Sweet and Clear--Cho-Liang Lin delivers concert of the season.
Thursday, February 4, 1999
Smooth as silk and crystal clear, Cho-Liang Lin''s Guarneri violin also sounded sweeter than anything heard so far this season in Carmel. Thanks to his large discography, Lin''s reputation preceded him. But even that did not adequately prepare for the elegance and purity of his art ''up close and personal,'' heard Monday night at Sunset Center.
Especially riveting were those muted passages in Prokofiev''s deeply personal Sonata in F Minor, Op 80, a late masterpiece of extraordinarily expressive range. Here were lengthy tracts of floated melodies, hushed and circumspect, magically lacking no intensity. Holding the room in his hands, Lin pulled his listeners across the stage then dazzled them with exploding bravura that sparkled like diamonds. What the work didn''t do--what the composer couldn''t do--was lose track of its classical heritage. For all his brilliance, Prokofiev always rededicated his discipline to the classical models, ensuring the vitality and urgency of his music across the four and a half decades since his death.
Witold Lutoslawski''s Subito, which opened the evening''s second half, also took a classical turn, but as a series of sudden (as the title implies), bursting changes of direction. Speaking from the stage, Lin affirmed (and amended) the program notes, and, having taken the piece into his own repertoire, declared, "I still love it." From start to finish, the violinist''s fiercely scrubbing outbursts suggested feroce as a suitable subtitle.
Lin was accompanied by pianist Li Jian who seemed to have molded his performance style to match the violinist. Here was the same combination of purity of tone, clarity of articulation and breathtaking bravura. On numerous occasions, Lin would toss off an impossible lick and Jian would instantly and pleaurably copy it. This was the sort of instrumental play one expects in jazz but rarely encounters in classical tails.
This interplay established itself right from the start, during Beethoven''s sunny Sonata in A, Op12:2 of 1798, a bit of youthful mischief and joy. The Sonata in E flat by Richard Strauss, carrying plenty of its own youthful ardor, needs extra salesmanship to reconcile its arch rhetoric and overwrought sentiments. It''s the kind of piece which can seem to last far longer than it really is. Lin and Jiang gave it its flair but restrained its flatus, arguing its case from tasteful idealism rather than gushing self-indulgence during a 25-minute, just-right reading.
Encores by Ravel and Kreisler topped off the Lin-Jian appearance.
Cancellation notice: According to a notice posted at Sunset Center on Monday night, soprano Sari Gruber, scheduled to sing for the Mozart Society tonight (Feb. 4) at Sunset has cancelled her appearance. Phone 625-3637 for more information.
This Week''s Quiz Name at least three works by Rachmaninoff that quote the Dies Irae melody. cw
UCSC Orchestra Friday, Saturday, 8pm. Nicole Paiement conducts Stravinsky''s Piano Concerto, with soloist Malia Roberson, Mozart''s Marriage of Figaro overture, Gerald Finzi''s Intimations of Immortality. Music Center Recital Hall, U.C. Santa Cruz. $8/general, $6/seniors, $4/students. 459-2159.
Clemente Trio Saturday, 7:30pm. Piano trio returns from Europe to play Mozart''s Trio in G, K564, Dvorak''s Trio in F Minor, Brahms'' Trio in C Minor. Performing Arts Center, Santa Catalina School, 1500 Mark Thomas Dr., Monterey. Free; reservations required. 655-9310.
Santa Cruz Symphony Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. John Larry Granger conducts David Diamond''s Romeo and Juliet suite, Chopin''s Piano Concerto in E Minor, featuring soloist Brian Ganz, Howard Hanson''s Symphony 2 "Romantic." Saturday: Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz. Sunday: Mello Center, East Beach & Lincoln, Watsonville. $17-$32. 429-3444.
New Music Works Sunday, 7pm. Annual "Night of the Living Composers" with music by Manly Romero, Phil Collins, Frederic Rzewski, Lou Harrison, Christopher Rouse, Paul Davies. (Composers panel discussion, 6pm). Music Center Recital Hall, U.C. Santa Cruz. $12/general, $10/seniors, $5/students. 459-2159, 427-2225.
Colton Hall Chamber Music Wednesday, 8pm. Soprano Pamela Sebastian, harpsichordist Katie Clare Mazzeo, recorderist David Barnett, bassoonist Daniel Deitch. Colton Hall, Pacific Street between Madison and Jefferson, Monterey. $5; reservations required. 646-5640.
UCSC Chamber Music Wednesday, 8pm. Flutist Leta Miller, violinist Susan Brown, cellist Karen Andrie, pianist Josephine Gandolfi perform trios by Harrison, Brahms, Feld. Music Center Recital Hall, U.C. Santa Cruz. $8/general, $6/seniors, $4/students. 459-2159.