that approaches the scope of an operatic soliloquy, it was given an intensely moving performance by Weeks, with Ms. Loewy ever the sensitively supportive partner remarkably handling the frequent colla voce instances and the many tempo changes in the musically complex song.

From the dark hues of the Middle-European Romanticism of Liszt, the artists moved to the sunny songs of Antón Garcia Abril. The octogenarian Spanish composer writes in a lush tonal idiom that,  along with a frequent use of Moorish-Aragonese musical filigree places him in the company of Turina, Granados, de Falla and Rodrigo. The texts of Canciones de Noche y Estrellas (Songs of Night and the Stars) and Canciones del Recuerdo (Songs of Remembrance) are set by the composer in a vocally-friendly manner, and Daniel Weeks sang them in flawless Spanish and with plenty of Iberian flair, while Ms. Loewy provided sensitive partnering throughout.

The Land of Nod is the title of a four-song cycle by Tom Cipullo, with surrealist texts about dreams and nightmares by the late American poet Alice Wirth Gray. The first of the songs, The Land of Nod sustains a wistful, yearning, pensive tone. A Death in the Family abruptly courts dissonance and moments of declamation. Deer in Mist and Almonds returns to near-stasis and a meditation on loss. On a Nineteenth Century Color Lithograph of Red Riding Hood by the Artist J. H. is a comic tour de force for both singer and pianist. It brought the evening to a theatrically humorous ending that allowed Ms. Loewy plenty of soloist fun and Weeks to show the audience the accomplished singing actor he is.

It was a memorable song recital by two great artists and it reminded us of what a treasure we have in the teaching-performing faculty of CCM.

Rafael de Acha

THERE IS NOTHING MORE DIFFICULT THAN TALKING ABOUT MUSIC

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“There is nothing more difficult than talking about music” is supposedly what Camille Saint-Saëns said over a century ago. I would add that there’s nothing more difficult than to endure the vindictive invective heaped on the composer by so many lesser lights than the grey-bearded eminence who gave us the three piano concertos featured in a Chandos CD with the BBC Philharmonic helmed by Edward Gardner backing up the protean Louis Lortie at the keyboard and taking on the piano concertos one, two and four.

Even when insults are spared, the tone of much criticism about Saint-Saens is patronizing. True, the old codger had some of it coming, for he gave as good as he got as often as he could, fighting for what he believed was true French music and, famously against Debussy and Stravinsky and Les Six.

In a perfect world none of this would have taken place, Saint-Saëns would not have had to compete for prizes half-way through his career, and he and the society in which he lived would have openly accepted his closeted homosexuality.

But no, the world of the arts in fin de siècle Paris sported a mine field of fractious factions endlessly skirmishing among themselves, and Saint-Saëns often got caught in the crossfire. Too bad, but by the time of his death at age 86, Camille Saint-Saëns had grabbed the brass ring, composed up a storm and died in peace, frankly not giving a hoot any more about all the negativity.

The Lortie/Gardner CD is a musical act of love. I settled down to listen to it from tracks one through ten several times and was won over. Gorgeously engineered by Mike George and Brian Pidgeon, classily produced by Ralph Couzens, annotated with scholarly authority by Roger Nichols, and, above all, given inspired performances of concertos number 1, 2 and 4 by the Lortie-Gardner-BBC Philharmonic team, the 2018 Chandos 20031 release provides a revisit to us long term members of the Camille Saint-Saens fan club.

Rafael de Acha

IMMACULATE MUSIC AT IMMACULATA

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The Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams opened its 2018-2019 Chamber Music Series with string players Christina Nam, Holly Nelson, Kanako Shimasaki, Yu-Ting Huang, Hojoon Choi, and Jonathan Lee assembled into what we hope will be a permanent ensemble playing a concert of music by Haydn and Schubert.

Haydn’s Quartet in G Major, Op. 77 is one of the last two of sixty-eight the composer wrote. He dedicated both the quartets from this opus to his patron and former employer, Prince Lobkowitz in 1799. Haydn would live for still ten more years but his composing and performing days were waning down, though mot his inspired writing. The quartet is vintage Haydn, a stately, mature work that opens with an elegant martial rhythm that spans the first movement. The members of the quartet quickly established their like-minded approach to this music at the onset, moving on to deeply soulful playing in the Adagio that follows it. The third movement, a lively Scherzo in ¾ time, was executed with panache, and followed by an even livelier final Allegro that brought the work to a happy ending.

Franz Schubert‘s one and only String Quintet was his final chamber work, composed in 1828 and completed just weeks before his untimely death. Known as the “Cello Quintet” because of the addition of a second cello to its instrumentation, the C Major quintet is filled with a pervading sadness, as if the composer had a foreboding of the end being near. This is a substantial and lengthy work that takes its time, taking the listener on an episodic journey infused with profound pathos. Melodically rich, harmonically daring, rhythmically restrained, Schubert’s final chamber opus (D.956) is decidedly a Romantic masterpiece, and the members of the quintet played it with technical assurance and intense emotional commitment.

In a city rich in musical offerings it is difficult for an ensemble of young players to establish an identity and make a mark. All the more remarkable then it is that this musically ad-hoc group that cries out for a name should begin its young journey so auspiciously. We look forward to more from Christina Nam, Holly Nelson, Kanako Shimasaki, Judy Huang, Hojoon Choi, and Jonathan Lee, individually and as a group

Will Immaculata bring them back, please?

Rafael de Acha

 

The Soul of Spain in Cincinnati

 

It was a pleasure to listen last night to Jessica Rivera, Paulina Villareal, Bill Willits and Marie France Lefebvre make musical magic at the Willis Gallery’s intimate recital hall in Cincinnati.

It was the opening concert of the 2018-2019 season of Sam Martin’s brainchild: Cincinnati Song Initiative, and a grateful audience filled up the gallery to capacity, while during the space of one hour the artists shared with us the songs of Lorca, Mompou, Granados, Rodrigo, Falla and Obradors.

Paulina Villareal is a recent graduate of CCM already well on her way in a career that next takes her to the Sarasota Opera to join their Young Artists Roster. This listener has followed the young mezzo- soprano’s journey from her arrival a few years ago and her first efforts as a first-year Master’s student in CCM’s opera productions on to what now is a fully-formed young artist. Villareal is an expressive vocalist and she infuses her singing with individuality and a terrific way with words. Hers is a bright voice, with an easy upper register and, when needed, a dark-hued solid chest register ideally suited to so much of the music she essayed in the program.

Jessica Rivera’s career has spanned Opera and concert work, and her two decades of experience in the world of music have equipped her with a complete command of the recital stage. In tonight’s concert she moved with ease from the post-Romantic world of Enrique Granados’ The Maja and the Nightingale to Federico Mompou’s songs from The Combat of Dreams, which she sang in flawless Catalan, to a set of Obradors highlighted by an exquisitely sung Del Cabello Mas Sutil. I remember Rivera’s impressive appearances in various contemporary operas here and elsewhere, but I was not prepared to hear how her lovely lyric soprano voice has blossomed, all the better to serve much of the material she sang.

Bill Willits provided idiomatically excellent support accompanying Villareal in the Lorca and Rodrigo songs and later in the Siete Canciones Populares of Manuel de Falla. The superb Marie France Lefebvre reminded us once again of what a great collaborative pianist she is, as she lovingly accompanied Rivera in the Obradors, Mompou and Granados songs.

Samuel Martin has set off on what may seem a fool’s mission to the naysayers, but those who know better and admire this young visionary are augmenting his growing following with gratitude, which I share 100%.

Rafael de Acha

HIGHLIGHTS OF CINCINNATI MUSIC IN OCTOBER

8557273265_5bce477a5b_bCovering Cincinnati for http://www.SeenandHeard-International.com, in addition to teaching music courses for UC’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, plus writing for this blog and organizing our own concert series takes up many pleasurable hours. So, that’s in case you wonder why I feature this and not that in this list of events, where I can only highlight a few of the many musical offerings in the Queen City that I personally recommend and are able to attend. For comprehensive listings, let me encourage the reader to go to the individual websites of:

CC – www.collegiumcincinnati.org

CCM — http://www.ccm.uc.edu

CMC – http://www.cincychamber.org

CSB – www.cincinnatisoundbox.org

CSO – www.cincinnatisymphony.org

LINTON – www.Lintonmusic.org

MET – www.info@meetmeattheopera.com

MFAS – www.musicseasonsCincinnati.com

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10/05/18/11AMAt Music Hall – Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
CHRIS ROUNTREE, conductor; ADAM LARSEN, violin
The ABC  of 20th century American music: Adams – The Dharma at Big Sur; Barber – Essay No. 1, Op. 12; Copland – Suite from Billy, the Kid.
TKTS: 513 – 381 3300

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10/05/18/8PMAt CCM – CCM Philharmonia
MARK GIBSON, conductor
The CCM Philharmonia plays two rarities and a beloved Dvořák.  Elgar – In the South; Chausson – Poéme; Dvořák  – Symphony no. 8 in G Major, op. 88
TKTS: 513 – 556 4183

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10/6/18/NOONMET HD presentation- AIDA –Giuseppe Verdi with Ana Netrebko in the Italian Mount Everest of soprano roles. Good cast around her, but she is the main reason to go see this tired old production.
TKTS: http://www.info@meetmeattheopera.com

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10/12/18/5:30 PM – At the Mercantile Library
Cincinnati Sound Box gives a concert of contemporary music by Mark LaMont, Rodrigo Navarro, Steven Weimer and Ivonne Paredes with Om Srivastava, saxophone; Daniel Harrison, electric guitar; Jacob Dike, percussion; and Laura Harrison, piano.
TKTS: http://www.cincinnatisoundbox.org

MIRIAM K. SMITH

10/14/18/2:00 PM – At Peterloon Estate in Indian Hill
Music for All Seasons opens its 2018-2019 season with an all-French and Spanish concert of instrumental music by Eric Satie, Gabriel Fauré, Camille Saint-Saëns, Maurice Ravel, Marcel Grandjanny, and Joaquin Rodrigo, with Yaoyue Huang, piano; Scott Sherman, piano; James Meade, guitar; Joe Rebman, harp; Miriam Smith, cello; and Kimberly Daniel de Acha, narrator.
TKTS: http://www.musicseasonsCincinnati.com

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10/15/18/7:30 PM –At Loveland’s Congregation Beth Adam
Linton Music Artistic Directors Sharon Robinson and Jaime Laredo join Cathy Meng Robinson, Hsin-Yun Huang, Misha Amory, and Keith Robinson to perform Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and Schubert’s String Quintet.
TKTS: http://www.Lintonmusic.org

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10/20/18/12:30 PM – Camille Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson and Delilah, on a MET HD presentation with mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča in the role of the fatal lady barber who gives hairy Samson (Tenor Roberto Alagna) a bad haircut.
TKS: 917.579.1241 / info@meetmeattheopera.com

10/19/18 THROUGH 10/27/18 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and on Sunday at a 1 PM and 7 PM – At CCM – Frank Loesser’s classic Broadway musical GUYS AND DOLLS
TKTS: 513 – 556 4183

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10/20/18/8:00 PM – At CCM
Guys and Dolls (THE MUSICAL) followed by The Saints and Sinners Bash – A benefit event to support the hopes and dreams of CCM students through student travel funds and scholarships.
TKTS: 513 556 2100

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10/21/18/5:00 PM – At Christ Church Cathedral – In its sixth season, Christopher Eanes’ Collegium Cincinnati celebrates the installation of the new C.B. Fisk organ with a special inaugural concert with 17th century music by Giacomo Carissimi, Francesco Foggia, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Virgilio Mazzocchi performed by the Collegium’s singers and instrumentalists.
TKTS 513 428-2224

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10/23/18/7:30 PM – At the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater – In the second concert of its season, Chamber Music Cincinnati brings us the sassy and brassy Imani Winds to play music by Jeff Scott, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Astor Piazzolla, György Ligeti, Reena Esmail and Valerie Coleman. TKTS: 513 621-2787

1600x685_fanciulla10/27/18/12:30 PMMET HD presentation. Giacomo Pucini’s opera The Girl of the Golden West. Eva-Maria Westbroek sings Puccini’s gun-slinging heroine with the we-hope-he-does-not-cancel-again return of tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the role of the outlaw she loves. TKTS: 917.579.1241 / info@meetmeattheopera.com

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10/27/18/4:00 PM AND 10/28/18/4:00 PM – At Knox Presbyterian Church
Johann Sebastian Bach’s SAINT JOHN PASSION With the CCM Concert Orchestra conducted by Earl Rivers, staged by Audrey Chait, featuring the superb tenor Daniel Weeks in the role of the Evangelist.
TKTS: 513 556 2100

Rafael de Acha

 

WHERE TO NEXT?

untitledCincinnati’s music season has begun and it will soon reach full speed ahead. In my calendar I have five must-see events between now and the end of the month, and nine more in the-can’t-wait-list spaced out through October. Let me share them with you.

9/22/18/7:30 pm – Alma de España – Cincinnati Song Initiative opens its 2018-2019 line up with an all-Spanish concert with soprano Jessica Rivera, mezzo-soprano Paulina Villareal, and guitarist Bill Willits bringing to the Queen City the music of Mompou, Rodrigo, Lorca and other Iberians at the Willis Music Steinway Gallery. TKTS: $35 includes a champagne reception after the concert.

9/23/18/5:00 pm – Immaculata Concerts at Immaculata Church in Mt. Adams (free parking at the church just in case you wondered!) opens its 2018-2019 series with string players Christina Nam, Holly Nelson, Kanako Shimasaki, Judy Huang, Hojoon Choi, and Jonathan Lee playing a concert of music by Haydn (Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No. 1) and Schubert – his String Quintet. FREE.

9/24/18/8:00 pm – At Werner Hall in CCM. Daniel Weeks, tenor and Donna Loewy, piano celebrate the Art of Song in a rare and not-to-be-missed offering of Spanish canciones, Lieder by Liszt, and American songs by Tom Cipullo. FREE.

9/27/18/5:00 pm – At Werner Hall in CCM. Two brilliant young pianists in a recital of music for piano-four hands. Make note of these names: Yaoyue Hueng and Scott Sherman. You’ll be buying tickets to their concerts in the near future. This time it’s FREE.

9/30/18/3:00 pm – At Memorial Hall. Matinee Musicale kicks off its 106th season with the Cincinnati debut of the Akropolis Reed Quintet. TKTS: Memorial Hall Box Office.

A PREVIEW OF THE 2018-2019 SEASON

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The Brentano Quartet returns to Cincinnati to open the 2018-2019 Season of Chamber Music Cincinnati on Tuesday, September 25, at 7:30 pm at the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theatre. Their program includes music by Purcell, Haydn, Carter, Lekeu, and as its centerpiece the Quartet No. 12 in D Flat Major, Op. 133 of Dmitri Shostakovich

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In the second concert of its season, Chamber Music Cincinnati brings to town the Imani Winds to play music by Jeff Scott, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Astor Piazzolla, György Ligeti, Reena Esmail and Valerie Coleman. On Tuesday, October 23, at 7:30 pm at the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theatre

Tickets for both these concerts are available through the Cincinnati Arts (513) 621-2787 / ticketing@cincinnatiarts.org
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In its sixth season, Christopher Eanes’ Collegium Cincinnati sets out to celebrate the installation of the new C.B. Fisk organ in Christ Cathedral with a special inaugural concert slated for Sunday, October 21 at 5:00 pm. The music will replicate that of a 17th century Roman vespers service in which some of the works of Giacomo Carissimi, Francesco Foggia, Girolamo Frescobaldi, and Virgilio Mazzocchi will be performed by the Collegium’s singers and instrumentalists.

Later on in the Collegium’s season , a multi-year exploration of three monumental masterpieces begins with a performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor.

Elsewhere in their 2018-2019 line-up, Soprano Alexandra Schoeny and pianist Marie-France Lefevbre will give a song recital with music by Jonathan Dove, Libby Larsen, and Samuel Barber. And, as traditional with the Collegium, there will be a performance of Handel’s Messiah in December.

But before all that happens, the good people at the Collegium invite you to spend a special afternoon on September 30th at 4 pm at the Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts, with countertenor Michael Maniaci and oboist Mark Ostoich, performing music from the Baroque and beyond, while guests sip a cocktail.

Tickets for this event and all others are available through the Collegium’s website: http://www.collegiumcincinnati.org

For box office and group sales questions, please call (513) 428-BACH (2224).
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For the 2018-2019, 40th Anniversary season of Linton Music, Artistic Directors Sharon Robinson and Jaime Laredo join Cathy Meng Robinson, Hsin-Yun Huang, Misha Amory, and Keith Robinson on October 14 And 15 to perform Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and Schubert’s String Quintet.

Later on their season includes CSO Friends & Anna Polonsky on November 11 & 12, 2018, playing music by Poulenc, Mozart, and Dvořák.

On December 2, Yefim Bronfman performs with the New York Philharmonic String Quartet playing Schumann’s Piano Quintet and string quartets by Haydn and Shostakovich.

January 20 & 21, 2019 signals the return of André Watts to the Linton stage. Watts will join Sharon Robinson, Jaime Laredo, Bella Hristova and Nokuthula Ngwenyama playing Cesar Franck’s Piano Quintet.

On March 17th, 2019, violinist Augustin Hadelich and pianist Ran Dank will perform works by Brahms, Janáček, and Franck.

On April 7 and 8, 2018 Ani Kavafian joins members of Opus One to perform Amy Beach’s Piano Quintet.

The Linton season closes on My 5 and 6, 2019 with pianist Daniil Trifonov performing his own Piano Quintet with the Ariel Quartet.

For further information and tickets call 513 381 6868 and visit http://www.LintonMusic.org

Impermanence deserving of permanence

thISW2TE0LGive us a haven upon judgment day, plead the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela in a 12th chant that opens the stunning Sono Luminus double CD Impermanence. It features the Lorelei Ensemble, a group of nine women under the leadership of Beth Willer singing a wide ranging repertoire unified by the themes of migration and movement.

Sarah Brailey, Margot Rood, Sonja Tengblad, Christina English, Claire McNamara, Sophie Michaux, Stephanie Kacoyanis, and Emily Marvosh, led by Beth Willer take the listener on a musical journey that spans the centuries and thousands of miles that separate us from the chant of the 15th Flemish composer Guillaume Du Fay and the Japan of Toru Takemitsu, the plainchants of the late Middle Ages and brings us closer to the contemporary sounds of Peter Gilbert.

The Lorelei Ensemble’s way with all of this music is a thing of wonder. Whether imploring the Divinity for salvation, singing the praises of the Apostles, extolling the healing powers of the Virgin, or lauding the earthly and heavenly powers of St. Anthony of Padua, the Lorelei Ensemble sings in clear, idiomatic Medieval Latin and flawless Middle French. The ensemble members sustain throughout a limpid tone even as the sopranos reach the area above the treble staff with utter comfort and seeming abandon. The mezzo-sopranos and contraltos of the ensemble anchor the music with a velvety sound, providing a solid foundation for the melismatic writing that abounds in much of this music.

Uttering poetic metaphors in the classic Japanese of Saiyo Hoshi, Fujiwara no Tadamichi, and several other ancient poets, and set to music by Toru Takemitsu and Peter Gilbert, the chameleonic group adjusts its sound, making it edgier, adding more vibrato now and then, while navigating all along much of the tonally vague yet hauntingly compelling music.

The scholarly program notes, the accompanying translations, the classy packaging, and the impeccable engineering by Dan Merceruio make Impermanence deserving of permanence in the library of any collector interested in vocal music off the beaten path.

Rafael de Acha