Happiness is Not a Fish that You Can Catch

Friday, June 16, 2006

Renewed interests, that's what friends are for!

Everytime I attend a concert I find myself saying, "It's been a while since I've been to a live performance." And it's not from lack of opportunity - I am a music student studying at the university level. There are a plethora of concerts happening at any one given time, but I seem to be too damn lazy to get myself out of the house to go. Actually, in my defense, some of the time I am too damn busy to make it out, but I'd say it's about 50/50. After this realization, I then resolve to dedicate more time and effort to attending live shows. It works for a little while...but I inevitably fall right back into the ol' "I'll make it to the next one" routine. It pains me to say, but perhaps after all these years of intense study I'm becoming lax in my passion for music (another discussion, another time). Tonight, however, I attended a concert that has restored my excitment for live performace. The stage: Maureen Forrester Recital Hall. The players: Lauren on violin, Genevieve on cello, and Julie on piano. The program: Piano Trio no,. 2 in e. Op. 67, by Shostakovich, and Piano Trio in g. Op. 15, by Smetana. Two huge, amazingly wonderful works. Quite an undertaking. And the girls did not disappoint! The recital was in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Lauren's Diploma in Chamber Music. These girls have been rehearsaing and having coachings since September 2005. And it all paid off beautifully.
First up: Shostakovich. The opening passage of the andante - played by the unaccompanied cello entirely in artificial harmonics - was soft and haunting, immediately drawing the listener in. The classic scherzo of the allegro con brio made prevelent the group's ability to play as a tight-knit unit and flowed smoothly into the emotionally demanding and mournful largo. The final movement, allegretto, was well executed and gave the listener a sense of closure, recaping and quoting from earlier movements. The group's well-rounded sense of musicality and interpretation of the work truly brought forth the emotions of Shostakovich, who composed the work shortly after the death of his closest friend.
After a short break, they were back on stage for the Smetana. Although, admittedly, I haven't spent much time listening to Smetana, I quite enjoy his Bohemia nationalistic style. And besides, I'm a sucker for all those wonderfully lavish gestures typical of the Romantic era. This piece ranks near the top of my chamber music favorites; it is full of energy, excitment, passion, and technically demanding passages. All movements were well executed - the girls did a wonderful job complementing each other as melodies were passed from one player to another, and transitioned extremely well from one emotion to the next. My favorite movement of the work was the Finale: Presto, which went at quite an impressive speed. It was evident that their cues were very well rehearsed, as there were virtually no moments of questionable ensemble playing.
As for the overall performance, I thought their sound was very well suited and balanced almost perfectly for the pieces in question. Although their performance was not flawless, it had the fearlessness, fun, and youthful exuberance needed to successfully relay the intentions of both the works. In fact, it was so exciting to listen to and watch, my inner thoughts could be compared to that of a sporting event with encouraging phrases like, "c'mon girls!", "That's it!" and "Keep it going!" constantly crossing through my brain.
After spending four years in the same faculty with these girls watching and hearing them grow as musicians and friends, it is fantastically satisfying to watch them give it their all on stage and triumphantly succeed in doing so. Bravo, ladies!


At 3:01 PM , Blogger Joanna said...

Glad to see you've decided to start Blogging, Cass! You are definitely lucky that you have access to such an amount of concerts, take advantage :)

and btw - if you want more traffic to your blog, try www.blogexlosion.com. I As you search other peoples blogs, other people will be sent along to yours. Check it out if you want!


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